This isn’t a fable.
NYT food critic Frank Bruni:
Conservative commentators and die-hard Republicans often brush off denunciations of Donald Trump as an unprincipled hatemonger by saying: Yeah, yeah, that’s what Democrats wail about every Republican they’re trying to take down. Sing me a song I haven’t heard so many times before.
Howard Wolfson would be outraged by that response if he didn’t recognize its aptness.
“There’s enough truth to it to compel some self-reflection,” Wolfson, who was the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2008, told me this week.
In fact, he finds himself thinking about it a whole lot: how extreme the put-downs of political adversaries have become; how automatically combatants adopt postures of unalloyed outrage; what this means when they come upon a crossroads — and a candidate — of much greater, graver danger.
“I worked on the presidential campaign in 2004,” he said, referring to John Kerry’s contest against George W. Bush. He added that he was also “active in discussing” John McCain when he ran for the presidency in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
“And I’m quite confident I employed language that, in retrospect, was hyperbolic and inaccurate, language that cheapened my ability — our ability — to talk about this moment with accuracy and credibility.”
Did Democrats cry wolf so many times before Trump that no one hears or heeds them now?
Democrats were indeed dire about Romney, even though many of them, including President Obama, now speak of him fondly, as a Republican whose prescriptions might be flawed but whose heart is true.
Four years ago, he was a bloodsucking capitalist vampire whose indictment of Obamacare was ipso facto proof of his racism. In The Daily Beast, he was called a “race-mongering pyromaniac.” On MSNBC, he was accused, by a black commentator, of the “niggerization” of Obama into “the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.”
Romney was supposedly out of touch with reality — never mind that he had governed a blue state, Massachusetts, without cataclysmic incident — just as McCain was described, in some quarters, as a combustible hothead who couldn’t be allowed anywhere near the nuclear codes. He was Trump before Trump, which makes Trump less Trump.
“It’s only when you find yourself describing someone who really is the definition of an extremist — who really is, essentially, in my opinion, a fascist — that you recognize that the language that you’ve used in the past to describe other people was hyperbolic and inappropriate and cheap,” Wolfson said.
Apparently neither Bruni nor the NYT participated in crying wolf. It was just Wolfson and a few nameless, faceless Democrats.
In the fable, the boy cried wolf several times until the villagers quit believing him, although why they left him guarding the sheep if they didn’t trust him is never answered.
The Democrats would have us believe that just like in the fable, a wolf finally showed up. They would like us to believe that the wolf’s name is Donald Trump.
“We’re sorry we lied to you before, but this time we are really telling the truth!”
But like I said, this isn’t a fable. It isn’t enough just to claim that Trump is a wolf. Show us his tail and fangs. Show us the evidence.
Hitler wanted to round up all the Jews and kill them. Trump wants to round up all the illegal aliens and send them back where they came from. How is that the same? Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” in which he spelled out his antisemitic views and his militaristic plans for Germany. Donald Trump wrote “The Art of the Deal” in which he talked about his early life and gave advice for business success.
I will agree that Trump is dangerous – to the existing political establishment. Look how many times Congress and the White House have changed hands between the Democrats and the GOP in the past fifty years. Now think about how many times the direction of our government has changed.
The real differences between the Republican and Democrat establishments are minor and mostly cosmetic. The lobbyists shower money on both sides. Every few years the people get tired of one party and vote the other party into power.
But nothing really changes. That’s because the wolves are guarding the sheep. And we’re the sheep.