In the latest iteration of the never-ending Democrat campaign to disrupt President Donald Trump’s agenda and to throw him off message, a full-blown smear campaign now is afoot alleging that he is stupid or, even more concerning, mentally unbalanced. This campaign initially must be understood in the context of two factors. First, the Democrats and their mainstream liberal media allies have leveled the same defamations against virtually every Republican President who has served during the past forty years. Second, this smear campaign is the latest in a series of never-ending Democrat efforts to find a weak spot in President Trump’s personal armor in the hope finally of unsettling him to the point of disgust with being President.
In many ways, the Democrat arrogance dates back to the Gerald Ford presidency. After Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman occupied the White House throughout most of the 1930s and all the 1940s, Dwight Eisenhower was elected President in 1952. He had been the commanding general of the victorious American forces during World War II and thereafter served as president of Columbia University in the City of New York. The label “stupid” could not fit him. After the Kennedy-Johnson years, the next Republican president was Richard Nixon. No matter what one thought of Nixon, he clearly was not intellectually stupid. And then came Ford.
Gerald Ford graduated college at the University of Michigan where he was a star football athlete with the Wolverines. After next starting at University of Michigan law school, he transferred to Yale Law School, where he graduated in the top quarter of his class. He then served heroically in the United States Navy during WWII and was awarded several decorations. Thus, he was academically brilliant, athletically gifted, and heroic. He also proved sophisticated, as he went into politics and rose to become House Minority Leader. Amid the chaos of the Nixon-Agnew Administration, Ford was named Vice President after Spiro Agnew resigned while pleading nolo contendere to corruption charges, and Ford became America’s 38th President when Richard Nixon resigned under the cloud of Watergate.
It did not take long before the Democrats and their media cohort began depicting Gerald Ford as a bumbling, stupid fool. Indeed, Ford had two mishaps, slipping on airport runway stairs, the first time amid rain. As President his every move was caught on film. He once tumbled while skiing. And, famously, one of his errant golf shots hit a spectator in the head. The media ran with it. Young comedian Chevy Chase made a specialty on Saturday Night Live of depicting the President falling all over the place, week after week. The image stuck. It was a pure lie. The President was a fit and gifted athlete. He was not the only person who ever slipped on an outdoor wet metal step. He was not the only person who ever tumbled on a ski slope. But, despite Ford’s Ivy League law brilliance, political astuteness, football prowess, and distinguished military service, the Democrats successfully tagged him in the popular mind as a bumbling fool.
He was followed by a Democrat, Jimmy Carter. Through Carter’s four years, America was told how brilliant he was, how hard working. CBS icon Walter Cronkite, for example, called him America’s “smartest President.” During Carter’s four years, Iran held Americans hostage in Teheran, inflation approached 20%, the bond market collapsed, and the United States lost ground to the Soviet Union throughout Africa, Asia, and South America.
Then came Ronald Reagan. It was time once again for the Left to pull out the “stupid” canard. Reagan was depicted by the liberal media as a fun-loving stupid cowboy actor, who even had been in a movie, Bedtime for Bonzo, where he shared a bed with a chimpanzee. In fact, Reagan successfully had risen to be elected president of a union, the Screen Actors Guild. He had been elected twice to be governor of California, and he had conducted his terms with effectiveness. He had spoken to the nation in a nationally televised address during the Goldwater presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for a new conservatism in America. (And, oh yeah, for those engaged in dumb: In Bedtime for Bonzo, he played a psychology professor…) During his presidency, the economy healed and boomed, America reasserted a domineering role throughout the world that ultimately collapsed communism. And the Iran hostages were on the way back home as soon as he was sworn in.
Next — George H.W. Bush. Newsweek called him a “wimp,” even though he had been a war hero flying 58 combat missions during World War II, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three air medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. (It is not easy to determine what the heroic credentials of the Newsweek writer, Margaret Garrard Warner, were.) And the Democrats famously mocked his intelligence during Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign to succeed him with their insider slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Then came Clinton. Again, the media tone shifted with emphases on Clinton’s superior genius. Even years after his presidency, liberals were touting Clinton’s superior genius. Despite his never-ending years of scandal culminating in being disbarred, and despite mismanaging his presidency to the degree that Americans gave Congress to the Republicans for the first time in decades, Clinton was the genius who had succeeded Stupid.
Then George W. Bush — and back to the canard of stupid. He was mocked for lacking “intellectual curiosity.” There even were web pages with titles like “Why do many people perceive George W. Bush as being highly unintelligent?” Contrast those with the treatment of his successor, Barack Obama, whom the media crowned as one of the most brilliant people who ever served in Washington. Interestingly, Obama’s college and law school grades have remained a carefully guarded national secret, protected with the seeming level of security otherwise associated with guarding Fort Knox, and even his stint at the top of Harvard Law Review during his 3L student year remains one of the most puzzling of biographical footnotes because, other than Barack Obama, it is virtually unheard-of in academic annals for someone who heads a law review never to have authored a law review article.
And now President Trump. With the return of the Republicans to the White House comes the attendant return of the Big Lie: “The President is stupid and is mentally unbalanced.” Tellingly, this lie is advanced by a political party that counts among its prized representatives one Maxine Waters, whose pure and richly demonstrated mind is on full display at such YouTube links as this one and this.
But is the President stupid? It depends. Without any prior political experience, he defeated a field of serious Republican candidates for the nomination and then defeated a former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, Yale Law grad with half a century of political experience for the Presidency. In a year, he has set the economy booming with a huge nationwide increase in consumer confidence, a soaring stock market, sustained economic growth exceeding three percent for consecutive quarters, muted unemployment, a record number of successful appointments of federal appellate judges, and much more. He has revived the energy sector, deregulated the economy, honored promises from approving the Keystone XL and Dakota oil pipelines to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, induced allied world leaders to start paying their fair share of NATO costs, sharply reduced illegal immigration along our southern border, restored civil liberty protections to college students accused of assault, promoted charter schools and school choice, enacted the most overarching tax reduction in the past thirty years — perhaps the most ever — and advanced an ambitious agenda for his second year. So, if that is the mark of stupid, then this guy is a dope.
Throughout the President’s first year, the Democrats and their liberal media cohort have pursued one campaign after another, aimed at delegitimizing the President and piercing the President’s personal armor, hoping to unsettle him and simply to bog him down with detritus that will obstruct his effective and focused governing. First, he was lambasted for supposedly suggesting in a debate that he would not accept the legitimacy of the election results if he lost. Then, after he won, it was the Democrats who refused to accept the results. First they demanded recounts in several states. After Mr. Trump emerged from those recounts successfully, often picking up more votes and further extending his victory margins in states he won, they publicly pleaded with electors not to honor their pledges to vote for the candidate who had won their respective states. Then, after the electors honored their oaths and elected Donald J. Trump to be 45th president of the United States, the Democrats and their liberal media cohort sought to overturn the Electoral College itself. Next they declared themselves “The Resistance” and vowed to block his appointees from assuming their federal offices, posing time-killing procedural hurdles that still have left more than 100 of his nominations awaiting final votes. They then intimidated Jeff Sessions and manipulated him into foolishly naming a special counsel to investigate apocryphal allegations that the Trump presidential campaign had colluded with Vladimir Putin and “the Russians” — even as it was the Clinton campaign who helped finance the Fusion GPS dossier against Trump.
Each of these distractions has aimed at slowing down Trump in the added hope that, because he is not a Washington politician studied in the ways and protocols and procedures of Congress, these playbook diversions will throw him off his game. Moreover, because he has demonstrated a thin-skinned side that gets distracted when attacked personally, they carefully have devised a strategy of ping-ponging from one campaign of distraction to the next, one canard to the next. And now they are attacking his sanity, his intelligence, and his mental equilibrium.
The President now finds himself in the unenviable position of having to counter the lies about his intelligence and mental fitness. Democrats never get stuck with that canard because Republicans do not volley in that direction. So John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama glided on myths of their brilliance, while Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and now Donald Trump have had to deal with the canard. It is a terrible canard, and the defamation is exacerbated by the impossibility of finding an elegant way to counter the defamation in the media.
Do you present an I.Q. test? “Look — here is my I.Q. core!” But how can you seriously do so without appearing to be self-obsessed and just plain crass? Do you list your schools attended, your grades, your professional successes? But how can you do so without being mocked? Do you tell people that, like, you are really smart, have run successful businesses, created a blockbuster television program, got elected President? Well, we see the result: Those who level the initial defamation then laugh at the rejoinder.
It is a terrible thing, to be sane and called insane, to be smart and yet to be called stupid. When a demonstrable fool siting on a street corner or in a bar calls you a name, you ignore the put-down unless you are the late Billy Martin. You just walk away. But when CNN and CBS and ABC and NBC and NPR and the op-ed contributors to the New York Times and the Washington Post and all the others join in a chorus, night-and-day, 24-7, echoing that you are mentally unbalanced, how do you leave the lie unanswered without risking losing the brand you have earned? How do you answer? How do you protect the crown of your good name that is your most valuable life commodity?
If you are thin but called fat — or vice-versa — then your height and weight and BMI can set the matter straight. But if you are called mentally unstable when in fact you are perfectly fine and indeed mentally keen — and probably more mentally sound than the vast majority of your accusers — how do you counter the lie? It is a terrible thing. There always will be liberal Ivy League professors to call a Republican president “stupid.” Does that prove the truth of the matter? And how many of those professors, though bona fide scholars in their fields, otherwise are stark-raving nuts — crazy, unstable characters who would commit suicide if they ever lost their safe jobs in their safe spaces and had to earn a living in the outside world without the lifetime job security of tenure? Similarly: Is Alec Baldwin, who mocks the President on Saturday Night Live, mentally stable? How about other critics of the President like Leonardo DiCaprio? Lena Dunham? Russell Brand? Miley Cyrus? Ashley Judd? Look them up.