Ha! NY Times Page One Prods Dems to Abandon Current 'High Road,' Get Dirty Like GOP

October 13th, 2018 7:05 PM

Reporter Matt Flegenheimer prodded the Democratic party to abandon a moral high ground he is deluded into thinking the party currently holds, in “Democrats Debate if High Road in Politics Is Leading Anywhere – Party of ‘We Go High’ Is Just Getting Angry,” on the front of Saturday’s New York Times. As if the Democrats haven’t been in full angry mode for years, culminating in aggressive protests and actual violence committed against congressional Republicans, and then the anti-Kavanaugh mobs.

In 2016, Michelle Obama’s words became the Democrats’ defining creed to counter Donald J. Trump’s battering ram of a presidential campaign: “When they go low, we go high.”

Two years later, the appeal of “high” seems low.


Few but Mrs. Obama seemed inclined to defend the original refrain. “Fear,” Mrs. Obama told NBC on Thursday, “is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out.”

But for many Democrats, it does not seem to be winning out, at least for now.

It is one thing for Mr. Avenatti, the telegenic anti-Trump id, to seize this kind of rhetorical real estate. But increasingly, much of the Democratic establishment seems to be marching that way, too, channeling the righteous anger of the progressive base.

Going high, these Democrats say, got them minority status across the federal government. Going high got them a president accused of sexual assault, installing a Supreme Court justice accused of sexual assault (both deny it).

Is Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual history that easily forgotten? The party certainly didn't seem to mind it when he won two terms.

The Times blamed racism for President Obama’s supposed political coolness (his “punish our enemies” techniques notwithstanding)

Former President Barack Obama could seem removed, ever mindful of the minefields underfoot for a black politician emitting fury.

Mrs. Clinton, before her 2016 turn as a stateswoman and grandmother, staked her 2008 bid on evincing a toughness that could match any man’s.


Democrats also risk playing into the hands of Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans, who have taken to describing their opponents as a menacing and unruly “mob” -- a cornerstone of their closing message ahead of the November elections, particularly after protests over Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Republicans have dwelled less on Mr. Trump’s own aggressive language through the years, including when he encouraged physical responses to protesters at his rallies and suggested that “Second Amendment people” could stop Mrs. Clinton.

In context, Trump’s brief remarks about “Second Amendment people” would seem to be talking about gun owners and activists, not assassination: "Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick --if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know. But I'll tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if -- if -- Hillary gets to put her judges in."

Flegenheimer, a long-time loather of Sen. Ted Cruz, got in a shot at the end.

In the Senate’s most high-profile race this year -- between Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Representative Beto O’Rourke -- Mr. O’Rourke has tested the limits of this strategy, preaching high-mindedness and understanding in deep-red corners of Texas and declining to moderate his liberal politics.

The approach has earned him tens of millions of dollars in donations and viral celebrity in the party -- his stylistic contrast to Mr. Cruz laid bare in a debate-night exchange last month.

The candidates had been asked to say a kind word about each other. Mr. O’Rourke cited Mr. Cruz’s sacrifice as a public official working away from his family. Mr. Cruz saluted what he called Mr. Rourke’s sincere belief in wrongheaded positions like “expanding government and higher taxes.”

“True to form,” Mr. O’Rourke said dryly.

And so is this: Recent polls show Mr. Cruz with a clear lead.

This is also how the Times ended the story on that debate. But they also noticed the Democrat was "repeatedly using his time to accuse Mr. Cruz of misrepresenting his words." As in: “I’m not going to repeat the slander and misrepresentation. This is your trick in the trade: to confuse and to incite, based on fear, and not to speak the truth.”