There's a perception that Donald Trump brought something extra to the job of being a Republican politician because he'd been mentored by Roy Cohn, lawyer for the mob and Joe McCarthy. Cohn's advice to Trump was attack, counterattack, and never apologize.
Prior to Trump, Republican presidents have generally had underlings to do the attacking, counterattacking, and apology withholding -- but the GOP below the presidential level has been like this for decades. Here's Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal editorial page responding to criticism of a piece he ran:
The editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal accused strategists for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. of instigating a coordinated response to an op-ed article published Friday evening that called on Jill Biden, Mr. Biden’s wife, to refrain from referring to herself as “Dr. Biden” because she is not a medical doctor, but rather holds a doctorate in education....
In the response, published Sunday evening and for Monday’s newspaper, Paul A. Gigot, the top editor for The Journal’s opinion section for nearly two decades, pointed to negative notes about [the] article posted to Twitter by two Biden staff members as well as Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Senator Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, as evidence of a campaign.
“Why go to such lengths to highlight a single op-ed on a relatively minor issue?” wrote Mr. Gigot, who elsewhere said the responses reflected “what was clearly a political strategy.”
Yes, it's simply unimaginable that top allies of the president-elect would all spontaneously react to a high-profile attack on his wife. Must be a sinister plot!
“My guess is that the Biden team concluded it was a chance to use the big gun of identity politics to send a message to critics as it prepares to take power. There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism.”
"Identity politics"? Are people with non-medical doctorates now a protected class of citizens? Nobody told me! And I get all the emails from the Liberal Politburo! I'm personally going to give Mr. Soros a piece of my mind!
When Gigot says that negative responses to an op-ed are a way to "stifle criticism," he's articulating the Sarah Palin theory of the First Amendment, which says that criticism of conservative speech is censorship.
But this is why the GOP thrives: No criticism is every acknowledged as valid. The response to every critique is to double down and attack the critics.
Democrats don't do this, even though it always works for Republicans. And that's why the Republican Party and the conservative movement have dominated American politics for forty years.
Posted with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog