Don't count President Trump out yet

In a hasty piece slammed out at high tide of the day, John Podhoretz, the sometime-NeverTrump editor of Commentary magazine, commiserated with the president, who was checking himself into Walter Reed Hospital in the wake of his COVID diagnosis, but nevertheless wrote him off as a political goner.  

In "What Trump's Illness Mean for the Election," he argued this.

Illness is not a metaphor, and anyone who chooses to act as though this turn of events is morally instructive in some fashion should immediately stuff it.

But we have an election that ends in 32 days, an election in which more 2 million people have already voted—and in which who knows how many will vote over the next two weeks while the president is, at the very least, in quarantine. There will be no pause in the casting of early ballots or the firming-up of the choices before those whose minds are not yet made up. The president’s illness is a campaign event, and in some ways, a campaign-ending event.

He essentially articulated a least-harsh “Yes, but” argument over the turn of events that will for at least a fortnight sideline the most energetic president any of us has ever experienced, or even read of in history books. 

But he's got it wrong. Trump is a man of unusual energy. No one matches Trump’s ferocious go-go steam. Trump's staff, whether discarded or current, agree that he is a marvel of nonstop energy. His tweets, coming in the middle of the night, answering all manner of topics or misconstrued events and statements, testify that he hardly sleeps at all, even after leaving the field of rallies, impromptu pressers, international confabs, or ordained interviews that, in the past pre-election day calendar, multiplied like undisciplined rabbits in a verdant Eden of succulent orange carrots. 

Podhoretz, though, ends his column,“What Trump’s Illness Means for the Election,” dourly: 

So he will have to take his chances at the ballot box while being far less visible—and far more an object of contemplation rather than a motive actor changing reality at every moment. I hope he lives a long and healthy life. But I think the odds he will do so as a two-term resident of the White House, which were already seeming long, have just dropped precipitously and maybe beyond the vanishing point. 

Hold on, John. 

Trump is a rare bird who repeated confounds his enemies. He has one-upped a hostile Congress, defeated his enemies, palliated his friends with charm and humor, egressed from even the worst of weapons leveled against him. Impeachment failed. Hoaxes expected to stay hidden came to light. Costly investigations petered down to naught. 

Trump is the massive ocean liner confronted by those arrogant clunky tugboats conceiving themselves up to bringing the Big One to the wrecking shoals. 

I think Mr. Podhoretz, like so many tugboat poetasters on the left (and not a few on the right), editorializes too soon. John’s past vaunted dismissals of the 45th president are in the archives, hard wax-sealed and surprinted with that special Podhoretz signet of supercilious disdain. 

Donald J. Trump has proven over and over again that he is not to be underestimated. He has repeatedly surprised his allies and his relentless foes. 

Just watch: He ain’t done yet. 

Image credit: Needpix public domain

 

In a hasty piece slammed out at high tide of the day, John Podhoretz, the sometime-NeverTrump editor of Commentary magazine, commiserated with the president, who was checking himself into Walter Reed Hospital in the wake of his COVID diagnosis, but nevertheless wrote him off as a political goner.  

In "What Trump's Illness Mean for the Election," he argued this.

Illness is not a metaphor, and anyone who chooses to act as though this turn of events is morally instructive in some fashion should immediately stuff it.

But we have an election that ends in 32 days, an election in which more 2 million people have already voted—and in which who knows how many will vote over the next two weeks while the president is, at the very least, in quarantine. There will be no pause in the casting of early ballots or the firming-up of the choices before those whose minds are not yet made up. The president’s illness is a campaign event, and in some ways, a campaign-ending event.

He essentially articulated a least-harsh “Yes, but” argument over the turn of events that will for at least a fortnight sideline the most energetic president any of us has ever experienced, or even read of in history books. 

But he's got it wrong. Trump is a man of unusual energy. No one matches Trump’s ferocious go-go steam. Trump's staff, whether discarded or current, agree that he is a marvel of nonstop energy. His tweets, coming in the middle of the night, answering all manner of topics or misconstrued events and statements, testify that he hardly sleeps at all, even after leaving the field of rallies, impromptu pressers, international confabs, or ordained interviews that, in the past pre-election day calendar, multiplied like undisciplined rabbits in a verdant Eden of succulent orange carrots. 

Podhoretz, though, ends his column,“What Trump’s Illness Means for the Election,” dourly: 

So he will have to take his chances at the ballot box while being far less visible—and far more an object of contemplation rather than a motive actor changing reality at every moment. I hope he lives a long and healthy life. But I think the odds he will do so as a two-term resident of the White House, which were already seeming long, have just dropped precipitously and maybe beyond the vanishing point. 

Hold on, John. 

Trump is a rare bird who repeated confounds his enemies. He has one-upped a hostile Congress, defeated his enemies, palliated his friends with charm and humor, egressed from even the worst of weapons leveled against him. Impeachment failed. Hoaxes expected to stay hidden came to light. Costly investigations petered down to naught. 

Trump is the massive ocean liner confronted by those arrogant clunky tugboats conceiving themselves up to bringing the Big One to the wrecking shoals. 

I think Mr. Podhoretz, like so many tugboat poetasters on the left (and not a few on the right), editorializes too soon. John’s past vaunted dismissals of the 45th president are in the archives, hard wax-sealed and surprinted with that special Podhoretz signet of supercilious disdain. 

Donald J. Trump has proven over and over again that he is not to be underestimated. He has repeatedly surprised his allies and his relentless foes. 

Just watch: He ain’t done yet. 

Image credit: Needpix public domain