George Will leaves the Republican Party (guess why?)

I have to hand it to George Will: he seems to be getting more sensible as he gets older. Two years ago he gave up his self-declared status as a “none” (he used to be very sympathetic to faith) and declared himself a flat-out atheist, and then, in December he took a strong pro-science stand:

Higher education is increasingly a house divided. In the sciences and even the humanities, actual scholars maintain the high standards of their noble calling. But in the humanities, especially, and elsewhere, faux scholars representing specious disciplines exploit academia as a jobs program for otherwise unemployable propagandists hostile to freedom of expression.

He’s also not wearing bow ties as often: a good move.  Nobody looks good in a bow tie (are you listening, Science Guy?).

Now, according to CNN, Will is leaving the G.O.P. because he can’t stomach Donald Trump:

Conservative commentator and columnist George Will says he is leaving the Republican Party because of Donald Trump — and he’s advocating that others do the same.

In a speech at a Federalist Society luncheon Friday, he told the audience, “This is not my party,” according to PJ Media, a conservative media blog.

The Pulitzer Prize winner told the audience at the luncheon that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Trump is one of the reasons why he decided to leave the party, and he didn’t say whether he’d vote for either Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton or a third-party candidate, such as Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Will, who worked on President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, also said at the luncheon that Trump as president with “no opposition” from a Republican-led Congress would be worse than Clinton as president with a Republican-led Congress. When asked by PJ Media about his message to conservatives, Will responded on Trump, “Make sure he loses. Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House.”

A few of my friends are now all wonky about Trump, saying that the Brexit vote in Europe makes it more likely that The Donald will win the Presidency in November (see Amy Davidson’s alarums in The New Yorker), but I’m not worried.




  1. daveyc
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure in practical terms what it means for a columnist to “leave” a political party?

    • Craw
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      He changed his registration.

    • gluonspring
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      It will probably have an effect on my mom. Reagan and the rightward shift of my mom’s church brought her into the GOP and have kept her there. Back in the 1980’s or early 90’s my mom subscribed to Newsweek over Time or some of the other options expressly because George Will had a column there and, she claimed, “he is the only conservative journalist” (My mom wasn’t a Wall Street Journal/National Review type). Of course, those days are long gone, now that the right wing fills the radio waves, has it’s own TV network, and half the internet(*). But I know that my mom will take notice of this because she held him in such high regard for a long time. It won’t be decisive for her, but it is another nudge she’ll be getting to clue her in to the fact that the party she has embraced has gone off the rails.

  2. colnago80
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, he took a pro-science stand, except when it comes to climate change where he is still a two fisted denier. The Post, to Fred Hyatt’s everlasting discredit continues to publish his climate change denying screeds with no fact checking and no pushback from, say, Chris Mooney, who is also a sometime columnist.

    • Joseph Lapsley
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Yea, that was my first thought: “pro-science”, how is public climate change denial that? He adds that to his delusional view of American history.

  3. Scott Draper
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    “leaving the Republican Party because of Donald Trump ”

    This would be more impressive, except that there was ample craziness long before Trump that would have induced a reasonable person to leave the GOP.

    • Paul D.
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Making a major change in worldview is a big step. I think there’s a lot of cognitive hysteresis. If so, people (like Will) bailing over Trump may not be very easy to bring back.

      • Scott Draper
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Nice to think so, but I think a major change of heart so late in life is unlikely. My bet is that Ted Cruz would be enough to bring him back.

        • Filippo
          Posted June 25, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          The way he ululates from the podium, Ted Cruz would make an outstanding Holiness Pentacostal Assemblies of God preacher.

          • Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Like his father? The apple sure didn’t fall far from that tree.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        ‘Cognitive hysteresis’. Interesting.

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink


  4. JuneDay
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Wholeheartedly agree about bow ties.

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      With every day suits, yes, I also agree. A bow tie still looks right with full evening dress and even just tuxedos. (I usually wear a long black tie with a tuxedo, however.)

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      But Bill Nye can get away with damn near anything. 🙂 So can the character of Dr. Donald Mallard on NCIS. Some guys just make bow ties their own fashion statement.

    • Victoria
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 1:21 am | Permalink

      Disagree. Nothing turns my head like a cute guy in a bow tie and casual suit.

      • Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking? Does it have anything to do with approaching to untie that bow tie and take it off?

        • Victoria
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that image usually crosses my mind.🙂

          • Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps we women are altogether on that one.

            • Merilee
              Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink


              • Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

                Maybe that’s why men where such awful things! So we women will feel compelled to take them off! Good move, men. Good move.

              • Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

                Oy! Wear, not where!

  5. Historian
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Make no mistake about George Will. He is as conservative as ever with views mostly repulsive to my own. He loathes Trump because he considers him not a true conservative and very uncouth. Will prefers Hillary out of no love for her in the hopes that in four years the Republican Party will return to its conservative senses and nominate somebody acceptable to his genteel liking and will defer to the leadership of the conservative intellectual elite. Will’s hopes may come to pass, but it is far from a sure bet. The world and the country are changing rapidly and Will may truly be a dinosaur. I think Hillary may have at least an inkling of how the country is changing, demographically and socially, and thus will be able to adapt.

  6. Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    So many things happening, and so many yet to happen…

    Trump is having trouble hiring staff because Republican political operatives are fearful about tarnishing their resume… there are reports he’s even having trouble finding surrogates willing to appear on infotainment TV now.

    There is yet a real possibility that Trump won’t leave Cleveland with the nomination because the Republicans might draft someone else if the convention is contested. Even if Trump prevails, it’s looking more likely that the RNC won’t throw money away on him, and focus their efforts on down-ballot contests instead.

    Most importantly, I simply cannot see how Trump can expand his appeal beyond the ‘base’ he has now… even with Hillary’s unfavorables, Trump’s are much, much worse.

    • Historian
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      It seems to me highly unlikely that the Republican establishment could deny Trump the nomination since he has the majority of delegates. If this should happen the implosion of the Republican Party would be complete and there would be a 100% chance that Hillary would win the election. Trump would go ballistic and perhaps run as a third party candidate. Certainly, his supporters would never vote for the person the convention nominated. This means that the Republican Party would suffer massive losses “down ballot,” from senator to state representative. So, no matter what happens the American political system is in complete disarray (we have to remember the disaffection of so many Bernie supporters). Predicting what will emerge from the chaos is pure guesswork. Future historians will be kept quite busy trying to figure out what is happening this year.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re right – they won’t deny him the nomination for all the reasons you say.

        As for the idea that the sensible Brits voting for Brexit makes a Trump presidency more likely, I’m not sure that’s the case either. I think it’s just as likely to wake more people up to the dangers of a Trump presidency. I still think he’s very unlikely to win, especially because of the way the electoral college works.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      “There is yet a real possibility that Trump won’t leave Cleveland with the nomination because the Republicans might draft someone else if the convention is contested.”

      A reminder that political parties (“factions,” according to Madison, Jefferson, etc.) are not themselves democracies, in this (indirect) democratic republic.

    • scottoest
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      The GOP may deny Trump their nomination, at their own peril.

      If they give Trump the nod and he loses, then they can simply declare him the terrible candidate that he is, and try to move on while continuing to ignore the fundamental problems that led to his rise.

      If they use anti-democratic tactics to deny him the nomination, you will have the entire GOP base in an absolute uproar, and potentially alienate entire blocs of reliable GOP voters for a generation or more.

      He won the most votes, and the most delegates. If they’re ashamed and angry that he’s the GOP nominee, then maybe it’s time to look inward at why exactly GOP voters have flocked to him in the first place.

      What drives me crazy, is the sheer number of GOP apparatchiks recoiling in horror that their wonderful party has been “hijacked” by such a person. Guess what? The impulse that led to Romney to declare a full 47% of the country as useless moochers, is in the same family as the impulses that led these people to Trump. What these people hate, is that he expresses the GOP’s modern Freudian id in such stark, unvarnished terms.

      • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. “Hijacked” is a completely incorrect description of what has happened with Trump. He is a distillation, a reductio ad absurdum of all the planks that were already in the Republican platform.

        • gluonspring
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:48 am | Permalink

          It’s true that Trump didn’t hijack the party, that he is, instead, the Id of the party come to life. I don’t think he is a reductio ad absurdum of the GOP platform, though, because Trump, and the GOP Id he personifies, have only a tenuous connection to that platform.

          The single best moment of the entire campaign came when Trump said “We’ll have private health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m president.” And, of course, Cruz, and the rest of the formal GOP, pounced: “Ah ha! See, he IS a heretic!” And they thought they really had him. This really is heresy in the GOP platform because the only way the government can promise that is for the government to provide health care. If GOP voters were true believers in the GOP platform that would have toasted Trump. But it didn’t. There are many of these GOP heresies from Trump, and of course Trump has flopped back and forth on most of them. But the point is that at no point did it really cost him to be wishy-washy on the platform.

          The GOP totally created Trump. They have nursed and stoked that Id for decades. The blame is all theirs. It just happens that that Id, a big chunk of GOP voters, only care about the platform insofar as it’s a kind of code for the things they actually want.

          • Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

            “… when Trump said “We’ll have private health care, but I will not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country if I’m president.” And, of course, Cruz, and the rest of the formal GOP, pounced: “Ah ha! See, he IS a heretic!” And they thought they really had him.”

            Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Fla) nailed it, when he said the Republican health care plan was two-part. Part 1: Don’t get sick. Part 1: If you do get sick, die quickly.

            That sounds harsh. All Trump did was soften the blow by letting the “die quickly” occur in hospital. I’m sure the American Hospital Association appreciates that. After an initial wallet biopsy, they can decide how just how “quickly”, and then let government pick up the remaining bill. How corporate.

            Meaning: It still fits the Republican platform.

      • Filippo
        Posted June 26, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        “The impulse that led to Romney to declare a full 47% of the country as useless moochers . . . .”

        Of course Mr. Romney worked by the sweat of his brow to support himself and his family while pursuing his Harvard MBA/JD.

        I’d like to see the list of manual labor jobs Mr. Romney has held.

        On today’s NY Times front page is an article about how emergency medical responder services have suffered on account of the involvement of private equity.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 1:22 am | Permalink

      Four short years ago, Donald Trump was the Right’s most vocal proponent of the “birther” movement — the patently ridiculous contention that the President of the United States had not been born in this country. That position — which Trump has yet to repudiated expressly — should alone have disqualified him from running for the presidential nomination. George Will and the GOP establishment should’ve risen as one and strangled Trump’s misbegotten ambitions in their cradle, before he gained any political traction.

      They didn’t. Instead, the GOP, and several of Trump’s rivals, saw that he alone, unlike the 16 mopes he was running against, could generate any enthusiasm among the resentful Republican masses. They mistakenly believed that they could cabin that enthusiasm and channel it for themselves, once Republican voters saw through the nonsense Trump was continually spouting and turned their backs on him. They were wrong; GOP voters never did. As a result, the Republicans have shit their own nest, fouling it for perhaps another generation to come.

      Let’s not allow Trump to drag the entire country down in similar fashion in this Fall’s general election.

      • Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Yesterday, on a bit of Texas Public Radio programming, a pollster said he wrongly interpreted, and has now corrected his view of, the poll readings for Trump during this primary season. The population answering “strongly support” ran roughly 30%, and it was likely personal/professional bias, which the pollster is correcting now, that made him attribute that as Trump’s ceiling level of voters. Instead, it turns out to be Trump’s basement level, the voters he can count on no matter what. All he needs to do is add to them, because no matter what he says, how he flip flops, what kinds of lies come out of his mouth, these voters will support him.

        That’s scary, because not only does that represent a significant portion of the American public, but it represents and even larger proportion of those who will actually show up at the polls, this November. And if that proportion grows, whether out of Trump’s campaign efforts (i.e., evangelicals) or out of Bernie Sanders followers who are so angered and feeling so disenfranchised by the Democratic Party, we will be at serious risk of a President (Ceiling Cat forbid!) Trump.

        Even NPR’s news stories lead with Trump calling Hillary a liar, as though to reinforce the point. There’s something fishing going on, there. Perhaps Trump’s surrogates donated.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Perhaps Trump’s surrogates donated.

          Check the Trump supporters’ tote-bags for the NPR logo; that’s always a dead giveaway.🙂

          I think the 30% figure you cite must refer solely to Republican voters, who can be divided roughly into three parts — a third who love Trump; a third for whom he was not the first choice, but who will nevertheless vote for him in the general; and a third in the “never Trump” camp. No way can Trump garner the electoral votes needed to win a nationwide election this Fall with his current astronomical “unfavorable” numbers among minorities and women.

          Trump’s sole claim to electability is that when he goes to the trailhead and beats his drum, the lost tribes of resentful Caucasians will come streaming out of the hills-and-hollers to queue up at their polling places to register Republican and vote for Donald J. Trump.

          We shall see.

          • Posted June 26, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

            In balance, the real question is whether the non “lost tribes of resentful Caucasians” will show up and vote against him or just stay home feeling miserable and dejected.

  7. geckzilla
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Brexit makes a Trump win any more likely, but I do think it exemplifies how a certain kind of complacency or grossly underestimating one’s opponent can result in such an upset. See also: the idea that our opponents in the Middle East are cave-dwelling neanderthals who stand no chance against our military might. That worked out great.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    After all these pathetic years of George Will, David Brooks, Krauthammer, Kristol and many more, now they have a problem keeping down Trump, at least during lunch. Take us back to the good old days of Reagan and Bush because this guy makes us sick. The party has been slipping into fascism and insanity for 40 years and they are surprise by this Trump. We loved the neocons but this guy is not even religious.

    They have the poor and uneducated of America on their side and Donald Trump is going to screw it up. The GOP is really just a religious cult as one reporter said and Trump does not fit the model.

    Britain had their problems and sometimes they might look like ours but not really. Trump will fade into that Casino and golf course once the election is over. We can only hope he takes enough of the GOP congress with him so movement can take place again.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      “They have the poor and uneducated of America on their side…”

      I wish people would quit saying this, it’s just not true. At best, they have segments of poor, uneducated, WHITE America on their side (we used to call them “rednecks”). Hillary also has the support of many poor, uneducated people. Of course, it’s a virtue when she does it, because she’s just looking out for their interests (wink wink).

      I’ve also met some fairly highly educated Trump supporters. They’re usually the ones who want to throw a monkey wrench into the system, just to shake things up. So far, it’s worked…just look at what they did to the Republican Party.

      • scottoest
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        He didn’t do anything to the Republican Party – he’s a continuation of the “Tea Party”-esque shift in the GOP, which has it’s roots going back as far as the 1980s.

        Remember when Obama won in 2012, and the Tea Party was ascendant, and all we heard was empty contrition from the likes of Reince Priebus about how the GOP was going to go through some soul searching? They even had an official party inquiry about how to modernize the party’s views, that was published.

        Nothing changed. The GOP base has had a variety of grievances reinforced by politicians and Fox News alike, for 30 years. Now a single man has come forth, whose entire strategy is simply being the vessel for those grievances, and literally nothing else. His actual policy prescriptions are completely secondary, and thus largely non-existent (beyond “making great deals, the best deals”).

        I question the alleged intelligence of anyone who votes for a destructive, unintelligent con-man, simply to, and I quote – “throw a monkey wrench into the system”. You wanna throw a wrench into the system? Vote in a wave of intelligent people with smart policy prescriptions, who want to do what is best for the people.

        • Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          First, such people need to be found, convinced to run for office, and their campaigns funded. And this must start at the lowest levels, filling the positions in cities and townships, garnering experience not just for individual politicians but for parties of politicians, starting at the local levels and growing upward. Who wants these jobs? Who wants to risk smear campaigns against their reputations, and the effects of publicity on their family members, too? It’s too much for most individuals. We need to support them against the grueling and perhaps inhuman effects of the process, too.

        • Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Sorry: I should first have mentioned how I appreciated and liked your last sentence! Then, the realities of the situation came to mind and boiled over. I wouldn’t run for office here in Texas for those very reasons: I wouldn’t know how, I wouldn’t have the money, and I wouldn’t physiologically hold up well under the stress, right now.

          • scottoest
            Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            Oh of course, you’re absolutely correct. My point was more than you don’t protest government dysfunction or corruption, by voting in some guy who embodies the worst of virtually all possible worlds.

            Government is too complex and important of a “machine”, to simply throw a monkey wrench into. And such a position is especially galling and selfish, when you consider the millions of people who would potentially directly suffer under the policies of a Trump Administration – all so some “intelligent” people can have their protest vote.

            • Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

              I agree with you there, too. Somehow, the truth of that seemed to go without saying, but then maybe that’s because I agree so wholeheartedly. Your reiteration states it even better, though, so I’m glad you posted it.

        • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink


        • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          Additionally, most of those grievances are, of course, completely illegitimate.

        • Filippo
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Would Romney have won had he been Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian?

      • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        In my admittedly anecdotal experience, level of education and general intelligence correlates pretty strongly with political affiliation. There are always outliers.

        • mordacious1
          Posted June 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          I would say that most college educated people (bachelor’s degree or higher) tend to vote Democrat. But Pew says that post graduates tend to vote Dem (57% to 35%), but those with 4 year degrees are closer (49% to 42%). When you consider that roughly 32% of Americans have a 4 yr. degree or higher, this leaves both parties mostly filled with unwashed high school grads (or less). So I think that my point that both parties have their share of poor, uneducated people still stands. There are a lot of poor, lesser educated blacks, Hispanics and women who support Hillary. There are a lot of lesser educated, poor white men that support Trump. To say that one party has the corner on the poor and uneducated is just not true.

          • gluonspring
            Posted June 26, 2016 at 3:16 am | Permalink

            Is Texas is a Red state because Texans are dumber (or poorer or less educated) than Californians (or conversely for that matter)? I seriously doubt it. I suspect it has more to do with the arc of history, including many historical accidents, with indoctrination, social group-think, etc. That is, I suspect it’s a lot like religion.

            • mordacious1
              Posted June 26, 2016 at 4:05 am | Permalink

              I can’t argue with that.

            • Posted June 26, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

              Not only is it kind of like religion, religion would appear to have a lot to do with it. It’s telling that all 13 Republican leaning religions are Christian as well as the 5 most center leaning Democratic groups. 8 of the 11 most left leaning are not Christian, including of course atheists, agnostics and nothings:

  9. Matt G
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Well, he’s wrong – it IS his party. It’s just that the facade has been pulled back.

  10. Daniel Villar
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    What’s wrong with bow ties?

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I thought Tucker Carlson had already demonstrated how cravats poison everything.

    • mordacious1
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Bow ties are for those who want to march to the off-beat of a different drummer.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 26, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        Thoreau may have his sins to answer for, but the bowtie isn’t among them.

        • mordacious1
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 12:37 am | Permalink

          Most depictions of Thoreau show him in a bow tie, which was more popular in his day than a four in hand tie. You’d think the man would have gone tie-less or even shirtless.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            It’s probably a common misconception to imagine him stomping around Walden Pond in a loincloth, when his life there was hardly primitive.

  11. Jiten
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Leaving because of Trump? So all the crazy wackaloons up to now were OK? But Trump is one lunatic too far? He will be gone in 0, 4 or 8 years. Then will he rejoin?

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he’s hoping to improve his pundit cred as a principled Conservative… he’s not been at the front of the infotainment commentator lineup in quite a while.

      • Filippo
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        ” . . . he’s not been at the front of the infotainment commentator lineup in quite a while.”

        Perhaps that’s because (or so it strikes me) he does not fancy himself an “infotainment” kind of guy. Perhaps his readers do not require him to “entertain” them in order to prompt them to read him, much as National Public Radio listeners of yesteryear did not require the “Old Guard” (Bob Edwards, Noah Adams, etc.) to fatuously entertain them in order to get their attention.

        • Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Maybe not. It’s why we got rid of cable TV. Instead, we combine radio and print (including interwebz) for news. We like Tom Ashbrook’s show, ‘On Point’. I don’t know whether he’d qualify as Old Guard, but has a knack for interviewing and asking questions without things devolving. I do think Fareed Zakaria is taking a serious stab at being serious (we try to stream his show), but is swamped by the Wolf Blitzer faction.

      • scottoest
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Of course – now he gets to position himself as the principled, “independent” conservative, who will still nonetheless operate as a GOP functionary 90% of the time..

        Sort of like how S.E. Cupp is valuable to the religious right, because she’s the alleged atheist who does nothing but chastise other atheists. And a conservative atheist, at that!

      • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Good observation. Is this an attention-grabbing move?

  12. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Trump took the Scottish Oaf with a gusto – he lauded that ‘they’ chose Brexit. Reading the reactions I have never before learned so much cuss words in such a short time.

    Mein Trumpf! I am not sure Cameron was necessary to finish the English dethroning from a Great Empire to a Little England. (And – dare I wish – a joined but peaceful Ireland!?)

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Scotland voted overwhelmingly for ‘Stay’. And Trump was bewildered by the reaction there when he proudly stated he was ‘Scotch’. Can’t imagine why.

  13. Craw
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    The Brexit thing is silly.

    As one who leans republican I can tell you Will isn’t the only one. A friend has plumped for Hillary. I am looking at Johnson but expect to end up for Hillary. The irritating thing is Trump is not a religious righter, he’s for gay rights, he’s right on some issues. I’d really love to be able to like him. But that is impossible.

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Trump wouldn’t know what the right thing to do in any given situation would be if it vomited in his face. The way he runs his “businesses” is beyond despicable.

  14. Vinovian
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    We are doing our best to reverse the brevity vote. It was done in ignorance and we need more light on the subject and another vote. Knowledge and sense must triumph.

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      “brevity vote”?

      • Craw
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Autocorrect is the soul of wit.

    • scottoest
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t be optimistic about being given ANOTHER vote on the Brexit issue, short term. It’s not like the vote snuck up out of nowhere – there’s been months of campaigning, and ample time for people to inform themselves.

      Never mind the precedent of having a referendum where one side wins by more than a million votes, only to turn around and tell 52% of the voters “no, you chose wrong, so we are doing it again – and you better choose the right answer this time!”.

      • Posted June 25, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        “…ample time for people to inform themselves…”

        But you must be aware that Britons have frantically been Googling “what is the EU” ever since the vote.

        • scottoest
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 5:17 am | Permalink

          Yes, I’d read that – though I’m always a little suspicious of headlines about stuff like that, because they seem like some awfully motivated reasoning in service of a juicy media narrative.

          I wouldn’t be surprised at all, of course. Broadly speaking, I’ll bet neither side were terribly informed about the EU – not to invoke a false equivalency. The status quo is always difficult to overturn, simply because it’s familiar.

        • Filippo
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          “But you must be aware that Britons have frantically been Googling “what is the EU” ever since the vote.”

          One might think they were Amuricun.

      • Richard
        Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        “Never mind the precedent of having a referendum where one side wins by more than a million votes, only to turn around and tell 52% of the voters “no, you chose wrong, so we are doing it again – and you better choose the right answer this time!”.”

        Well, it has happened before:,_1992

        Each time the people voted ‘No’, and each time there had to be a second referendum so that they could vote the RIGHT way.

        Speaks volumes for repect for democracy, doesn’t it?

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      Would you have been OK with the Leave side pushing to have another if the Remain camp had won?

      • scottoest
        Posted June 26, 2016 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Exactly. Can’t do it.

        “Best bet” is the politicians figuring out a way to weasel out of the mandate handed to them by the results of the referendum altogether. Though again, is subverting direct democracy really a victory… simply because YOU believe it to be a victory for “common sense”?

        Short term I fully expect Brexit to be followed through. Long-term, maybe EU membership gets revisited after another election or two.

        Like it or not, you held a vote, and the “Remain” side lost. The people had their say, and if they were ignorant of what they were voting for, then that is their shame to carry. I wonder what the reaction would be if “Leave” voters had tried to push for an annulment of the results, or claim that anything under 60% victory and 75% turnout didn’t count. I suspect Remain voters would be telling them to stop being sore losers, and get over it.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 27, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Yes. I don’t see a problem with that. I think it would probably be a good idea to make it SOP to have two votes, a month or three apart, for referendum issues like that.

        • Posted June 27, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          I’ve been stewing over this, and I think I agree with you. It would make for an unstable financial market, but so does the first vote. It might make the results of the first vote less dramatic, and so less functional in solidifying the second vote, too. So perhaps the second vote might be optional, to make the first vote more meaningful.

  15. Merilee
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink


  16. docbill1351
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    George “Tea Party Cheerleader” Will was happy to have Cruz as a candidate, even though Cruz is a Trump clone without a personality.

    Trump simply says things out loud, and loudly, that Will has been writing for years. Perhaps little Georgie is sad to hear his words coming back at him.

    George Will helped the GOP come to be what it is today. I think it’s a bit late for buyer’s remorse.

  17. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    A few of my friends are now all wonky about Trump, saying that the Brexit vote in Europe makes it more likely that The Donald will win the Presidency in November (see Amy Davidson’s alarums in The New Yorker), but I’m not worried.

    I sincerely hope that Clinton will win in a landslide, but **** yes I’m worried. Trump is the impending nominee of one of the two major parties. At every point for the last year, pundits assured us he could not possibly get this far. We should not let our guard down.

    Garry Hoy, a lawyer in Toronto worked in a high rise. When his friends visited his office, he liked to brag about how the windows were shatter-proof. To demonstrate, he would throw himself at the window. This worked fine, until one day…
    Let’s not be Garry Hoy.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      It seems reasonable to assume that it would not be worth the added costs,to have windows made and installed to such a standard.
      Then it would be reasonable to assume,even if, that not all would meet that standard, perhaps due to hurried construction.

      I had thought the notion of reasonable was front and center in the law.

      It just goes to show how stupid people can be. (me too)

    • Ben
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m worried. I keep worrying we might be playing out 1933 again. I’ve been reading early 20th century poetry – the things that were getting people excited in the first 3 decades were the same things that seem to make Trump’s candidacy popular.

      • Ben
        Posted June 25, 2016 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        And Brexit just reinforced all of that!

        • Victoria
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:25 am | Permalink

          It actually insults the victims of Nazism and WWII for people to keep making these absurd analogies.

          Keeping out illegal immigrants and backing out of a neoliberal bureacracy is not “Hitler!”

          I’m a Sanders supporter before you jump to conclusions.

          • Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:54 am | Permalink

            I think what they are trying to say is that this is the sort of blind, short-sided nationalism that led up to WWII and the Holocaust. Hitler didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. He was more than happy to create for the masses an enormous target for frustration, anger, hatred, violence, and ultimately mass murder, a target large enough to take all of that and then some, a target with historical roots of being targeted, and in case that was not enough, a few other, lesser targets on the side.

            Who is being targeted, in England and the rest of the UK? Anyone deemed “not British enough.” The more visible those outsiders appear, the more likely they’ll be targeted. Assimilation would offer some protection, but it wasn’t sufficient for the assimilated Jews of Germany, so no promises, there.

            Time, only, will tell whether the analogy used actually reaches Hitler/Holocaust proportions. The idea, now, is to recognize that potential and prevent such a dangerous future.

            • Victoria
              Posted June 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

              The analogy fails completely because Jews were among the best assimilated and highest-contributing members to German culture. They weren’t involved in shocking misogynistic violence (fgm, honor killings, mass sexual assualts), anti-apostate violence, or terrorism like a certain other minority.

              Jews were not forcing their way into the country by the hundreds of thousands. They also were not large enough in numbers to cause labor market distortions, which is the wholly legitimate social democratic concern of those of us try to paint as simply racist/xenophobia.

              Further the entire backdrop of Hitler’s rise from the defeat in WWI, the failed coup, the weak-willed Weimar government’s early release of Hitler, Hindenburg’s folly in appointing him Chancellor do not apply.

              Trump has called for banning foreign nationals. Nothing more. I don’t support him and I don’t support a blanket ban on all Muslims (although i do oppose illegal immigration unequivocally because of its negative impacts on labor markets, social cohesion, and the rule of law).

              • Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

                Perhaps, in Germany back then, wife beating and male over female domination was too much the norm, while Jewish culture, with more equality, was seen as threatening.

                At any rate, I touched on the issue of assimilation. You might want to read it, again. It looks like you missed my point.

          • Reginald Selkirk
            Posted June 26, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

            What would have to happen for you to consider the analogy to be not absurd?

            Maybe if Trump promoted violence against opponents? Maybe if he opposed all immigration by brown people, not just “illegal” immigration? Maybe if he threatened freedom of the press? Maybe if he garnered the support of neo-Nazis and white supremacists? Maybe if he promised to order US military personnel to commit war crimes?

            • Posted June 26, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

              Mighty well done!

            • Victoria
              Posted June 26, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

              It’s up to you to defend the Hitler analogy. I’m not a Trump supporter. I’m saying the comparison between his views and Hitler are asinine.

              The fact you put “illegal” in scare quotes shows I’m dealing with an unreasonable mindset. We don’t have open borders as much as some utopians on the left would like it. People who cross without authorization into this country are here illegally. Deal with it, and justify it within the central democratic pillar of the rule of law.

              • Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                Ahem: What about the legal foreigners who just, unfortunately, happen to look and sound like the illegal ones? I expect that’s what the quotes were meant to include, legal plus look-alikes, as Trump goes after them with a broad brush.

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    God, the GOP, bowties — now if Will would just abandon his woo-ish belief that the Chicago Cubs can win the World Series, he’d qualify for the reality-based community.

    • Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      You’re too generous… 😉

    • Victoria
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:20 am | Permalink

      “reality-based community”

      I used to think that fit until I realised the degree of leftist denial on:

      Islam and religious accomodation in general
      cultural relativism
      heritability of intelligence
      Sex differences
      ‘Race is just a social construct’
      immigration and labour markets

      All of these find many people on the left living in fantasies fueled by emotion, ideology, and politics.

      • Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        Is it my imagination or has the bell curve of left-right politics turned into a two-humped camel’s back, with both humps at the extremes? Reality is somewhere in the middle, along with pragmatism.

        • Victoria
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Not really.

          The only place you find people with realistic views on environmental sustainability is on the far left, although many greens are depressingly in denial on population levels.

          Both extremes, Sanders and Trump supporters, recognize the failures of neoliberalism for working class people and the use of immigration and free trade agreements by global capital to prevent unions and nations from managing inequalities.

          European right-wing parties are the only ones who acknowledge the sociological research showing that social cohesion is central to maintenance of the welfare state.

          We live in a politically incoherent world. Everything fractured after 1991. Supporting the welfare state and working people was once the sine qua non of being on the left, now the dominant view of what constitutes liberalism, as exemplified by our own disagreement in this thread, is the ‘wolrd citizen’ viewpoint. I remain a labor-focused lefty, because that’s the majority of the populace and those most vulnerable.

          • Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps I am just older than you. I perceive the changes as having begun in the late 1940s, after Pat Robertson’s run for president (or, should I say, pastor in chief). The religious right decided on a longer, more subtle approach, eventually leading up to GW Bush as lay leader in chief, and along the way, the bible was entered into schools via “under God” in the Pledge, “In God We Trust” on the money, and so on. Refusal to believe in climate change is too often based on belief that God’s rainbow signifies otherwise. Refusal to support social programs ties in with the Prosperity Gospel that led to so many uber-wealthy Christian leaders who promise God will support their Ponzi schemes with blessings for the poor who donate to them. One has only to give a nod to helping the poor in order to open that all important door to heaven. Look at Mother Theresa, who’s draw of donations lead to more wealth for the Catholic church, rather than medical care to relieve the humility and suffering of the poor and dying.

            Along with all this, and perhaps the worst slight of all, was the gradual turning of our educational systems away from science and critical thinking, especially in poor neighborhoods. It reminds me of the time before the Protestant Revolution, when leaders (like Trump) essentially said, “Follow me! Trust me! And don’t worry. I’ll do all the thinking for you.”

            The backward progress, this time, has been so slow, subtle, and occult, until GW Bush’s reign, when the “shepherds” believed even they could finally come out of the closet to lead the “sheep” populations, that most of us didn’t see it coming.

            And now, it’s here. And Trump is the loudest of Gabriel’s Trumpets, with the catchiest melody, calling all the sheep together.

    • colnago80
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Laugh it up, at this point in time the Cubs are the best team in baseball and, barring injuries, will be favored to win the World Series.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Dream it up … and wait till next year. I mean, it’s the Cubs; what could possibly go wrong, right?

    • Filippo
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Surely bowties are at least nominally better than baggy pants worn below the lower limb of the gluteals. One doesn’t have to constantly hold up the bowtie in order to keep it in place.

  19. Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Poor George Will. I guess the GOP didn’t make him a Super-Delegate, so he quit. (Of course, it’s the Democrats who have them, so maybe he should soften a few more views and switch sides.)

    • scottoest
      Posted June 25, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Sad thing about the Democrats, is that they would probably welcome Will with open arms.

  20. Posted June 25, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I certainly am worried. Trump is like a cockroach invasion that simply won’t go away. He’s surprised everyone every step of the way. Brexit supporters have strong parallels to Trump supporters and that vote won in a country more liberal than ours.

    Worse, I’d the economy tanks in the next view months, that historically plays out badly for the incumbent parties. Yes, Trump supports Brexit so Hillary could hit him hard for that. Yet, at this point, I think it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one if Trump somehow turns that around too. He just won’t go away.

  21. revelator60
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    “Nobody looks good in a bow tie”
    Not true! Look at Churchill. The real problem with bow ties is that the wrong people wear them (Republicans) and they tend to wear tacky and loud ones (red with white polka dots for example). The bow tie, despite being harder to knot than the regular version, can add a touch of elegance if it has a dark or subdued color.

    As for the Republicans… If Hillary wins handily, the Republicans might go the way of the Whigs, and American politics could permanently realign toward the center. The American Right-wing will become more like the European right-wing, while extreme right-wing Conservatism will cease to become powerful enough to decide nominations. Extreme Rightists will form a large fringe party of their own, while most Republicans will move to the center and toward the Democrats, whose own party will eventually divide into a Centrist party and a more Leftward one.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Very interesting look into the future. The ideas are as realistic as any I’ve seen. I suspect the demise of the Republican party will occur but not for the same reasons that cleared away the Whigs, who’s time had come because the party could not consolidate on for or against slavery. The new Republicans made it clear and certainly was the opposite of today’s republicans.

      The Republican party is so far right today I think it is more of a religious cult. It is the party of no and looks backward on every issue of substance. It will die just as life itself must die. The American system as a whole is in very bad shape indeed. Without strong and specific changes in our Constitution it is likely to fall as the Romans fell.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I learned to tie a bow tie as a high school senior. For several days I went around all puffed up at my accomplishment, all out of proportion to its (utter non-)importance.

      Surely the severest critic of bowties will charitably give a dispensation to the classic, timeless tuxedo.

  22. Felipe Maldonado
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I used to respect and like Wills opinions before, even if not always were my own, but lately he had sold his soul to extreme Republican demagogy.
    Leaving the demised Republican Party, gives him a new chance with me

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