There were many clear rebukes of President Trump at John McCain's funeral. That's good. But the headline to this report on the funeral by The New Yorker's Susan Glasser makes my heart sink:
John McCain’s Funeral Was the Biggest Resistance Meeting Yet
This was to be no mere laying to rest of a Washington wise man, nor just another funeral of an elder statesman whose passing would be marked by flowery words about the end of an era. It was a meeting of the Resistance, under vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows.
And who are the resisters at this biggest-ever meeting of the Resistance? Mainstream politicians, particularly Republicans:
... McCain’s grand funeral ... underscored a fact that is often lost about Washington these days. The city is much more bipartisan, in some respects, than it has ever been, more united than it may currently seem, in its hatred of Donald Trump.
Some are more forthright about this than others, for understandable reasons. Others are circumspect, especially the elected Republican officials who have now publicly bowed to Trump after trying and failing to stop his ascendance in their party. But their presence at McCain’s funeral suggested that the final chapter has not yet been written in the Republican drama over what to do about the crude interloper who has taken over their party.
Peter Baker's New York Times story also stresses Republican resentment of Trump, although the word "underground" substitutes for "resistance":
Like Mr. McCain, many of the Republicans who attended have found themselves deeply discouraged by their own party’s president. But unlike Mr. McCain, most of them do not say so out loud, for fear of rage by Twitter or retribution by the base. It was almost as if it were a meeting of Washington’s political underground, if the underground met in a grand cathedral with 10,650 organ pipes.
Glaaser says "Resistance." Baker says "underground." And Charlie Pierce's coverage of the funeral also talks of combat:
We let the customs, manners, norms and institutions weaken through neglect and now we are in open conflict with an elected president and, make no mistake about it, John McCain's funeral was a council of war, and it was a council of war because that's what John McCain meant it to be.
The funeral orations of Barack Obama, Meghan McCain, and George W. Bush, Pierce writes, were "compass points on a battlefield.... They are fighting words now."
Do you see what's going on here? Liberals and leftists have spent the past two years organizing street marches, sit-ins in legislators' offices, social media activism, and campaigns for elected office, often featuring candidates who'd never thought of running until the words and deeds of Donald Trump began to fill them with righteous rage. A dozen or more Democrats are preparing to respond to anger at Trump and the status quo in politics -- which also includes deeply entrenched inequality, police brutality, a worsening climate, and other crises -- by running for president as proud progressives in 2020.
But who are we now told is leading the Resistance? Mainstream politicians, particularly Republicans.
We're being told that the opposite of Trump isn't progressivism -- it's the status quo ante. We're being prepared for a 2020 campaign in which calls for single-payer health insurance and a $15 minimum wage will be received less favorably than the Reaganism-with-a-human-face that's offered by Jeff Flake, John Kasich, or Ben Sasse in an utterly futile GOP primary campaign against Trump. Conservatives running against Trump will win the media's praise, as will centrists like Mike Bloomberg who might run in the Democratic primaries.
This is a slap in the face to the real resisters. Moreover, it's a warning to anyone who plans to run to the left in 2020: You may think the media will be receptive to your campaign because you're running as the antithesis of the hated Trump, but you'll be ignored, if not treated with contempt. If you win the presidency, it will be in spite of opinion-shapers who seem to be anti-Trump now, not with their help.
crossposted from No More Mister Nice Blog