The Return of Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude: it’s baaaaaack!

And it’s warming the hearts of Americans not afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome. An “analysis” in the Washington Post by David Montgomery shows how frantic, and deranged, the anti-Trumpers have become. And they’re not just anti-Trumpers. They’re anti-Republicans. 

Montgomery tells us that according to one poll, 47 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents want Trump to be the nominee in 2024. Zounds! Can you believe it?

Well, yes—especially since there really isn’t anyone else, yet, who has staked out Trump’s territory. Trump may be less their candidate than a placeholder for a whole portfolio of sensible policies—policies that Post reporters and their ilk wouldn’t touch with a 20-foot garbage poll.

Montgomery wants you to know that he’s not alone in his negative opinion of the 45th president’s policies: He turned to “21 experts in the presidency, political science, public administration, the military, intelligence, foreign affairs, economics and civil rights.” Ah, yes: what would we do without experts?

The first thing Trump would do? According to one of these “experts,” he would seize control of the government. Well, sure. That’s what most presidents do. They’re elected to do precisely that. People are policy, so if you want to change the policies, you have to change the people. It is surely a mark of frantic journalism, and frantic journalists, that they make the normal and obvious sound scandalous. 

Larry Diamond, a senior fellow in global democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, said that among the first actions Trump would take would be to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray. 

Well, yes. And so too, we must hope, would a President Ron DeSantis or a President Mike Pompeo. And if those men wouldn’t, it’s not clear they should be elected. 

We now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the FBI in 2016 and 2017 was working thwart Donald Trump, the duly elected president. They attempted a soft coup. Wouldn’t you get rid of, not just Wray, but of all the people in senior positions at the FBI who might have had anything to do with an attempted coup? And even if they weren’t involved, they surely knew of the FBI’s plans (First rule of Washington: Everyone knows everything) but didn’t speak up. For that alone, they (the top 100?) should be fired. 

And we also know now that the FBI covered up the Hunter Biden laptop story, which, if it had been vetted fully in public, likely would have led to President Trump’s reelection. Because of that cover-up, it is fair to say that the election was stolen—a claim that is likely to get you booted from the public square. 

“If,” writes Montgomery, “Trump installed loyalists at the FBI and Justice Department . . . an endless series of investigations of Hunter Biden, Liz Cheney, Merrick Garland, Brad Raffensperger, Letitia James and other perceived enemies could begin.”

That seems likely. But shouldn’t someone investigate Hunter Biden—and not so much to beat up on that poor soul but to learn whether his father, and indeed the whole family, is crooked? Is Montgomery really completely blind to the implications of the material found on Hunter Biden’s laptop and the account of former business partner Tony Bobulinski? 

Montgomery says that in 2025 Trump might replace Jerome Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve. Well, sure! Powell has been a disaster. Just ask the voters who are about to give the Democrats a shellacking partly because of Powell’s policies.

“Or how about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?” asks Montegomery, quoting Francis Fukuyama who said: “Do you want people who believe in hydroxychloroquine making these decisions?” Better question: do you really want to leave in charge the current crop of people at the CDC who just voted unanimously to approve a new COVID immunization schedule for children starting in 2023? That’s madness! Where are Trump or DeSantis or Pompeo when we need them? 

Montegomery complains that near the end of his term, Trump signed an executive order designed to strip as many as tens of thousands of federal employees of their civil service protections. Well, again, yes: it’s a good bet they were working against him, the duly elected president. The so-called civil service is a hotbed of Democrats—the deep state—who work tirelessly to promote Democratic Party policies. A “spoils” system would work better for a democracy compared to the “democracy” we have now. 

“Racism, including violent racism, is likely to increase,” writes Montgomery—as Hispanics seem to be preparing to vote in record numbers against Democrats. And who created the mayhem in the summer of 2020? Billions of dollars of damage? Dozens killed? Not Donald Trump. 

“Trump would almost certainly return to the issue that first built his following in the GOP and still animates the party: harsh measures to counter illegal immigration.” You really begin to wonder about the mental stability of someone who writes this kind of stuff. The least harsh measure to counter illegal immigration would simply be to build a wall. That’s what Trump wanted to do. Biden stopped it because he, and the Democrats, want millions of illegal immigrants to enter the country (never mind the tons of fentanyl also crossing the border). They would then like to give them the right to vote. That is the “great replacement theory”: Hispanics and blacks are moving away from the Democratic Party, and so they must be replaced with non-English speaking foreigners who know nothing about America’s customs—or her soul. 

Montgomery’s rant goes on, for more than 5,000 words: a feverish nightmare of how the end of civilization would happen if Trump returned. You have to read it not to believe it—to borrow Randall Jarrell’s formulation. 

But lovers of America should read it because, for all the schadenfreude it provides, it makes you realize how dangerous, and deranged, the people currently in power, not just in government, but in all the other institutions, really are. 

Democracies can perish, even ours, and then it might not be schadenfreude time ever again. 

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About Daniel Oliver

Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was executive editor and subsequently chairman of the board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review. Email him at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.

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