Cracked Icons

With fits and starts, we are slowly returning to reality after four years of mass hysteria. Our media-deified, progressive icons are finally being exposed as the deceivers they always were.


From the moment details emerged surrounding Jussie Smollett’s hate-crime hoax, any sane, non-woke person could have recognized he was more than just a pathological liar. Smollett was also a conniving, mean-spirited egoist. He was intent on rescuing his fading acting career by libeling the Chicago police, smearing white Trump supporters as violent racists, and self-servingly advancing the lie of a purported hate crime epidemic against blacks.

To believe Jussie, as so many of the liberal establishment were eager to do, one had to believe from the get-go the utterly unbelievable: MAGA-hatted white racists (and fans of the fading Empire no less) routinely roam liberal Chicago in subfreezing temperatures at 2:00 a.m.. They typically go out, ready for victims, equipped with requisite bleach and representational hangman’s nooses.

You see, before such devils bumped into Jussie Smollett, they had been characteristically on the lookout in their late night and early morning patrols for heroic gay black actors to take out—all unbeknownst to us

The two large white ragers were easily driven off by diminutive Jussie. The black Achilles, sandwich in one hand, cell phone in the other, battled his white Trojan brutes in Homeric fashion. But at a cost: his dueling earned him heroic wounds, real and spiritual. 

The hateful Hectors managed to put a noose around poor Jussie’s neck, as he later showed police. They inflicted a supposedly career-threatening small cut below his eye. And as superhuman demons, they even splattered him with bleach that somehow defied the laws of chemistry and did not freeze in that subzero early morning. 

Once the con unraveled, and given the media myth that there are millions of racist Trump supporters eager to harm black gays, one wonders why Jussie did not, from the outset, just hire on the cheap any two of the supposed millions of available deplorables, rather than unlikely Nigerian Americans, to better fake his crime?

No matter. Would-be candidate Joe Biden immediately leveraged Smollett to virtue signal his racial bona fides. Kamala Harris claimed it was a modern “lynching.” Everyone from Nancy Pelosi to the CNN/MSNBC crowd treated us to performance-art demonstrations of their outrage. No one has apologized, given the virtual truth of the age that, while fake, “it could have happened.” 

Smollett whetted his beak in the overflow of sympathy and adulation. Michelle Obama’s former assistant was a conduit to the highest levels of anguish over Jussie’s victimization. And on and on. 

In the end, there was only the beginning: a fraud and faker, who was as obnoxious on the witness stand as he had been over the last three years in siccing the leftwing victimization industry on America.

Cuomo Duo

Think too of the now feet-of-clay, disgraced Cuomo brothers. These were the media darlings who hammed it up on television—as thousands of New Yorkers unnecessarily died in long-term care facilities due to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to redirect COVID-19 patients to share facilities with the elderly and infirm. Once there, the virus wiped out thousands of the elderly and vulnerable—a moral crime that Cuomo did his best either to cover up or massage the statistics downward.

Andrew, the elder and former governor of New York, was an unrepentant bully.  He was also apparently a chronic sexual harasser. And Cuomo allegedly hired his staff to write his growing res gestae, likely on state time, and for a ridiculously obscene book advance that all parties to such a contract knew would never be paid by book sales. 

For all that, Andrew Cuomo was finally forced to resign from his governorship and is now persona non grata among the once adoring Left. He may face endless lawsuits and perhaps some criminal exposure—as he thinks he can engineer the great American redemptive comeback.

Remember, at his zenith, Lord Cuomo both flattered and insulted an obsequious press in his narcissistic and Emmy-winning press conferences. They were little more than boring, ritual trashings of and rants against Donald Trump. The latter’s crime was apparently sending to New York a hospital ship and a veritable portable hospital. Both went mostly unused. 

Many on the Left, by summer 2020, were in mourning that Biden had foolishly promised in advance to appoint as his vice-presidential running mate a black woman, thus robbing the country of Cuomo’s genius.  

His brother Chris Cuomo should have been dismissed from CNN long ago. He likely staged a fake video showing his emergence from his COVID “quarantine”—given witnesses had seen him up and about earlier in public while infectious. He lied on air, in denying his role as a journalist-cum-political advisor, in devising ways to use his media arrogance and contacts to save his brother’s hide. And he too was hit with sexual harassment charges. 

Both shared a conviction that as leftists they enjoyed nine lives of corruption and deceit—until they ran out.

The Harris Who Never Was

Do we even now remember the recent mythologies about Kamala Harris, the supposedly dynamic woman of color? Recall, she would supposedly manage Biden’s descending dotage as she prepped to be America’s first female of color Commander-in-Chief? 

She kicked off her run for president at an Oakland rally in January 2019 to media accolades. She was billed (as a compliment) to be a female version of Barack Obama. She paraded a similar exotic lineage, as a child of an African American father and an Indian immigrant mother. 

In the subsequent primary debates, Harris, the daughter of two parents with doctorates, reinvented her upbringing largely as a victim of racism. In fact, she had parlayed the career advantages of her middle-class youth and educated parents, her looks, her race, her gender, and her well-placed contacts into high office, without any shred of documented achievement. Two now familiar traits soon became evident in her presidential candidacy: Harris knew and wanted to know almost nothing of the issues, and she projected an obnoxious cackling personality, both of which the media claimed were mere smears from right-wing racist and sexist critics.

In the end, Harris too is now back where she began: a myth. She was originally politicized by mentor, paramour, and aging Willie Brown. He jump-started his then young girlfriend by putting her on a number of well-compensated state boards. Soon she was San Francisco city and then county attorney, known mostly for calibrating prosecutorial policy according to the ideology and interests of the influential.

After blowing through millions in campaign funds, Harris dropped out of the presidential race without winning a single delegate. And after ten months of Harris as vice president, a USA/Suffolk poll has her at a mere 28 percent approval rating. That is the lowest among modern vice presidents since the modern age of polling began. 

So far, Harris is known largely for three signature performances—serially berating staff and prompting mass resignations, hiring child actors to fake a spontaneous meet and greet to discuss “space,” and her role as our “border czar,” who ostensibly oversaw nearly 2 million illegal aliens streaming across an open border, neither vaccinated nor tested at a time of a surging pandemic. 

For now, Joe Biden’s staff leaks that Harris is a bully and a nasty incompetent; her staff counter-leaks that he is a doddering old fool descending into overt senility. Both are correct.


Do we even remember the once ubiquitous Adam Schiff? 

At one point, Schiff was being talked up as a dream California congressman, who easily could have been a marquee screenwriter, had Washington not robbed Hollywood of his talents. Schiff’s “minority” report of the House Intelligence Committee, fueled by lies generated by the Fusion GPS Steele dossier, supposedly was the corrective to the Nunes majority report, as if lies could negate the truth.

For over two years, Schiff appeared on television and at press conferences to confirm that Donald Trump was guilty of Russian collusion. The script was always the same. He produced no evidence, no data, no credible witnesses. 

Instead, Schiff grimaced in mock outrage, and began his ritual accusations, given the secret sources he had supposedly seen (winking and nodding they were not available to the ignorant hoi polloi). Schiff went on that there was unimpeachable, but always closeted evidence, of “Russian collusion.” 

As the Mueller probe collapsed into fantasy—as the FBI Washington hierarchy was insidiously discredited between felony convictions, firings, and resignations, fake FISA warrants, and James Comey’s 245 instances of amnesia under oath; and as Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report damned the very sources Schiff once quoted—Schiff always pivoted to the next “bombshell”: more worried looks, more furrowed brows, more vague reference to mystical “information” that only his committee possessed, but of course could not be made public. 

In the end, Schiff ended up as we all knew he would: in Smollett-postmodern fashion claiming that while his former Steele Bible was admittedly full of lies and smears, it didn’t really matter because other undisclosed “evidence” still showed Donald Trump guilty of “Russian collusion”—the pathetic life raft that had once rescued the conceited Schiff from drowning in a sea of warranted congressional obscurity

The Late, Great BLM

Black Lives Matter recently jumped the proverbial shark of ridiculousness when it deplored as “racist” holding convicted liar Jussie Smollett to account. 

BLM has said little about the record black-on-black murders in many of the nation’s major cities, in part an obvious consequence from its nationwide campaign to “defund” (or, actually, shut down) the police. After the Waukesha mass murdering, BLM, which talks of “black” and “white” as collectives without individuals among them, had nothing to say about the anti-white career criminal who mowed down attendants, including children, at a Christmas parade—other than a minor regional BLM “official” who claimed in poorly hidden glee that such killing might be the start of a “revolution.”

After all the hype, all the corporate shakedown and virtue signaling money, all the charges of white racism, all of Professor Kendi’s $20-30,000 zoom reeducation rants, all the appeasing CEOs, the Mark Milleys and Lloyd Austins, and the legions of diversity, equity, and inclusion administrative bloat, what are we left with? Certainly not a Marshall plan to save the inner city, not an effort to reduce illegitimacy or single-parent households, not new charter schools to give the poor the chance of competitive educations in math, science, literature, and history. 

Instead, BLM is revealed as mostly a refined, updated version of Jessie Jackson’s old Operation PUSH con. It has garnered corporate cash that enriched its Marxist founders and hangers-on, helped to feed a crime wave, and led to thousands of increased violent black-on-black deaths in the inner city—while the white liberals who empowered and funded BLM became terrified that the new surge of crime now has reached Beverly Hills, the nation’s tony universities, West Hollywood, and Walnut Creek. White liberals seemed perplexed that non-white criminals somehow did not appreciate that the drivers of car-jacked Range Rovers or upscale shoppers at Louis Vuitton were on the right side and thus deserved exemption for their loud penance.

Basement Biden

Do we remember old Joe Biden from Scranton? He was the media fiction who hid his dementia in his basement for a year, spouting that Trump had wrecked everything and he would bring about decency, prosperity, an end to the virus, and “healing.” 

The Biden candidacy was one of the most cynical in American history. The unhinged far-Left adopted a befuddled Biden as the respectable veneer necessary to see their hard-core, but stealth socialist agenda finally enacted. Key to a virtual presidency would be virtual voting, as 102 million mail-in and early votes were never subject to the previous standards of authentication and statistical rejection rates of the past—rendering Election Day voting mostly a memory.

Good Joe was billed as the antithesis to the tweeting Bad Trump. Yet he clearly wasn’t. Even Joe’s tweets (e.g., “We are with you, Jussie”) were often more ridiculous.

Within days the “moderate” Joe Biden set in place policies that were guaranteed to begin wrecking the country, to send his polls down into the 30s, to ensure the likely wipe-out of his congressional majorities in 2022, and to make himself and the media who created his myth disliked, and the laughingstock of the country. Trump became unpopular when over 90 percent of media coverage was negative, and the Left concocted a never-ending circus of hoaxes, starting with Russian collusion; but Biden is disliked, despite an obsequious media and weaponized bureaucracies on his side.

We are in the first 10 months of a cognitively challenged president who is deteriorating geometrically not arithmetically, with a vice president in waiting whom the nation fears is more dangerous, even knowing Biden is half-senile. He may be reaching the point of embarrassment at which the media and Left no longer find him useful and begin leaking and staging his exit.

Single-handedly the Biden puppeteers have managed to restore the Trump record of achievement simply by doing the opposite of what Trump did, thereby ensuring their own failure and reminding voters of what once was working. 

Biden may end up with the most unrecognized achievement of the modern age: the radical transformation of leftwing Latinos into a conservative majority of fed-up voters—a development that will likely cause the Left to demand an end to open borders on the assumption too many Mexicans and Central Americans are ending up like wizened Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants.

We could add other fallen heroes of the Left who once saturated our recent air waves—Robert Mueller and his dream team that would rid the world of Trump, and the quartet of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe. They, by their dishonesty, prevarications, and careerism have almost single-handedly tarnished the reputations of the Washington-based intelligence and investigatory agencies. Yet now, the Left has no more need of them. They are already fading from the public awareness, as careerists who managed to erode support from all those who once most readily defended their own institutions.

The lesson of these fallen icons? 

They were deified for larger reductionist and anti-Trump agendas. Yet they were also always dispensable when their utility eroded, due to their mediocrity—of such a magnitude that even our American Pravdas could no longer continue to manipulate them for advantage.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004, and is the 2023 Giles O'Malley Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush, and the Bradley Prize in 2008. Hanson is also a farmer (growing almonds on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author of the just released New York Times best seller, The End of Everything: How Wars Descend into Annihilation, published by Basic Books on May 7, 2024, as well as the recent  The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump, and The Dying Citizen.

Photo: Julie Ponzi

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