One remarkable thing about the media in regard to President-Elect Donald Trump is the degree to which it, and its pals on the left, have become that which they so purported to hate three months ago.
Any number of examples spring to mind. Suddenly, the media are concerned with Russian influence on our elections and society. We don’t want to become evil like them, say the purveyors of the reset button. Is Putin a more effective leader than Obama? That’s an outrage – even if sadly and inarguably true.
Same with China. Richard Cohen of The Washington Post has already accused Trump of “mucking up” relations with Beijing. Why? Because he has abandoned the subservient posture of Obama, spoken to the president of Taiwan–as any American president should–and signaled that there would be new terms to this relationship so vital to China’s economy. Mucking up what, exactly?
There’s also a sudden obsession with what Eugene Robinson called “relevant experience.” This is odd considering that President Obama spent four years voting “present” in the Illinois state senate and two years in the U.S. Senate, making no mark at all, before starting his run for the White House. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, had experience doing even less in the U.S. Senate, and presiding with disastrous results over the State Department.
Catherine Rampell, also of the Post, mocked Trump’s comments about using couriers, rather than emails, to convey secure messages. He doesn’t understand modern communications, she said. “Make Carrier Pigeons Great Again.” Ha ha ha. If her favored candidate had done so, she would be measuring drapes for the White House right now.
For eight years, Democrats have complained that Republicans obstructed the Obama agenda. It was all because of racism, they said. They just don’t like the man or whereever he came from. It had nothing to do with the fact that Republicans got elected by promising their constituents they would fight President Obama’s unpopular policies.
Now, Democrats want to do a little obstructing themselves, only they and their friends in the press don’t call it that of course.
Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg and Angel Padilla, former staffers for Democrats in Congress, watched as the Tea Party eroded support for most of President Obama’s agenda after his first 18 months in office. They admired the local organizing aspect and willingness to play defense until things righted themselves politically – and they want to try it themselves.
“In less than three weeks, this Congress will join with President-elect Donald J. Trump to claim a mandate they do not have for policies that most Americans do not support,” they wrote in an op-ed that naturally got prominent placement in The New York Times. “Together, they will seek to enact a bigoted and anti-democratic agenda, threatening our values and endangering us all.”
But they have a solution – a Tea Party of the left.
They’ve even put together the makings of a playbook – “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” which focuses on the Tea Party’s “strategic choices and tactics, while dispensing with its viciousness. It’s the Tea Party inverted: locally driven advocacy built on inclusion, fairness and respect. It’s playing defense, not to obstruct, but to protect.”
When Republicans do it, it’s obstruction and it’s vicious and there’s no effort made to achieve inclusion, fairness or respect. When Democrats do it, they’re protecting us.
Their 2018 Senate candidates need to recognize their “best hope for survival lies in bold action to defend democracy rather than cutting deals with a petty tyrant.”
And Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, should have the point driven home to him that he “shouldn’t accept deals with a would-be dictator.”
Schumer appears to have gotten that message. In the 48 hours after The New York Times article appeared, he said he would urge Democrats not to work with Trump “unless he comes all the way over to our side,” and warned him not to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court who Schumer did not consider “mainstream.”
No one expected him, or other Democrats, to work with Trump, and no one knows what exactly Schumer plans to do if Trump nominates someone he does not consider mainstream. (They need 60 votes for a Supreme Court nominee. The nuclear option, approving federal judges with just 51 votes, applies to all courts except the Supreme Court.) But he’s been sent forth to aggressively oppose and, by gosh, he’s going to do it.
Those on the left, of course, have the right to organize in resistance to Trump. They have the right to urge their members of Congress to oppose his agenda and to put forward and support candidates who will vote against him. And those candidates then have the right – even the expectation – to come to Washington and oppose the agenda. That’s what political opponents do.
But the notion that all rules are off, that Democrats and the media can throw whatever fits they want and kidnap, bind and beat special-needs people because they find Trump so utterly unacceptable – that’s new, that’s different and, like Obamacare, Democrats are its sole owners.