by Victor Davis Hanson
We are now in the fourth year of an anti-Trump mania, and about reaching the point of caricature.
The Left should have learned something after the failed celebrity appeal to undermine the Electoral College, the initial articles of impeachment, the empty invocations of the Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, and the 25th Amendment, the 22-month, $35 million Mueller investigation deflation, the periodical silly “bombshell” announcements of perennially wrong and comical Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the pathetic palace coup attempt of Andrew McCabe, the assassination chic from the likes of Madonna, Snoop Dogg, or Kathy Griffin, or the deification of the slimy prophet Michael Avenatti.
Not at all. An entire new cast of carnival characters has arrived on the scene to take up where the now imploded Left off. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has replaced Schiff in the unhinged congressional investigative limelight. In his latest hearing, Nadler obtusely insisted on addressing former Trump White House aide Hope Hicks as “Ms. Lewandowski.” Even Democrats were puzzled – given that Nadler’s supposed “slip of the tongue” was repeated three times until Hicks finally corrected him.
Even in the age of gender transitioning and speech reduced to Twitter-like grunts, sane people still do not confuse the four-syllable name of the male Lewandowski as some sort of homophone for the one syllable name of the female Hicks.
Was Nadler in tawdry fashion then trying repeatedly to traffic in stale and unfounded rumors that the married Lewandowski had had an affair with Hicks? In the age of #MeToo was the enlightened feminist Nadler implying that Hicks was somehow the sexually compromised tool of the former controversial Trump aide? Or was he so unhinged in his hatred of the president to the point of conflating his make-believe enemies into some sort of composite delusionary specter? Did a Republican committee member ever repeatedly address witness Lisa Page as “Ms. Strzok”? That “slip of the tongue” or “confusing”of two one-syllable names at least would have been fueled by a real and substantiated affair.
Hillary Clinton, of “deplorables” and “I don’t feel no ways tired” fame has now faded. The Bill and Hillary conversation tour long ago ran out of gas. Her “Russia and Trump cheated me” tropes are worn and now embarrassing, as she descends into Stacey Abrams obsessive-compulsive fantasies that appeal only to 94-year-old Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, her own party has finally concluded that a 71-year old white woman, prone to gaffes, who blows up her presidential campaigns, and is plagued with past failure and current scandal is no longer needed as a national emerita spokeswoman.
So Hillary has exited the carnival – only to be replaced by anti-Trump “elder statesman” Joe Biden. As the next 76-year-old white-guy senior Democratic functionary, Biden has tried his best to bookend the Hillary example of twice destroying a presidential campaign, and in the fashion that he also did on two prior occasions through plagiarism, résumé fabrication, racist talk, and free association incoherence. For every “deplorables” and “I don’t feel no ways tired,” Biden trumps with “dregs of society” and “put y’all in chains”.
So far, Biden has informed his Democratic leftist, identity-politics diehards that he was once on good terms with the now long-dead segregationist lions of the Senate, that all his positions of the 1970s have been jettisoned, replaced, and borrowed from those of his current rivals, that he was only against busing because a non-existent Department of Education ordered it, that the first thing he will do as president is beat Trump (perhaps he means assault rather than defeat him twice in three months at the ballot box, and so will take him a third time out behind the rhetorical gym for a good thrashing).
Was anyone surprised that the man who thought FDR was president in 1929 and addressed the nation on TV about the Great Depression could also not resist appropriating slogans and ideas verbatim from others, or saying the silliest things about race, class, and gender – the progressive trinity. Biden still has trouble keeping his hands and breath off the hair and shoulders of women, especially teen-aged women. In sum, Biden is not the antidote to Hillary Clinton’s liabilities, but an overdose of them.
After the abbreviated strip tour of porn star Stormy Daniels, and the late, great media-driven presidential aspirations of her now indicted lawyer Michael Avenatti, and the “the walls are closing in” psychodramatic state’s evidence of Michael Cohen, a new Trump sexual accuser has come on the scene.
One E. Jean Carroll, advice columnist and misandrist (What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal) is the most bizarre of them all. After announcing that over two decades ago Donald Trump “raped” her, Carroll assures that she was convinced that there was a video camera recording their meeting and that, pre-Monica Lewinsky-style, she still has the incriminating coat hanging in her closet untouched that she was wearing at the scene of the crime. Then she strangely admits that there is no evidence of the meeting that took place in a semi-public place. She offers no reason now to come forward other than to hype her current book. And she seems a sexual-Zelig, citing past parallel cases in which she just supposedly happened to bump into, and then was accosted by, the nation’s most powerful and richest men.
Carroll does not classify rape as a sexual assault, but rather describes it as something perceived to be “sexy.” Oh, and she says she found herself with Trump at the scene of the crime—a dressing room at the “posh” luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman—united by their shared interest in lingerie. Many on the Left are trumpeting her story, as the long-awaited sex “bombshell” that finally blows up Trump. In comparison, Carroll makes wild Stormy look like a sober and judicious truth teller, and has about as much credibility as the wacko Larry Sinclair, the gay hoodish coke-snorting accuser of Barack Obama who actually was let into the National Press Club in 2008 to gossip about his supposed past link-up with a younger Obama.
Then there are the two-dozen would-be presidents in the current Democratic field. So desperate is the desire for an anti-Trump messiah that each week someone, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Great Stone Face” style, is declared the long-awaited heroic Trump destroyer. The once canonized “Beto” O’Rourke has descended into silliness after his loss in the Texas senate race to Ted Cruz. Like a scorched frog on a skillet, Beto jumps around the stage and makes strange noises that confirm as a rich, privileged white guy he is more than willing to pander far more than merely adopting a Mexican-American nickname, but lacks the knowledge and depth to know quite how to grovel other than apologizing in the abstract for his white rich upbringing.
Cory Booker still has not convinced Americans who know why he’s called “Spartacus” that he’s not crazy. Elizabeth Warren is in recovery, once she stopped showing DNA proof that she is not the Indian that for two decades she claimed to be for careerist purposes and whose lies Harvard was only too willing to promulgate. Bernie Sanders after 2016 seems as if he is going through the socialist motions – or rather suggesting that if things were once hard at 73 they are really hard at 77. He honeymooned in the Soviet Union, but the once newlywed Bill de Blasio topped that with Cuba.
How do you pander beyond legal infanticide? Julian Castro believes he can by offering free abortions to transgendered females without wombs. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is proving that intersectionality is a destruction derby and that black activists are not especially keen to envision him as a gay victim. It is hard to know who distrusts the narratives of Kamala Harris more, her own father or her past paramour and former enabling San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. And on and on.
In the old Democratic days, Trump might have seemed vulnerable to charges that the national debt is now hitting $22 trillion and his annual deficits are ranging between $500 billion and $1 trillion. Or Democrats might have claimed that Trump has not yet offered a comprehensive substitution to Obamacare. Instead, the progressive alternatives offer only the same stale message: Trump is bad and socialism is great.
So, the carnival continues. Expect the upcoming Robert Mueller congressional testimony to be a Kavanaugh-like circus. Expect the continual release of incriminating government documents to outrage Rachel Maddow and John Brennan as they somehow reveal themselves to be even greater fools and worse. Expect each day a Democratic candidate trying to dream up how much more free stuff he can give away to prove his left-wing fides, and how far more worried they all are about noncitizens than their own fellow Americans.
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Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004.