Writing in Political World for Yahoo News, liberal writer Matt Bai began his weekly column, supposedly about the death and funeral of the late President George H.W. Bush, talking about the Trump presidency. As he put it, “In this moment, of course, Bush’s death became another opportunity for us all to reflect on … Trump.”
For those on the Left, almost any event of any significance is “another opportunity” to trash Trump. Bai's “reflection” is blunt: “Trump, alone among any presidents I can recall, exhibits no obvious sign of underlying goodness.”
Bai’s use of the Bush funeral as a way to castigate Trump was not unique among the media, who cast themselves as objective journalists, but who are really ideological warriors for progressive politics. Philip Rucker of the Washington Post likewise used his own coverage of the Bush memorial to micro-analyze every Trump movement.
“When others sang an opening hymn, his mouth did not move,” Rucker noted (not that unusual in church services, actually). “And when one eulogist after another testified to George H.W. Bush’s integrity and character and honesty and bravery and compassion, Trump sat and listened, often with his lips pursed and his arms crossed over his chest.”
One wonders just what Rucker thinks Trump should have done? Stand up and shout? Sitting and listening, with pursed lips, is not all that unusual at solemn occasions, like a funeral service. But to Rucker, in his own words, the Bush state funeral was “inevitably” about Trump, “for it was impossible to pay tribute to the 41st president without drawing implicit contrasts with the 45th.”
Impossible? It is certainly not impossible, but it is certainly useful for the zealots on the Left.
The New Yorker chimed it with, “Especially compared with the current occupant of the Oval Office, George H. W. Bush was a dignified figure who served his country steadfastly in war and peace.” The New York Times, in its editorial on the passing of Bush, made it all the way to the second paragraph before beginning its comparison between Bush and Trump, arguing that they have “almost nothing in common: the one gracious and modest, the other rude and vain; the one prudent, the other brash; the one steady, the other unmoored.”
When one recalls similar comparisons made by the progressive media upon the death of Senator John McCain, one must conclude that the thing that they like best about a Republican is that he is dead. Because when Republicans are alive — regardless of how much they support the progressive agenda — they are going to be castigated as either stupid, racist, and callous toward “the most vulnerable among us.” As a way to attack Trump, Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.) described McCain — after McCain’s death — as a “warrior for peace” who “will be deeply missed by people all around the world.” But when McCain dared to run against the Left’s man, Barack Obama, for president in 2008, he was accused by this same Lewis of developing “an atmosphere of hate” similar to the atmosphere found in the bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s.
Bush himself was accused of racism in his 1988 presidential campaign. He was ridiculed as out of touch with average Americans, because he supposedly did not know about scanners at supermarket check-out lines. Despite being the youngest fighter pilot in American history, flying 58 combat missions over the Pacific, Newsweek ran a cover story on him — “Fighting the Wimp Factor.” When the media finally did its job of getting him defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992, Time magazine’s William Henry admitted to PBS, “The White House press corps by and large detested George Bush.”
Trump is not the first Republican to be “detested” by the almost uniformly left-wing media that covers the White House, and neither was Bush. Examples abound of other Republican presidents who have faced a hostile press, while Democrats such as Clinton and Obama are largely adored and protected. One might recall that Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neill condemned Ronald Reagan as having ice water in his veins, as a way to say Reagan was a mean man, who cared little about the poor.
Perhaps Bush thought that by calling for a “kinder and gentler” America when launching his own campaign for president in would endear him to the Left and its media choir. When Bush broke his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge, the Democrats in government and in the media were euphoric because they knew it could get him beat in ’92. The lesson, of course, is that the best thing that a Republican can do is lose or die.
But if both Bush presidents adopted much of the progressive agenda as their own (The New Yorker, for example, lauded George H.W. Bush’s “internationalist strain of Republicanism” in its coverage of his passing), then why do the mainstream media attack such non-conservative Republicans, except after they are dead? And why do these Republican politicians so cheerfully accept this role?
In short, as radio commentator Rush Limbaugh so aptly put it more than once, when the Harlem Globetrotters perform, they need an opponent to defeat. That is provided by the Washington Generals, who conveniently lose night after night, because that is their role. But at least they get to be part of the show.
These are the types of Republicans the media adores — those who don’t fight back, and then can be used to attack the current opposition upon their deaths. Those, such as John McCain and George H.W. Bush, who “reach across the aisle” to accept the latest liberal cause, the ones that grease the wheels for the expansion of the size, power, and scope of government and are internationalists or globalists.
The lesson is clear. Go along with the Left, and when they go to bury you, they will say nice things about you, but only to undermine the current Republican opponent.
Image of George H.W. Bush funeral: Screenshot C-SPAN youtube video