“These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote founding father Thomas Paine. “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Imagine what Paine would have written about politicians for whom nothing more than political defeat causes them to shrink from the service of their country.
All it took was one loss for Democrats to blubber about an “illegitimate” president, boycott the transfer of power, and resume 1960s-style anarchism.
For the left, patriotism is tied not to the country but to its own power. In victory, it extols patriotism; in defeat, it disdains patriotism and even redefines treachery as a higher form of patriotism.
That’s the game Paul Krugman is playing in his pitiful New York Times column in defense of Congressman John Lewis’s declaration that Trump is illegitimate. For Lewis, Trump lacks the legitimacy of, say, Charlie Rangel, for whom Lewis served as a character witness at Rangel’s 2010 ethics hearing.
Here’s Krugman’s comically breezy and self-indulgent defense of Lewis: “patriotism means standing up for your country’s values, not pledging personal allegiance to Dear Leader. No, we shouldn’t get into the habit of delegitimizing election results we don’t like. But this time really is exceptional, and needs to be treated that way.”
Boy, what a rigorous argument. The willfulness of the left is infantile, reducing everything, from the “country’s values” to the requirements of basic patriotism and etiquette, to its political appetite. It thereby renders itself unserious and, as long as it keeps these antics up, unelectable.