Over the weekend, liberals and Democrats have seized on Congressman John Lewis’ mantle as a “civil rights legend” to criticize President-Elect Trump for having the gall to acknowledge that the Democratic politician is “All talk, no action.”
As always, the controversy began when a liberal launched an unprovoked attack against Trump, with the Congressional Black Caucus member declaring that the President-Elect will not be a “legitimate president.”
As always, after being gratuitously insulted, Trump offered a blistering counterpunch, correctly pointing out that: “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested), rather than falsely complaining about the election results.”
And, as always, Democrats and their allies in the liberal media have sought to capitalize on Trump’s response by furiously waiving the race card. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, for example, tweeted, “Ahead of #MLKday2017, let us remember that many have tried to silence @repjohnlewis over the years. All have failed.” Meanwhile, echoing the Democratic Party’s anti-Trump attack message (as always), the liberal Los Angeles Times posted an article entitled, “Trump kicks off Martin Luther King weekend by sharply criticizing civil rights icon John Lewis,” in a transparent attempt to smear Trump as a racist who supposedly attacked a black “civil rights icon” for no good reason.
This new controversy, which has a deja-vu feel to it, serves as a vivid reminder that liberals and some weak-kneed conservatives have failed to learn the lessons of the past election. Rather than standing up against Democrats’ foul race card tactics, Republican Senator Ben Sasse, who has a track record of trying to undermine the President-Elect, tweeted that “John Lewis and his ‘talk’ have changed the world.” He did not point out, however, that the “talk” he was referring to occurred over 50 years ago and that Rep. Lewis has been a career politician for the past three decades with little to show for it.
The Nebraska Senator was joined by another conservative, Bill Kristol, a prominent Never Trumper, who disingenuously wrote that “[i]t’s telling, I’m afraid, that Donald Trump treats Vladimir Putin with more respect than he does John Lewis.” The only thing that is telling about this episode, however, is that it is another reminder we have a new President who is willing to fight back and not be pushed around. That is news conservatives like Kristol should welcome instead of cowering from.
Other Republicans, fearful of the political correctness crowd, also weighed in, suggesting that it was “stupid” for Trump to “pick a fight” with the Congressional Black Caucus member and that he should not “go there.”
That Democrats would attempt to deify Rep. Lewis and stigmatize anyone who points out his political failures is understandable. Supporters of fascist and communist regimes typically try to ensure that anyone who dares to criticize old party leaders is anathematized. But it is somewhat surprising and disappointing that conservatives would fall for this.
Trump showed in the last election that the best way to defeat liberal bullies is by fighting back, not by whimpering out of fear that the media will make you look bad. The reality is that no matter how much Republicans try to play the political correctness game, liberals are always going to brand them racists like they have done with John McCain, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney. So instead of playing the liberals’ games, Republicans have to stand up for themselves when liberals dishonestly attack them. This is true even if the liberal bully is treated by the media as a sacred national figure based on actions that took place over 50 years ago.
No one today seriously suggests that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe or former Ghana ruler Kwame Nkrumah should be judged solely by their heroic actions several decades ago when they were freedom fighters. Instead, a fair accounting of these leaders should take into account their actions once they seized power. In the same way, Rep. Lewis must also be judged and held accountable for what he has done or not done during his 30 years in political office, unless America, under the influence of Democrats and the liberal press, has become a country like Stalinist Russia, Maoist China, or Mussolini’s Italy, where sainted political figures can’t be criticized.
The fact is Rep. Lewis has a long track record of failing millions of his black constituents. The city of Atlanta, which falls in the district he has represented for three decades, remains plagued with homicides, “chronically failing” public schools, and egregiously high levels of black poverty. For Trump, in response to a gratuitous insult, to fault the African-American congressman for failing to deliver better results for his constituents is not improper. Instead, it is simply calling a spade a spade.
Nick James is the nom de plume of a trial attorney in the D.C. area who formerly worked for the United States Department of Justice as an award-winning federal prosecutor.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.