The Unequal Rules of the Anti-Trump Blame Game
In a memorable scene from the 1986 blockbuster Crocodile Dundee, Paul Hogan and his reporter girlfriend are taking a nighttime "walkabout" in Manhattan when a thug suddenly steps from the shadow and demands their money. Warned that the intruder is brandishing a knife, the cool-as-a-cucumber Dundee says, in his broad Australian accent, "That's nawt a nyfe!" Then, whipping out his own larger, sharper one, he states, "That's a nyfe!"
His quip got a big laugh from the audience – and the movie thug got the message. But when President Trump used a similar retort in response to brutal North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un – substituting nuclear "buttons" for knives – his hostile liberal audience was anything but amused.
The liberals never are, of course. Donald Trump has become more than a distraction to Democrats. He has become an obsession – and an object of unswerving ridicule and hate.
Not that the presence of deep-seated rancor in American politics is anything new. For all the historic greatness of Abraham Lincoln, myriads of Americans, including Northern liberal Republicans, cheered at the news of his assassination. But the embodiment of the liberal hatred for Trump seems beyond anything our divided country has hitherto experienced.
What began as ridicule – e.g.. Comedian Seth Meyers's quip "I didn't know Donald Trump was running as a Republican; I thought he was running as a joke" – eventually flared into "fire and fury" – not just because of the disappointing 2016 election results, but because they came as such an utter surprise. In the church of political opinion, the future of the Democratic Party had been left ignominiously standing at the altar.
The crack liberal ground-gamers and gung-ho gurus had made the mistake of thinking they knew which way the political winds were blowing simply by staring, blindsided, through the looking glass. After that costly miscalculation, the disconsolate Democrats hated themselves. In short order, they found it more promising to transfer their self-loathing to the person of Donald J. Trump. They chose not to bury the hatchet, but to bury the new president. In that manner, they hoped to dig themselves out of a terrible political blunder that could cost them big time for years to come.
In some ways, they've had their work cut out for them. In others, Donald Trump has all but handed them his own head on a platter. Their game is being played mostly around what the president has said, not what he has actually done. They have taken a convenient page from Hillary's political handbook – the insistence that words matter while ignoring the consequences of one's actions.
What people say rather than what they do meshes conveniently with the gestalt of political correctness. Al Gore is personally a notorious over-user of energy, but that does not matter, because he says the right things on the subject of global warming. Hilary Clinton publicly humiliated Bubba's lovers , but what mattered is that she said she encourages women to come forward to confront male abusers. In feminist marches, Hollywood honchos bear banners that say they support women in the entertainment industry. Yet they chose for years to knowingly hobnob with sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein.
The lodestar for liberal piety is "In the beginning is the Word." Whatever the outspoken, plain-talking Donald Trump utters immediately labels him as a racist, misogynist, bigot, fool, idiot, or whatever. Under the circumstances, one would think a sharp guy like the president would judiciously close his trap and quit baiting theirs! Yet his latest controversial remarks have landed him in enough hot water to possibly be blamed for the shutdown of the government in coming weeks.
The anti-Trump blame game is played with a special set of unequal rules. On the one hand, Democrats righteously pose as sensitive, high-minded scolds when rebuking Trump's remarks. On the other, they feel justified in verbally brutalizing him – and sometimes his family – with obscenities that would make a sailor blush. Political affiliation, it seems, determines whether a blunt speaker is the scourge of the earth (Donald Trump) or the salt of the earth (Robert De Niro.) Unfortunately, the incessant preaching on the subject of "who we are" as a people did not quit with the last president or with his finger-wagging would-be successor.
The way Democrats truculently confront Trump stands in ironic contrast to the manner in which they behave toward other world leaders. The murderous mullahs of Iran are feared and bribed. The Middle Eastern princes are bowed to. The presidents of European countries are gushed over for their perceived egalitarianism. The North Korean butcher is gingerly humored. When Trump outright called him a short, fat rocket man, shivers of trepidation tingled along the leftist spine. But calling our president "Adolf Hitler" – a dictator who assassinated millions of innocent people – is okay by them. I wonder if the journalistic hotshots actually grasp the fact that if The Donald were truly Der Führer, they'd long ago be yesterday's news.
So the battle has been joined between the Democrats and their nemesis. Their emotional arsenals stand loaded to the rafters with their weapon of choice: hate. They have become an army of Ahabs on a single-minded hunt to harpoon and end the political life of the Great White Whale in the White House.
Many Republican are sick of all the hatred from the left, which they seem to find shallow-rooted, temporary, and void of reason. I fear they underestimate it, for the roots have only extended deeper and are now spread wider over the political landscape. As to the question of whether such hatred is "reasonable," it hardly matters.