When Cabin Boys Attack

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Victor Davis Hanson is about as accomplished and credentialed a commentator you can find. He’s an author, a military historian, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a farmer in California. President George W. Bush awarded Hanson the National Humanities Award in 2007. By all accounts and appearances, he is a decent, humble man who spends a great deal of time analyzing our current political moment and discussing what it portends for the future.

Hanson also is a supporter of President Trump. This heresy has earned him scorn from quarters on the Left and the so-called Right. His new book, The Case for Trump, has generated a barrage of criticism from the cabal of NeverTrumpers. Embittered by their humiliating miscalculation of Trump’s candidacy and shamelessly contorting their previous views to be able to contradict the president, these anti-Trump “conservatives” viciously attack anyone who dares to support the president. This includes Hanson.

In a particularly vile hit piece posted on The Bulwark, the new blog of Weekly Standard refugees who were left unemployed after the publication was shuttered in December, Gabe Schoenfeld accused Hanson of defending evil—that evil being President Trump. Bulwark editor Charlie Sykes recently threatened to “raise the opportunity costs” for pro-Trump commentators, Hanson specifically. To do so, Sykes enlisted the facile services of Schoenfeld, an advisor for the failed Mitt Romney presidential campaign, to pretend to write a book review that was little more than an ad hominem attack on Hanson.

Schoenfeld intimates that Hanson is a racist, an anti-Semite, and a Nazi sympathizer. The hit piece is filled with incendiary insults: Hanson, according to Schoenfeld, is “engaging [in] sophistry in the service of a genuine evil.” To make his point, Schoenfeld regurgitates well-worn and highly questionable examples of Trump’s own racist tendencies, including his 2016 comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel and widely misinterpreted remarks about “very fine people” on both sides at the 2017 Charlottesville riot. Without evidence, Schoenfeld claims there is a “drumbeat of racially charged remarks emanating from the White House.” This after Schoenfeld also alleges that “a day rarely passes without Donald Trump perpetrating a fresh outrage.” (Outrageous, certainly, to the prim fellows at The Bulwark.)

Schoenfeld gets basic facts wrong about so-called FISAgate—the purportedly “conservative” website has yet to post one critical piece about how the Obama Justice Department weaponized federal powers against a rival presidential campaign—and has since refused to respond to numerous social media requests to correct his inaccuracies. But his most vile accusation is to compare Hanson to historical figures who defended murderous despots such as Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin: “If such monsters could find admirers among the highly educated, it is unsurprising that our infantile, ignorant leader has found an assortment of professors to sing his praise.”

Now, one might feel compelled to give Schoenfeld a pass for his vitriol. He, like so many of his NeverTrump garbage-peddlers, remains astonished that Trump remains in the Oval Office and not behind bars for the many crimes they imagined he committed. After all, Schoenfeld fantasized on the pages of USA Today in February 2017 that Trump would be subjected to the 25th Amendment because he (Trump, though you are pardoned for wondering if I meant Schoenfeld) was losing his mind.

By participating in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump, Jr. committed an act of treason, Schoenfeld alleged. “By expressing a desire to accept the fruits of a hostile power’s lawbreaking, Trump Jr. and his campaign confederates revealed a willingness to do three things that no patriot would ever contemplate: further the interests of a hostile foreign power, collude with that hostile foreign power to subvert our democratic electoral processes, and rely on information obtained by that hostile power to undercut the fundamental protections afforded to Hillary Clinton (along with every other citizen) by our laws and the Constitution itself.”

This from the same guy who in his Hanson hit piece laughably dismissed the reality that “Hillary Clinton’s campaign . . . was tacitly colluding with Russia to manipulate the 2016 election.” (Pssst, Gabe. They were.) If Schoenfeld thinks that sort of conduct is traitorous, just wait until he finds out about James Comey and Bruce Ohr.

Hanson responded to Schoenfeld in a detailed and gentlemanly manner on Tuesday. “In careerist fury, [Schoenfeld] now damns others for his own self-immolation—as if the country must suffer for the sins of not listening to his own genius, which would probably have given the country a 16-year Obama-Clinton regnum.”

Sadly, Hanson’s colleagues and editors at National Review were silent about this vulgar and vicious attack against a man who undoubtedly has prevented the outlet from losing legions of subscribers given its mostly anti-Trump approach over the past three years. Aside from a few nonspecific tweets that linked to Hanson’s piece, no one has offered a strong rebuke of Schoenfeld or The Bulwark: It’s too bad that Hanson isn’t a Native American elder because in that case, perhaps NR editors immediately would have swooped in to defend him.

To the contrary, David French, a self-appointed referee of all that is good and moral and decent, appeared on Sykes’ podcast for The Bulwark five days after the Hanson hit piece was posted. French, a social media hall monitor who just changed his Twitter avatar to the fictional news anchor Ron Burgundy in order to scold people to “stay classy,” giggled along with Sykes on a number of topics, including this week’s mobbing of Tucker Carlson. But French failed to confront Sykes about Schoenfeld’s article, instead choosing to lament recent comments by another Fox News host about anti-Semite Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

The Bulwark and its enablers like French continue to do more damage to our political discourse while professing to elevate it. The depth of their intellectual rot is matched only by their witless political sense and their schoolyard bully tactics. But no doubt their leftist benefactors are proud of their work in the service of genuine social evil.

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