By George That’s Some Very Sad and Silly Stuff

Some disappointments fade from memory as the years proceed — many if we are lucky — while others sink only to rise as unwanted reminders of hopes dashed or fallen short. They can come at random, little belches of swamp gas from the rot of failure, and one such sour emanation is today wafting across the Nine rags’ opinion pages.

First, though, be aware that authors seldom supply their own headlines, so there is no reason to blame George Brandis for ‘The alternative is awful, but not even conservatives should back Trump‘. Did you catch the “not even”? Now picture some comma-crunching SMH subeditor, perhaps blue-haired, pondering how to phrase the headline while musing ‘What’s lower than a conservative? Nothing!’ All that follows, though, must be assumed Brandis’ own work. It is not pleasant to be reminded that this a former attorney-general holding forth, although the secondhand-sourced silliness of what he has to say about Trump does shed some light on why Australia’s docile centre-right has ceded 20 or more years of lost ground. The spectacle of a man who was the nation’s lawyer-in-chief failing to notice the difference between prosecution and persecution, as in the many trials of Donald Trump, it’s as telling as it is sad.

Brandis begins with what must have struck him as both piercing insight and damning analogy, likening those who will hold the nose to vote for Trump as somehow akin to the Moscow-line bolshies of old, those red-ragging wharfies and ‘no enemies on the left’ sorts who applauded from afar as tanks rolled into Budapest and Prague. “We have seen a strikingly similar phenomenon emerge among elements of the right”, he would have you believe, proceeding to frame Trump’s more enthusiastic voters as supporters of

A failed candidate who stubbornly refused to accept the outcome of an election, encouraged his supporters to disrupt the proceedings of Congress to prevent the result being declared, and propagated without a shred of evidence the fantasy that the election had been stolen…

Oh dear, where to begin?

If refusing to accept the 2020 result makes Trump a crackpot conspiracist then he has plenty of company. As the lockstep left Washington Post‘s poll revealed in December, less than two-thirds of Americans overall now view the election as fair and square. Significantly, and no doubt as a result of noticing the flamboyantly imaginatively prosecutions being pursued against the GOP’s candidate-to-be, faith in the electoral system has declined across the board over the past three years, even among Democrats. Faith in the judicial system has likewise slipped, and worryingly that decline reflects a nonpartisan sentiment. Americans are divided on the merits of prosecuting Trump, but they accept their courts no longer dispense justice fairly or efficiently. As for the Justice Department and its FBI, only 17 per cent retain a “high confidence” in those in charge.

“Encouraged his supporters” did he? Given that one-third of the voting public believed then and believes now that Democrat states and cities play fast and loose in their tallyrooms, the call to just wait a minute seems a reasonable request if not, as unfolded on January 6, a decorous one. That Trump urged the faithful to maintain the peace and respect police apparently counts for nothing, so too his ignored request of 24 hours earlier to House Chairwoman Nancy Pelosi that she add 1000 additional police to Capitol Hill’s inauguration day security deployment. Does one need to be off the meds to believe the Biden administration hasn’t been delighted to brand critics one and all as “MAGA extremists”, wild radicals whose place in the democratic process is behind bars. Did you see the State of the Union? Iran, China, Russia, even Yemen’s rocketeers, it was none of those enemies which drew an old man to screeching threats and fighting words. It was fellow Americans in his crosshairs, the ones who disagree with him, dispute the Left’s goals generally and reject its passing fancies, from unreliable energy to male women.

One doesn’t like to think less of others, so the pity is that Brandis has popped up from earned obscurity to remind us of the need to do so. A political career responsible for what achievements exactly?  Supporting Malcolm Turnbull in the 2015 spill? A bit of a swipe at the arts luvvies that came to nought? And, oh yes, his 2017 Senate defence of keeping women in black sacks, prompted by Pauline Hanson’s appearance in a burqa. Her stunt was “an appalling thing to mock a religious garment” and he sought to assure Australia’s Muslims that this one of their creed’s quaint little ways was but another colourful tile in Australia’s gloriously wonderful multicultural mosaic. Sam Dastyari was such a fan of the performance (below) he tweeted about it (above).

Brandis concludes his piece with a clotted lump of half-digested January 6 Committee talking points. It seems Trump is forcing all those prosecutions in order to bring the justice system into disrepute, though the trusting Brandis generously concedes “perhaps the motivation of some of the prosecuting authorities may be questionable. But all of them?”

Well, yes, George, all of them — from Fani Willis in Georgia, where the Justice Department sent a flying squad of lawyers to help her small-claims boyfriend prosecute a former president for fun, fame and profit, to New York, where Attorney-General Letitia James ran for and attained office on a specific promise that she was the gal who would “get Trump”. The washed-up advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll, who claims Trump had his way with her in a Bergie’s changing stall? Her legal costs are being covered by  seven-figure Democrat superdonor Reid Hoffman, the case made possible at all only because the Democrat-dominated state legislature opened a 12-month window in which cold-case civil actions could be brought. The span of years had to be mighty wide, mind you, because the wacky Ms Carroll, who has painted all the trees on her upstate property blue, couldn’t recall in which year the purported traumatic assault took place. All this and worse, by George’s reckoning, is Trump’s cunning doing. Should the former High Commissioner ever witness a crime of violence, the police can expect to be told that the assailant attacked the other’s fist with his nose.

Twisted misconceptions about the courtrooms in which the 2024 presidential race is playing, ill informed as they are, seem benign when Brandis turns his ex-diplomat’s eye to Trump’s foreign policy. Lifting his words almost straight from Biden’s SOTU tirade, he asserts with lordly authority that, well here let him say it

…Trump’s insouciant remarks about encouraging Russian aggression against NATO (of which America is the principal security guarantor); his refusal to criticise the killing of Alexei Navalny…

The last charge first. On Navalny, Trump had this to say:

Navalny is a very sad situation and he’s very brave, he was a very brave guy. He went back, he could have stayed away, and frankly probably would have been a lot better off staying away and talking from outside of the country as opposed to having to go back in, because people thought that could happen, and it did happen.

And it’s a horrible thing, but it’s happening in our country, too,” Trump continued, suggesting his criminal indictments — which include two cases stemming from his efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat — are proof that the U.S. is “turning into a communist country in many ways.

So Elder Statesman George is wrong on the facts and therefore in his accusation. But what of the claim that Trump “is encouraging Russian aggression against NATO”. As an exercise, just imagine the quote below is a question — ‘What thought is the speaker attempting to convey?’ — on a Sixth Form (or whatever they call it these days) comprehension test:

TRUMP: One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’

“I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’. He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’

No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.”

If Brandis believes the message is that Russia should feel free to poke the Baltic States or snaffle a piece of Poland, your slower senior high school students need not abandon hope of front-bench careers and serving their nation’s diplomatic interests. Clearly, the point is that NATO members must not discount their obligations or shirk them lest the Russians really do come knocking.

Is it that Brandis can’t grasp the point or is it a more simple case of not bothering to check the wisdom handed down from his preferred sources? Either way it’s telling, and not simply for displaying a loathing so thorough as to distort both curiosity and comprehension. Brandis advises “conservatives” to stick with a snarling geriatric rather than the vulgarian fighter. Trumpists and those who believe in winning have just absolutely ruined CPAC conferences for “orthodox conservatives”, Brandis laments at one point.

It seems those firebrand upstarts have an awful lot of other orthodoxies to overturn, not least any credence accorded a previous generation that made failure to contain the left’s remorseless advance something of a vocation.

19 thoughts on “By George That’s Some Very Sad and Silly Stuff

  • norsaint says:

    Good piece Roger. I’m always partial to a bit of Brandis bashing.
    If he wasn’t one of the worst AG’s the country as ever had, he must be in the grand final.
    He’s a constant reminder of how wickedly stupid most lawyers are.

  • DougD says:

    Here’s Brandis AG at the welcome of Justice Edelman to the High Court. “May I begin by acknowledging the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, the traditional custodians of the Canberra area, and pay my respects to all of Australia’s indigenous peoples…. your curriculum vitae is so preposterously golden that it reminded me of nothing so much as of Max Beerbohm’s satirical portrait of the Duke of Dorset in his novel of Oxford romance, Zuleika Dobson.”
    An unkind soul said Brandis only nominated Edelman to the Court to enable Brandis to tell the world that he was familiar with that largely forgotten novel.

    • Daffy says:

      Just how did Ngunnawal and Ngambri people ‘custodian’ the area? Filling in the yam holes they dug? Only lighting fires to find game on low danger days with little wind? Undoing their fish traps after dinner? No, my understanding of Aboriginal spirituality (based on a talk by an Aboriginal architect at a state government sponsored ho-down in 2019 if my dates are right), is that the land owned them and they were its subjects, not its custodians.

  • Lawrie Ayres says:

    Typical LINO. Best ignored if he can’t be forgotten.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    What is the world coming to when not even George Brandis is up to ‘conservative’ standards.? Looks to me like it leaves the Rev. Roger Franklin in the position of the parson of some Calathumpian Church, presiding over an ever-dwindling congregation; with the doctrinal purity of which always an open question, as they incline to the odd bit of heresy, and to brawling amongst themselves..
    Not even St Donald Trump could bear close theological inspection; never mind St Stormy Daniels. As for me, I put it all down to the effects of ever-rising atmospheric CO2 concentration on the brains of the Faithful members of the Ostrich School of Climatology – never in short supply round this ‘liberal’ site here.

    • lbloveday says:

      I unintentionally overlooked that Ian MacDougall is on my short “Don’t Read” list and read the post – blame the hangover!.
      Offensive, malicious drivel.

    • Libertarian says:

      “What is the world coming to…”

      My dream is a majority Libertarian government, with numbers in the senate, to ensure the country doesn’t sink to the level Argentina is only just ‘chainsawing’ it’s way out of after 100 years.

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Brandis and his wet woke swamp creatures bagged Trump in 2016 and continue, you can’t climate change stupid, And all on the public teat.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Good piece Roger, and I think you’ve covered Brandis pretty well, particularly when it comes to Donald Trump.
    George Brandis is very intelligent but I’m afraid he’s very much on the sort of left side of politics, even though in the Australian Liberal Party, a ‘wet’ as Margaret Thatcher called them. There are quite a few of them and usually quite intelligent ( and sadly they tend to know it and can’t help showing it ) , but they belong in a different Party.
    Hard for me to say which one, but going back in my mind over the Parties since the war probably more like the UK Liberals at various stages.
    We all knew who they were, or al least the high profile ones and one peculiar trait they seemed to have, in particular George, was their inability to identify with the ordinary rank and file….the man in the street, so to speak, to the point of not even being able to respond to compliments, where even a simple ‘thank you’ would have sufficed.
    This must be a strange trait I think, particularly in a politician.

    • sabena says:

      As I haven’t had anything to do with George Brandis, I’ll leave it to others as to whether he is intelligent.But even allowing that he might be intelligent, he has no judgment.His 2 high court appointees were and are left leaning, and their judgments in Love were a disgrace.

  • brennan1950 says:

    In the hours immediately leading up to the realization that Donald John Trump was going to be elected President, I understand there was a panic in Canberra because the PM’s office and others did not have any contact details for Donald John Trump.

    Contact was allegedly made through Greg Norman who had his number.

    So much for the Canberra marshes.

  • MaxQMcGraw says:

    Some might argue Brandis is ‘educated’, but not intelligent. All would agree he is a narcissist.

    • Bruce Bailey says:

      Narcisism tends to result when one is told repeatedly that one is intelligent. By such flattery useful tools are installed.

      “The ignorance, prejudices, and groupthink of an educated elite are still ignorance, prejudice, and groupthink—and for those with one percent of the knowledge in a society to be guiding or controlling those with the other 99 percent is as perilous as it is absurd.”
      ― Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society

  • nickminchin says:

    Excellent demolition of the facile piece by Brandis, clearly written to appeal to Brandis’ lefty Fairfax audience.
    Brandis clearly knows nothing of US politics and is unqualified to comment .
    As an Australian conservative, I earnestly hope Trump does regain the Presidency in November

  • Mike says:

    Do not forget, Brandis was / is an enthusiastic supporter of Same-Sex marriage.

    How did that work out George?

    www (dot)

  • Davidovich says:

    I particularly like Roger’s cutting statement “One doesn’t like to think less of others, so the pity is that Brandis has popped up from earned obscurity to remind us of the need to do so.”
    My maternal grandfather used to say “if you can’t say something nice about someone, it is best to say nothing at all”. In Brandis’ case, I will now hold true to that advice.

  • MargieCJ says:

    Excellent article by Roger Franklin in Quadrant today.

    George Brandis was one of the 56 motley crew, who on the Day of Infamy, 14.9.2015, took out the then Liberal Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who had won the 2013 Federal election in a massive Landslide and was doing a sterling job for the two years that he was in the top job. The Liberal Party has never been the same since.
    Probability determines that the Tuesday, November 3rd 2020 American election was rigged when the pendulum swung at midnight on that fateful night. Never forget the truck loads of mail-in ballots that arrived all over the country and were counted after midnight and for days later. For example, in one centre, the Republican scrutineers, were sent home because of a supposed plumbing problem but the count was resumed in the early hours of the morning, without them. This is just one of numerous anomalies in that election. Also, do not forget those Dominion machines with their algorithms connected to the internet which was against the rules, and all those fraudulent mail-in ghost ballots from dead people, etc.
    There has been a plethora of facts, figures and investigative journalism since that night that should make even the most sceptical think again.
    How many really believe that the great majority of American voters wanted to elect a lying, corrupt, incompetent, criminal Biden, to be their President?
    It is worth remembering that all the then Republican Vice President Mike Pence had to do in the Capitol on that Pelosi planned so-called “insurrection” day, January 6th 2021, was to follow the Constitution and REFUSE TO CERTIFY the results in the States where there were very serious questions about election fraud, that is, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Pence FAILED to do his duty in the Capitol on that fateful day on J6, 2021.
    The lying, traitorous Bribery- Biden /Obama /Hillary Clinton/ Democrat / Deep State Administration, operating from the White House and Congress, was responsible for the disgraceful, fake Crossfire Hurricane, “Russia Russia Russia”, investigation into President Trump, the Fusion GPS, the fabricated Steele Dossier, the Mueller inquiry, and now, the numerous, fabricated legal cases against Trump to put him in jail for 700 years so that the Marxist/Left/ Communists can continue to destroy America and turn it into a Communist Dictatorship linked to the Chinese CCP.
    Americans must go out en mass in November 2024 and vote for President Donald Trump to make America Great, Safe & Free again. TRUMP 2024

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Yes, love the ‘earned obscurity’. Brandis sounds just like some of the American Democrats we got landed with at dinner on our recent Caribbean and Amazon cruise. Same talking points. Only difference is the Democrats were all universally concerned about the loss of control of the southern border. Even as they tried to defend Biden’s role and policy they were all worried sick about the unhampered influx of illegals into the US, even if following Biden’s lead they didn’t call them that, saying the influx was simply from hard-done by folk who were having a tough time in their own home countries. They were still worried about how to cope with them though and wanted a halt to it, deflecting their concerns by fierce anger at Republican Senators who ‘refused to support Biden’s solution due to Trump’s interference after winning the Primaries’, Biden’s ‘solution’ being no solution at all to anyone aware of the scale and momentum of the influx.

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