When not worrying that its increasingly hostile anti-Trump antics might backfire on Democrats, the left is busy blaming President Trump’s own incivility for the ferocity of their attacks. But this is exactly how the left treats all conservatives, rough-hewn or not.
After a week in which a celebrity called for the abduction of the president’s young son, a restaurant kicked out Trump’s spokesman, and a mob harassed the Homeland Security secretary, Democrats are starting to wonder if their “resistance” is getting out of hand — while refusing to take any blame for it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi managed to perfectly encapsulate this when she said “Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable.”
The blame-Trump-first meme has been catching on fast.
Writing in the Washington Post, Paul Waldman complains about having “to hear, in the era of Trump, that liberals are the ones being ‘uncivil’…. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
CNN’s Byron Wolf says today’s lack of civility “should surprise exactly no one in a time when the president uses the imagery of invaders and infestation to describe immigrants.”
Writing in USA Today, Jason Sattler argues that we should “stop defending decorum and do something about Donald Trump,” who, Sattler says, is “running a propaganda campaign against immigrants that incites comparisons to Hitler’s early attacks on Jews.”
But the suggestion that things would be better and tempers cooler if Trump weren’t so abrasive is utterly and completely false.
Consider the “civility” shown by Democrats toward the eminently civil “compassionate conservative” President Bush.
Protesters regularly carried signs saying things like “Save Mother Earth, Kill Bush,” “Hang Bush for War Crimes,” “Bush=Satan,” “Bush is the only Dope worth Shooting.” They burned Bush and other administration officials in effigy countless times.
Jonathan Chait wrote a 3,600-word word piece for the New Republic in 2003 on “the case for Bush hatred.” In it, he admitted that “I have friends who … describe his existence as a constant oppressive force in their daily psyche.”
Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams gave a speech at a women’s peace conference in Dallas in 2007 declaring that “right now, I could kill George Bush.” The audience laughed, and she won praise for her “bravery.”
Pollster Geoff Garin told The New York Times that Bush hatred was “as strong as anything I’ve experienced in 25 years now of polling.”
The winning film at a 2006 Toronto film festival was a movie — Death of a President — that realistically depicted Bush’s assassination.
The left regularly compared Bush to Hitler, just as they are now with Trump.
Playwright Harold Pinter said that “the Bush administration is the most dangerous force that has ever existed. It is more dangerous than Nazi Germany.”
Harry Belafonte called Bush “the greatest terrorist in the world.”
Writing in Time magazine in 2003 — just two years after Bush took office — Charles Krauthammer (a trained psychiatrist) noted that “Democrats are seized with a loathing for President Bush — a contempt and disdain giving way to a hatred that is near pathological.” He coined a phrase to describe it: “Bush derangement syndrome.”
What was the left’s excuse back then for its gleeful indulgence in hatred and incivility toward friendly George Bush? Simple: They didn’t like his policies.
That’s always been the left’s response to politicians they don’t agree with: Harass, attack, belittle, demean, threaten, scream … and repeat. Unlike Republicans, however, the left never gets called on its hate-mongering.
Sure, Trump’s barbed rhetoric and insults fan the flames of today’s incivility. And like most people, we’d prefer that he adopt a more presidential tone.
But even if Trump had the temperament of Mister Rogers, Trump derangement syndrome would be just as virulent and widespread as it is today.
Not because of anything Trump has said or tweeted. But because he’s successfully enacting a conservative agenda that the left doesn’t like, and will do anything to stop. Anything, that is, except engage in a calm, reasonable debate.
You can tell the writer wasn’t around in the 1970s or 1980s and isn’t from Wisconsin. Otherwise the writer could have added similar deranged feelings about Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (called “Ronnie Raygun” on the UW campus) and Gov. Tommy Thompson. Derangement on the left is a feature, not a bug.