The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


The Democrats are crazed with anger and grief because—Donald Trump. The reasons for Trump's victory are complex and will be debated and discussed for years. But one thing is clear—almost 60 million Americans rejected the Tsunami of vicious personal attacks directed at Trump by Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media. Trump himself used tacky, personal attacks heavily during the campaign, but those attacks came from candidate Trump—an individual—rather than from a powerful national entity like the main stream media or the Democratic party.

During this past election, politics of personal destruction (PoPD)—an approach that has served the Left quite well over the past few decades—failed, and failed big. So what do the Democrats do? Do they reflect on the efficacy of PoPD and modify their approach with fact-based arguments about real issues and policies? Do they look inward to assess the blue model of governance and ask why it was roundly rejected, not just in this election, but in 2010 and 2014? Nah ... that's not their style. Best approach: double down on PoPD. Case in point—Steve Bannon.*

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment:
One post-election question is whether Democrats plan to treat defeat as an education in the limits of personal destruction as a political tool, and the early evidence isn’t promising. Witness the Chernobyl over Steve Bannon, who will be President-elect Trump’s “chief strategist” as liberals assail him as a white supremacist and anti-Semite.

Mr. Bannon is the former chairman of the incendiary Breitbart News website, as well as a Goldman Sachs alum, Navy veteran and early investor in “Seinfeld.” He kept a low profile at Donald Trump’s elbow for the final campaign stretch, but according to Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Journal’s CEO Council on Tuesday, “This is a man who says, by his very presence, that this is a White House that will embrace bigotry.”

We’ve never met Mr. Bannon, and we don’t presume to know his character, but maybe one lesson of 2016 is that deciding that Americans who disagree with you are bigots is a losing strategy. Politics would be healthier if accusations of racism in the country that twice elected the first black President were reserved for more serious use.
The claims made against Bannon are scurrilous. Yes, he's a controversial figure—he doesn't fit in with the elites on both the right and he left who run the country. Yes, he's a firebrand who wants to dismantle government as it is—to "drain the swamp." But he is not an "anti-Semite" or a "white supremacist"—PoPD accusations that have no basis in fact. In their desperate attempt at bolster their narrative, the Left suggests that the CEO of a news organization personally adopts the opinions of every writer working for that organization. Even more ridiculous, that the same CEO is responsible for every commenter who ever posted a comment about an article. That. Is. Absurd.

The Left doesn't have to like Bannon, but puleeze, spare us all the strident shouts of "racist," or "anti-Semite" (rich coming from the Left, given the strong stain of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel feeling emanating from Leftists), or "white supremacist" or ... all of us are all too familiar with their tiresome list of ad hominem slurs.

Roger Kimball adds an additional comment:
It is perfectly understandable that Trump's opposition fears and loathes Steve Bannon. They would have to be insensate morons not to appreciate that it will be largely through Bannon's instrumentality that Trump will accomplish his program.

But that is no excuse for the campaign of hysterical calumny directed at Steve Bannon's character.

Readers of [left-wing strategist] Saul Alinsky will remember Number 13 of his Rules for Radicals:
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
We have lately witnessed a florid example of this mendacious Alinskyite tactic in the disgusting attacks on Bannon for being a white supremacist, anti-Semitic spokesman for the "alt-right."
When Democrats begin to debate policy without attacking the character of their opponents, when they propose policy positions that they can defend based on facts, not belief or emotion, when they jettison PoPD and come to grips with the harsh reality they lost, maybe we'll begin to listen. But until then, a significant percentage of citizens simply tune them out.


*But don't for one second think that PoPD is directed solely at individuals. In a screed entitled, "There's No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter", Jamelle Bouie writes:
And the people [Trump voters]who watched these events, who brought their families to gawk and smile, were the very model of decent, law-abiding Americana. Hate and racism have always been the province of “good people.” To treat Trump voters as presumptively innocent—even as they hand power to a demagogic movement of ignorance and racism—is to clear them of moral responsibility for whatever happens next, even if it’s violence against communities of color. Even if, despite the patina of law, it is essentially criminal. It is to absolve Trump’s supporters of any blame or any fault. Yes, they put a white nationalist in power. But the consequences? Well, it’s not what they wanted.
Yep ... that's the kind of thoughtful commentary that will move us all away from PoPD. Not a single good person in ~60 million. Not one. All of them in favor of "ignorance and racism." Hate and racism is the "province of 'good people'." Maybe that's why all Trump voters fit within a basket of "deplorables" who are themselves "irredeemable." And maybe, just maybe, institutionally-based PoPD is why the Democrats lost.