It’s not just the far left that’s lost its collective mind lately. Neoconservatives are also among those so threatened by President Donald Trump and what he represents to them—the populist wing of the Republican Party—that they’d rather see America fail utterly than see him and his ilk succeed at anything.
By S.T. Patrick
How does a neoconservative celebrate Christmas? In the case of John Podhoretz, you spread the season’s greetings by decrying a 1,000-point increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
If this isn’t your version of being either holly or jolly, then you further explain that your disappointment was brought on by the idea that a better economy may slow a potential impeachment of President Donald Trump. This is exactly what Podhoretz did on Twitter the day after Christmas.
Podhoretz wrote online, “How many people’s hearts sank when they saw the Dow went up 1,000 points because they really hoped Trump had plunged us into a bear market that would cause GOP legislators to turn on him and support removal after impeachment?”
A day later, aghast that anyone had an issue with his original statement, Podhoretz responded, “Some lunatics are claiming this tweet represents a celebration of the market drop. I’m actually getting hate mail about it. Everyone is insane.”
Podhoretz was not the only one to actively hope for a faltering economy. Comedian and host Bill Maher did so in June.
“I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point,” Maher said. “By the way, I’m hoping for it because one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So please, bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or you lose your democracy.”
After receiving substantial criticism for his remarks, Maher, whose net worth is $100 million, clarified his statements: “A recession is a survivable event. What Trump is doing to this country is not.”
Maher can be excused for his remarks. He is a career stand-up comic whose show thrives on his ability to say controversial things that will attract eyes and ears to the show. It is what he does, and it is how his show survives. In the case of the Podhoretz tweets, there is a marked difference.
Podhoretz is a former speechwriter for presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He is the editor of the conservative Commentary magazine and a columnist for the New York Post. He has also written a few books on politics, including Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane. His political and literary careers have dealt primarily with words. He knows what they mean, he knows their effect, and there is no reason to believe that he didn’t know exactly what he was doing when he wrote the original tweet.
More than a singular statement from an inconsequential commentator, Podhoretz is emblematic of a neoconservative cabal that detests the populist wing of the Republican Party. This is a wing that may even be willing to leave the party for a Libertarian candidate if a viable candidacy were to ever emerge. While every pen, keyboard, and microphone of the neoconservative faction is now pointed directly at the Trump presidency, this did not begin in 2016. They detested Pat Buchanan’s populist run in 1992 and have spent much of the past decade-and-a-half foiling the youth- and online-based uprising of Ron Paul supporters. As neoconservatives like Podhoretz see their profitable war state crumbling in Syria and Afghanistan, they now set their sights on Pennsylvania Avenue. This is the new battlefield.
Podhoretz, like many Generation X neoconservatives, hides behind his own faux hipness as a movie and television critic. Comedian Dennis Miller called the verbose Podhoretz his “favorite movie critic.” But this is what they do, the new era of neocons. Their parents were so steeped in the monumental issues of their day that friendships would end over political ideologies. Their children cloak their ideology with “Mary Tyler Moore Show” references to “Chuckles Bites the Dust.” But in a world increasingly more transparent, the true believers are eventually outed, not by the congressional committees of their parents and not by a Sen. Joe McCarthy. They out themselves at some point.
The health of the Dow is meaningless to most Americans. It’s a gamble to a great degree and measures little more than the confidence of the investor class. It does not determine that a mid-level manager will treat a minimum wage employee with more humanity and respect. It does not fix the perpetual war state or the prison-industrial complex that exists today. It does not repair a flatlining public education system and it does not determine what you will pay at the gas pump.
To many city conservatives like Podhoretz, a New York City fixture, the stock market is the lifeblood of fiscal and political health. As Americans struggle to pay rising energy bills, the neocons openly support the coup. If only there were a permanent wall between these two camps.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected].