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After Reagan Comes Trump?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
WASHINGTON -- Norman Podhoretz, the former longtime editor of Commentary Magazine, is no longer an Inadvertent Conservative for Hillary, or ICH. He is voting for Donald Trump for president. The prospect of Clinton in the White House is too grisly for Podhoretz. It probably also is for his wife, Midge Decter, the gifted essayist. Both are reasonable neoconservatives, which is to say erstwhile liberals who moved over to conservatism sometime in the 1970s. I have known them for years.

In the late 1970s they made a similar calculation. They were two of only four neoconservatives to attend a dinner I held for the Republican candidate for president. That would be Ronald Reagan. (For those millennials in my audience, Reagan was elected president in 1980, and he did pretty well for a guy over 30.) Other neocons would not attend the dinner. Even Irving Kristol would not attend. He found Reagan "vulgar." As I recall, the dinner was a great success. Reagan had mastered eating with a knife and a fork, and he could tell a pretty good story. He even listened attentively to my guests. Doubtless Trump would do equally well today, but it apparently will not happen this year. The rest of the neocons have calculated that he is at one with Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. They have a sense of history, though at times it is a bit melodramatic.

I say that Norman and Midge made a calculation because politics is usually a matter of calculating. Who of the candidates in the field comes closest to my ideal candidate? In 1980 that was Reagan, and he in fact fulfilled our loftiest ideals. I recall Norman having his doubts about Reagan from time to time, for instance when the president sat down with Mikhail Gorbachev. But Reagan's presidency was to be historic, and we were mere spectators -- as were all those liberals who persisted in calling him a dimwit, even till the last days of his administration.

Now it is up to all of us to cast a vote that will be meaningful, or cast a vote that will be onanistic. I would rather cast my vote for a president than pleasure myself like a self-absorbed adolescent. I will stand with the Podhoretzes and vote for Trump. I predict he will be the most entertaining president since Reagan, and possibly the most capable of bringing change to Washington, D.C. We certainly need it.

America does not need any more congenital liars in the White House. Some lies told by politicians are mere b.s. For instance, Bill Clinton's lies about his golf score. Or for that matter, Barack Obama's lies about his golf score. Other lies are more significant. Clinton lies about personal problems even under oath. Obama lies about his agreement with Iran. Hillary Clinton practices both types of lies. For instance, she lied about being under enemy fire in Bosnia, and about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary. More recently, she lied about her emails to and from the Clinton Foundation, and her emails to and from the State Department. We have these lies thanks to her mishandling of her server. Her server will prove to be for her what that DNA-bespattered dress was for Bill Clinton, to wit, a high-tech collector of evidence that the Clintons are inveterate liars.

Until late last week, observers who were questioning Hillary Clinton's health were marked down as peddlers of conspiracy theories by Clinton's campaign and the media. When she stumbled into her van Sunday they were still disparaged as peddlers. A few hours later those conspiracy theories were themselves exposed as more of Clinton's lies. She had been found to have pneumonia on Friday, and the tests were concealed from the media and the American public. Her campaign was perpetrating yet another hoax on us. She plans to become president despite these hoaxes. Imagine the number of hoaxes she will perpetrate if she enters the White House. Imagine the controversies. They will be endless.

As I have said for years, the Clintons live in a culture of lies. Now the lies are all being exposed, thanks to her server. The Clintons lie when they do not have to, and tell a rococo whopper of a lie when a little white lie would be perfectly satisfactory. In the past, Hillary Clinton called those who questioned her health conspirators. But we now know the truth: They were diagnosticians, and she was really sick.

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