A familiar cacophony arises again from the city John F. Kennedy once described by as a place of “Southern Eﬃciency and Northern Charm.” Washington, D.C. reprises its role as the epicenter of leftist “wailing and gnashing of teeth” over another “government shutdown” that really isn’t.
A Northerner seldom described as charming—Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—oﬀered a predictable assessment on the Senate floor.
“President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” said the Senate minority leader.
From within the bowels of the bureaucracy comes this dispatch from a candid worker, who, for his own personal and professional security, shall remain nameless:
Here is the truth: 75 percent [of government] is funded. Any actual “shutdown” will not start until Wednesday. The overwhelming majority of my staﬀ . . . was planning to take next week and Monday [December 31] oﬀ. In addition, every one of those “furloughed” federal employees will get full pay. Furthermore, because they have played this game for a long time, many of them did not put in for leave until they knew. Since there is a shutdown, they will eﬀectively get a paid vacation and keep the leave they would use otherwise if there was no shutdown.
Got that? Don’t expect any report of what you’ve just read—or any similar account—to be featured on network or cable news, or to appear in the New York Times or the Washington Post or any of the newswires. The story fails to meet the prevailing partisan standard they all share, which mandates a portrayal of President Trump as Satan instead of Santa.
Never mind the likelihood that the only “chaos” in the nation’s capital came when bureaucrats bolted from their oﬃces, barreled out of parking lots, and jammed into stores to take advantage of the extra time they enjoyed for additional Christmas shopping.
This is the ongoing saga of what the president calls “fake news.” What President Trump has labeled in his streetwise fashion is peddled by people once known in history as fabulists. Think of the modern day fabulist as an “Anti-Aesop,” creating fables designed to inaccurately portray situations and our collective response.
How else to describe the eﬀort to label the enforcement of immigration law as some sort of atrocity? Or to insist that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to aﬀect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election?
You get the idea. Upon further reflection, one can certainly see the pattern. In fact, the pattern was both foreshadowed and championed during the Obama Administration.
In worshipful tones, the New York Times Magazine of May 8, 2016 profiled “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.” The publication insists that “Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age.” Reporter David Samuels credits the then-38-year old deputy national security adviser for strategic communications with formulating and executing “the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign [and helping] negotiate the opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50 years[.]”
Dangerous and dubious “achievements” from a conservative perspective, but lauded by a newer, younger, and “webbier” press corps, the average member of which Rhodes in that very same profile dismissed as “27 years old” whose “only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns.”
“They literally know nothing,” Rhodes said.
There is a delicious irony (and a fair amount of frustration in conservative ranks) that the literal know-nothings in the media who have relied on Ben Rhodes as their collective muse now attack “Border Hawks” on the Right as modern-day political know-nothings, but it speaks to the eﬀectiveness of today’s fabulists as well as the inclinations of the current Washington press corps.
Of course, nothing occurs in a vacuum, so it would be wildly inaccurate to suggest that the machinations of the new fabulists meet with 100 percent success. Witness the surprising (and, from their perspective, maddening) Trump victory six months after the virtual “canonization” of Saint Ben and his creative writing.
But Donald John Trump as the 45th President of the United States has been the catalyst prompting excessive invective toward all things conservative. My intent here isn’t to oﬀer an exhaustive, encyclopedic litany of all the actions and reactions of the new fabulists; you can create your own list at home.
And as government workers stay home for the Holidays, we’ve already been given new examples of the “Anti-Aesop Approach.”
On MSNBC, Representative Ted Lieu, (D-Calif.) declared: “We’re not going to build this stupid vanity wall of Donald Trump’s.” On ABC, Senator Jeﬀ Merkley, (D-Ore.) maintained, “There’s a diﬀerence between a fence and a wall . . . 30-foot concrete wall, 30-foot steel spikes, that’s not the smart way.” And on CNN, Vermont’s independent socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, who hopes to win the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination, said (presumably with a straight face) “I think the wall is an absurd idea . . . I think it’s a waste of money.” This, from a candidate who champions “free health care” and “free college” for all, and the attendant massive spending and tax increases such misnamed “freebies” would require.
The late Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.) characterized Washington, D.C. as a “work free, drug zone.” That assessment qualifies as one part fanciful, two parts cynical—but there is more than a grain of truth in her observation. Where grains of truth remain notably scarce are in the utterances of leftist politicians—the not-so-fabulous fabulists—who want us to believe the feeble fable that a “government shutdown” harms us all, as would any eﬀective border wall. It defies logic, and remains the collective narrative of the Left.
All this proves is that the question at hand is not a matter of Left and Right—instead, it is a matter of right and wrong.
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