At the most recent Republican debate, two of our favorite politicians engaged in verbal fisticuffs for the first time. As US News reported:
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz attacked Trump for his "New York values," values that are "socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media." Mr. Trump fired back with a heartfelt defense of the city, arguing, "New York is a great place. It's got great people. It's got loving people, wonderful people."
The interesting thing is that both of them are unarguably correct.
The city and people of New York have been staunchly socially liberal for a very long time. Country preachers have railed against big-city libertines for the entire history of the Republic and even before. Just about any perversion can find a comfortable home somewhere in Manhattan provided the price is right.
Of course, the leftist mainstream media is largely the voice of Manhattan. Fox News, which is actually centrist but seems conservative in comparison to the rest, is also run out of New York.
Even the looniest of liberals will find a ready hearing and willing platform in New York. If Ted Cruz' "New York values" are lifestyle, social-conservative culture-wars type issues, then most Republicans want nothing to do with New York "values."
But there's another side to New York City that Donald Trump exemplifies in many ways. New York is the spiritual home of the up-from-nothing go-getter who rises by dint of their own efforts, determination, street smarts, and pointy elbows.
New Yorkers are culturally bold, brash, and forceful. They are the furthest thing from shrinking violets, and the very concept of "leading from behind" is alien to them.
There's also a certain peculiar type of New York honesty and loyalty. In other parts of the country, people act nice to your face but stab you in the back as soon as you turn around. In New York, more often than not, your enemy is perfectly open about his position and gets directly in your face as often as possible and as loudly as possible.
Think of such New York luminaries as Leona Helmsley, who openly declared that "only the little people pay taxes" as testified in open court. Her speaking truth to power didn't help her much when it came to sentencing, but you've got to admire her boldness, chutzpah, and her honesty.
Similarly, Pauline Kael reacted to Nixon's defeat of George McGovern in a historic landslide with astonishment: "How could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him!" Where most people would be shamefacedly hiding their support for such a monumental loser as "Mr. Liberal" McGovern, Kael gladly rode his ship right down to the bottom alongside him.
There are some very good reasons Mr. Trump has soared to such popularity, and continues to garner appreciative remarks from the writers at Scragged. Many of them relate to these particular New York values. What have we been complaining about for years? That Republicans do not fight; they always waffle, cave, or give up and let Democrats blow the budget yet again. Well, we don't have to worry about that with The Donald, now do we!
What's more, practically every American of whatever political position holds our politicians in contempt because they lie like rugs. Virtually all of them can be accurately and provably accused of innumerable flip-flops.
So can Donald Trump, of course, but unlike the rest, he doesn't seem to make a habit of lying as naturally as breathing. So far as we can tell, he tells the truth as he sees it on that particular day.
It would be nice to have a little more constancy than Mr. Trump exhibits, for sure, but consistency is not all it might be. Barack Obama has been nothing but constantly far-far-left since Day One; we'd all have been better off with a passel of inconsistencies. Even Jimmy Carter, for all his incompetence, did a few things right if only by accident.
In fact, on one particular Trumpian flip-flop, he comes off looking more likeable and human:
I'm pro-life, but I changed my view a number of years ago. One of the primary reasons I changed [was] a friend of mine's wife was pregnant, and he didn't really want the baby. He was crying as he was telling me the story. He ends up having the baby and the baby is the apple of his eye. It's the greatest thing that's ever happened to him. And you know here's a baby that wasn't going to be let into life. And I heard this, and some other stories, and I am pro-life.
That is change of heart that we can believe in for it has the ring of truth. Most people who spend their entire lives and careers in the pure, pristine social liberalism of New York simply assume that abortion is an absolute good beyond question. How few, when confronted with living, breathing evidence, would reexamine their assumptions and change their tune? As conservatives, don't we want converts?
Is this any guarantee that Donald Trump would fight abortion with full vigor? Of course not, but it is fairly unlikely he'll quietly flip back once elected. He doesn't seem to be the sort that folds under pressure, and billions of dollars' worth of pressure are being exerted on him right now to no visible effect.
Much the same could be said of Ted Cruz. We admire him, and he'd make a great President next time. But it's those very New York values exemplified by Trump that, it seems more and more, are what we need right now.
Just this week, Sarah Palin, a close friend and supporter of Ted Cruz, endorsed Donald Trump. Cruz reacted graciously and with gratitude for her previous efforts on his behalf. No doubt both of them will be happy to take her calls, and maybe, just maybe, there'll be a reconciliation.
How about Trump-Cruz 2016? That's one more famous New York stylistic tic - the opportunistic merger.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.