Here is what I consider to be Golberg's central pontification of the linked column:
But I’d like to inter a different common retort: that Trump is playing ten moves ahead; that he’s playing 4D chess; that he’s brilliantly distracting the media by creating this or that controversy. I’m willing to concede that there are times when he’s deftly sent the media chasing their tails. But the idea that Trump’s brilliant master plan is unfolding just as he intended is frick’n bonkers.
First, let it be said that I admire Jonah Goldberg and am even significantly jealous of him -- multiple books, respected journalist at the magazine founded by Buckley, who I nearly idolized.
I realize that in order to operate in life in the position he is in, he needs to:
- Take firm interesting positions
- Always be confident no matter what
To some degree, that is what it takes for "good mental health", even a "good Christian life". Living boldly in the present, forgetting / forgiving ones past errors, enjoying and continuing to live boldly in the future present moments with no concern for the morrow.
My position on Trump definitely "evolved" -- I thought he had no chance, I was aghast when it became obvious that he did, etc. I essentially went through the stages of grief. (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) as we ALL do sometimes many times in a day over matters great and small in our lives. I could go back and link some of my blog entries together and likely chart the progression (with some regressions) relative to Trump.
Here is Goldberg in an NR column "Operation Destroy The GOP" in October of last year.
I feel like Charlton Heston screaming at the Statue of Liberty on the beach. You people blew it all up. You embraced a man who has no serious allegiance to the ideals you got rich peddling and who had a vanishingly small chance of winning in the first place — even if he had been the disciplined candidate he deceitfully vowed he would be. Trump is now an albatross on the party and he will leave a Cheeto-colored stain on both the GOP and the conservative movement for years to come.
Goldberg was one of the founders of the #nevertrump movement on the right. He was CERTAIN that not only was Trump going to lose, but that his loss (and the very likely loss of the Senate with it) was "the end of the GOP" for at least the foreseeable future. Based largely on my reading of Scott Adams and the fact that I had COMPLETELY underestimated Trump relative to the nomination, I was "mildly hopeful" on election day, but far from certain that he would win.
When he started to look like he might win the nomination last spring, I started looking for "other information". It was a tiny example of the same logic that led me to find National Review in the late '70s when I realized that I wasn't ready to turn off my Christmas lights, put on a sweater and accept that the best days of America were behind us.
When I realize that I'm wrong, I like to do a reset and look for "other information". Apparently that is even odder than I realize.
I've been wrong too many times to believe that I KNOW that Trump is not playing "4D Chess" -- or to think that he is a bumbling corrupt idiot savant that happened to luck into the White House (maybe with Russian help). I firmly believe that it is possible that he is a genius with a master plan that STILL makes mistakes and can lose "battles" while still winning the war. Back in August, I was getting more convinced he had to be a "plant". Hell, maybe he WAS a plant, and in trying to throw the election he accidentally won because Hillary is such a putz. We have been living in insane times for certain at least since Slick Willie was able to skate with BJs from an employee in the oval office (or was that "oral office"?).
Goldberg is a smart person, WAY smarter than me. Does he realize that even his supposedly educated conservative readers have such short attention spans that they have forgotten what he wrote last fall? or is it simply true that nobody cares about such tired concepts as "truth", "consistency", etc? If that is true however, what is the objection to Trump? Or anything really -- if BOTH sides (all sides?) have abandoned consistency, truth, "history" (of even the less than 6 months sort), then what exactly do words mean?
Perhaps I missed the memo and everyone else but me decided that it IS actually true that we each defined our own meanings of all words -- including "IS" ... so we have passed through the looking glass, and everything operates with each of us playing Humpty Dumpty ...
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master— that's all."