Examining the “Examiner”
As with all presidents, Donald Trump has a knack for drawing like-minded ideologues into his orbit. The difference between him and previous presidents is that Trump’s choices tend to combine rigid opinions (e.g., anti-immigrant, anti-climate advocacy, anti-tax laws that might actually help everyday people, including his own base) with unpleasant personalities, at least as seen in their public roles.
For Democrats wishing to understand the political psychology of this type of hack, it’s a0 good idea to spend some time, once in a while, in the other camp, where clues abound.
There’s no better way to do this than to dip into their major publications.
The Washington Examiner is as good a place as any for the curious Democrat to visit.
Clawing through the reporting, the pop-ups, and the op-eds, not to mention the barrage of visual dissonances reeking in all online tabloids in our post-print epoch, one may come upon a pleasant surprise.
Exception to the Rule
This one, for example.
On 30 October, Mark Weinberg, former insider in the Reagan administration, drilled into Trump’s newish press secretary (Stephanie Grisham, appointed 1 July 2019) for saying, according to Weinberg, “things that are appalling and below the dignity of her office.”
Weinberg directed his disgust at two things in particular: (1) Grisham’s parroting of Trump’s recent description of his political foes as “human scum” and (2) her smearing of General John Kelly, whom she claimed “was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great president.”
In his comparison of Grisham with Trump’s earlier press secretaries, Weinberg piles on his disgust: “she refuses to take questions from the White House press corps at a daily briefing. Instead, she doles out unchallenged answers to questions from reliably friendly outlets such as Fox News.”
Weinberg brings his reprimand of Grisham to a fine point by calling her a “coward.”
This is another way of saying that Grisham is too intimidated by non-partisan reporters to venture into dialogue with them, choosing to keep herself within the protective radius of her boss eavesdropping in the wings.
In other words, it’s getting worse by the hour in the White House.
The (once) free press continues to take a beating from third-rate incompetents, who increase their foreclosure on open debate.
Grisham’s party-line palaver (“genius,” “great”!) would be amusing if she hadn’t said it with a straight face, and if she didn’t wield such power over the First Amendment.
But it was straight, and she wields exactly that.
Taking What We Can Get
It’s normal to hear Democrats reprove stooges like Grisham, who comes out looking pretty bad even in the non-biased Wikipedia biography of her life. But to hear a dyed-in-wool Republican dress her down for nastiness and stupidity is delightful for two reasons.
First, Weinberg’s disapproval, printed in the conservative Washington Examiner no less, makes it impossible for Republicans siding with her and the “genius” president to write the criticism off as another instance of sourpuss Democratic nitpicking.
Second, it means common sense and decency are not totally absent in the Republican Party. That means there’s hope for the country. The United States may yet pull out of this downward spiral.
Weinberg’s reproach of Grisham doesn’t give Democrats the satisfaction that impeachment would give, but it is something to relish, the more so because it appears in an unlikely place—indeed, a strange place for Democrat drop-ins who can’t fathom the loyalty of lackeys like Stephanie Grisham.
Lest we Democrats, whether in power or not, are tempted, in this season of vitriol and division, to seek reprisal for the disrespect shown by the other side, let us remember never to allow a Democrat version of Stephanie Grisham to be the voice of any branch, line, or sub-group of the Democratic Party.