Trump’s CNN Tweet is Why We Had #NeverTrump
Trump’s consistently inflammatory Twitter remarks are always about drama, not the ideas we need.
Pundits across the political spectrum are fond of reminding the public that #NeverTrump is dead. Well, obviously. Like it or not, Trump is our President, and we have to make the best of our reality.
It’s also fashionable for commentators on the right to react to various failings of the media elite and the radical left by snarking, “This is why Trump won,” regardless of whether the person opining voted for him or not. Well, Trump’s latest Twitter aggression in his ongoing conflict with the uber-biased CNN, which features a meme with Trump’s head pasted on the body of a WWE fighter slamming another fighter featuring the CNN logo into the floor, is why #NeverTrump was a real movement among conservatives in 2016, and why I personally did not vote for Trump.
Because of the (R) next to his name, this president makes it nigh impossible to defend conservatism, much less the milquetoast, unprincipled GOP (not that I care to, but some do), to people in the political middle. It’s not just because he is a narcissist, but also because he whips the media into a frenzy with case after case of Peak Stupid (as Ben Shapiro calls it). We then steady ourselves for the barrage of coverage about Trump’s latest offending tweet, and whether it promotes violence or chauvinism or stupidity or not.
Of course, this is all asinine and a waste of our collective intellect. We can’t have conversations about how to actually, say, reform healthcare (not pretend to reform it, like the GOP is set to do), and how free markets (heard that term lately?) are actually better for everyone if our bandwidth is already overrun by Trump’s petty war with a Cable News Network that admittedly has forgotten how to cover actual news when it comes to the presidency.
Many days and a national holiday after the tweet and CNN is still leading with this so-called news and we are reacting to media as news — again.
No, Trump is not, “just like all the other politicians, just without the mask.” He is worse, if only by degrees of severity. He is petty, narrow-minded, capricious, shallow, self-absorbed, and just generally a jerk. Yes, there are politicians who make a strong showing of one or more of these traits, but at least they try to hide it. So even if you disagree and you think all members of the D.C. elite are really just veiled Trumps, consider: Restraint is decency. Restraint is politesse. And when it comes to protecting his ego (and virtually everything is a potential threat to his ego, eg., Comey), our president has zero restraint. This lack of restraint has, predictably, exacerbated hysterical rhetoric on both sides. CNN is still filling airtime with Russia-Trump collusion on nary a grain of evidence, but we’ve also seen smears from the right, such as “#CNNisISIS”, and consistently immature and inflammatory responses from the POTUS to CNN’s highly speculative anti-Trump coverage.
This overblown and factually deficient language has, again quite predictably, crowded out all reason and all arguments for freeing up the markets, for actualizing substantive reforms to Medicaid (since it is a welfare program, and as such fails spectacularly), and for reigning in subsidies instead of just rearranging them.
Consider for a moment that the GOP holds the Presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress. Despite this, a real repeal of Obamacare isn’t even on the table. Why? A severe lack of conservative leadership and poor presidential leadership in general are largely to blame. He’s leading by example, and that example is counterproductive at every level: showing the world not just that he’s vulgar and constantly plays the victim, but undisciplined and narcissistic enough to keep reminding us, provoking CNN into further vapid anti-Trump “news” at the expense of covering real and pressing issues, and leading to a cascade of media, about media, that draws everyone’s attention away from policy, much less big ideas like how free markets work and the proper role of government in our lives. Meanwhile, behind all the drama and vulgarity, the GOP is set to grow government just a little less than a President Clinton would have, and preside over failed economic policies with just a little less pride than a Democrat majority would have.
Make no mistake, American media will spend the next three and a half years dragging us into the Stupid Tweet vortex, and in doing so helping Trump flush away any chance of real conservative reform along with our common decency, however insincere it may be. And President Donald Trump will have led them there.