Author: Robert Wargas

What Maisky Knew

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In the November 21 issue of The Weekly Standard, I have reviewed The Maisky Diaries, edited by Gabriel Gorodetsky. This fine volume covers the personal writings of Ivan Maisky, Soviet ambassador to the United Kingdom during the critical period of 1932 to 1943. Here’s a bit of my judgment of the man:

In the 1930s, British foreign policy was still a matter of balancing the continental powers, particularly France and Germany; and if we avoid the arrogance that hindsight can bring, we should also remember that Neville Chamberlain genuinely thought he was securing a course for peace in Europe. Britain knew how weak its armed forces were—its army, especially—and this knowledge, as Lloyd George told Maisky, was doubtless a factor in Chamberlain’s “deal” with Hitler at Munich.

Maisky, however, had nothing but contempt for such calculations, coming across at certain times here as a kind of thirties neoconservative. Indeed, it’s hard at times to discern that Maisky was a Communist at all, or that he represented a brutal, totalitarian government. His comportment in these pages is measured; his language free of cant. Even his looks—the well-fed, portly body, the kindly eyes, the authentic smile—will strike the reader as very different from the dour, self-defensive faces of that era’s most prominent Soviets.

Read the whole thing here.

Trump Won Voters Exactly Where He Needed Them

Last week, at The Catholic Herald, I analyzed Trump’s Midwestern victory more closely:

In the northeast and midwest, Trump won because he performed well in important counties that Mitt Romney, the previous Republican presidential nominee, had lost. Republicans turned out for Trump in the suburbs and rural towns of these states, creating long lines at many of the polls. Together with a poor Democratic turnout for Hillary Clinton and help from many Democratic cross-over voters in these areas, Trump achieved his upset victory.

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Who Are the Midwestern Voters Who Supported Trump?

At The Catholic Herald, I write about how Donald Trump won by appealing to middle-class voters in the Midwest:

Many are of these voters are registered Democrats. They tend to be moderate – usually left of centre on economics but often socially and culturally conservative. There’s no room for them in the modish party of 2016. Journalists and politicians acquire no social status by writing about their troubles. These men and women are openly mocked and ridiculed by the centres of cultural power in America: the media, the universities, and the entertainment industry. They’re milked for votes and tax dollars and then told they’re too “privileged” to have any legitimate grievances.

In the past, they rallied around Ronald Reagan – the famous “Reagan Democrats.” Later many coalesced around insurgent candidates like Ross Perot or Pat Buchanan. Now many simply stay home and don’t vote. But many also voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 – one of the perplexing details for journalists who believe racial animus explains everything.

Teenage Journalism

In case you missed it, Mike Pence’s dog died a few weeks ago, and here’s how the malicious imps at Jezebel headlined their piece:

An October Surprise for Mike Pence’s Dog: Death

The blog post, to which I refuse to link, leads with this sentence: “Tragedy has befallen the Trump-Pence campaign, which was already struggling, and it comes in the form of that tiny, pup-sized grim reaper who comes for all doggies eventually.”

A picture of Pence and his wife smiling with their dog follows.

As you can see, Jezebel is lower than rat droppings on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. This kind of “journalism” is sadly common. In the last, say, ten years, we’ve seen the rise of what I call Teenage Journalism. This phenomenon is not limited to the United States. I’ve also noticed it in British journalism, an industry with which I’m thoroughly familiar and in which I currently work — though it’s not nearly as acute over in Blighty.

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