You Can’t Have It Both Ways
It’s human nature: when Person A finally takes the action or adopts the position favored by Person B, the inclination is for Person B to continue to be dissatisfied with Person A and not give them any credit for their move. Person B will very often change the basis on which the original issue was based in an attempt to preserve a legitimate reason to reject Person A’s action.
To Person B, being able to reject Person A and disagree with him is more important than the actual issue itself.
Such is definitely the case with Democratic politicians, activists and the liberal media regarding President Trump. An excellent example of this occurred in early April on the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News when he was speaking to Democratic congressman (CA) Brad Sherman. Carlson put forth the fact that Trump’s missile attack on Syria was unequivocally damaging to Putin’s ally Assad, thereby proving that President Trump was not “in the pocket” of Putin as so many Democrats have claimed. Carlson challenged Sherman to simply admit that.
Sherman refused, aghast at the prospect of absolving Trump of his biggest “sin”: the Democrats’ contention that he colluded with Russia to sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Instead, Sherman was trying desperately to maintain that Trump is still “guilty” of some vague-but-grievous campaign violations, even though Sherman agreed with the missile strike. He was trying to have it both ways.
Another perfect example of trying to have it both ways is when then-candidate Trump named Kellyanne Conway as his campaign manager. The entire subject of women’s progress in the professional world, the “wage gap,” the Glass Ceiling, women entering previously male-only fields, etc. is a vital cornerstone of the Democratic platform. Add to that the Democrats gleefully revelling in their leaking of the 12-year-old Trump “grabbing” audiotape and it adds up to a very convenient narrative for them: “Trump disrespects women and his presidency will harm women’s standing in all aspects of American life.”
But then Trump does something that doesn’t comport with his opponents’ preferred depiction of putative misogynist white male Republicans -- he names a woman to mastermind his campaign. If a male Democrat had named a female as his campaign manager, he’d be hailed as a modern stereotype-breaker, a person who courageously breaks with outmoded, stubborn tradition and embraces the enlightened new way, seeks fresh perspectives, knows how to justly recognize the talents and insights that only a gender-balanced team can deliver and so on.
Yet, for Democrats, the negative image of Trump as an old-time womanizer was just too juicy and appealing to let go of. So not only did they not give Trump “credit” for elevating a woman to a critical position in his campaign, they employed the all-too-common device of changing the basis on which the original issue was based: they savaged Conway herself, calling into question her intellect and honesty. Since Trump’s election win, Conway has stayed on as a high-level advisor and the Democrats’ and liberal media hysterical criticism of Conway has continued unabated. The profoundly unfavorable attacks directed at Conway wouldn’t be tolerated for even the briefest of seconds if she was a Democrat. But as is always the case, the Democrats try to have things both ways. They criticize Republicans for their supposed refusal to promote women to high positions and when they do promote them, Democrats claim that it “doesn’t count” for some frivolous reason and continue to perpetuate their original criticism.
Another example is Trump’s changing position on NATO. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly called NATO “obsolete,” and criticized other NATO countries for shirking their financial commitments with regard to their own defense spending. This predictably brought forth howls of denunciation from Democrats, who admonished Trump for disparaging “the most successful, longest-lasting alliance in history” (or words to that effect). It’s not that Democrats had any great interest in actually committing U.S. forces to lethal combat should NATO member Estonia be attacked (most Democratic politicians probably couldn’t even find Estonia on a map without the help of Google Earth). Instead, they were just looking for something on which to criticize Trump, to point out his unsuitability for President.
But recently, in light of Russia’s intransigence regarding Syria, Trump has shifted his position and now says that NATO is very important. Do the Democrats who condemned his prior anti-NATO stance now give him credit for changing? Of course not. Democratic politicians and the liberal media call him a flip-flopper, an opportunist, someone who is easily influenced by the latest input he receives.
This illustrates another truism in American politics: when a Democratic politician reverses his position, it’s cast as an attribute, an indication of intellectual growth. Both Hillary and Barack Obama were on record as being against same-sex marriage, but when it became politically expedient for their positions to shift, they did. The always-supportive liberal media said that their positions “evolved.” Neither Clinton nor Obama did anything as disingenuous and unsophisticated as “flip-flopping.” No, they took in the latest information, made a careful, thoughtful analysis of the new data and they evolved, the same way every higher-order life form does as it adapts to a new environment. It’s always so positive for Democrats.
The Democrats’ strategy is to try to always have things both ways while trying to make certain the Republicans simply don’t have it any way. There are no two ways about it.