Recently, there’s been a trend with people (especially political figures or members of the media) to go from heel to hero in an instant in liberal eyes. More often than not, this happens simply because they’ve done the right thing or ended up as a target for Donald Trump. It makes sense, many people subscribe to the theory “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” However, given the impossible standards many liberals hold our own leaders to, there is no way actual conservatives will ever be able to measure up in the long run and in the inevitable backlash that will follow when they return to their roots, we could end up pushing them further away. We cannot afford to do that with conservatives – while they are not our friends, they can temporarily be our allies.
We first saw evidence of this when Megyn Kelly, while still a member of Fox News’ Stepford Blondes, was on the receiving end of many accolades from liberals because she was seen to have taken on Donald Trump in the GOP debates. Asking Donald Trump a question about the way he has spoken about women does not automatically make her a champion for women. Yet, once Trump turned on her, liberals started to forget this woman was not our friend.
She was featured in a fairly flattering article in Vanity Fair which made her seem like a feminist icon, and was hired by NBC after parting ways with Fox. She was never on our side, she never has been and never will be. That doesn’t mean that liberals should ignore it when a male targets a conservative female with misogynistic comments (“bleeding out of her wherever”), but that doesn’t negate all the damage this woman has done during her career. This is the same woman who devoted plenty of airtime to reassuring her white supremacist audience that both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ were white men.
In fact, Kelly has a long history of bigotry and racism. She is also not a feminist icon, having not championed women’s issues (liked paid maternity leave or sexual discrimination in the workforce) until the issues personally impacted her. Kelly quickly fell from grace when she invited the king of conservative conspiracy theories, Info Wars’ Alex Jones, to be her first guest on her now defunct NBC show. Liberals seemed shocked by the move, because they’d mistakenly thought she was one of us now.
It happened again this past spring with James Comey, former FBI director. When Comey was fired and testified before the senate committee regarding Donald Trump, he became a cult hero. Because of Comey, there was going to be a special investigator. Comey told the committee that he’d been documenting his conversations with Trump because they were unsettling. Comey made it clear that he believed Trump was committing obstruction by trying to get him to drop the Russia investigation. In short, Comey did what he was supposed to do and he told the truth. None of this negates what he did to Hillary Clinton. Comey’s initial press conference when he announced the decision not to seek criminal charges against Hillary was a political stunt, done with deliberate intent to influence the election. He did so again 5 days before the general election by making the “reopening” public.
Comey has repeatedly manipulated the media based on his own whims, not due to his responsibilities as a civil servant. That his releasing of his personal memos benefits us by prompting the appointment of a special investigator is beside the point. He very well could have done something similar if Clinton had won. That he appeared to give honest testimony during his appearance before the senate committee does not make him a hero, it just means he did the right thing.
We’re seeing it with George W. Bush, who is growing in popularity because in comparison to the current mockery of a leader in the White House, Bush doesn’t look as bad. Many people have developed almost avuncular feelings towards the man, especially upon learning that he and Michelle Obama are apparently fond of each other. Bush and his family scored points with liberals because they said they were not going to vote for Donald Trump. This is still the man who stood before Congress and lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and dragged us into an unjust war, not to mention that his terrible policies drove us into the great recession. He is not our friend or a hero. A true hero would have said that he was voting for Hillary Clinton because she was what was best for the country. Not voting for Trump was just the right thing to do, publicly voting for Clinton would have taken courage.
Finally, we have Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski who helped defeat the Obamacare repeals/replacements in their various forms. This is trickier as it certainly did take courage to stand up to their colleagues in the senate and face the inevitable Twitter backlash from the Tweeter-In-Chief. However, none of these senators (nor Rand Paul who objected to this most recent bill) are against repealing Obamacare, they just didn’t like these most recent bills and wanted more time. Because they actually want these bills to be debated in the senate and get bipartisan approval/input is not heroic – it’s simply the right thing to do. The fact is, Murkowski was pretty close to being bought off by republicans by protecting her own state and saying the hell with everyone else. That’s not a hero.
Once upon a time, John McCain was a friend to the liberals. He worked on a bipartisan level, and was seen by many as more of an independent than conservative. However, at some point, John McCain decided to get serious about becoming president and sold his soul to the far right for their nomination. Liberals can never forget that this is the man who brought Sarah Palin into the public consciousness because he thought Hillary supporters would abandon the black guy to vote for the white chick. That is not a liberal hero. McCain’s military career certainly makes him a hero, and that has nothing to do with politics. You can respect his service to his country and not respect where he has gone in the political arena. That he’s facing a serious medical illness is awful. It’s great that it’s apparently helped him find his conscience – but it’s not heroic.
This does not mean we do not thank people when they do make the hard choices, in fact a sincere showing of appreciation and recognition will go a lot further. We should always encourage anyone who does the right thing (liberal or conservative, democrat or GOP) – but let’s remember they are all human and humans will occasionally fail us. If we don’t elevate them quite so high, they won’t have as far to fall.
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Wendy Luxenburg writes for Palmer Report