Watercooler 06/17/17 Open Thread: Last Week, RedState - Bloodlust! Anger on the Left, Anger on the Right!


Welcome to today’s edition of Watercooler: Last Week, RedState.   This WC is all about Posts, Reader’s Diaries, and comments at RedState.  This week contains an extended edition of the Recurring Themes at RedState section.


Bloodlust! Trump and the impeachment meme!

Anger on the left… anger on the right… Talk on the right to impeach or otherwise get rid of Trump may backfire!

Over at NRO and article by Ben Shapiro, Nonstop Rage: Fountain of Political Youth, Left & Right.  It’s worth quoting at length here:

“As Ian Tuttle rightly wrote at National Review in 2015, “Many conservatives are having their Howard Beale moment: They’re mad as hell, and they don’t want to sit down and take it anymore.

Now, anger is nothing new in politics. Anger has dominated political discourse since the times of the Bible (ask Moses how he felt about a stiff-necked people seemingly ready to throw him overboard every few weeks). And some anger is justified. If you are angry at corruption in Washington, D.C., you have every right to be. If you are angry at a heedless leviathan grasping at your wages, that anger is justified. Even if you channel that emotion in the wrong direction, we can at least understand the anger.

But something new has happened to American politics in the last few years: Politicians have realized that the simplest path to power is to humor everyone’s anger. If you take someone’s anger from them, you’ve emotionally castrated them. More important, you run the risk of driving them into the arms of someone who will feed their anger — an anger that will now turn on you for the sin of having discounted that anger in the first place.

This is deeply unhealthy.


He continues with a bit of psychology…

One of the great lies of psychology, dominant since the era of Freud, is that coddling emotions leads to more emotional fulfillment. Actually, coddling emotions leads to emotional unhealthiness. It leads us to wallow in our emotions. Anger feels good — and it feels even better when someone tells you that you’re not wrong to be angry in the first place. If you crave emotional payoff, and if those around you are taught to cosset your emotions, you’re likely to engage more and more often in emotionally overwrought behavior. Bad psychologists indulge their clients’ emotional states. Good psychologists ask whether those emotional states are justified.

Now, as they say, this is not an endorsement of people seeking out professional help but it is illustrative of the path out of this slippery slope…

As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt (among others) states, cognitive behavioral therapy, a technique used to treat those with emotional disorders, is generally as effective as antidepressants for anxiety and depression. Therapy consists of identifying illogical links in a chain of thought that leads to an emotionally hazardous place. You might figure out, for example, that you’re attributing motives to someone even though you have no evidence about his motives, or that you overgeneralize, or that you’re looking only at the bad things in your [political] life rather than at the good things as well. Once you’ve identified your own faulty thinking, you can stop the emotional runaway train.

Politicians are trained to do the opposite [i.e. flame the passions that re-enforces the emotional runaway train.]


So, normalizing the idea on the right that getting rid of Trump is a good idea, could backfire because we could be handing the Democrats the perfect election meme.  I think that this is what we can hear from the Democrats leading up to the mid-terms:

Vote for a Democrat and we’ll start impeachment proceedings against Trump within 30 days of getting the House majority! 

Will the Democratic theory work?

Consider this piece by this from Jonah Goldberg at NRO, Democrats Take Back House in 2018? Trump Probably Impeached.

The main thrust of the piece was that during the last frenzy of this sort during the Clinton administration the idea that, once triggered, the blood-lust for retribution for some wrong is kindled it is difficult to extinguish.  Clinton learned the hard way that once inflamed, passions take on a life of their own.

Some election history.

Gingrich, who made the election a referendum on impeaching President Bill Clinton, resigned after the [1996 mid-terms] loss. Clearly, voters had sent the signal, “Don’t do it

But, here’s the part that’s worth considering.

The White House thought it had dodged a bullet [when the ’96 mid-terms apparently repudiated impeachment as a GOP strategy.] But one morning, over Thanksgiving break, then–White House chief of staff John Podesta was running in Washington’s Rock Creek park when it hit him: GOP leaders are “not going to let their members off the hook. They’re going to beat and beat and beat on them until they vote for impeachment.

It fell to Podesta to tell the still-celebrating White House staff that the midterms meant nothing, that the push to impeach the president in the House was a runaway train that could not be derailed. “This thing is rigged,” Podesta announced at a Monday-morning staff meeting. “We are going to lose.”


This is key! Democrats are passionate about doing something to correct the wrong they feel that Trump as President does to them and the country.  Jonah continues:

President Trump’s White House could use a John Podesta about now. Because no one seems to have told Trump’s team that the Democrats are every bit as committed to impeaching Trump as the GOP was to impeaching Clinton. The difference, of course, is that the Democrats don’t control the House — yet!

The bloodlust!

If they did, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York rightly noted recently, impeachment proceedings would already be underway. And if the Democrats take back the House in 2018, it won’t matter to most members whether the country as a whole supports impeachment, because the voters who elected them — and the donors who supported them — will be in favor of it. (A recent Public Policy Polling survey found that 47 percent of Americans support impeachment while 43 percent oppose it.)

Here’s my take-away from these two pieces.  Unless we on the right take steps to identify the chains of thought that leads to unqualified opposition to Trump, we could bring about our worst governing nightmare.

Voters on the right, in an attempt to satisfy their bloodlust, could very well hand the mid-term elections to the Democrats because the Democratic bloodlust won’t die out easily.  Assuming Democrats capture the house because of the impeachment meme, impeachment proceedings will begin soon after the new Congress takes office; paralyzing Trump for the last two years of his Presidency.


This would, IMHO, bring about results far worse than leaving Trump in office and not harassed for the next twelve months before the mid-terms.  Oppose wrong decisions if we must but the bloodlust on the right will only play into the enemy’s hands.


Drink up, that’s it for the Watercooler today. Remember, it’s an open thread all about RedState contributors from: the front page, Reader’s Diaries, or in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by, hanging out, and drink up.



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