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Historian Meacham Says Dems Win ‘Intellectual’ Argument, Trump Wins ‘Emotional’ One

Historian Meacham Says Dems Win ‘Intellectual’ Argument, Trump Wins ‘Emotional’ One

From ‘Leading from Behind’ to Iran Nuke Deal, What ‘Intellectual’ Arguments Have Dems Won?

It’s the same kind of elitism expressed by Brexit opponents who are casting Leave people as ignorant, parochial hicks . . . On today’s Morning Joe, historian Jon Meacham disparaged Trump supporters as people who think with their “gut” instead of with their “head.”

After video rolled of Trump supporting waterboarding and saying we had to fight ISIS fire with fire, Meacham sniffed: “Democrats tend to seem to win the intellectual argument and Trump walks away with the emotional argument.” Really? What was the “intellectual argument” won by Hillary, Obama and other Dems on the Russian reset, “leading from behind,” the Syrian redline, the toppling of Gaddafi, the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and the Iranian nuclear deal? How’s this for an “intellectual argument”? Take your patronizing, condescending, elitism and shove it.

Historian Meacham Claims Dems Win Intellectual Argument, Trump Wins Emotional One from Mark Finkelstein on Vimeo.

DONALD TRUMP: They said, what do you think about waterboarding? I said, I like it a lot and I don’t think it’s tough enough. We have to be so strong. We have to fight so viciously and violently because we’re dealing with violent people. Vicious people. And, you know, they eat dinner like us. Can you imagine them sitting around the table or wherever they’re eating their dinner, talking about the Americans don’t do waterboarding and yet we chop off heads. They probably think we’re weak, we’re stupid, we don’t know what we’re doing. We have no leadership. You know, you have to fight fire with fire. We have laws. And the laws say you can’t do this, you can’t do that. You can’t do a lot. Their laws say you can do anything you want. And the more vicious you are, the better. So we can’t do waterboarding, which is not the nicest thing, but it’s peanuts compared to many alternatives, right? So we can’t do waterboarding, but they can do chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages. They can do whatever they want to do.

. . .

JON MEACHAM: You see this both in the globalization, the trade debate, the terror debate, where the Democrats tend to seem to win the intellectual argument and Trump walks away with the emotional argument. And so, to some extent, the drama of the next four, five months is going to be, is it the head or the gut that wins out?


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Humphrey's Executor | June 29, 2016 at 9:14 am

Intellectually, it’s hard to argue with Gen. Curtis Lemay: “If you kill enough of them, they top fighting.”

    mochajava76 in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | June 29, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Except that doesn’t always work out. I am no historian, but I have thought that R. McNamara believed that mounting fatalities would lead the Viet Cong to give up. But that thinking was flawed.

    “Ignorant of Vietnamese history and culture, McNamara, Rusk and their colleagues failed utterly to understand the dedication and staying power of the communist North Vietnamese.”

    I think the same would hold true to the radical Islamic fundamentalists behind ISIS. We should continue military strategy, but try to encourage Islam to have their own reformation from the top down.

      Valerie in reply to mochajava76. | June 29, 2016 at 11:58 am

      If by “from the top down” you mean have the Saudis re-think their murderous religious textbooks and madrassas, I agree. There also is Iran, a country that spends its beautiful oil money paying terrorists.

      TX-rifraph in reply to mochajava76. | June 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      “We should continue military strategy, but try to encourage Islam to have their own reformation from the top down.”

      1) Our current “strategy” appears to be very similar to the strategy used in Vietnam where the Democrat White House (Johnson)fought with a political strategy rather than a military strategy. Vietnam was lost because it was not intended to be won. Johnson was a slick and dishonest politician. He knew politics but he did not know how to fight a war.

      2) “Try to encourage” is weak and naive. Lemay understood how to win a war. Weakness invites contempt and escalation. Do you see any of that going on recently? Strength is respected.

      3) Reformation from the top down? Why? ISIS is doing what their religion demands them to do. Rememeber that Obama recently stated that WE have to change — submission I guess.

        mochajava76 in reply to TX-rifraph. | June 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

        Any reading of an ancient text involves hermeneutics; the principles of interpretation on what is a general truth, what is cultural, and how one applies it.

        Islam has a greater disparity between what is doctrinal Islam and what is Folk Islam. The vast majority of the radicals are reading the text (or hearing it from the local mullahs) through the lens of the period of 600 CE.

        What I was suggesting, but didn’t phrase it precisely, is to encourage the scholarly community of Islam to engage in the Folk Islam beliefs and practices, to educate a critical mass of followers who interpret their writings in the modern/postmodern mileua.

        First, this will be tremendously difficult, but there are Islamic devotees who live in the US and interpret the texts this way.

        Second, this is not a binary argument, where we either do this OR pursue military strategies.

        I don’t know what the probability of success is, or if this is even possible, but the alternatives are terrifying to entertain. And these radical followers will not be won over by mere power. They have already demonstrated that. Their current belief system does not allow for that.

          Barry in reply to mochajava76. | June 29, 2016 at 11:39 pm

          “And these radical followers will not be won over by mere power.”

          I think perhaps you missed the point entirely. Kill enough of the “radical followers” and the remainder will quit. If enough is the entire lot, so be it. Curtis Lemay would be done with this in a couple of months.

      Old0311 in reply to mochajava76. | June 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      But LBJ and McNamara never had the balls to put B52’s over Hanoi either. Their bombs make BIG holes. Lemay was right.

        MattMusson in reply to Old0311. | June 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        And, the South Vietnam was a secure place until the Democrats in Congress reneged on providing spar parts and military supplies.
        We won until the Democrats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

      Milhouse in reply to mochajava76. | June 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      This is bullshit. McNamara and Rusk were right in the first place. After their last desperate attempt, the Tet Offensive, was comprehensively defeated, the communists were ready to give up. It wasn’t till they saw how the USA anti-war movement was surging that they realised if they just held on their fifth column would eventually win the war for them.

      ConradCA in reply to mochajava76. | June 30, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      LBJ prevented our military from even attempting to win in Vietnam. He prevented us from bombing the levies, Hypong harbor and waging the same type of bombing that we did against Japan and Germany. He prevented our military from invading the North and conquering it. He prevented our military from even attempting to win.

inspectorudy | June 29, 2016 at 9:25 am

What this elitist is saying is that only intellectuals can make logical decisions like they have in Europe. What he and other elitists don’t seem to understand is that Europe is failing rapidly and in 20 years will not be anything like it is today. The European countries are all weaklings with socialists governments. Their entire framework is crumbling but they are blind to their own destruction. Massive immigration, loss of national identity, low birth rates and almost zero military capability are making them no match for the islamic hoards that are pouring into their countries. These are democratic decisions made by elite. This fool wants us to believe that we must follow him and his logic?

The Democrats have been saying their opposition is stupid since at least the election of Ronald Reagan, and they claim that their candidates are all intellectual powerhouses. Every time.

    casualobserver in reply to Valerie. | June 29, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Whenever they win on policy it is due to emotion. Whenever they lose on policy they cry it’s because of emotion. Yet most of their loses are due to information. Facts. Thought. Analysis.

    The healthcare bill is the more prime recent example. They picked factoids devoid of their context and promoted them with emotion. Little children will die without coverage. Average life span is America is “below” most of the West with socialized medicine. Yadda yadda.

    Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | June 29, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Much longer than that. Eisenhower was also stupid. Goldwater was stupid. Ford was stupid. The only Republican leader who wasn’t portrayed as stupid was Nixon, because his intelligence was so obvious they couldn’t deny it, so they portrayed him instead as an evil genius. Somehow, though, stupid Republican leaders become smart in retirement or death, so that the current leaders can be portrayed as stupid by comparison.

    murkyv in reply to Valerie. | June 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Notice that this time they aren’t saying Trump is stupid.

    Just his supporters.

American Human | June 29, 2016 at 9:57 am

This Meacham guy uses the typical big-government elitist argument and point of view i.e. all Trump supporters are identical in size and shape and temperament and education etc. therefore we can make a single statement that applies to all of them.
This is the typical government-eye view of the world: One Size Fits All.

There are about 315 million people in this country. The government looks at all 315 million people and sees only a single person.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 29, 2016 at 10:01 am

What is intellectual about throwing a temper tantrum, ommandeering the House, and engaging in a sit in because the American people have not entrusted your political party with the constitutional authority to control what bills come up in the House?

What is intellectual about Chris Murphy falsely claiming Republicans want to sell guns to ISIS?

What is intellectual about pretending America’s streets are like the Wild West at a time when gun homicides are at a 50 year low?

What is intellectual about referring to Trump as the second coming of Hitler and a fascist?

What is intellectual about Alan Grayson saying Republicans want you to “die quickly” because they don’t want government to have a monopoly on health care?

What is intellectual about saying Republicans want to throw granny over a cliff because they want to reform entitlements to avert a financial crisis?

The world is “greener”, and at least in America crop yields set new records almost yearly. The air in America has not been as clean as it is now since at least 1980. So what is intellectual about pretending the world is on the cusp of environmental and ecological catastrophe if Democrat’s preferred energy policies are not adopted?

Meacham is right that Trump stokes emotions. But suggesting Hillary and Democrats use rhetoric based mostly on intellect, reason and rationality is absurd. They routinely employ emotional rhetoric, and are probably more effective at it than Republicans.

casualobserver | June 29, 2016 at 10:01 am

Witness the view of the left (most the progressive left) about every cultural and policy topic. Call it elitist, if you want. But there is not a single issue that hasn’t been explained by the “explainers” (also known as pundits or the media) in a nearly identical way. Smart and intelligent versus emotional. The irony is that most of the progressive wins in the last few decades have been thanks to emotions. Not facts. Not intelligence.

And with the Brexit who-ha we see that it isn’t just our part of the West that suffers this arrogance.

Intellect to intellect, I’ll put my beagle up against Hillary any day and kiss your back side if he loses.

Abortion rites (i.e. “final solution”), Planned Parenthood (e.g. torture, trafficking, harvesting, cannibalism), [class] diversity (e.g. racism), devaluation of capital and labor (e.g. fiscal misalignments), progressive wars, opportunistic regime changes, mass emigration/immigration (e.g. refugee crises, excessive immigration, illegal immigration), selective exclusion (e.g. “=”), redistributive change, Pro-choice religious/moral philosophy, etc.

The intellectual arguments, no matter how irrational or illogical or surreal, always win. That said, Forward!

People tend to vote/act on their emotions and then intellectually rationalize these actions.

So, if Trump is winning emotionally, then this is good news.

I fear, however, that the author has it backwards. Trump’s emotional arguments, safety and security and wealth usually lose to arguments like Clinton’s tribal and status based arguments.

Oh, and abortion rites (i.e. pro-choice/abortion or selective exclusion/abortion of unwanted or inconvenient babies) for wealth, pleasure, leisure, and narcissistic fulfillment — and government revenue, Democrat leverage, and anti-native polices, but self-defense must be restricted and regulated to favor the abortionists (transhuman), rape-rapists (transcivil), pedophiles (transsocial), et al.

Any takers that historian Meacham has a plagiarism issue?
As in Kearns Goodman, Ambrose (who I like), Fakeed Zaharias among others.
If it wasn’t for plagiarism, lefties wouldn’t have an intellectual position.

    Mark Finkelstein in reply to secondwind. | June 29, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I think it’s unfair to suggest, without any evidence other than guilt by association, that Meacham is a plagiarist.


The Dims ALWAYS use emotion to drive their voters. It’s all they’ve got. “Hope and Change” and “Do SOMETHING for the CHILDREN!” and all that pablum.

It scares them to death to think that their monopoly on this approach to dealing with the electorate is under attack.

the left always thinks it is intellectually superior no matter how dumb their policies are

Appeal to authority is an emotional argument (as well as a logical fallacy).

Common Sense | June 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm

I think Paul hit a home run with his comment. ^^

“It scares them to death to think that their monopoly on this approach to dealing with the electorate is under attack.”

Trump out does them every-time and the dems know it and are scared to death. NO ONE is going to listen to the LYIN Media as Trump likes to say!

Watch as Trump moves ahead and the Dems melt down to pure craziness like we have never seen.

The Democrats are the anti-science party, the anti-rational party, the party that runs on outrage and offended feelings. Yes, Trump is also doing that; that’s because he’s a Democrat.

Their arguments are like their polls: bullsh-t.