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More “hard truths” Trump supporters need to be told in the Wall Street Journal



Amazingly, even the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page can occasionally (italics deliberate) run something moderately critical of the Republican Party and Trump. You can almost overhear the chit-chat between the WSJ’s deputy editors-in-chief when a columnist hands in something the Trump camp won’t like. That conversation goes something like this:

Rebecca Blumenstein: I dunno, it’s kinda tough on Trump and Trump voters.

Matthew J. Murray: I know.

RB: We might get some blowback. Kellyanne’s been pretty vocal about this sorta stuff. And Bannon has Mr. Murdoch on speed-dial.

MJM: I know. But dontcha think every once in a while we need to run something mildly critical? I mean, to avoid being perceived as—

RB: Trump’s media ho?

MJM, Well, yeah.

RB: [thinking] Mmmm. Maybe I can tone it down a tad.

MJM: D’ya think Galston would mind?

RB: [laughs] Where the hell’s he gonna go? The San Francisco Chronicle? They already have Saunders.

“Galston,” in this case, is the WSJ’s columnist, William A. Galston, whose piece yesterday, called “Hard Truths for Trump’s America,” points out that the coal industry in America is deader than a door nail, and has been dying a slow, painful death since—when? 1950! So when Trump “promise[s] repeatedly to save the U.S. coal industry,” as he did here, here, and here, on his twitter feed (where he writes of “Obama’s war on coal”), he is lying. Galston has the cojones to actually speak truth to power: “It is irresponsible for politicians to suggest that these mining jobs will return; they can’t and won’t.”

It’s refreshing to occasionally read something true and sane in Mr. Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, but let’s call a spade a spade: criticizing Trump’s lies about coal isn’t likely to cause undue angst in Trump HQ. Nobody cares about coal (especially among the Wall Street Journal’s urban elites), except some unhappy miners in a few red states, and while we can feel for them, they have to accept that the old ways are changing.

So coal was a freebie. But if Galston wants to tell even harder truths to Trump’s America, here are some suggestions, starting with that Wall.

Dear America, I know you want to keep these rapist and criminal Mexicans out! I do, too. But the Wall won’t do it. They’ll go around it, or under it, or over it, or through it—and it will cost billions and billions of your tax dollars to build something completely useless. The only answer is comprehensive immigration reform, which Republicans are against. It’s irresponsible for politicians to suggest that illegal immigration can be ended by building a Wall.

Dear America, I know you want to overturn Obamacare. I do, too. But it’s not going to happen, not even if you give us 100 Republican Senators and 435 Republican congressmen. The Affordable Care Act is inextricably woven into the economy and social structure of America. You can tinker with it, you can even expand it to single payer, but you can’t throw it out, and toss, what? twenty million people out of healthcare. It is irresponsible for politicians to say they’ll end Obamacare.

Dear America, I know you hate gay marriage. I know you want a Supreme Court that will reverse that decision. But it will never happen, I guarantee it, no matter what our candidates promise. I also know you want the Congress to pass an amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That, too, is pure fantasy. It is irresponsible for politicians to promise they’ll end gay marriage.

Dear America, I know you want Trump to ban Muslims from entering America. But guess what? It’s impossible. Can’t be done. This country doesn’t have anywhere near the resources to determine who is and who isn’t a “Muslim.” The international outcry would be intolerable, the legal challenges endless, the business community will hate it, and even this Supreme Court, with the radical Alito, Roberts and Thomas, would probably find it unConstitutional. So get that out of your heads. The best a President Trump could do is ban Muslims with criminal records—which  is exactly what Obama is doing now.

These are just a few of the “hard truths” Galston could tell America. Perhaps he understands this; perhaps he even wishes he could tell it like it is. But he can’t and won’t, because, as Rebecca Blumenstein correctly surmised, Galston likes his job and wants to keep it. And besides, the San Francisco Chronicle already has a dreary little conservative columnist, and she ain’t going anywhere.

  1. Steve,

    As someone who used The Wall Street Journal as a “media vehicle” for delivering my defense industry client’s communications messages to members of the executive and legislative branches of federal government and Wall Street analysts, I got to know some of their Lows Angeles-based writers and their ad sales personnel.

    (Full disclosure: the “Chinese wall” between editorial and advertising sales was never breached through my friendships with these individuals.)

    A distinction needs to be made between those who opine on the “Op-Ed” page, and those who write for the other sections of the paper.

    The “Op-Ed” page is populated by the voices of ideologues of either the conservative or libertarian persuasion.

    The other sections of the paper are populated by staff reporters and editors whose political persuasion is more mainstream . . . even liberal. (Most matriculated at the leading journalism schools, and previously wrote for national newspapers such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, or national newsweeklies such as Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report.)

    From conversations with them during informal gatherings at their office (three floors below my ad agency office) or during lunches, one quickly concluded that they did not philosophically march in lock step with their editorial board members or “Op-Ed” page columnists.

    And evidence of that objectivity is found in today’s (September 17, 2016) newspaper.

    On the “Main News” section of the paper (page A4), staff reporters Reid J. Epstein and Michael C. Bender called out Trump for his lies.

    To wit:

    “Trump Backs Off A ‘Birther” Claim”



    “Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday CONCEDED that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S., standing down from years of FALSE ACCUSATIONS that made the businessman a central figure in the discredited “birther” movement.

    “‘President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period,’ Mr. Trump said at an event with the news media.

    “He then FALSELY assigned blame to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for igniting the suggestion, back in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, that Mr. Obama, a Hawaii native, was born overseas. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE that Mrs. Clinton or her 2008 campaign launched the birther movement; Mr. Trump didn’t take questions from reporters before leaving a hotel ballroom.”

    [CAPITALIZATION used for emphasis. ~~ Bob]

    And see my next related comment . . .

  2. Also in today’s (September 17, 2016) Wall Street Journal is an “Op-Ed” piece (page A9) by Robert M. Gates who “served eight presidents over 50 years, most recently as secretary of defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

    He too calls out Donald Trump for his credibility problems.

    “Sizing Up the Next Commander-in-Chief”


    Concluding paragraph:

    “At least on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. HE IS UNQUALIFIED AND UNfIT TO BE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.”

    [CAPITALIZATION used for emphasis. ~~ Bob]

  3. So how did The Wall Street Journal’s “Op-Ed” page columnists view the first presidential debate?

    Read on . . .

    “And the Winner of the Trump-Clinton Debate Was . . .;
    The Journal’s editorial board weighs in on Monday’s presidential debate.”

  4. And here’s the view from Jason Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014), and Wall Street Journal “Op-Ed” page contributor.

    “Trump’s Losing Debate Strategy”

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