Victor Davis Hanson asks,
Is there not wisdom in being able to drop an 80-foot pine tree with a chain saw within a foot of the mark, or to take apart a hydraulic ram in an hour, or to steer a bulldozer on a narrow uphill road? Can MSNBC news reader Brian Williams tell the truth any better than the Michigan lathe operator? Is Lois Lerner, formerly of the IRS and now enjoying a multimillion-dollar retirement, more likely to file an honest tax return than the Wyoming rancher, or would you feel safer knowing that Press Secretary Josh Earnest was working on a high-voltage wire outside your front door?
Or is wisdom sometimes gained by losing the polish on one’s hands? Is the wrinkled man’s face as trustworthy as the thirty-something’s peach fuzz or the Botox grin of the middle-aged metrosexual on the evening news or the pollster who assures you that the election has already been decided before the voting? In this year of weariness with the elite and their definition of success and wisdom, lots of such questions are being asked.
…What good did grifting for all those hundreds of millions of dollars do for the Clintons in their sunset years? Do they look healthier and haler for their frenzied pursuit of lucre? Did they gain greater respect and acclaim, the richer they became, or are they resting in peace with the assurance of lives well lived? Are they finally deemed successful for scamming that last $50 million in their pay-for-play scheming?
Trump is criticized now that he might be too soft on Putin. Perhaps. Yet it was not Trump, but the Ivy League Trinity of Obama, Clinton, and Kerry who “reset” George W. Bush’s reset sanctions against Putin, who canceled already-planned missile defense with the Czechs and the Poles; it was Clinton who pushed a ridiculous plastic reset button; and Obama who in a hot-mic quip stealthily promised Dmitry Medvedev that he would be more reasonable with Vladimir Putin after his reelection, who invited the Russians into the Middle East after a 40-year hiatus, who mocked Mitt Romney when the latter suggested that Russia was a threat to America, who loudly announced faux “step-over” line ultimatums to the Russians; it was Clinton who in pay-for-play greed opened up North American uranium resources to the Russians, and Obama who personally mocked Putin as an adolescent school cut-up even as he appeased Putin at every turn.
For now, Donald Trump has proved that the animal cunning necessary to survive in the jungle of Manhattan real estate — duplicitous and venal politicians, all-powerful unions, incompetent and vindictive regulators, fair-weather bankers and investors, and dozens of special-interest crusaders — trumps the definition of traditional political wisdom: finding a young hip graduate from the right school with the right résumé to hire the right people to run the right sort of campaign. Trump instinctively sensed that to win, Republicans would have to recapture the Rust Belt states, and to do that, he would have to campaign on illegal immigration, jobs, trade, and the economy.
If “Make America Great Again” is not to end up like the banal “Hope and Change,” if the Republican Congress of 2017 is not to wither away like the Democratic Congress of 2009, and if the glitzy promises of 2016 are not to prove as empty as the deceptions of Obamacare, the Iran Deal, the stimulus, and “balancing the budget,” then Trump will have to reflect on the nature of true wisdom: Trust instinct as much as conventional wisdom, never forget who elects the politician, remember that cheap praise is fickle and transient and those who traffic in it disappear in extremis, quietly do what is promised to those who were promised a change, ignore the venom of critics, and do not gloat over successes — and move silently, quickly, and, above all, modestly.
Do all that, and Trump would prove wiser than the more erudite who hate him.
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