Rick Wilson’s 300 Page Diary Entry

In “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” Rick Wilson takes aim at the side of a barn and hits it. A founding member of the Never-Trump movement, Wilson has written a sarcastic, vitriolic, acerbic, acid-tinged, I’m-running-out-of-adjectives-that-mean-angry diatribe against Trump-world.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wilson’s style, it’s a jarring combination. He has an elitist’s unfiltered disdain for the Midwest, the South and anyone with less than a college education. He name drops obscure political insiders next to fancy-pants liquor brands. He defends uptight Washington society and its strangle-hold on government. He writes caustic, biting, hyperbolic prose with skill, but it’s not subtle or analytical. It’s an in your face, brawling, profane, wilting, diatribe of bitterness. Wilson’s prose stylings are what Trump would produce if he had a vocabulary and the chops to string together a coherent sentence.

The author makes three big points. First, Trump is awful. Second, Trump soils everything he touches. Finally, and (especially) there is a big, fat I-told-you-so from Wilson. As someone in the center, I have voted for folks from both parties both locally and nationally. Early in the 2016 GOP primary season, I too was on the “never Trump” team. I still am. Trump is an empty, celebrity gadfly. He is awful and corrupting. He diminishes and sullies everyone who comes in contact with him. As a consummate insecure narcissist, there’s only one star in his universe and it has an orange glow and a double chin.

Yet even though I agree with much of Wilson’s point of view, this entertaining, self-indulgent, snarky, book length diary-entry will change no minds. It’s written with little pretense of seriousness. NPR’s review states

The book has itself the intellectual rigor of a Comedy Central roast for Justin Bieber — and isn’t conscious of its own central irony: Though it calls for ascending to a higher plane, beyond Trump, it’s filled with empty insults.

That’s fair. It’s an anti-Trump book that bleats with Trumpian vitriol using bigger words. Not satisfied with being right, Wilson gleefully dishes that White House staffers who left the administration cannot find employment. He revels that Rex Tillerson and Jim Kelly have been completely disgraced. The entire administration is irredeemable.

Wilson admits to being a jerk – well and good. Acknowledging you have a problem is only the first step. Meanwhile, Having sunk the USS Trump and all souls on board, Wilson fails to offer much of a solution. One suspects that if Trump could articulate conservative principles instead of being an empty suit, Wilson would be hunky dorey with the egregious flaws in his character.

If you are a Democrat, liberal, progressive, or a conservative who thinks Trump is awful, this book will reinforce and harden your views. It’s shock jock entertainment in written form. But other than a fan-fiction vignette with Ivanka and a weird homo-erotic fantasy involving Sean Hannity, there is nothing new here.


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5 thoughts on “Rick Wilson’s 300 Page Diary Entry

  1. “Everything Trump Touches Dies”

    This phrase strikes me as being true and also potentially hard to deal with at the same time.

    Way back when, the Italian economist and professor Luigi Zengales (sp?) argued in the NY Times that the best way to combat Trump was to stick to the issues and not get distracted by Trump’s outrageousness and personality. He said that the Italian left tripped themselves for years against Bertolucci because they were repulsed by his antics.

    As advice goes, this is harmless enough except that the walls between arguing on policy and arguing against tactic/personality might not as solid or sound as people like Professor Zengales would claim they are or want them to be.

    I loathe Trump as much as anyone on my side of the fence and am not really found of anti-anti Trump arguments either. I see Trump as having zero redeeming qualities and it seems like he proves this and more every single day through a tweet, statement, or other action.

    I think the pundit class has a view or wants their to be a view that in a democracy, political parties can not stray too far from public opinion or they will suffer the consequences. Sometimes this is true. See Labour taking nearly 20 years to gain a parliamentary majority (1979-1997) and their long exile during which they remained committed to an old-school socialism that did not appeal to the times or the British electorate. Though there is also evidence that Labour could have won in 1997 with a much more left-leaning PM in John Smith than Tony Blair. The only thing that stopped this was Smith’s death from a heart attack which led to Blair ascending to leadership. Smith might not have been Michael Foot but he was not New Labour either.

    But when it comes to Trump, popular opinion might stop them temporarily but never completely from going full speed ahead. A good example is seeing how much Sessions and Miller remain on the immigration hardliner course no matter what public opinion is against them.

    The problem with Trump and companies unique levels of horribleness is that they do turn everything they touch and whatever is adjacent to that into shit. How does one engage without being debased themselves?

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  2. This is one of those reviews you’re thankful for because it saves you from having to read the book in question. (I wish I had seen one of these before purchasing John Scalzi’s Redshirts.) The direction from which Wilson’s fury flows makes him interesting on Twitter and (more intermittently) on TV, but I’ve learned not to click through to those essays of his that people approvingly pass around.

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