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Trump Didn’t Kill the Bush Values

by Daniel Henninger,
from The Wall Street Journal,

The opposition to traditional virtues was evident at the 1992 convention.

With the certainty of the tides, the media is awash with invidious comparisons between George H.W. Bush in death and Donald J. Trump in the White House. From the anti-Trump metronomes at the Washington Post there was this: “Trump’s time in office, by contrast, has been defined by a war against virtually all of the norms and institutions that Bush held dear.” There is nothing particularly unique to New England or even white Anglo-Saxon Protestanism about those values. These traits emerged everywhere as generations of Americans turned the frontier into a civilized nation. They were necessary. Most of the Bush values can be found on any list of what are called—or used to be called—virtues. It is telling that these same simple virtues are now being praised by a media that has done so much in the past 30 years to undermine them. The big change that was coming in the political culture hit me hard at the Republican National Convention in Houston in 1992. The “religious right” was there, but what I recall isn’t so much Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan but the families who showed up to listen to a speech on the culture by Vice President Dan Quayle. By then, the religious right was used to being vilified by liberals. What I saw in the audience was mostly husbands and wives in their 30s or 40s with one or two children along. The men looked as if they might be middle managers or computer technicians. I thought they seemed pretty normal, but intensely focused on what back then had become a big issue—“family values.” As I stood among the media, it couldn’t have been clearer that most of them were largely appalled by these very traditional people and their politics.

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