Where are the Decent Liberals?

It’s time for decent liberals to hold their less principled colleagues to account.

By Ken Blackwell Published on July 5, 2017

President Donald Trump’s critics fixate on his tweets and then wonder why he spends so much time responding to their attacks. But why do they devote so much attention to his tweets in the first place? Maybe they realize that many Americans are happy to finally have a president who fights back.

Refusing to Hold Their Own Accountable

The Left complains about how badly Republicans treated President Bill Clinton. But he disgraced himself in the Oval Office. And while America’s top elected official, he committed the crime of perjury.

Democrats also whine that conservatives said terrible things about President Barack Obama. But just look at his record.

Trump hasn’t behaved like Bill Clinton, Obama, or Hillary Clinton. His only offense is being unusually candid.

He nationalized health care — a sixth of the economy — and in the process, undermined the greatest medical care system in the world. He sent America into retreat overseas, with disastrous consequences. He used the IRS to harass and stifle his critics. He held no one accountable for the murder of Americans in Benghazi. He increased the national debt by $9 trillion. What good was there to say about his presidency?

Finally, the Left is indignant about the horrible treatment — the usual litany of “isms” — shown Hillary Clinton. Yet her scandals run the gamut from Whitewater and sketchy cattle trades to Benghazi and hidden, unsecure classified emails. The shameless type of self-dealing evident with the Clinton Foundation first surfaced with the firing of the White House travel staff when her husband became president. Yet, who but conservatives were willing to point out her misconduct?

President Trump hasn’t behaved like any of them. His only offense is being unusually candid for a politician.

Trump is Making a Difference — So the Left Attacks

Obviously, people are free to criticize the president. And, no doubt, if you’re a progressive or liberal, you don’t like what he’s doing: Appointing a solid constitutionalist to the Supreme Court. Restoring U.S. leadership abroad. Returning justice to the Justice Department. Securing America’s borders. Addressing the damage done by Obamacare.

Fixing Barack Obama’s mistakes is hard work. And the president is making a difference.

Which probably explains the Left’s truly unconscionable behavior. Their ranks aren’t content to claim that the Trump administration’s policies won’t work. They applaud the idea of violence against America’s president.

Forget the antics of the MSNBC morning show. The hosts are dishonest and shrill, but that’s standard fare in today’s mainstream media. What’s amazing are the vile attacks magnified by supposedly establishment journalists.

And consider the Hollywood personalities who take themselves so seriously they need to tell everyone what they think.

Last month, actor Johnny Depp asked a crowd, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” He added, “it’s been awhile, and maybe it’s time.” Yes, the last instance was 1865 when John Wilkes Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln, a president who even modern liberals claim to respect. Depp later apologized, claiming he “was only trying to amuse.”

Trump is No Caesar

Obviously, being an actor doesn’t make one a comedian. And even professional comedians sometimes fail to make people laugh. When Kathy Griffin’s stunt with a bloody, decapitated head of President Trump blew up, she claimed victimhood because people didn’t get the “joke.”

Fixing Barack Obama’s mistakes is hard work. And the president is making a difference. 

At least these two were one-off “performances.” New York City Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar features the title character being knifed with great enthusiasm midway through the play. This “Roman” sports a suit, unruly orangish hair, and red tie, and has a spouse with a Slovenian accent. Wonder who that’s supposed to be?

The real Caesar was a general who used military success to destroy a republic and become a dictator. It’s a great story, and in 1937 the celebrated Orson Welles used the play to target Italy’s Benito Mussolini, who was a fascist dictator and later allied himself with Adolf Hitler in World War II.

But President Trump, freely elected by the American people and acting within the U.S. Constitution, being portrayed as Caesar? And deserving to be assassinated? Really?

Vigorous Debate is Good. Vicious Attacks Aren’t.

Of course, no one involved in these incidents said they supported harming the president. But a couple weeks back a Nebraska Democratic Party official said he was “glad” that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot. Not just that, but “I wish he was [expletive] dead.”

Phil Montag did this in a conversation with Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, chairwoman of the state party’s Black Caucus, who previously remarked that it was “so funny” to watch GOP legislators “crying on live TV” about the horror of the attack. She added: “Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”

And liberals accuse President Trump of degrading America’s political discourse?

Americans always have engaged in vigorous debate. They should continue doing so. But vigorous doesn’t mean vicious and malevolent. It’s time for decent liberals to hold their less principled colleagues to account.


Kenneth Blackwell, a former mayor of Cincinnati and Ohio Secretary of State, is a Policy Board member and Senior Fellow for the American Civil Rights Union.

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  • James

    Liberals put a lot of emphasis on personality, while conservatives tend to put more emphasis on ideals.

    Going back to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, Clinton was impeached for cheating on his wife by a man who was cheating on his wife (Newt Gingrich). Neither man was exactly an example of integrity. The difference is that Newt resigned, while Clinton did not. Replacing Newt was no problem for Republicans, while replacing Clinton with Al Gore would have been unacceptable for Democrats, even though Gore would have pursued similar policies as Clinton.

    Republicans replace their leadership regularly for any reason or no reason, while Democrats stay in leadership positions until they retire, die, or are voted out, no matter how incompetent they are.

    Obama was eloquent, telegenic, and personally popular, which mattered more to liberals than his underwhelming policies and the collapse of the Democratic party downballot.

    This is also why attacks on Trump from the left has failed. That Trump is undignified and crude really bothers liberals, while it is a mere annoyance to conservatives. Liberals want to impeach Trump, but many conservatives are perfectly ok with Mike Pence.

    • AvgJoe

      I get your point about the impeached and impeacher both being adulterers. But, wasn’t Clinton impeached for lying under oath about his affair with Lewinsky, rather than for the actual affair itself? Am I remembering that right?

      • Kevin Carr

        Yes you are correct.

        • AvgJoe


  • Gary

    There are no decent liberals. Decency and liberalism do not mix.

  • Excellent article. Unfortunately, liberals have enjoyed a media bubble for decades now, and the consequences of that long a stretch without self-examination are disastrous. They have almost completely lost the faculty of self-examination. They reinforce each other, and the continuation of “The Narrative” has become their most desperate goal. Anyone who steps off the plantation is immediately brought back into line through intimidation or coercion.

    How else could a Hillary, or a Maxine Waters, or a Tom Perez rise to the top? These people should have been driven from public life long ago, but instead they are rewarded. It goes back, in my view, to the day the Dems circled the wagons around the national brigand, Bill Clinton. Party and power over the national interest. It has never changed since then. Gaining and holding onto power is number one for these people. The constant virtue signalling is just hypocritical cover to sell their agenda to the masses, on those occasions when the masses actually divert their attention away from the Kardashians and the Superbowl.

  • Patmos

    Barack’s presidency was genuinely frightening, in that he was able to get away with all that he did, and that people actually supported it in such a cavalier manner.

  • Edwin B. Harrison

    This article is well written and factual. However I can’t find anything good to say about liberals.

  • A person’s character is important. I would expect ANY Presidential candidate of ANY party to have some small degree of humility. Trump has precisely ZERO. But I should not be surprised. According to today’s GOP, humility is for pus*ies.

    As for ideas, Trump said whatever had to be said to get elected. It wouldn’t matter if he was addressing the Family Research Council or the Log Cabin Republicans, he will say whatever it takes to make them cheer.

    But look at Trump’s “ideas” for health care reform. He insists that everyone will have fabulous health care, everyone’s premiums will go down, and he’ll be able to do that while cutting taxes on the rich. Exactly how does that work?

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