Bob Ehrlich: Opposition to Trump Is Rooted in Anger

There is a unique angle to all the political anger going around these days, but few pundits bother to focus on it.

To wit: 99 percent of the angst you see on your television screens and read about on social media platforms proceeds from one direction — far left field.

And I’m not simply talking about the unbridled vitriol unleashed from the losers’ side beginning the very moment Donald J. Trump declared victory on Nov. 8, 2016. The angry chorus includes ongoing progressive tantrums that have become part of the political landscape in the second decade of the new millennium — especially during the Trump era.

You know them when you see them, as the perpetrators are the “usual suspects”: lefty “intellectuals,” Hollywood celebrities and snowflake students regularly lighting up about the latest insult or injury to their progressive sensibilities.

Think of a DeNiro full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, in one of his patented late-night television tirades or just about any stump speech from Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.

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In this world, Berkeley burns again — but this time in angry protest against free speech; Republican officeholders and administration appointees are accosted in public places, sometimes for simply sitting down to eat dinner; lefty comedians and actors take to stage and screen to lodge often vulgar attacks against any and all things Trump.

Safe to say the melodrama that began with Madonna famously dreaming of blowing up the White House at the inaugural women’s anti-Trump march has never slowed down.

I have been thinking about this one-way street while forcing myself to watch (OK, not every minute — there are limits to self-punishment) the witnesses called by Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler in the Trump impeachment inquiry.

With regard to the former, the Democratic majority produced numerous career diplomats displeased with the president. Each of them let us know how downright frustrated (angry) they were with the bare-knuckled treatment they received at the hands of the cantankerous Mr. Trump.

Similar disgust emanated from the Democratic (law professor) witnesses called by Mr. Nadler — especially Stanford Law School’s uber-progressive professor Pamela Karlan.

Yep, this was the good professor’s long-anticipated opportunity to strike back at Mr. Trump and all the Trump-loving deplorables (presumably those not admitted to elite colleges and universities) she so despises. She did not miss her mark. Her appearance may, in fact, be the most instructive of the lot: serious, unmitigated anger from start to finish. The parting gratuitous insult directed toward Mr. Trump’s 13-year-old son, Barron, only served as the icing on top of her progressive cake.

Bet she was a big hit at the faculty lounge back at Stanford.

Now juxtapose for a second the most commented upon GOP “angry moment” over the last three years: Brett Kavanaugh’s emotional self-defense in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct from over 30 years ago. Recall how the previously vetted and Senate-approved jurist defended his reputation in a demonstrably angry tone — for which he was torched by the establishment media for his alleged lack of self-control.

Talk about having it both ways.

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The good news for Republicans is that unmitigated anger and overt hostility seldom carry the day in competitive elections — especially the no-holds-barred, over-the-top and often unhinged kind recently peddled to the American public.

As the impeachment process winds down toward a House vote, I am reminded of a May 15, 2018, column I wrote for National Review titled “Don’t Throw Stones at Barking Dogs.”

The opinion piece analyzed Winston Churchill’s famous maxim to the effect that persistent (and angry) overreactions to things large and small is typically self-destructive; that sooner or later the voters will stop paying attention or turn on those who insist on throwing stones at every barking dog. For non-Churchill fans, the story of “the little boy who cried wolf” will suffice. A bottom line appears: Choosing to whine at every perceived slight or opponent’s success tends to wear out an audience.

Still, it is difficult to find a time in recent political history where so many angry comments — and so many stones — are being slung at a single politician. Indeed, entire media operations have given themselves over to an unrelenting 24/7 search for barking dogs wherever they may lie.

But the angry opposition’s smarmy, snarky and snarly ways now appear to have limits. Public opinion polls published since the start of Adam Schiff’s inquisition are trending in favor of the embattled president.

No doubt Mr. Churchill is looking down on this circus with a wry smile.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former United States congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.