Today, an opinion piece by Jennifer Rubin appeared in the Washington Post. The Post itself officially describes her as an "Opinion writer reporting from a center-right perspective." My wife has a subscription to the Post and I happened to see the opinion piece in question on her Kindle.
The title of her op ed is "Trump is responsible for the descent into thuggery." Before I even start dissecting her text, one may easily observe that such a summation is hardly right of center, and would be more appropriate coming from the Left itself.
I fully acknowledge that Rubin's article is an opinion piece, which the Post clearly indicates below the title. So I'm not calling her out for having an opinion, just for making statements that are demonstrably inaccurate and therefore nullify her opinion on the subject.
Rubin calls out Trump on his rally in Wisconsin when he denounced those who carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains or who mob people in public places or destroy public property. She zeroes in on his reference to mobs, and cherry-picks her own examples of "mobs" as the women who gathered outside the Supreme Court and held signs while shouting ridiculous slogans. She conveniently doesn't mention the Leftist Antifa mobs who consistently shout blatantly false and inflammatory slogans such as "Cops and Klan go hand in hand" and "Trump is worse than Hitler," claim racism in completely non-racial situations, wear masks to hide their identities, ironically scream against fascism on university campuses to try and prevent the right of someone to publicly speak when they don't agree with the speaker, throw bottles, chase people out of restaurants, send videos of people literally being beheaded to family members of the new Supreme Court Justice, break cameras and cell phones that are being used to record their shenanigans, threaten bodily harm to those who they don't agree with, express emotional sentiments that include the death by beheading of the leader of our country, etc. etc. etc.
Does Rubin actually believe that this Socialist group think that has festered on our college campuses, and has gone from recreational drug-induced dissent stoked by Leftist academics to full-blown aggressive public action by historically uninformed, deliberately ignorant robotic chanters is not truly mob behavior?
Rubin also says, "...comparing Trump to thuggish autocrats is simple honesty." So, the sometimes undiplomatic tweets and statements that Trump generates somehow translates to thuggish autocracy? In the interest of fair exposition of rhetoric, let's look at the definitions for both of those words:
Thug: a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber, or murderer.
1) an absolute ruler, especially a monarch who holds and exercises the powers of government as by inherent right, not subject to restrictions.
2) a person invested with or claiming to exercise absolute authority.
3) a person who behaves in an authoritarian manner; a domineering person.
First, let's look at Rubin's use of "thuggish." A ruffian is a tough, lawless person, roughneck or bully. Well, I don't know how tough Trump is, but I'm fairly certain his record indicates someone who abides the law. As far as bully status, that depends on how you filter his commentary. For some, every single word coming out of his mouth or his tweets must automatically be interpreted as corrosive invective that poisons the American imagination. For others, his rhetoric is simply reactionary and at worst could have been reworded or even avoided in some cases, but in no way permanently relegates him to dictator or inciter status.
Next, "autocrat." Of the three definitions provided by Dictionary.com, clearly president Trump does not, and in fact, cannot embody either of the first two for obvious reasons. The third definition could certainly be ascribed to him, but of course, how one chooses to view that sort of behavior in a leader usually is dictated by one's perception of one's position in relation to that leader. If you fear someone or hate them, then an authoritarian can seem threatening. If you instead see them as decisive and strong, as Trump's allegedly "deplorable" constituents perceive him, then being an autocrat is just necessary to get things done in an otherwise sticky morass of political logjams.
Rubin seems to take issue with Trump's current theme of blaming the mostly liberal mainstream media for inciting and promoting negative attitudes and behavior. However, one need only tune in to CNN for a few hours, then tune in to Fox, to see the disparate tones that both produce. Trump's whole message is the inexplicably controversial "Make America Great Again." Everything he has accomplished as president in his first two years is to literally make America a more prosperous and safer place for all Americans, regardless of race. How this message gets misconstrued as racism, bigotry, homophobia, and all the rest of it, is beyond me. But that is the undeniably clear message from most of the visual and print media in this country.
I challenge anyone to watch two hours of CNN without hearing about racism in our country. One could observe that this happens because there is so much racism running rampant. But as Candace Owens has publicly commented, her life (and the lives of almost all Americans living within our borders) is pretty great until she turns on CNN. Why is that? Owens has also astutely asked if she's the only person who assesses the state of the country she lives in by her own experiences, instead of accepting the possibly skewed narrative being proffered on mainstream media.
At one point Rubin writes, "Trump seems not to understand that criticism of his policies and rhetoric is not the same as a president demonizing opponents, race-baiting and threatening democratic institutions. In his book, news accounts exposing his corruption, ineptitude and cruelty are on par with his insisting that neo-Nazi marches include some 'fine people.' "
Where to begin... First off, claiming that the liberal media only engage in "criticism of policies and rhetoric" is inaccurate by any measure. Trump has been compared to Hitler by the media, among many other untenable accusations, and the mainstream media do very little or nothing in terms of adjusting this sort of defamatory invective. Secondly, Rubin goes on to say that Trump is race-baiting and threatening democratic institutions. I would challenge Rubin to produce even one verbal statement, or tweet, that is literally racist and not just subjectively an alleged "wink" at white supremacy. There are zero, for those of you not paying very close attention. And as far as threatening democratic institutions, one would assume Rubin is speaking of the press. If that is the case, most independent critical thinkers know the difference between calling the media out for too much negativity and slanderous reporting, and actually shutting down the entire press, which Trump has never suggested nor promoted. Trump's whole point, which is clearly articulated and understood, is that the American people can't trust any single organization that claims to be unbiased by continually slanting in the same political direction, and often with blatant lies sold as probable possibilities regarding his mental state or character.
Also, a quick jaunt over to an article posted by The Atlantic, called "Trump Defends White-Nationalist Protesters: 'Some Very Fine People on Both Sides'", will allow the reader to clearly see that Trump's words are being selectively interpreted. The article itself isn't even Trump-friendly. But a thoughtful reader can see that the quotes from the president are not racist or in support of white supremacy at all. The job of the media is supposed to be reporting, not interpreting, which should be left to the reader. That kind of blurry line is exactly why Trump is using the term "fake news" to refer to the media outlets that practice such creative license.
Rubin also writes, "...Trump's level of vitriol and overt racism is unmatched by political opponents or past presidents." Perhaps in Rubin's leftist imagination that's apparently replete with victim ideologies, but not in the real world, where adults can recover from insult as quickly as blowing their noses. Rubin is a bit too advanced in years to buy into that sort of 20-something, identity-politics anti-establishment philosophy, so it is disappointing that she would actually pen something so irresponsible.
Rubin claims that when Trump warned of the lack of wisdom Holder demonstrated by encouraging mob behavior with his "we kick them" statement, Trump was "threatening" Holder. But a more objective analysis of Trump's warning to Holder to be careful what he wishes for, and that Holder was making a dangerous statement, will lead the reader to the obvious conclusion that Trump was calling Holder out for being irresponsible and that Holder was inciting potential violence with his poor choice of words. Again, this is the journalist interpreting statements instead of just quoting them.
The list of insults "lobbed at CNN" is long because again, if a conservative attempts to watch it for any length of time, they are inevitably confronted with anti-Trump diatribe that is not only based in half-truths and fancy, but clearly does not respect the leader of our country, nor promotes the unity for which they claim to yearn. In terms of political ideology, CNN is indeed an enemy of the people, and no further commentary is necessary to bolster that statement.
Rubin writes, "For Trump, this blame-shifting is just another day in office - one more national crisis for which he has not demonstrated the moral authority or even the seriousness to take a day off the campaign trail."
Well, another win for Subjectivity. The blame-shifting can alternatively be observed to occur at CNN, The New York Times and the LA Times, as they attribute nearly every major issue they have with our American culture to Trump's allegedly dictatorial influence. And Trump's rallies are the one place supporters can go in relative safety and hear the president they voted for speak about the issues they care about. Sure, the rallies are in anticipation of the coming midterms, that goes without saying. But negative liberal media coverage in the 21st century steamrollers on unabated, 24 hours a day, and for someone in his uniquely persecuted position as president, it's in the national interest for Trump to connect face to face with his constituents and remind them that he has their back, despite endless claims to the contrary by the "fake news."
Next, let's look at some conveniently baldfaced lies that Rubin has casually passed off as tacit fact:
"...a president and one party have adopted thuggishness, threats, bigotry and admiration for violence as mainstays of their rhetoric."
One party? Actually that's true, but it's the militant arm of the democratic party that are committing violence, not the republicans. There are sufficient videos available on YouTube, from lay persons at the events, that bear this truth out.
"It's not both sides that have taken to encouraging violence; it's the Republican Party."
This, as demonstrated by the previous paragraph, is a 180 degree opposite of the truth.
"It's not both parties that treat the media as a threat to the United States; it's only the Republicans."
Since when does it take a bipartisan agreement to recognize that the media clearly have a hatred of the president? If Fox news were doing anything other than exposing the hypocrisy of the Left, that statement might have a modicum of truth, but in reality, it has none.
"It's not both sides of the aisle that call to lock up their opponents; only Trump does that."
Well, the last time I checked, when a criminal is discovered, they are tried and either exonerated or sentenced. Hillary Clinton is a known criminal based on email transactions and Clinton Foundation scandals, but chicanery and political slithering have shielded her from prosecution.
In the conclusion of her article, Rubin writes, "We can do better than Trump and his flock of political sheep."
As usual, in an effort to make a point, and to further paint Trump as the agent provocateur of all the unrest in our public square, Rubin just can't resist the desire to insult Trump's supporters.
And that, dear reader, is the oddly self-unrecognized character flaw that all on the Left seem to possess: an inability to understand where the lines are actually drawn in society.