Posted On: Friday - May 19th 2023 4:20PM MST
In Topics:   Elections '16 - '24  Websites  Trump  Pundits  President DeSantis
Peak Stupidity started the Trump v DeSantis series last Fall, with 5 posts - Round 1 - Personalities, Round 2 - Immunity to Kung Flu Panic , Round 3 - Immigration Invasion, Round 4 - Tag Team? , and Addendum - David Cole article. We picked it back up mid-March with Round 6 - The Ukraine/Russia War(mongering) and Round 7 - Quantity of Hatred Generated.
We're starting back up today based on the writing, and our criticism thereof, in a Substack post by one Richard Hanania. Substack is a "newsletter" amalgamator. For the life of me, I can't get a number for the count of writers, who could be bloggers, pundits (Ann Coulter is on there!), fiction writers, whatever, whom one can support with subscription fees or not. (In this case, it's gonna be NOT.)
Steve Sailer introduced his readership to this Richard Hanania in a post this January, Hanania: "Why the Media Is Honest and Good". From that laughable title, one could tell without even getting into the details that Mr. Hanania is a fairly clueless fellow. His take was that, there were a few exceptions from the truth, but ...
There is a major exception when it comes to the “holy trinity” of liberalism, that is topics having to do with race, gender, and sexual orientation, but even here the problem is not lies as much as that the press is blinded by ideology. The facts they give you even on these sensitive topics are usually correct, but it’s simply that the interpretation of these facts is wrong.Blinded by ideology but doesn't lie? Uhhh, no. The MSM lies six different ways from Sunday. Mr. Sailer helpfully pointed out ways.
Anyway, our commenter Dieter Kief pointed me to another Richard Hanania Substack post the subject of which is right in Peak Stupidity's wheelhouse: The Biomechanics of Trumpism. I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but this guy is really full of shit. I don't claim Mr. Hanania to be a liar but just a bad interpreter of human motives and political happenings. I'm gonna excerpt a large part of the article. There's so much wrong, but I have some time today. Here's the start with his thesis on Donald Trump's popularity:
The mainstream understanding of Trumpism has now gone through three iterations. In 2016, his success was said to prove that Republican voters wanted something other than Paul Ryanism. Trump voters were angry about the loss of manufacturing jobs, racists lashing out at a changing America, or patriots justifiably angry at a changing America.If he means "changing via immigration invasion", then, yes, (a) and (c).
In the face of political science data and real-world experience, people eventually dropped the “economic anxiety” talking point. Trump for the most part governed like a typical Republican on economic issues, yet his support stayed constant, and the cult of personality only deepened.There's a little bit right here. The economic issues most certainly did NOT get better, but Americans had so much faith in Trump and trust in his BS, that confidence went up. Trump didn't drop the economic issues. As usual, he just didn't have any kind of plan about them (other than the tariffs, for which I'll grant him kudos). The movement was always largely about the existential Immigration issue. Mr. Hanania didn't write a word about it!
Somewhere near the end of the Trump presidency, we therefore moved towards a new conventional wisdom, at least among smarter analysts, that his movement was about political correctness and social issues, with economics having little to do with it.
Anti-woke conservatives therefore came to believe that they knew what to do: give the people “Trumpism without Trump.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have a candidate who could take on Cultural Marxism directly, without all the distractions, legal troubles, and election denial? Surely the voters who saw Trump as the answer to their grievances would jump at the opportunity to vote for such a leader, if only given the chance.The election denial is important and should be for anyone. Yes, Trump's distractions and fixation on the legal troubles (not the legal troubles themselves) were a problem. More importantly, Trumpism without Trump means the taking of the same political positions, but by a man who can actually get these things done! 10 x the action, with 1 /10 the bullshit.
Mr. Hanania now moves on to Ron DeSantis:
With overwhelming majorities in both state legislatures, the Florida governor went about checking every box on the list of conservative grievances: critical race theory, gender ideology, DEI, abortion, vaccines, election integrity, universal school choice, guns, immigration, taking on Disney as the purveyor of woke propaganda. According to the Florida Speaker of the House, DeSantis just in the last year has signed “four sessions’ worth of legislation.”What follows is a graph of poll numbers for Trump and DeSantis, from one SMALL PERIOD - March 5th to April 30th of this year - with Trump going from the mid-40%'s to 52% and DeSantis from 30% to 23%. Really? Is this confirmed to be due to DeSantis fighting for Conservatism in Florida, while Trump runs for office? All of "this" (that Mr. Hanania mentions) matters in that Ron DeSantis became a national figure DUE TO his actions on these issues. Though it started before the vaccination threats, Governor DeSantis' stand against the Kung Flu Totalitarianism first got Conservatives like me to even know who the guy is. During that time, Trump had no confidence to do what was right, was a wishy-washy Anthony Fauci / CDE sackhanger for a while, till he wasn't, and served as a very poor leader during the PanicFest, which was underway for the last 10 months of his term.
All of this should have mattered. But here’s what’s happened as DeSantis has been signing one conservative bill after another, just over the last two months alone.
Come on, Richard! What else happened during these 2 months involving Donald Trump? Think, McRichard, think! Oh yeah, there was something going on with the NY City attorney's bringing of bogus charges against Trump. That's all "put him in jail, so he can't be in office" Banana Republic stuff, but it's publicity for Trump nonetheless. If they'd have given me a chance to answer a solid question in a poll last month, I might say the same, even over DeSantis, just to push back against this behavior of the Regime.
Trump comes out ahead with his supporters when he fights the Lyin' Press, as we/they hate them as much as he does.
Now that we’ve run the “Trumpism without Trump” experiment, I see us entering the third era of our understanding of Trumpism. Analysts are finally coming to the realization that this isn’t about trade, immigration, or gender ideology. It’s not about issues at all. There’s simply a deep and personal connection between Trump and the Republican voter. At most, how one talks about issues matters in an indirect way; Trump has to pay just enough lip service to things that Republican voters believe to reassure them that he is their leader.Of course it's about issues, THOSE issues you just mentioned, and more! There's a deep personal connection because we finally found a politician who actually cares about Americans and those issues, and we'd hoped he would do something about them. Some still hope that. Most of them are
But unlike DeSantis, he has little to fear from contradicting them, like he’s done over the years on things like Planned Parenthood and vaccines.So far, he has had little to fear. As the budding Officer and Gentleman Mayo noted "We got nowhere else to go!". Till recently, that is. Ron DeSantis hasn't even declared he's running yet.
Take the war in Ukraine. [Please! - Ed.] When Tucker asked his opinion on the conflict, DeSantis responded by calling it a territorial dispute that wasn’t that important to the United States. This position works for Trump because he’s been saying NATO is stupid and we should try to get along with Russia for eight years. DeSantis moving towards a similar position at the most convenient time possible, in response to a question from Tucker no less, looks extremely weak.This guy Hanania has got the whole thing backwards. DeSantis sounded very good on this issue, and Trump sounded OK in his usual muddled and confused way. (See Part 5 linked-to above.) Then, a day or so later, Trump sounded better, and DeSantis backtracked somewhat under pressure, because it was obviously not the most convenient time. Now, I'll give that last win to Trump. Trump has no principles, but he uses common sense on Russia. (Oh, and it goes along with his seeing the Russia Collusion for the 3-year distraction it was.) No, he didn't even think about getting us out of NATO after mentioning that during the '16 campaign. That was just bullshit, as I figure, is likely the case with his statement on the Ukraine. Per Richard Hanania, bullshit is good. At least, he says that's what Trump's got over DeSantis as far as winning elections. (More on this below.)
It’s interesting to contrast how the two candidates have dealt with the rise of anti-vaxx sentiment within the Republican Party. DeSantis has taken the most anti-vaxx position of any national politician, successfully seeking a grand jury investigation of pharmaceutical companies. This goes beyond the normal positions of simply opposing mandates or questioning the safety of the vaccines, but involves potential legal consequences, although I’m pretty sure this will go nowhere. Trump, meanwhile, says he’s had a booster, and has attacked DeSantis for refusing to discuss his own vaccine status. When he gets booed for it, Trump backs down, granting something to his followers, but in a half-hearted way. The DeSantis conversation goes something like this:Right, as a man of principle, Ron DeSantis fought against the vaccine mandates from the beginning. Seeng as he is one of the few Governors, and politicians period, who understand Federalism, he kept Florida at a low level of Panic and higher level of freedom, so much so that, they HATE him for his freedoms! Hanania's imagined conversation snippet of DeSantis is ridiculous. He was NOT going with the flow. He was ahead of his "base", because he didn't even have a base yet until WE realized that this guy has principles and fights, and wins too.
Republican voters: We hate vaccines!
DeSantis: Oh my God, you hate vaccines? You won’t believe this, but I hate them even more!! Other guys talk about leaving you alone not to take them, oh, but we need to go much further. I’m calling a grand jury to investigate this, we’re going to lock Pfizer up! It’s about time us conservatives started pushing back against these tyrants…
On the other side:
Trump: You know, I was boosted. The vaccine was a great accomplishment of my administration.
Republican voters: Boo! We hate vaccines!
Trump: Fine, whatever, do what you want, let’s talk about something else. Hey, did you guys see that women’s weightlifting thing?
Republican voters: cheers, laughter>
Trump, on the other hand, as per Hanania's more accurate imaginings, is, yes, a good talker and bullshitter. "Yeah, well we don't agree because I am stuck with my big Moonshot Vax win claims, and you've never seen such #VaxWinnning!, so, himmm, boos?, yeah, well I'll change the subject. I can't lose if I keep talking ..." is what he wants to say, but instead he may talk about something else like this culture war genderbender stupidity that he'll never get around to doing anything about. DeSantis will.
They both chase the voter. But there’s a difference between chasing a girl by trying to morph into what she wants, and making compromises in the process of drawing her to you.We're not trying to pick up chicks here, Hanania. The voters aren't all clueless woman . I understand this is analysis of the support of these 2 candidates, not your own views. This psycho-analysis doesn't cut it, though. You mistake standing on principle for being a pussy.. or something like that.
I’ve also been fascinated by the contrast in the way each candidate has handled the liberal press. The DeSantis team has labeled journalists as the enemy and refused to talk to them. Trump, meanwhile, has scheduled a CNN townhall for next week, even as he kicks an NBC reporter off his plane.They both KNOW that Lyin' Press journalists are the enemy. Patriotic Americans know that too. That's why they lap up things like the Town Hall, in which Trump got a chance to call out their lies, upon lies, upon lies!
At a gut level, people understand that part of the reason DeSantis won’t talk to the media is that he’s afraid of them, while pretending that he’s standing on some kind of principle. We all know that if DeSantis goes on CNN, he might be forced into a gaffe, or his voice might crack at the wrong time in response to a hostile question.WTH, man? "We" know nothing of the sort. Governor DeSantis has had no fear of the media, from what I've seen of him in Florida. He sometimes might not have as much time as Trump does to be in the media spotlight, because he's actually, you know ... doing stuff.
Ron DeSantis is smarter than Donald Trump. Instead of letting the Lyin' Press make accusations that he'd have to waste hours and days refuting, on and on, he might have a plan, as I have suggested, to change the press. Talk to the non-Regime-adjacent press. Invite unbiased journalists to the press conferences. That takes something called "a plan". Trump has no idea what this "plan" thing is.
Does the term “gaffe” even have any meaning in relation to things Trump says? Can you imagine his voice cracking under any circumstance? And it’s not just Trump’s voice. Observe how little his facial expression changes when a hostile reporter lands a blow, and compare it to other politicians. Some men worry about saying the wrong thing when talking to a woman, but the higher status male is the guy who can say whatever he wants. This is the difference between DeSantis and Trump."Higher status male"? Again with that "please the horny women" thing? Is that what's going to win elections?
When I note things that Trump has done right and DeSantis has done wrong, I don’t mean to imply that Trump has been consciously playing 4D chess every step of the way. Trump may not have an explicit model of what he’s doing at any point in time, any more than a spider weaving a web can visualize the end product that results from following its instincts.True, dat! That's OK in a campaign, but not so much when trying to form a strategy in order to enact policy. "Well, OK, he still wins", may
The “Meatball Ron” slur lands because it hits at another immutable characteristic — that is, the ethnic issue, an underexplored topic in our race-obsessed culture.This is the most idiotic part yet, were I to put it to a poll. Holy crap, Richard, nobody has even thought about Italians as anything but Americans* for 50 years, unless they live in NYC or New Jersey, and then at least 30. No, the slurs are just for fun. DeSanctimonious was a poor effort. Meatball Ron at least is fun. It doesn't "land" anywhere - it just makes me crave some of Carmela Soprano's food. More psycho-analysis follows:
The catch-22 of the DeSantis campaign is that he can’t credibly stand up to the bully, nor ignore him. One hesitates to ever say that a campaign is over this early, but if there were ever circumstances to do so, it would be in this race.Ron DeSantis doesn't need to stand up to Trump the bully. What he could do is keep pushing Conservative policy in Florida, while he campaigns on that, along with ideas (ideas, not bullshit platitudes) about how to get some of this done at the Federal level. Above all, he must tout his plans for stopping and reversing the immigration invasion, both illegal and legal.**
This Richard Hanania doesn't understand and doesn't get right any of the politics here. Trump did not become President because he can talk well - he talks in freaking circles - or his looks, stature, hair style/color, or personality even. He got there because he was the only one talking about the immigration invasion, on our side about it, AND as someone we could probably trust on that.*** Along with that, he doesn't mince words when fighting against the media on the Regime Narratives, which thrills us all.
However, Ron DeSantis gets it too. He has principles, meaning he doesn't flail around in the wind, on issues around which Trump does. DeSantis has taken action in his State. We know about that. He cares about the same Conservative issues. Is he a guy that we can trust really means it? That's probably the only thing holding him back. Some Trump acolytes truly believe Donald Trump is THE ONLY ONE. There's no changing their minds, I admit. As for the rest of us, we actually care about action and principles.
Richard Hanania doesn't get that. I don't know how to be nice about this, but his article sucked. I'll have a bit more regarding this pundit, but I don't plan on reading him again****, much less subscribing.
* Mr. Hail has a nice long article on Ron DeSantis' background on his Hail to You blog: The ancestry of Ron DeSantis: son of Florida, grandson of industrial Ohio, great-grandson of Italy.
** He has so far not been so forthcoming on the latter.
*** We could, as far as he means, still today. It's not all about meaning well anymore - 4 years went by.
**** I read an interview of him, and that's what I'll go by for a much shorter follow-up post.