Trump: Very Lucky in His Enemies
Peggy Noonan is far from being a Trump supporter, although she’s not an implacable enemy either. She sees his flaws, but hopes he will do better.
But she notes that Trump has one huge asset: his enemies.
Mr. Trump has struggled so colorfully the past three months, we’ve barely noticed his great good luck—that in that time the Democratic Party and the progressive left have been having a very public nervous breakdown. The new head of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, performs unhinged diatribes. He told an audience in Las Vegas that “Trump doesn’t give a sh— about health care.” In a Maine speech, “They call it a skinny budget. I call it a sh—y budget.” In Newark, he said Republicans “don’t give a sh— about people.”Even a casual observer can add to her list of liberal derangement. That’s not her fault. This is a column, not a book.
This is said to be an attempt to get down with millennials. I know a lot of millennials and they’re not idiots, so that won’t work.
The perennially sunny Rep. Maxine Waters of California called Mr. Trump’s cabinet “a bunch of scumbags.” New York’s junior Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, has taken to using the F-word in interviews.
I thought Mr. Trump was supposed to be the loudmouth vulgarian who swears in public. They are aping what they profess to hate. They excoriated him for lowering the bar. Now look at them.
And they’re doing it because they have nothing else—not a plan, not a program, not a philosophy that can be uttered.
The closest they got to meaning recently was when Mr. Perez found it helpful to say, of a Democratic mayoral candidate who’d backed some pro-life bills, that that kind of thinking had no place in the party. Bernie Sanders rightly called this out as madness. You can’t do this “if we’re going to become a 50-state party.”
Imagine a great, lost party defining itself by who it’s throwing out. They’re like the Republicans the past 20 years, throwing people out for opposing Iraq or George W. Bush, or for not joining NeverTrump. Where does this get you? It gets you to where we are.
That most entrenched bastion of the progressive left, America’s great universities, has been swept by . . . well, one hardly knows what to call it. “Political correctness” is too old and doesn’t do it justice. It is a hysteria—a screeching, ignorant wave of sometimes violent intolerance for free speech. It is mortifying to see those who lead great universities cower in fear of it, attempt to placate it, instead of stopping it.
When I see tapes of the protests and riots at schools like Berkeley, Middlebury, Claremont McKenna and Yale, it doesn’t have the feel of something that happens in politics. It has the special brew of malice and personal instability seen in the Salem witch trials. It sent me back to rereading Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” Heather Mac Donald danced with the devil! Charles Murray put the needle in the poppet! As in 17th-century Salem, the accusers have no proof of anything because they don’t know, read or comprehend anything.
The cursing pols, the anathematizing abortion advocates, the screeching students—they are now the face of the progressive left.
This is what America sees now as the face of the Democratic Party. It is a party blowing itself up whose only hope is that Donald Trump blows up first.
He may not be lucky in all of his decisions or staffers, or in his own immaturities and dramas. But hand it to him a hundred days in: He’s lucky in his main foes.
Health CareJeff Jacoby provides several examples from the debate on health care:
The Daily Caller lists many more examples of violence, harassment and intimidation.
There is no shortage of additional examples, just as enraged or hysterical. . . .
- “Donald Trump and Republicans just celebrated voting to let thousands of Americans die so that billionaires get tax breaks.” Those are the words of a prominent US senator.
- “They” — Republican House members who voted for the AHCA — “should be lined up and shot. That’s not hyperbole; blood is on their hands.” So fumes a professor at the Art Institute of Washington.
- “I hope every GOPer who voted for Trumpcare sees a family member get long-term condition, lose insurance, and die. I want the GOPers who support this to feel the pain in their own families. . . . I want them to be tortured.” Those sentiments are expressed via Twitter by a senior writer at Newsweek.
- “The GOP Plan For Obamacare Could Kill More People Each Year Than Gun Homicides.” That’s the headline in Vox, a popular news and opinion website.
Some progressives justify the shredding of civil discourse; with Trump in the White House, they say, courtesy is a luxury the nation can’t afford. “America, don’t be polite in the face of demagoguery,” exhorts Jessica Valenti in the Guardian. Representative Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat, is likewise unapologetic about resorting to rhetorical brutality. “This is a new time in politics where people are just blatantly lying and essentially producing policies that are going to kill people,” Gallego tells CNN. “I think the old time of civility needs to go until we actually go back to the rules.”
And of course, who could forget Stephen Colbert’s deranged rant. (Note that one word has been censored in the YouTube version, but was originally broadcast.)
Trump, it seems, is not very good at governing, but he’s great at driving his adversaries nuts. That’s a political asset, although it’s not the sort we would prefer he have.
What is new about this is not that a lot of liberals hate conservatives, and particularly hate Donald Trump (who isn’t really a conservative). People in American politics have long hated their partisan enemies. It goes back even further than the followers of Jefferson and Hamilton. And plenty of conservatives have hated liberals.
What is new, and peculiar to the left, is the overt claim that it is good to hate. That people on the other side deserve to be hated, harassed, intimidated and even attacked.