'Best guessing' Trump

New York Times Trump-phobic columnist Nicholas Kristof gave us a novel way of analyzing Trump developments in his March 9 column: the "Best Guess" Test – and its "I Wouldn't Be Surprised" Corollary.

Kristof's "Best Guess" Test led him to conclude that Trump-Putin ties are "more ambiguous and less transactional – partly because Putin intended to wound Clinton and didn't imagine that Trump could actually win."  (Let's hold that "Best Guess" a second.  Mr. Kristof is here putting the lie to claims, made without evidence from leftists, that Putin sought the election of Donald Trump.)

Kristof then asserted the corollary: "Yet I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump team engaged in secret contacts and surreptitious messages, and had advance knowledge of Russia's efforts to attack the American political process."  

With the "Best Guess" Test and its "I Wouldn't Be Surprised" Corollary, who needs evidence?

Now, what is Kristof's purpose?  My "best guess" is that he is part of the campaign of the anti-Trump resistance to undermine the Trump presidency.  "I wouldn't be surprised" that the anti-Trump resistance will increase pressure for disclosure of the Trump tax returns, on the "best guess" of the resistance that these returns will incriminate Mr. Trump.  And "I wouldn't be surprised" if the investigations of President Trump, on leftist demand, subpoenaed the Trump tax returns.

Unfortunately, Trump resisters like Kristof cannot avoid hyperbolic language that rises, alas, to the level of hysteria.  His March 9 column ended with this acknowledgment: "One reason I'm increasingly suspicious is Trump's furious denunciations of the press and of Barack Obama, to the point that he sometimes seems unhinged.  Journalists have learned that when a leader goes berserk and unleashes tirades and threats at investigators, that's when you're getting close."  (Clearly, the late Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics badly needs updating.)

Reading this example of Trump-phobic vituperation, I am reminded of the line from an old French comic song, "La Menagerie": "This animal is dangerous; it defends itself when attacked."  What enrages the left to paroxysms of demonization?  The sheer audacity of Trump – in their eyes, the terrible, the horrible – to dare defend himself when attacked.  Would that the Republican congressional leadership had a smidgen of such audacity.

New York Times Trump-phobic columnist Nicholas Kristof gave us a novel way of analyzing Trump developments in his March 9 column: the "Best Guess" Test – and its "I Wouldn't Be Surprised" Corollary.

Kristof's "Best Guess" Test led him to conclude that Trump-Putin ties are "more ambiguous and less transactional – partly because Putin intended to wound Clinton and didn't imagine that Trump could actually win."  (Let's hold that "Best Guess" a second.  Mr. Kristof is here putting the lie to claims, made without evidence from leftists, that Putin sought the election of Donald Trump.)

Kristof then asserted the corollary: "Yet I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump team engaged in secret contacts and surreptitious messages, and had advance knowledge of Russia's efforts to attack the American political process."  

With the "Best Guess" Test and its "I Wouldn't Be Surprised" Corollary, who needs evidence?

Now, what is Kristof's purpose?  My "best guess" is that he is part of the campaign of the anti-Trump resistance to undermine the Trump presidency.  "I wouldn't be surprised" that the anti-Trump resistance will increase pressure for disclosure of the Trump tax returns, on the "best guess" of the resistance that these returns will incriminate Mr. Trump.  And "I wouldn't be surprised" if the investigations of President Trump, on leftist demand, subpoenaed the Trump tax returns.

Unfortunately, Trump resisters like Kristof cannot avoid hyperbolic language that rises, alas, to the level of hysteria.  His March 9 column ended with this acknowledgment: "One reason I'm increasingly suspicious is Trump's furious denunciations of the press and of Barack Obama, to the point that he sometimes seems unhinged.  Journalists have learned that when a leader goes berserk and unleashes tirades and threats at investigators, that's when you're getting close."  (Clearly, the late Richard Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics badly needs updating.)

Reading this example of Trump-phobic vituperation, I am reminded of the line from an old French comic song, "La Menagerie": "This animal is dangerous; it defends itself when attacked."  What enrages the left to paroxysms of demonization?  The sheer audacity of Trump – in their eyes, the terrible, the horrible – to dare defend himself when attacked.  Would that the Republican congressional leadership had a smidgen of such audacity.

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