VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Trump’s High-Stakes Tweeting.
Trump’s occasional uncouthness is a symptom, not a catalyst, of the times. Bill Clinton redefined presidential behavior when he had sexual relations with a 22-year-old, unpaid intern (so much for power imbalances as sexual harassment) in the presidential bathroom off the Oval Office, lied about his recklessness to his family and the country, smeared Monica Lewinsky, and then wheeled out to the Rose Garden feminist cabinet officers like Madeline Albright and Donna Shalala to deny and defend his unsavory predatory behavior. After that sordid episode, the apologetic Left lost all credibility as an arbiter of presidential norms.
Indeed, Clinton had brought us into new debased territory. In contrast, George W. Bush for eight years restored honor, integrity, and decorum to the White House. But he was rewarded for exemplary behavior by being branded a Nazi warmonger, as docudrama films and novels appeared imagining his assassination, and even the likes of John Glenn stooped to the Nazi slurs on his character. (“It’s the old Hitler business.”)
Out of office, Bush professionally kept quiet and busy as an accomplished artist, as Obama moved the country leftward. For that, Bush was ridiculed by the Left as reduced to a bewildered, paint-by-numbers dabbler.
The emeritus Obama, by contrast, frolics on billionaires’ yachts docked off tropical islands with the mega-rich whom he attacks in Wall Street chats for $10,000 a minute—and takes a day off from his wind surfing to weigh in on Trump’s unfitness. For all that, he remains a progressive icon. . . .
Factored into the Trump’s tweeting controversies are other variables mostly left unsaid by the media:
Trump has melted down partisan journalists and left the American progressive media in shambles. It was Obama, not Trump, who established the practice of going after journalists by name, both materially and rhetorically, from surveilling Fox’s James Rosen to using puerile hype to attack Sean Hannity (“You know, I’ll put—I’ll put Mr. Burgess up against Sean Hannity. He’ll tear him up.” [emphasis added]). Obama was angry that a few reporters did not join the cult of Obama worship; Trump is peeved almost no one in the press is disinterested. Trump saw Obama’s precedent, and proverbially trumped it.
CNN is now no longer a news organization, but has been reduced to caricature by Trump hatred. . . .
First, half the country despises the mainstream media and sees it as arrogant, corrupt, hypocritical, and in need of comeuppance. Trump is not running against a centrist populist Democrat like John Kennedy or Harry Truman, but a crude Resistance of foul mouths like Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), unhinged celebrities like Maher and Colbert, street theater, thuggery on campuses, and not very bright media talking heads imploding as they try to top their rivals’ hatred for Trump and what he represents.
Read the whole thing. But here’s one more bit: “Finally, no one has calibrated quite the nation’s deep antipathy toward the coastal media-university-political-cultural nexus, most specifically its utter hypocrisy. Half the country sees not so much Democrats or progressives, but rather a bankrupt class whose venom for others is used to excuse their own exemptions from the ramifications of their own ideology.”