Res Ipsa Loquitur


That’s a Latin expression commonly used by lawyers. It means the thing speaks for itself, and it seems a fitting headline for a post on yesterday’s hearing on the Kavanaugh nomination. I was about to try writing something thoughtful about the event, but when I read a piece by Victor Davis Hanson over at NRO this morning, I found that he’d beaten me to the punch again. This is from his opening paragraph of a short essay about the accomplishments of the Trump administration—

The Brett Kavanaugh opening hearing turned into a progressive circus, with shouting would-be Democratic presidential candidates vying with screaming protesters to see who could be the most obnoxious. Ossified senior Democrat senators appeared bewildered how to match or somehow channel the street theater of activists on their left flank and ended up being sort of punked by their own protesters. It will be hard for network news to find a soundbite from all that to look presentable, given that democracy cannot function when elected officials join the mob.

The odds are overwhelmingly against the Democrats being able to stop the Kavanaugh nomination. Yesterday’s circus was and the succeeding days will be political theater aimed at energizing each parties “base” for the midterm elections. The tactical question for the Democrats should be whether they are energizing Trump’s voters more than their own.

The real thrust of VDH’s piece is contained in the first sentence: “Donald Trump in his Twitter storms apparently has no idea that he is winning.” Hanson would have Trump let his accomplishments speak for themselves rather than engage in such shameless self-promotion, He goes on to recite various economic and foreign policy achievements of the current administration, and concludes—

In other words, Trump’s superb foreign-policy team (Pompeo, Mattis, Bolton, and Haley) and his economic and judicial-appointments advisers have real accomplishments that reflect well on the Trump administration, and thus are driving the media and the Left into abject hysteria.

All this is missing is a little silent forbearance on Trump’s own part to allow both his achievements and his critics, respectively, to speak for themselves, without need of his Twitter editorialization.

It reminds one of the saloon-brawling scene in Shane, when the bloodied Joe Starrett and Shane keep beating up the Ryker outfit, apparently oblivious to their ongoing success — until the bartender shoos them out and orders them to quit brawling, with the verdict: “You’ve won.”

VDH is an insightful historian. Trump is an insightful marketer. It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Meanwhile. if you think the Democrats have gone crazy over this nomination, just wait until the next time Trump gets to nominate a Supreme Court justice and make the balance 6 to 3.

UPDATE—Stacy McCain comments on yesterday’s circus here.

8 thoughts on “Res Ipsa Loquitur

  1. In other words, Trump’s superb foreign-policy team (Pompeo, Mattis, Bolton, and Haley) and his economic and judicial-appointments advisers have real accomplishments that reflect well on the Trump administration,…”

    In other words, Victor Davis Hanson is a Never-Trump betrayer of the conservative and pro-life movements who simply won’t admit that he was wrong, and, instead wants you to believe that the successes of the Donald Trump Presidency are the results of the serendipity of stumbling upon the right set of advisers rather the natural consequence of Donald Trump governing exactly as he said he would.

    If I were offering someone unsolicited advice, and, I had malice against that person, I would have the intellectual and personal integrity to disclose my feelings. Apparently, Victor Hanson Davis lacks one or both.

    Donald Trump was a student, businessman, TV personality, whose Magnum Opus is a Presidency that ended bad trade deals, crushed ISIS, move the embassy to Jerusalem, and the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

    Victor Davis Hanson’s Magnum Opus is the Never Trump issue in which he attempted to turn the conservative movement into a cheerleaders for the election of Hillary Clinton. Disgraceful.

    • Are you sure about that? Victor Davis Hanson has been one of the most pro-Trump people in National Review, alongside Conrad Black and Andrew McCarthy. His writing helped change my mind on Trump, and I’ve heard him argue in favor of Trump against NeverTrump people.

      His piece is more advice to Trump rather than opposition to Trump. Let Trump’s victories and parade of winning do the talking, as opposed to tweets. A NeverTrumper would not say that Trump keeps racking up wins.

      Here is an interview with VDH in American Greatness to give a better perspective on him:
      https://amgreatness.com/2017/12/18/victor-davis-hanson-on-the-agrarian-idea-in-the-age-of-trump/

      He also writes for American Greatness from time to time, like this piece here from earlier this month. https://amgreatness.com/2018/09/02/trump-on-the-ground/

      • Victor Davis Hanson simply did not say that Donald Trump “keeps racking up wins.” He claims pointedly that “[Trump’s foreign, economic and judicial-selection] advisors have real accomplishments that reflect on well on the Trump Administration.”

        That is precisely the talking points of most of the Never Trump movement. [

    • VDH has the personal and intellectual integrity to do his homework before embarking on Jihad.

      The Case For Trump

      Conservatives should vote for the Republican nominee. Donald Trump needs a unified Republican party in the homestretch if he is to have any chance left of catching Hillary Clinton — along with winning higher percentages of the college-educated and women than currently support him.

      • If you had a shred of personal and intellectual integrity you would admit just about everything you said about Donald Trump was wrong.

        • Not at all. He has been surprisingly conservative in his governance, but that doesn’t change the fact that he lies like he needs it to live, and his irrefutable personal moral failures are manifest and need no apology from me.

          If you had a shred of personal or intellectual integrity, you’d admit that you’re a hopelessly starstruck fanboi.

          POTUS is a job, not an idol worthy of worship.

          • I have never seen a politician who was beyond criticism. Every pro-Trump commentator occasionally criticizes the man. Is Kurt Schlichter a NeverTrump guy now?

            NeverTrump guys do not write pieces called The Case for Trump or write for American Greatness. VDH is not even remotely in the category of Bill Kristol or Jonah Goldberg.

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