Even some pinko-lefties might get something out of this one because they would better understand the libertarian component of American conservatism.
**This is a special discount for Stone Cold Truth Readers**
My detractors likely will boycott any book I endorse. That’s probably because mostly the books I push are my own. Not really. Every so often, I insist you buy someone else’s book, like this one: Whiplash! From JFK to Donald Trump, a Political Odyssey by Arnold L. Steinberg.
First, check out the title. I can’t say that I knew JFK. But I do know Donald Trump and Arnie Steinberg and this book got it right.
JFK would be persona non grata in today’s Democrat Party. At home JFK favored tax cuts to stimulate the economy; abroad he favored a strong national defense against communism. Trump is a tax cutter who, like JFK, wants to “get America moving again.” And Trump backs the military to kick ass against radical Islamists. Unlike Democrats today, JFK was a true pro-American patriot who believed in this country. So does Donald Trump, but Trump is not an indiscriminate nation builder. That’s where the Bushies and their fellow travelers went wrong.
I’m from New York and was a volunteer in the 1970 campaign to elect Jim Buckley U.S. Senator, and I recall with glee Jim Buckley’s victory, in large part the handiwork of Arnie Steinberg, with whom I would work a couple of years later when I was at the Committee to Re-elect the President (Richard Nixon), and Arnie, three years older than I (but still very young) was helping run Sen. Buckley’s office on Capitol Hill.
Arnie was close to the Buckleys, notably the godfather of the conservative movement, Wm. F. Buckley, Jr., and Bill Buckley had written a book back in 1954 contending that the critics of Sen. Joe McCarthy were more guilty of excess than McCarthy; Bill Buckley, starting with that research, formed a life-long friendship with McCarthy’s aide Roy Cohn, who I got to know quite well. Much maligned, to be sure, of Roy’s name in certain precincts in Manhattan, gets teeth gnashing and spit flying.
Roy introduced me to Donald Trump, who adopted Roy’s “never settle, countersue” approach. I mention all this because of Bill Buckley’s National Review, which tried to crush Trump during the primaries, is a shadow of its influence during Buckley’s heyday. And I agree with Arnie’s conclusion in the book, that in the general election, Bill Buckley would have backed Trump. And it may even be that NR’s political savvy publisher, and Bill Rusher a political conservative with a populist, streak despite his own background would have backed Trump even during the primaries.
Pre-Buckley, Arnie had been immersed in the tumultuous fighting against the leftist thugs on campus. In this new book, he compares the leftist devotees of Herbert Marcuse in the 1960s with the politically correct malcontents of today. But there’s more in this very unusual book, with a novel style, equally political…(a) autobiography and history, (b) philosophy and ideas, and (c) insights and a campaign manual.
Though Arnie is known as a master political strategist, often behind the scenes, he never sold out to the Republican Establishment. I still must atone for my years as a Washington lobbyist. So it’s fitting that I write this review on Yom Kippur.
I now know the enemy. But Arnie was always skeptical of, even hostile to, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Tobacco Institute, and the crony capitalists. His suspicion of Wall Street started when the financial establishment opposed Jim Buckley’s election in 1970, and then, according to Arnie, after Jim Buckley’s victory, the Wall Street whores sent campaign checks pre-dated before the election.
This book has lots of new information you won’t read elsewhere, certainly not in the mainstream media. And whether you’ve been around for a long time, or you’re new to politics, or you just want a book for your grandchild in college, this interesting read explains, in an anecdotal way, how the conservative movement developed, and all its factions.
Read this, and you’ll understand how conservatives – not liberals — were behind ending the draft in this country, and how they continue to lead the movement for criminal justice reform. Yes, conservatives – including the late Bill Buckley – wanted to end the ridiculous War on Drugs and decriminalize marijuana. And the true conservatives are more into Main Street than Wall Street.
Read this book. Don’t watch Don Lemon and his CNN colleagues. They are CLUELESS about what “Left” and “Right” are. And when they keep calling people who believe in liberty “fascists,” you know they are screwed up. And they sure got it wrong about Trump.
Arnie was one of the first to see that Trump could win the Republican nomination, partly because he knew the sycophants running the opposition campaign. Just after Jeb Bush announced, Arnie predicted Bush had no chance to win, the same with Scott Walker, and some of the others. And Arnie provided behind the scenes counsel to Trump’s general election campaign against Hillary.
This is a very unusual book because the author uses his personal journey as a way to understand contemporary political history, especially the American conservative movement, and traditional, libertarian and populist divisions. My only complaint is that although Arnie goes after the sellouts in the intelligence community, and he is no fan of the CIA, where I instinctively see conspiracies, Arnie sees mainly bumbling incompetents. Get this book, anyway. (Actually, we’re both right – they are conspiring boobs—see my statement last week before I testified in private before the House Intelligence Committee and that clown Adam Schiff, who Arnie has criticized for Schiff’s sellout on the Iran deal.
Whiplash! is long, with digressions that provide useful context. It’s fascinating and you’ll learn a lot. Read it cover to cover, but don’t loan it to a friend. You may not get it back.