The Donkey Who Cried Wolf
Dems lament their hyperbole about Romney because Trump is worse.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
The 19th century German philosopher and poet perhaps had no idea how relevant this statement would be to 21st century politics. But the routine screeches of baseless alarm, manufactured crises and the hyperbole employed by Democrats, and in some cases, Republicans, are creating an authentic problem — a credibility desert. The moral to the story of Aesop’s fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” applies: Tell lies or exaggerate often enough, and the truth is not believed, even in times of need and danger.
How do these simple statements relate to the multi-billion-dollar campaigns employed today across all kinds of media platforms? Simply put, when the decision is made to conduct your entire campaign message in the key of panic and extremes, the consuming public becomes tone deaf to changes in pitch or appreciable variations.
With the loud protests of the Left have come these broad statements:
- “You’re a racist,” in response to the desire for enforcement of immigration law.
- “You’re a bigot,” to the beliefs of many who accept God’s view that homosexuality, like adultery, is sin.
- “You’re greedy,” in labeling those who want to keep the money they work hard to earn instead of seeing nearly half of their earnings forcefully taken by governments.
- “You’re anti-women’s health,” in believing the dismembering of an infant in utero is not contraception and should not be funded by tax dollars.
These and many more extreme statements are frequently employed by any number of talkingheads on the Left, or are used in “news” items that masquerade as fact when, in reality, the level of opinion moves the analysis clearly to editorializing.
Let’s look at a recent example. For speaking against Donald Trump, Mitt Romney is now being lauded as “reasonable” and “thoughtful” by Democrats ranging from Barack Obama to Harry Reid. But Romney is the same guy who took mortal verbal blows in 2012 from those very same Democrats. Remember?
- Mitt Romney’s mythological hatred of dogs filled the headlines and the late-night shows after he built a windshield-equipped carrier to transport their family dog on top of their vehicle.
- Romney’s hatred of women was a statement of fact when it was discovered that, while he served as governor of Massachusetts, he catalogued women under consideration for employment by placing their profiles in binders.
- Romney was specifically blamed for a woman’s cancer death by her widower husband in a pro-Obama TV ad after he lost his insurance when a factory closed. The plant closed while Romney was running the Winter Olympics. The woman died five years after the husband lost his job.
- Romney was said to have dodged paying taxes for 10 years, according to Harry Reid, who cited an anonymous source safely from the Senate floor, to complete the Democrats’ portrait of a blood-sucking capitalist criminal. Reid’s charge was a complete fabrication.
But, now? Oh, “Mitt’s a great guy,” say the Democrats who urge his voice be heard with a newfound respect and attentiveness.
In The New York Times, Howard Wolfson, the director of communications for Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign and current adviser for billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, recently bemoaned the current mud pit. Recalling his days with both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton in their runs for president, Wolfson acknowledges, “I’m quite confident I employed language that, in retrospect, was hyperbolic and inaccurate, language that cheapened my ability — our ability — to talk about this moment with accuracy and credibility.” Translation: Democrats cried wolf too many times, and now they’re having a hard time turning up the volume on Trump.
Wolfson concludes, “We should take stock of this moment and recognize that our language really needs to be more accountable and more appropriate to the circumstances.” Which is another way of saying he really means it this time.
Oh, there’s nothing like hearing a Democrat, especially one who’s affiliated with Hillary Clinton, make requests for accountability. Just precious. And, so, the story goes with the credibility desert where truth has dried up from the heat of political extremes.
There’s a cautionary tale in this for conservatives, too. Part of the reason for Trump’s rise in the first place was that unrealistic expectations were placed upon congressional Republicans and then even solid conservatives were condemned as traitorous “establishment” when they failed to achieve constitutional government with Barack Obama still at the helm. It’s true Republicans could have done more, but they didn’t do nothing.
While it’s appropriate to contrast the reckless policies and illegal practices of Hillary Clinton, for those shrinking in number who are highly prized — the undecided voters — it’s critical to hear more than shouting and name-calling that signify either Clinton Derangement Syndrome or Trump Panic Attack.
That said, more often than not when conservatives point to a leftist and cry “wolf,” there actually is a wolf.