Say you’re the backup shortstop on a Big League team, watching from the dugout as the guy ahead of you takes the field. What are you rooting for-deep down?
A few strikeouts, a muffed ground ball or two contributing to losses for your squad and pretty soon you’re the starter. Of course, you’re a team player, so you cheer for your rival and tell sportswriters that all you care about is winning.
Those of us who voted for Hillary Clinton are riding the pine this season. So, what, really, are we rooting for?
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, stood at a podium the other day screaming “Dump Trump!” until hoarse. Tom Perez, just elected as head of the Democratic Party, began his new job by pledging that he and the DNC will be “Trump’s worst nightmare.”
This is reminiscent of what Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said during the Obama years-a statement that became a battle cry for Democrats, seemingly confirming the gross unfairness of the GOP’s obstructionist ways. “The single most important thing we want to achieve,” said McDonnell, “is to make President Obama a one-term president.”
It was so jarring that Democrats cited it in Senate speeches; President Obama, himself, mentioned it on “60 Minutes,” and liberal pundits used the quote for years. Republicans claimed to be cheering for the nation, but they were really rooting for themselves.
McConnell actually made the remark in a print interview with the National Journal, and in his very next breath he added that Republicans were prepared to support Obama if he met them “halfway.” He added, “I don’t want the president to fail; I want him to change.”
Now, with Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats find themselves in the awkward position of pulling for the nation, while predicting that its new leaders will fail; of pledging support for our system, while delaying the president’s appointments and thus thwarting his progress.
Democrats in office must use extreme caution in criticizing the president and suggesting a macro plan to have him fail. They should choose their targets carefully by opposing policies such as the dismantling of Obamacare and shredding the social safety net. They would be wise to fight a massive military buildup.
The heavy lifting in combating Trump should be left, at least for now, to the general public and media.
The public should continue marching and speaking out at town hall meetings. Work should begin immediately at the grassroots level to rebuild the base that was, frankly, run into the ground by the Clinton campaign.
Democrats also need to recover lost governorships, state legislative seats and other political positions in a majority of the 50 states. Media, meanwhile, should use every opportunity to call out Trump’s inaccuracies and distortions of truth. But, to paraphrase Obama, the message for pundits and politicians is: Don’t rant, reason.
It’s too bad that more winners at Sunday night’s Oscars didn’t use the forum to speak out against Trump. A few did, but the message was not overwhelming. Perhaps the entertainers felt that an awards ceremony is not the place for politics, but they were wrong. These are extraordinary times. Casey Affleck, who won the Oscar for Best Actor, spoke out forcefully Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards. He called Trump’s policies “Un-American” and “abhorrent.” But the following night when the world was watching, Affleck clammed up.
Citizens at all levels can’t cower. Until we get closer to another election, politicians must not appear to be rooting against the home team. The rest of us, however, should speak out at every opportunity to get more skilled players back on the field.
Peter Funt can be reached at www.CandidCamera.com