New York Times columnist David Brooks in yesterday's editions writes that he believes the anti-Trump movement, to which he belongs, "seems to be getting dumber," while "settling into a smug, fairy tale version of reality that filters out discordant information."
Brooks made his observations prior to President Trump's meeting at the White House today with Congressional leaders of both parties in which the contentious issue of immigration was discussed, including providing a permanent solution for DACA recipients, the "dreamers" who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. See the video above.
Brooks cites three "inconvenient observations," which he says most anti-Trumpers generally ignore:
People who meet with Trump at the White House are generally pleasantly surprised that he is affable, seemingly informed "enough to get by" and is not the raving madman they expected because of his tweets and media coverage.
People who work in the Trump administration have wildly divergent views about Trump. Some think he is a deranged child, as Michael Wolff reported in his book "Fire and Fury Inside the Trump White House." Others consider him a distraction they can work around; others think he is strange, but not impossible, and some genuinely admire Trump. "This is not an administration full of people itching to invoke the 25th Amendment," Brooks writes.
The White House is getting more professional. "Imagine if Trump didn’t tweet. The craziness of the past weeks would be out of the way, and we’d see a White House that is briskly pursuing its goals: the shift in our Pakistan policy, the shift in our offshore drilling policy, the fruition of our ISIS policy, the nomination for judgeships and the formation of policies on infrastructure, DACA, North Korea and trade," observes Brooks.
He says "more anti-Trumpers seem to be telling themselves a “Madness of King George” narrative: Trump is a semiliterate madman surrounded by sycophants who are morally, intellectually and psychologically inferior to people like us.I’d like to think it’s possible to be fervently anti-Trump while also not reducing everything to a fairy tale."
The Michael Wolf book seems to me to feed into that concept. And as someone who strongly opposes Trump and believes he is a danger to our country, even the world, it is tempting to buy into that idea.
But Brooks cautions that the anti-Trump movement" suffers from insularity" -- that most of the people who detest Trump don’t know anybody who works with him or supports him, and if they do, they’ve learned not to talk about the subject. "So they get most of their information about Trumpism from others who also detest Trumpism, which is always a recipe for epistemic closure," says Brooks.
"This isn’t just a struggle over a president," he writes. "It’s a struggle over what rules we’re going to play by after Trump. Are we all going to descend permanently into the Trump standard of acceptable behavior? Or, are we going to restore the distinction between excellence and mediocrity, truth and a lie? Are we going to insist on the difference between a genuine expert and an ill-informed blowhard?"
I believe Brooks makes some legitimate points, worthy of serious consideration. Otherwise, those who oppose this president may well be out maneuvered and out-flanked simply by underestimating this man. Remember, he has already done what few thought he could accomplish--win the presidency, and if he survives this Russia investigation, who knows what will happen next.