A Dec. 24 letter writer to this column stated that defenses of the current president are “gutless, spineless and hypocritical.” On that same day, presidential aspirant Michael Bloomberg in an op-ed accused members of Congress who don’t oppose the president with a sufficient level of vehemence of not “showing some spine.”
They are only two of many commentators today who think its acceptable to rain down personal invective on fellow citizens who don’t see things the way they do. They apparently believe the only rational intellectual position is to oppose everything the president says, does, and believes in, and those that don’t are morally inferior, stupid, or both.
But millions of Americans choose to support both the presidency and him. They find his instincts and actions on issues like immigration, trade, economics and culture in line with their own and spot on. They recognize he is a man with personality quirks and character deficiencies. But they know that an elderly man who has employed thousands, built buildings, and fought in the economic arena will have a checkered history and a few battle scars. They like seeing someone who has no tolerance for the smooth nothingness of career politicians. They see in him someone who understands their beliefs and doesn’t, like his detractors, see them as slowpokes on the intellectual highway who must be dismissively passed and shouted at from the always-superior leftist lane.
Progressives do not have a corner on the intellect and integrity markets. Supporters of this president can be smart, insightful, and well-intended. They are more than willing to engage in thoughtful discussions on political and cultural issues and defend him. They are confident they could win them on the merits. But it’s hard to debate opponents who place themselves on the elevated back of the better-than-you high horse and simply hurl insults. Then again, being up there means they won’t have to.