Jon Boone’s survey of Naomi Wolf, a champion for enlightened discourse; in reply to her essay, excerpted below. “On hearing President Trump in person.” See link below photos
Quote: Naomi Wolf
There was his height, more notable in person than on camera; the characteristic slight swagger in his body language; there was his dark blue suit, his signature red tie, and his face, itself so familiar from the media that it all felt a bit surreal. His formerly orange hair was more muted and more silvery, and a less unusual shape. His formerly orange complexion was also toned down. He did look more statesmanlike than previously, and more appropriately his age. Whoever was advising him, those were effective choices.
I was surprised to see how beloved he was by the ultra-orthodox rabbi who welcomed him, and who gave the blessing – in Hebrew and in English, as I recall. I was surprised too to see how comfortable President Trump seemed, surrounded by Hebrew prayers, by rabbis in felt hats, by an award that evoked the decorations around Torah scrolls. He seemed extremely familiar with this community, and very much at home.
I heard from their remarks, why they so loved him. He had, in their view, staunchly defended the State of Israel. These were people who remembered how we had been run out of Europe, and had been massacred. While I did not share their politics regarding Israel’s policies, I too was moved at my coreligionists bearing the bloody history of Europe so vividly in mind as they enumerated the ways in which Team Trump had, in their view, “stood with Israel.”
Then President Trump himself spoke. I did not record his remarks so my summary here is impressionistic.
First, he struck me as being much smarter in person, than he appeared to be in public events, as they were filtered through the national media. For over an hour, he spoke, departing from notes, often in long, detailed, extemporaneous riffs. His intelligence struck me as being strongest in perceptiveness and intuition, as many successful businessmen’s and women’s intelligences are, as opposed to being detail-oriented, or theoretically analytical. In other words, like other effective business leaders, he grasped both the essence of, and the leverage points in, a conflict or a predicament, quickly and accurately, and acted accordingly with decisiveness.
This set of reflexes and habits was mocked in legacy media as stupidity — I recalled that news outlets had made fun of him for asking for a one-pager from his staffers, rather than a massive briefing book.
But as I listened to him, I explored those stories within another context. In business, and in media, if someone can’t explain a pitch in a one-page summary, it is just not actionable. I understood why his leadership style would demand this kind of executive summary, and given the list of achievements that he also shared with us, I could see how my liberal policy-wonk “tribe’s” tendency (against which we all struggled in the Clinton era) to theorize, to pontificate, and to exhaust a reader with policy details, could actually lead to a weaker performance from, and could even generate more confusion for, any Commander-in-Chief.
President Trump segued into a long list of his achievements. There was a certain pathos when he did so, as it was clear that he used speeches to list achievements that he felt the legacy media had elided altogether.
Quote: Jon Boone: “Taking on the Deep State the way he did, virtually alone, continues to be—MAGNIFICENT.“
The accomplished Naomi Wolf writes with the practiced craft of a literary scholar as she weaves together several narrative strands that occasionally intersect with beautifully tied turns of phrase. She successfully conveys the gist of her feelings about Trump, concluding that this man, so riven with paradoxical expression, is ultimately sacrificing all on behalf of saving his country from monstrous hellbent demons—pledging his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor to that end. I couldn’t agree more, for I’m in awe of the power of his resilient stands against the tyrannies du jour. In this, Trump transcendently represents the aspirations of perhaps hundreds of millions of people throughout this continent—and perhaps a billion throughout the world. He’s both a lighting rod protecting against the storms of outrageous fortune and a source of inspiration and courage for those who must one day act to oppose that impending fortune if they (we) are to end it. On the whole, Wolf remains a champion for more enlightened discourse in these increasingly benighted times.
That being said, I think there is a churlish quality to her belated awakening to reality. She clearly is still kicking and screaming against the prospect of standing tall in opposition to all the false verities she once cherished and to the inauthenticity of the many “friendships” she once embraced. She seems more than uncomfortable in the knowledge that virtually every major policy initiatives thrust forward by western governments over the last forty years are based upon hurricane force mendacity. It’s not just that she feels betrayed; rather, she seems psychically wounded to the core, almost paralyzed by the realization.
That she fell back upon hackneyed tropes as she criticized Trump for his “misogyny” against feminism and his evident lack of concern about global warming and environmental degradation is indicative of why I think her lamentation is such a flimsy thing. The truth is that Sandy Cortez “doesn’t know anything.” She is an utter airhead. Saying so out loud has nothing to do with womanhood in general and any sentient person in particular. Implying that it does is a lie. A pernicious one. And Naomi should be ashamed of herself. Ditto with the issue of climate change, CO2 emissions, renewables, and environmental degradation. The first three concepts all have been used to sell a vast load of expensive crock while the latter has been so mischaracterized that it is now virtually meaningless—viz., installing a fleet of wind turbines in ocean waters claiming to be saving the earth when they are in FACT a killing machine for whales, fish, and whole marine habitats. I’m sick to death of this kind of charade. And Naomi would be, too, if she spent less time feeling sorry for the losses in her life and more time learning about the horrors she doesn’t yet know and can’t quite fathom. The larger truth is that the present era has produced a technological culture capable of greatly improving the human condition while also protecting, even enhancing, the world’s environment—a situation that Mr. Trump seems to understand better than she does.
There are legitimate reasons to criticize Trump, which she fails to acknowledge: his warp speed support of the fauxines; his refusal to take any responsibility for unleashing such a horror on the world, not to mention his lack of an apology for doing so; his appointment of so many dunderheads to lead important government agencies; his capture by Fauci and the CDC; his failure to dismantle agencies like the Department of Education, which he promised to do; and his willingness to expand the debt ceiling toward, well, infinity and beyond.
On the whole, however, Trump’s presidency was as important to preserving our Constitutional Republic as Lincoln’s was. Taking on the Deep State the way he did, virtually alone, continues to be—MAGNIFICENT.