Before you get your panties in a bunch, let’s be clear that this is an opinion piece, meaning I have no obligation to be even-handed or even impartial. In fact, I would like to point out that this entire outlet was begun to present a point of view that is lacking in South Jersey, that is, a progressive voice that aims to combat the conservative narrative that is all too common. So if you want a conservative viewpoint, I’m sure there are plenty of outlets that will satisfy your need for affirmation. I have absolutely no obligation to substantiate your personal ideological viewpoints, let alone represent them.
By David Todd McCarty | April 30, 2018
Mike Pence left a Colts/49ers game before it even started, all because a few players chose to kneel during the national anthem in silent protest of the disturbing police habit of killing unarmed black men?emember the time
“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter at the time.
According to the pool of journalists accompanying the Vice President, who were not allowed into the stadium and asked to stay in their vans, they were told by a staffer that “there may be an early departure from the game,” but were not given any further details. The thing is, Vice President Pence knew the players were going to kneel, and he traveled to the game, with his wife, Secret Service detail, and a pool of reporters—at great taxpayer expense—just in order to walk out in protest. At least the NFL players did their jobs.
This is the new normal. It’s the political equivalent of flopping, the exaggerated expression of pain or injury that certain athletes feign in sports such as basketball and soccer, in order to draw a foul where none existed in reality. Political flopping.
Outrage is all the rage these days. It doesn’t matter whether it’s real or feigned, as long as you can bring yourself to act self-righteous about it. Make a fuss and the people who agree with you will listen.
The truth is, we can’t keep up with the amount of outrageous news stories fed to us on a daily, or even hourly basis. We have to cherry pick the news story that outrages us personally. We have lost the ability to become collectively outraged. Think about that. In today’s hyper-partisan political climate, where we no longer share the same news sources, let alone the same set of facts, we are no longer in a position of be outraged as a country. We have to settle for being outraged as part of a niche.
Just one of the stories this weekend was the White House Correspondence Dinner, sometimes known as the Nerd Prom, where the Washington Press Corps gets together to hobnob with the political power structure they cover, and a few celebrities, for a night of fancy clothes and a little humorous banter. While several Presidents have skipped the dinner for various reasons, including Reagan, Carter and Nixon, every President since Calvin Coolidge has attended at least once. This was the second year that President Trump declined the invitation. The President is famously not fond of being made fun of, and the last time he was there, he was the butt of a litany of jokes from both Comedian Seth Meyers and then President Barak Obama. He was not happy about being made fun of then either.
This year, comedian Michelle Wolf skewered President Trump as well as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who the President had sent to represent him. Many Republicans and Press Establishment types claimed that the comedian’s set was mean-spirited and inappropriate. This has been written about ad nauseam, so I’m not going to comment on the evening. Suffice it to say, Republicans, including the President, were quick to lash out in outrage over the content of the evening. Indeed, the wilting flower that has become the Republican Party could hardly believe their ears when someone made fun of both the President as well as his Communication Director and Press Secretary, Sanders.
Mike Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, tweeted, “My wife @mercedesschlapp and I walked out early from the wh correspondents dinner. Enough of elites mocking all of us.” Mr. Schlapp is married to Mercedes Schlapp, who just happens the White House Director of Strategic Communications. You might wonder what the chairman of the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country, and a former Koch Industries VP, was doing at the White House Correspondence Dinner with his wife, when the President and most of his staff were absent, if not to deliberately walk out in a glorified huff. It’s true, his wife does hold a senior position in the Trump Administration’s White House Communications Department, but if the actual Communications Director managed to hold her seat, it seems curious that Mrs. Schlapp was unable to. So, the Schlapps flopped.
For all the talk from the Right concerning Liberals being delicate snowflakes not capable of a fight, Republicans certainly to seem to have fairly thin skin. There is plenty of outrage on the Left, that’s for sure, but in most cases, I would argue that they could actually point to specific issues that they are outraged about, even if they really don’t care. Policies, laws, inequalities.
This weekend the Left feigned outrage by the President’s comments about the paralympians, saying in a press conference in front of olympic athletes, “What happened with the Paralympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me,” Trump said, referring to the games involving athletes with physical disabilities. “And I watched — it’s a little tough to watch too much ― but I watched as much as I could.”
Was it a rude, insulting thing to say? Indisputably. Were most liberals truly outraged or were they secure in the knowledge that calling out the President for insulting elite, disabled athletes was eminently safe ground? More likely.
It’s been nearly a decade since Republicans were outraged by actual policy. They spent eight years blocking anything the Obama administration proposed, even when it involved a legislative agenda they had previously supported. This wasn’t a difference in ideology, it was a simple power play involving the mollification of a base that would rather suffer than give a Black President the satisfaction of a win.
Republicans spent so much time and energy fighting “the good fight” as the opposition party, once they got in power, all they knew how to do was undo what had come before them. In fact, many of the congressmen who came to power in the 2010 Republican mid-term wave, had never known anything but being in opposition. They had no experience in governing.
Since the 2016 election, the GOP, while holding both Houses of Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court, has passed almost no major legislation, and nothing designed to promote a conservative ideology. In fact, they’ve managed to send the deficit skyrocketing, something they claimed was downright unholy under the previous administration, and repeal any law designed to protect people or the environment from the ravages of corporate America. In many cases, they have completely turned their backs on their own self-professed beliefs, from economic to ecumenical, and the Republican base has followed along.
A new PRRI survey finds white evangelical support for President Trump at an all-time high, with 75 percent holding a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. This is in contrast to the general population, where Trump’s favorability is at 42 percent. But it didn’t start out this way:
White evangelical support for Donald Trump has steadily increased over time. Notably, Trump’s favorability among white evangelicals never reached 50 percent during the 2016 primary season. By the early fall of 2016, however, his favorability among white evangelicals had jumped to 61 percent. By the inauguration it increased to 68 percent, and shortly after the inauguration in February 2017 it jumped again to 74 percent. Over the course of 2017, there were minor fluctuations, but Trump’s favorability among white evangelicals never dipped below 65 percent during this time.
Trump’s support among white evangelicals at this stage of his presidency is strikingly solid. While there are modest differences by gender, Trump’s favorability among white evangelical women is still a robust 71 percent, compared to 81 percent among white evangelical men. And Trump’s favorability is still a strong 68 percent among college-educated white evangelicals, compared to 78 percent among those without a college degree.
Looking ahead to the 2020 election, Trump’s support among white evangelicals is also strong. White evangelical Protestants who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party say they would prefer Donald Trump, rather than another candidate, to be the GOP nominee for president in 2020 (69 percent vs. 23 percent).
While evangelical leaders continue to fight a culture war against progressive ideals of inclusion and equality, they don’t seem to have any problem with Republicans who exhibit questionable moral turpitude. From Donald J. Trump to Roy Moore, evangelicals appear to be willing to excuse just about anything so long as Republicans hold on to power.
The point isn’t just that white evangelicals are willing to give Trump a pass, it’s that the entire Republican Party ideology, as well as Christian theology, seems to be entirely malleable as long as they maintain power. There does seem to be one commonality within the right-wing: Do whatever it takes to win, sort it out later.
Of course the Left has their fair share of ridiculous outrage, but it tends to be heartfelt, if not misplaced. They aren’t outraged for effect, they’re outraged out of a sense self-righteous anger and condescension. The difference is that Democrats claim to be fouled after being hit in the face, while the Republicans are more than happy to claim a foul that doesn’t exist.
What this means is that Republicans would rather win than be right, and Democrats would rather be right than win. We’re all full of shit when it comes right down to it.
Jonathan Swan, a national political reporter covering the Trump presidency & Republican Hill leaders for Axios published an article recently where he argued that Trump had a single negotiating tactic:
President Trump tells people he keeps the world guessing with his wild unpredictability. But those who work most closely with him say he’s a one-trick pony in negotiations.
The trick: Threaten the outrageous, ratchet up the tension, amplify it with tweets and taunts, and then compromise on fairly conventional middle ground.
“His ultimate gamble is: ‘You don’t have as big of stones as I do,'” a source close to Trump told me. “‘You’re going to feel too uncomfortable where I go. The stakes are too high. This is too far outside your comfort zone.'”
Consider these threats: To withdraw from Syria (he reengaged with missile strikes), withdraw from Afghanistan (he settled on the more-of-the-same strategy recommended by his generals), withdraw from the U.S.-Korean trade deal (Trump’s team negotiated with the Koreans and announced modest changes to the deal), veto the government spending bill (he signed it), and impose severe worldwide tariffs on steel and aluminum (he offered a bunch of exemptions).
Sources who’ve been in the room with Trump for negotiations over NATO and various trade deals tell me they’ve at times felt “awkward” watching Trump go in hard against foreign leaders.
They say Trump seems immune to awkwardness — but then rarely follows through on his most extreme rhetoric.
So while Trump and the Republican leadership, along with their propaganda media arm Fox News, continue to flop at the slightest hint of offense, they continue to promote outright lies in order to further their goal, which is simply put, to maintain power.
The Left would do well to learn how to win against an opponent willing to cheat. Their outage is not honest. Their complaints are not valid. There is nothing to understand about the heartland, other than the fact that they would rather see the country burn to the ground then fall into the hands of the “wrong sort” of people.
Crying to referees isn’t going to do you any good. They’ve left the building.
Follow David Todd McCarty on Twitter @davidtmccarty.