The political and media establishment have been at war - and a cold war, really - with Donald Trump for more than three years now. And from the outset, he represented everything they hate, and not just his "America First" policies, but his brash, take no prisoners style that threatened to crash their exclusive club.
But as the Mueller probe and its new New York offshoot come to a head, the media feel well-positioned to recast their image from #Fakenews to galaxy-saving superheroes like Batman or Aquaman. They've decided to try a franchise reboot, as evidenced by Time magazine's choice for its "Person of the Year" this year.
"As we looked at the choices, it became clear that the manipulation and abuse of truth is really the common thread in so many of this year's major stories, from Russia to Riyadh to Silicon Valley," said Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief of Time, on NBC's "Today" show. "And so we chose to highlight four individuals and one group who have taken great risks in pursuit of greater truths."
When I first heard this, I caught the last part of what Felsenthal said and I thought, oh wow, they are giving it to China's persecuted Christians. That's amazing. Well, instead, Time magazine has kept the award kind of inside the family and named a group of journalists as the people of the year with the understated title, "The Guardians and the War on Truth." The group includes slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Capital Gazette staff which lost members of course when a shooter opened fire on their offices.
Of course, we love objective journalists. And the targeting of reporters just because they are doing their jobs is despicable. But isn't there something kind of transparently self-serving about journalists giving awards to other journalists? To his credit and professionalism, Capital Gazette editor Rick Hutzell expressed uneasiness about the recognition. He said I hate being the story. And he added that this was the first sit-down interview he had done since that June attack. Good for him.
By the way, "Time" isn't the only aging outfit trying to resurrect its damaged reputation. Retired senators are also lumbering back from obscurity to claim the mantle of moral and intellectual superiority. Rising from the political dead, they promised that their wisdom will save us from Trump. (You've got to read between the lines.)
All you need to know is that a December 10 Washington Post op-ed was the brainchild of Trump basher extraordinaire Chuck Hagel and Connecticut liberal Chris Dodd. They said, in part, "We are on the eve of the conclusion of the special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation and the House commencement of investigations of the president and his administration -- we urge current and future senators to be steadfast and zealous guardians of our democracy by ensuring that partisanship for self-interests not replace national interests."
That exchange [between President Trump and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer] shows, in dramatic fashion, why Trump has so confounded the establishment. He pulls the veil back, allowing the American people to see just how unreasonable and how petty the Democrats have become.
Well, this is the kind of high-minded malarkey that signifies nothing. Look, I will forever salute Chuck Hagel's military service, but that doesn't give him immunity from political criticism. That is just kind of brain dead. Where was the bipartisan cabal when we needed to guardians of the rule of law and transparency during the Obama years? Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the Clinton email cover-up, the horrors at the VA, the green energy boondoggles involving companies like Solyndra, just to name a few.
Where were these 44 senators when we needed guardians of our border? Where were they when we needed guardians against the rigged trade deals that empowered a ruthless communist regime in China? And where were they when we need guardians against activist judges who stray far, far beyond their Article 3 powers?
Look, Donald Trump ain't perfect. None of us are. But he's done more in two years to try to safeguard America, the country we love, than all those senators who signed that op-ed combined. The media and failed politicos are guardians. They are guardians of a fallacy that the American people need protection from their own political choices.
The president was duly-elected and is entering the third year of his first term, but the media and political establishment are still in denial. Do you notice, by the way, that they basically given up on substantive debate on any of the issues that Trump is really tackling? Instead they often prefer personal invective to pragmatic solutions.
"The president has very little in the way of attention span," Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor at the Washington Post, said on another cable news network. "The president is undisciplined."
"He gets bored after about 15 seconds. Even people talking to him," MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said.
"He doesn't want information," U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said on another cable news channel. "He comes into the job with very little knowledge."
Well, if President Trump is that uninformed, how did he beat all you smart people? That's my question.
My friends, populist movements are popping up all over the world. They are challenging the old political orders that have failed to raise the standard of living of their own people or to safeguard the culture. Folks aren't mad because they enjoy being mad. They are mad because politicians have screwed things up so badly across the board.
But the guardians of the old order, they right now feel empowered by Trump's legal woes and a new Democratic majority in the House. But in an extraordinary on-camera exchange on Tuesday, the president turned the tables on Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and proudly promised to shut down the government if Democrats would not give him the funding he - and the American people - want for his long-promised border wall.
It was pretty amazing watching the whole thing play out because by refusing to be cowed by warnings that a partial government shutdown would damage him and his party politically, well President Trump is actually doing what the retired senators claim to want. He is standing on principle by acting on the urgent need to preserve the sovereignty and security of our country. And by the way, notice what Pelosi said several times during that very fiery exchange. She kept calling to have their conversation in private, not in front of the cameras.
Wait a second, wait a second. I thought the liberals were all about transparency and protecting the guardians of the truth. But the moment the guardians report on their conversations, Nancy wants them shooed out of the room.
That exchange shows, in dramatic fashion, why Trump has so confounded the establishment. He pulls the veil back, allowing the American people to see just how unreasonable and how petty the Democrats have become. Because an agreement on wall funding may give Trump I guess a partial victory, they refused to budge, even if the DACA kids end up getting a path to citizenship in the process, which they would've gotten last February.
And no matter how much a deal would help the country, guess what? The Democrats don't care. It's about score settling and preventing Trump from declaring victory on something. And that's the "Angle."
Adapted from Laura Ingraham's monologue from "The Ingraham Angle" on December 11, 2018.