Back in November comedian turned political commentator Bill Maher accidentally stumbled upon something that was actually true, but the political left either didn’t pay attention or they have forgotten it entirely.
Maher basically admitted to “crying wolf” about Republicans for years. Supposedly he only came to this realization because he saw Donald Trump as fundamentally worse than Republicans like Mitt Romney or John McCain, both of whom he savaged regularly. RedState’s Patterico didn’t buy Maher’s sincerity at the time, but what he said was still largely true, sincere or not.
“I know liberals made a big mistake, because we attacked your boy Bush like he was the end of the world, and he wasn’t. And Mitt Romney, we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars because I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn’t have changed my life that much, or yours, or John McCain. They were honorable men who we disagreed with, and we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf, and that was wrong. But this is real. This is going to be way different.”
Everyone is probably familiar with the fable already but for those who may not be, the story is about a boy who repeatedly warned about a dangerous wolf being nearby, when there was no wolf. When the wolf actually did show up, no one believed him. The moral: if you lie often enough no one will believe you even when you are telling the truth. Whether this time with Trump is “way different” or whether he is truly a wolf is up for debate. I know where I stand on that but it’s not relevant to the point I’m making.
The greater context to Maher’s statement is that those who cried wolf about Bush, McCain, and Romney are partly to blame for the rise of Trump because their exaggerations and outright dishonesty about the previous Republican candidates created an environment where a lot of people simply didn’t believe them about Trump. Especially during an election where the Democrat was under FBI investigation and just as unlikable to many people, the over the top doomsday predictions about the election didn’t sway the fence sitters.
So far it seems the left has learned nothing from this. Barely a month into his Presidency and there have already been major protests, many of which aren’t even in response to actual policy but rather mischaracterizations of it, or simply the fear of what policies they imagine will come. Some protests have arisen from little more than ignorance of basic civics. If Trump does turn out to be a particularly dangerous wolf, there won’t be anyone who will believe them when it happens. They’ll have spent their “shock and awe” on inconsequential targets.
They went from zero to “Hitler” in a matter of days, not just with Trump himself but with his cabinet picks. There’s nowhere to go from that. They’re like Spinal Tap starting a show with their amps already at eleven. There is no way to crank it up “one louder” if they need to. If the wolf arrives, their protests will just be part of the background noise and no one who wasn’t already on their side will believe them. The left imploding and making itself ineffective is a good thing, but the secondary effect is not. The worst part of that is that what they’re doing is equally damaging to any and all criticism of Trump.
They’re creating an atmosphere where reasonable opposition and disagreement will have less credibility as well.