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With the election of Donald Trump as president, the words “civility” and “character” have become among the most overused terms in current political discourse.  According to his adversaries, Trump grotesquely lacks these attributes.  However, over the past 30 years, the necessity of possessing and living by these traits has been limited to the Republican Party or conservatives in general.  The Democrats and the American left are exempt from this requirement.  

If Donald Trump had run for president and won as the nominee of the Democratic Party, his lack of character and rampant incivility would not be an issue, and in fact, those mannerisms would be praised as revealing a tenacious and determined personality.

How did this absurd double standard evolve?  It began in 1988 with the election of George H.W. Bush.  He won not on his own merits, but almost solely because he was the beneficiary of being the vice president during the two terms of Ronald Reagan – in many ways the most successful and popular president of the twentieth century.

The Bush family dynasty exemplifies the patrician attitude of holding oneself above the fray after fulfilling one’s pre-ordained obligation to society.  This may have been fine in the halcyon days of the past, when America’s future seemed limitless and those answering to the call of duty and their political adversaries alike were for the most part honorable people. 

The 1992 presidential election campaign of George H.W. Bush, in keeping with his penchant for civility, ran a lackluster campaign against Bill Clinton, relying instead on his record and sterling character.  Bush and the Republican National Committee, upon his instructions, never went for the jugular with Clinton, who was saddled with innumerable scandals and falsehoods. 

Clinton, not shackled by the niceties of civility, aggressively attacked Bush as being a liar, someone in league with the rich and powerful, and an essentially untrustworthy con man who also was up to his eyeballs in the Iran Contra Affair.  This charge was seemingly coordinated with Lawrence Walsh, the special prosecutor for the Iran Contra Affair, as a mere two weeks before the election, he indicted Caspar Weinberger, Bush’s secretary of defense.  Clinton, with a smirk and straight face, implied that Bush, despite his denials and lack of evidence, was complicit in the scandal.  Four weeks later, a federal district judge threw out the indictment, but the damage was done, and Bill Clinton was president for the next eight years.

While George H.W. Bush opened the door to civility as applicable to Republicans only, his son George W. Bush, also a decent and honorable person, cemented that premise in the body politic.  In his inaugural address in 2000, George W. Bush stated the following as he committed himself to adhering to the ideal of political civility: “Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment.  It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos.”

These are fine and noble sentiments if all parties endeavor to follow them.  However, during his eight years in office, Bush was incessantly and falsely accused, by the Democrats, their allies in the media, and the left, of being the worst human being on Earth.  As he was a genocidal warmonger, one of the most racist presidents in history, and a prevaricator, as well as a misogynist and plutocrat, therefore he was someone who should be assassinated for the benefit of mankind.  But in keeping with his dedication to civility and reverence for the office, George W. Bush refused to respond or allow his subordinates to defend him in public against any of these charges, thereby allowing them to be cemented in the public psyche.  By the end of his term, his approval rating was the lowest ever recorded, and the Democrats as well as the left were emboldened with a new and highly successful tactic to destroy their opposition.

Not having learned their lesson from the George W. Bush experience – that the Democrats their allies in the media and the left would never campaign on issues, but instead primarily focus on personal destruction and incivility – the Republican Party in 2008 nominated the next man in line, John McCain – another candidate of character and integrity as well as a disciple of the Bush concept of civility and someone it was assumed the media liked.  He thus ran his presidential campaign as the model of civility and decorum against the neo-socialist Barack Obama.  The opposition, as expected, went scorched earth.

During the campaign, Democrats, using the playbook established to tear down George W. Bush, smeared John McCain, an American military hero, as a warmonger, an unapologetic racist, of having an affair with a lobbyist, of being a phony POW in Vietnam, and too old and scarred by his POW experience to be president.  Like Bush, McCain refused to aggressively fight back and take the offensive.  Unsurprisingly, he was soundly defeated by Barack Obama, thus opening the door for the extreme left to take over the Democratic Party and many of the levers of power in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, not to be outdone by nominating John McCain in 2008, the Republican Party chose to back another genuine, decent man of character.  The decision was made to back someone who was the personification of an Eagle Scout.  Surely, Mitt Romney, as he had no skeletons in his closet, could weather and avoid the character assassination tactics of the media and the Democrats while pursuing a civil discourse during the campaign.  Romney, being who he is, engaged in the same bland and civil campaign tactics of his predecessors: the two Georges Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain.

However, it took little time for the left-wing forces arrayed against Romney to fire their volleys.  A new accusation was hurled as Romney and the Republicans were publicly compared to the Nazis by the Democrats.  Romney was also portrayed as a right-wing extremist, a congenital liar, and a corporate elitist whose only interest is protecting the wealthy.  Further, he was a sexist bordering on misogyny.  The always reliable charge of racism was naturally leveled at Romney.  And he was portrayed as not only a draft-dodger, but a wild-eyed warmonger.  By the end of the campaign, Romney, as George W. Bush and John McCain before him, was portrayed as being among the most reprehensible men on Earth.

Yet these gentlemen accepted this caricature with civility and grace while the country inexorably fell into the hands of the neo-socialists and radicals in the Democratic Party. 

The Tea Party movement was a direct response to the efforts of Obama and his henchmen culturally and economically transforming America.  More importantly, it was a gut reaction to the hierarchy of the Republican Party and its presidential candidates continuously surrendering on the battlefield, all the while waving the flag of civility – particularly as the other side was free to wage a scorched earth campaign without compunction, consequence, or push-back.

Rank-and-file Republicans and conservatives instinctively knew that 2016 was a watershed election.  The future of the nation as founded was hanging precariously by a thread.  When Donald Trump declared his intention to run for president, he immediately vaulted to the top of the Republican field because he made it clear he would not follow in the footsteps of all the recent nominees.  It is significant that the two most iconoclastic candidates in a crowded 14-candidate Republican field, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, garnered 70% of the vote and 81% of the delegates during the primary season.

Now we are being told by the professional conservative class that Donald Trump has destroyed civility, and, as he is lacking in good character, he must, therefore, be cast out of the Oval Office.  On the contrary, Donald Trump is in the Oval Office because of the one-sided game of civility that the conservative intellectuals and the Republican Party hierarchy over the years have acquiesced to, because it was to their financial and narcissistic benefit to do so.  They are the primary reason Donald Trump is president.  The time for civility is over until the opposition either is defeated on the field of ideas and the ballot box or begins to behave as a civilized entity.

With the election of Donald Trump as president, the words “civility” and “character” have become among the most overused terms in current political discourse.  According to his adversaries, Trump grotesquely lacks these attributes.  However, over the past 30 years, the necessity of possessing and living by these traits has been limited to the Republican Party or conservatives in general.  The Democrats and the American left are exempt from this requirement.  

If Donald Trump had run for president and won as the nominee of the Democratic Party, his lack of character and rampant incivility would not be an issue, and in fact, those mannerisms would be praised as revealing a tenacious and determined personality.

How did this absurd double standard evolve?  It began in 1988 with the election of George H.W. Bush.  He won not on his own merits, but almost solely because he was the beneficiary of being the vice president during the two terms of Ronald Reagan – in many ways the most successful and popular president of the twentieth century.

The Bush family dynasty exemplifies the patrician attitude of holding oneself above the fray after fulfilling one’s pre-ordained obligation to society.  This may have been fine in the halcyon days of the past, when America’s future seemed limitless and those answering to the call of duty and their political adversaries alike were for the most part honorable people. 

The 1992 presidential election campaign of George H.W. Bush, in keeping with his penchant for civility, ran a lackluster campaign against Bill Clinton, relying instead on his record and sterling character.  Bush and the Republican National Committee, upon his instructions, never went for the jugular with Clinton, who was saddled with innumerable scandals and falsehoods. 

Clinton, not shackled by the niceties of civility, aggressively attacked Bush as being a liar, someone in league with the rich and powerful, and an essentially untrustworthy con man who also was up to his eyeballs in the Iran Contra Affair.  This charge was seemingly coordinated with Lawrence Walsh, the special prosecutor for the Iran Contra Affair, as a mere two weeks before the election, he indicted Caspar Weinberger, Bush’s secretary of defense.  Clinton, with a smirk and straight face, implied that Bush, despite his denials and lack of evidence, was complicit in the scandal.  Four weeks later, a federal district judge threw out the indictment, but the damage was done, and Bill Clinton was president for the next eight years.

While George H.W. Bush opened the door to civility as applicable to Republicans only, his son George W. Bush, also a decent and honorable person, cemented that premise in the body politic.  In his inaugural address in 2000, George W. Bush stated the following as he committed himself to adhering to the ideal of political civility: “Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment.  It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos.”

These are fine and noble sentiments if all parties endeavor to follow them.  However, during his eight years in office, Bush was incessantly and falsely accused, by the Democrats, their allies in the media, and the left, of being the worst human being on Earth.  As he was a genocidal warmonger, one of the most racist presidents in history, and a prevaricator, as well as a misogynist and plutocrat, therefore he was someone who should be assassinated for the benefit of mankind.  But in keeping with his dedication to civility and reverence for the office, George W. Bush refused to respond or allow his subordinates to defend him in public against any of these charges, thereby allowing them to be cemented in the public psyche.  By the end of his term, his approval rating was the lowest ever recorded, and the Democrats as well as the left were emboldened with a new and highly successful tactic to destroy their opposition.

Not having learned their lesson from the George W. Bush experience – that the Democrats their allies in the media and the left would never campaign on issues, but instead primarily focus on personal destruction and incivility – the Republican Party in 2008 nominated the next man in line, John McCain – another candidate of character and integrity as well as a disciple of the Bush concept of civility and someone it was assumed the media liked.  He thus ran his presidential campaign as the model of civility and decorum against the neo-socialist Barack Obama.  The opposition, as expected, went scorched earth.

During the campaign, Democrats, using the playbook established to tear down George W. Bush, smeared John McCain, an American military hero, as a warmonger, an unapologetic racist, of having an affair with a lobbyist, of being a phony POW in Vietnam, and too old and scarred by his POW experience to be president.  Like Bush, McCain refused to aggressively fight back and take the offensive.  Unsurprisingly, he was soundly defeated by Barack Obama, thus opening the door for the extreme left to take over the Democratic Party and many of the levers of power in Washington, D.C.

In 2012, not to be outdone by nominating John McCain in 2008, the Republican Party chose to back another genuine, decent man of character.  The decision was made to back someone who was the personification of an Eagle Scout.  Surely, Mitt Romney, as he had no skeletons in his closet, could weather and avoid the character assassination tactics of the media and the Democrats while pursuing a civil discourse during the campaign.  Romney, being who he is, engaged in the same bland and civil campaign tactics of his predecessors: the two Georges Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain.

However, it took little time for the left-wing forces arrayed against Romney to fire their volleys.  A new accusation was hurled as Romney and the Republicans were publicly compared to the Nazis by the Democrats.  Romney was also portrayed as a right-wing extremist, a congenital liar, and a corporate elitist whose only interest is protecting the wealthy.  Further, he was a sexist bordering on misogyny.  The always reliable charge of racism was naturally leveled at Romney.  And he was portrayed as not only a draft-dodger, but a wild-eyed warmonger.  By the end of the campaign, Romney, as George W. Bush and John McCain before him, was portrayed as being among the most reprehensible men on Earth.

Yet these gentlemen accepted this caricature with civility and grace while the country inexorably fell into the hands of the neo-socialists and radicals in the Democratic Party. 

The Tea Party movement was a direct response to the efforts of Obama and his henchmen culturally and economically transforming America.  More importantly, it was a gut reaction to the hierarchy of the Republican Party and its presidential candidates continuously surrendering on the battlefield, all the while waving the flag of civility – particularly as the other side was free to wage a scorched earth campaign without compunction, consequence, or push-back.

Rank-and-file Republicans and conservatives instinctively knew that 2016 was a watershed election.  The future of the nation as founded was hanging precariously by a thread.  When Donald Trump declared his intention to run for president, he immediately vaulted to the top of the Republican field because he made it clear he would not follow in the footsteps of all the recent nominees.  It is significant that the two most iconoclastic candidates in a crowded 14-candidate Republican field, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, garnered 70% of the vote and 81% of the delegates during the primary season.

Now we are being told by the professional conservative class that Donald Trump has destroyed civility, and, as he is lacking in good character, he must, therefore, be cast out of the Oval Office.  On the contrary, Donald Trump is in the Oval Office because of the one-sided game of civility that the conservative intellectuals and the Republican Party hierarchy over the years have acquiesced to, because it was to their financial and narcissistic benefit to do so.  They are the primary reason Donald Trump is president.  The time for civility is over until the opposition either is defeated on the field of ideas and the ballot box or begins to behave as a civilized entity.



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