Bill Barr Has It Right About Donald Trump
Bill Barr Has It Right About Donald Trump
Bill Barr, Donald Trump’s former Attorney General, once had been a supporter of the 45th president. But now he says it’s time for the Republican party to move on. Increasing numbers of Republicans do as well.
Barr appeared last week on PBS’s Firing Line with Margaret Hoover in which he said it would be a “tragedy” if Trump were the Republican nominee for president once again.
I didn’t see that broadcast. But what caught my eye was an article Barr wrote for the Substack Common Sense. He bluntly titled it: Trump Will Burn Down the GOP. Time for New Leadership.
“But it is now clear he lacks the qualities essential to achieving the kind of unity and broad election victory in 2024 so necessary if we are to right our listing republic. It is time for new leadership.”
However, this was not a hit piece on the former president. Indeed, Bill Barr pointed out many of his strengths, such as his willingness to give voice to unpleasant truths. Trump also confronted issues that other politicians dodged. And policy-wise, Trump launched an incredibly strong economy. He also began restoring American military strength, brokered Mideast peace deals, and pulled out of dangerous agreements with Iran and Russia. Plus, unlike the current president, Trump spoke openly about the threat that is Communist China.
Politically, Trump also demonstrated a willingness to confront uncomfortable issues. He spoke openly about the things that other politicians would dodge.
Credit: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0.
Most importantly, he gave voice to those of the middle and working class. Bill Barr wrote:
“Above all, Trump had accurately diagnosed, and given voice to, the deep frustration of many middle-class and working-class Americans who were fed up with the excesses of progressive Democrats; the shameless partisanship of the mainstream media; and the smug condescension of elites who had mismanaged the country, sold them out, and appeared content to preside over the decline of America.”
The problem, however, is that Trump cannot, and will not, rein in his massive ego. Nor will he step back from his default mode of not merely competing with others, but seeking to destroy them in the end.
Barr wasn’t a “Never Trumper” in 2016. Nor was he an acolyte of the Trump-hating Lincoln Project. While he would have preferred any other candidate to be the Republican nominee that year, he did like millions of others who felt the same way.
He voted for Trump, and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, Barr’s best wishes didn’t pan out:
“I hoped that Trump would rise to the seriousness of the office and the moment. So once he became the GOP’s nominee, I supported him.”
“Unfortunately, after he was elected, Trump brought his wrecking-ball style to the task of governing the nation. He did not temper his disruptiveness and penchant for chaos. While his basic policy judgments were usually sound, his impulsiveness meant that things were almost always about to fly off the rails. When he became fixated on bad ideas or wanted to take things too far, it took his senior staff and cabinet secretaries an ungodly amount of maneuvering to keep him on track.”
Barr felt that Trump should’ve focused on his accomplishments in the White House in his re-election. He should’ve “dialed back his churlishness,” as Barr wrote, which would’ve gone further with support in the suburbs. But he didn’t, instead preferring to whip up his already hyped-up base:
“Despite the persistent advice from his advisers that he address the loss of support in the suburbs, he focused almost exclusively on energizing his base, and he did this by putting out a steady diet of red meat designed to arouse the passions of those who already supported him …”
“There were two basic problems with this strategy. First, Trump’s base did not need to be whipped up, they were already galvanized. Second, Trump pandered to his base in a way that reinforced and intensified the alienation of many suburban voters in the battleground states.”
Donald Trump created a populist base that lacked an ideological core. Many probably couldn’t even define what it means to be “conservative.” But they saw Trump as their champion, someone who would annihilate the “RINOs,” or a nebulous Deep State. The hardcore base welcomed the wrecking ball that was Donald Trump because, in their minds, no one else could save the country.
As a result, wrote Bill Barr, a record number of Trump’s supporters turned out to vote for him in 2020. Trouble was, he also alienated a greater number of Americans who voted for Joe Biden as a sort of respite from Trumpian chaos. Barr concluded:
“Fraud did not prevent Trump’s second term. Trump himself was the reason.”
In his article, Barr said that it’s time for the GOP to seek inspiration from Ronald Reagan: take advantage of the unpopular progressive swing of the Democrat party and unite to oppose it.
“That opens up a historic opportunity for the GOP—the opportunity to revive something like the old Reagan coalition: a combination of Republican-leaning, college-educated suburbanites; culturally conservative working-class voters; and even some classical liberals who are repulsed by the left’s authoritarianism.”
Unfortunately, Trump is incapable of accomplishing such a task. It takes discipline, strategy, and planning — things that are foreign to his nature. It also involves “playing well with others,” another thing that Trump does not do well.
Typically during primary season, the fur flies as presidential contenders try to defeat each other. Eventually one becomes the nominee of the party, and Republicans coalesce around their champion, even if the winner wasn’t their favorite. After all, you go into battle with the army you have, not the army you want.
Not so with Trump. Not content with merely defeating his political opponents, he seeks to terminate them so they will be unable to ever threaten his power.
He’s already doing that to his biggest competition: Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump has called him “Ron DeSanctimonious,” and threatened to “tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering — I know more about him than anybody.”
Trump’s base believes that their hero is speaking truth about his rival. For example, Trump loyalists are now comparing DeSantis to another hapless victim of DJT’s venom: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whom Trump had dubbed “Low Energy Jeb.” Trump devotees are calling DeSantis “Jeb Lite,” and maintaining that because Bush supposedly supports DeSantis, then DeSantis must be hopelessly flawed.
However, the irony is that when Jeb Bush left office in 2007 after two terms as Florida governor, he left quite a record of accomplishments. The state’s economy was growing an average of 7.2%, and its cash reserves had grown a whopping 654%. Bush took on the teachers’ unions, and made impressive improvements to Florida’s flagging public school system. As a result, Jeb Bush left office with a 64% approval rating. Those are hardly the accomplishments of a “low energy” loser.
But rather than debate Bush on the issues, Trump set out to destroy him forever with sophomoric insults and name-calling. It worked.
This goes well beyond “mean tweets.” Unfortunately, Trump’s loyal base is more enthralled by such gladiatorial bombast than earnest debate, or by forming a Reagan-like coalition.
Bill Barr concluded his commentary with this:
” … he does not have the qualities required to win the kind of broad, durable victory I see as necessary to restore America. It is time for the 45th president to step aside.”
Trump won’t step aside, of course, but he may be pushed aside instead.
Trump’s polling among Republicans is fading fast, while DeSantis’s is surging. His relentless drumbeat about a stolen 2020 election is losing traction, and he offers nothing new in policy. Major GOP donors are jumping ship. And while Trump can sound statesmanlike in front of a teleprompter, he is unable to maintain a serious persona.
There will never be a “new and improved” Donald Trump. Other than his most ardent followers, rank-and-file Republicans may take Bill Barr’s counsel and reject Trump’s bid for 2024, preferring another candidate as their standard bearer.
Meanwhile, as Barr wrote, “Trump will burn down the GOP.” Or, as a Republican friend of mine put it, “Trump is dividing our party.”
It’s long past time for Trump to leave the political scene. We Republicans can — and should — do better.
Featured image: United States Department of Justice/Wikimedia Commons/cropped/public domain.
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No one seems to be talking about a fear that I have. That if Trump is unable to secure the Republican nomination for the Presidency, he will go rogue and run as an Independent or 3rd party candidate thereby diluting the Republican vote and serving us a Democrat president, ala Ross Perot.
Or we can just do a write in as Emperor as long as he promises to torture the livingF out of the Deep State.
Gird yer loins.
Not a fan of Barr at all.. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t make some good points.. but the “endless drumbeat” is loosing traction, in part, because Barr failed to do his job, and prevent the unconstitutional changes in election law prior to the 2020 election, or investigate the credible claims of fraud. Jeb Bush did do good things for Flroida, and I didn’t like the way that Trump kept going on him, but the last thing we needed is another Bush in the white house. We fought a war so that we didn’t have a monarchy, we don’t need to create our own with the “elites”.. The Bushes overall are globalists, and we DAMN sure don’t need more of that.
So to make a long reply short, I’d take anything Barr says with a grain of salt..
“Nor will he step back from his default mode of not merely competing with others, but seeking to destroy them in the end.”
He better not just be “seeking to”.
And FJB with Bill Barr. Then FtheDeepState with Bill Barr.
AND [most importantly] Fn
H U R R Y
Since when did ‘viktori gurls’ go left?
Barr can F himself without lube and so better everyone else who thinks otherwise.
“So do increasing numbers of Republicans as well.” YA, there was 1 now there’s 81M according to a Dominion Machine. What’s with the I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO BOTHER DOING A FAKE POLL BEFORE SPOUTING OFF ON HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK LIKE i DO, garbage. Save that for the MSMs. That’s so canned, and it’s a dented and rusty can.
“So do increasing numbers of Republicans as well.” The word “so” does the work of “as well” here. The sentence should be “So do increasing numbers of Republicans.”
Trump has enemies, and the LORD has seen fit to provide the means to flush most of them from cover, and Biden, as truly bad as he has been for AMERICA, will be the one of the means of CRATERING the deep state and swamp.
It’s time for Trump’s enemies to get over it. And the rest of us are going to help him help them to do it.
Then they can all go home, grab a shovel, and go dig a spider hole [I’d say do it somewhere else in the Solar System, but it looks like Elon Musk is actually on Trump’s side].
Oh look another worthless bunch of unAmerican assholes. Victory girls my ass, more like ignorant bitches . GFY.
Interesting column. Wrong conclusion, I think. For the following reasons:
– Trump brought Republicans together and expanded the party, transforming it from an arm of the Uniparty in DC to a true national populist political party. In doing so, he EXPANDED Republican appeal to minorities, Latinos and black men, bringing along married women. The Uniparty DC component didn’t like that a lot and responded accordingly. The only Republican split is the Republican Uniparty component choosing not to play, which they’ve been doing since Reagan, which makes your invoking of Reagan beyond ironic.
– Never forget that Trump was supported and elected because he was a fighter, a brawler who was happy to roll around in the mud, the blood and the beer inflicted by democrats. He demonstrated that during the Republican primaries in 2016, and in doing so ALSO demonstrated that other Republicans (Jeb! for instance) weren’t so inclined. It wasn’t name calling that destroyed Jeb! It was his lack of stones and stomach for the fight.
– With that in mind, not everything is a fist fight, something that will likely destroy Trump.
– I don’t put a lot of stock in anything Barr has to say these days, as it appears that he is trying to ingratiate himself with his old buds in the swamp after being Trump’s AG. Nice start, but once you start trashing your old boss to the left-wing media, in the old Italian worldview, you are dead to me.
– I think Trump ends up being kingmaker for a DeSantis – Lake ticket. He might be too toxic to elect, but stranger things have happened (trump 2016, Biden 2020, Fetterman 2022). OTOH, never underestimate his ability from a persuasion standpoint. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that his announced run is a feint to provide the left with a target, which they will expend ALL their ammo, overreach, and do blatantly unconstitutional crap (Garland’s Special Counsel + indictment + conviction in a DC Court) and allow a Republican like DeSantis or Youngkin to walk thru the undefended breach to a 2024 victory that will include a near veto-proof Republican majority in both houses of congress.
In short, interesting column. Fundamentally disagree with your conclusions, as it appears you took the easy way out (Orange Man Bad). Cheers –
Barr denies that the 2020 election was stolen. When a USPS contractor revealed that he had transported more than 100,000 completed ballots from New York into Pennsylvania, the FBI investigated the contactor and ignored the gross criminality of transporting ballots across state lines. Those ballots likely showed up in Delaware county in a late night ballot dump that gave Biden Pennsylvania. “The Parallel Election” by Leah Hoope and Gregory Stenstrom documents how the election was stolen in Delaware county. Barr’s failure to investigate such blatant election fraud makes him complicit in saddling the country with a corrupt senile pedophile as President.
Nothing Barr says or does can be trusted. He is a back-stabbing traitor who helped set the stage for the great steal of 2022 by his deliberate actions to cover-up election fraud.
[…] Donald Trump, either. I hope he does not become the Republican nominee in 2024, as I have written here and […]
If not Trujmp, we would be governed by Hillary to our demise by now IMO. I will stand with Trump as long as he is running. He deserves my vote and my contributions.