I say this as someone who pokes around in Washington DC regularly but is fortunate enough to live just far enough from the Crony Capital to have a good sense of what non-Washington America sees.
I enjoy my periodic visits to K street and Capitol Hill. They inform my writing. It’s good for me to stay in touch with The Imperial City. But I am always happy when I escape the gravitational bonds of the place on the drive or train ride back to the Blue Ridge. The Washington vibe, the social climbing, the obsession with status, is exhausting in anything but small doses.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many great folks doing great work in Washington. I know a few of these folks, and we should all thank our lucky stars that these people exist. But generally Washington is a bubble filled with, let’s say, challenging people. The city is a different world entirely from the country that surrounds it. This is not a good thing.
(From American Greatness)
Sites like Vox, the Daily Beast, and the Weekly Standard have long praised the dossiers of Robert Mueller’s legal investigative team. The essays prove mostly the same. They often employ the same superlative nomenclature: “all-stars,” “dream-team,” “army,” and “professionals.”
The hagiographies list the legal CVs of various lawyers and investigators now employed (usually on loan either from the FBI, Obama or Trump Justice Departments, or prestigious East Coast firms). The reviews often hint that such “firepower” may mean a one-sided legal bloodbath ahead. The mere names spell “very, very bad news” for the White House.
Yet the Mueller legal team’s dossiers also turn out predictably similar. We are supposed to be awed by past employment in a blue-chip Washington or New York law firm—all the better if the same as Robert Mueller’s own.
We’re not particularly impressed. Some people are however, typically people who want desperately to remain in or be invited into the northeastern clique. There are also people outside of the clique who think that the sons and daughters of the Ivy League really are “the best.” They aren’t. I have seen this over and over.
The Republican wing of this group, largely populated by big government, pro war neoconservatives, is very odd. These people hated the TEA Party even more than Democrats. Ron Paul was widely disliked. His son is looked at with suspicion. In fact the neocons worked against Rand Paul in the primaries and by so doing actually empowered Trump. Whoops!
Now they are all “never-Trumpers.”
The truth is many of the neocons would have much preferred Hillary Clinton as president. It would have been better for their careers. She was a crony capitalist who knew how to work the cocktail circuit. She and they had much in common.
In an Esquire essay, journalist Sam Tanenhaus described a recent Washington book party hosted by political analyst and former Bush speechwriter David Frum. According to Tanenhaus (who, in Trojan-horse fashion, was weirdly invited in—only to write an essay full of schadenfreude), the gathering also served as an occasion for shared commiseration among NeverTrump, and often former, Republican intellectuals. Tanenhaus wants us to know that past hostility to Trump (“European-style blood-and-soil nationalist”) and an inability to even envision his supposedly absurd election victory, have orphaned (“uprooted and displaced”) some neoconservatives from power, influence and income, the touchstones of Eastern corridor elite success.
Another theme of the Tanenhaus profile is that it appears the most influential NeverTrumpers seemed to gravitate in the same East Coast social circles, share the same tastes, suffer the same outrages about a Trump presidency, and enjoy similar educational pedigrees—and thus were particularly ill-suited to see how insidiously over the last decade their brand of Republican conservatism had both alienated a large number of red-state traditional voters and failed to appeal, on matters of class interests, to key working-class Democrats, so necessary to swing the purple states of the Midwest.
The Northeastern Establishment, which populates much of non-official official Washington, as well as official (deep state) Washington, hold the rest of the country in contempt. That Trump gathered his support from folks the Establishment would prefer didn’t exist, or at least would just shut up, has a lot to do with the Establishment’s contempt for Trump. Those Trump people are just so, deplorable.
What Trump critics seem to resent most about Trump is not his politics, agenda, or record, but his culture.
More specifically, Trump is oblivious to traditional criteria of Washington-New York merit and comportment. In Trump’s wild world of scramblers, the proper credentials do not always result in the proper results. Someone can be a “loser” who won a Pulitzer Prize, went to Stanford, or is a contributing editor of a prestigious journal. In his world, an Ivy League degree does not keep you from being fired on “The Apprentice” any more than it proves a guide to who will know the most facts or quickest recall on “Jeopardy” or “Wheel of Fortune.”
I have to say that though I have plenty of problems with Trump – and he should get rid of Sessions in short order – it is his contempt for the badges that so many of the establishment hold dear that is perhaps what I like most about the guy. I love that it annoys the people who spent much of their lives scrapping into some position to pad their resumes that Trump doesn’t seem to care.
The thing is We The People don’t care either. That comes as shock to many people on the Georgetown cocktail party circuit. And they still don’t get what’s going on.