President

Is It Cool To Call the President a Bastard Again?

People who not long ago said it was disrespectful to criticize the tenant in the White House seem to have rediscovered the value of dissent. Well, maybe.

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President Trump is a piece of crap. Former President Obama was a bastard. And Hillary Clinton, who everybody thought was going to be president, is utterly worthless too.

Oh, that is so refreshing!

For years, we were told that criticizing the occupant of the White House was "rank disrespect," as Jonathan Capehart wrote in the Washington Post. Opposition to the sitting president was very likely motivated by racism, Charles M. Blow mused in The New York Times. "Openly defying and brazenly disrespecting your president, while hoping that he fails, is not called patriotism… It is called treason," insisted one particularly moronic meme by Occupy Democrats.

But a few years of experience can have a wonderfully transformative effect on political culture. One election later, and Americans who once insisted that saying mean things about an elected official was unseemly and unforgivable have rediscovered the liberating potential of dissent.

Maybe.

Even before Donald Trump took office as the 45th president of the United States, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) vowed to pursue his own foreign policy on environmental issues, bypassing the White House. His fellow state officials want to extend that independent spirit to all sorts of policies. "We must be defiant whenever justice, fairness, and righteousness require," State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) told his fellow legislators.

Likewise digging in its heels, Boulder, Colorado, declared itself a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants in defiance of federal law and the new president's border-warrior stance. Political leaders in roughly two dozen other cities, including Chicago, New York, and Seattle, have taken the same position in opposition to the new administration.

And, where once Hollywood celebrities issued a thoroughly creepy "pledge to serve Barack Obama" when he took office as president, eight additional years of seeing the duties of that office exercised led us to singer Madonna saying she's thought a lot about "blowing up the White House."

Madonna made her comments at a massive Women's March the day after Trump's inauguration during which hundreds of thousands of regular Americans promised to resist the new chief executive before he's even had a chance to start rivaling the damage inflicted by his predecessor.

It's all such a welcome change.

"The vision of the president as national guardian and spiritual redeemer is so ubiquitous it goes virtually unnoticed. Americans, left, right, and other, think of the 'commander in chief' as a superhero, responsible for swooping to the rescue when danger strikes," Gene Healy wrote in the pages of Reason in 2008. Healy, a vice president at the Cato Institute and the author of the Cult of the Presidency, published during the excesses of the George W. Bush years, warned that Americans place unrealistic expectations on the office of the presidency, and invest messianic faith in their preferred candidates, making it inevitable that White House residents will seize ever-greater power in response. "Relimiting the presidency depends on freeing ourselves from a mind-set one century in the making," he added.

Embracing the value of dissent and the right to tell presidents and the government they administer to go to Hell is a necessary part of breaking that mind-set. It clearly states that the dissenters expect not great things of the latest winner of the national popularity contest, but terrible things instead. Dissenters clearly don't want the targets of their defiance to exercise power, let alone to accumulate more.

To criticize government officials—and to embrace the right of others to do the same—is to step back from the cult.

Well, it is if you do it right.

That many of the new resisters who have rediscovered the joy in calling the president a bastard don't quite get it is obvious from their all-too-ubiquitous "still with her" signs and chants. An unfortunate proportion of the people eager to take the winner of the presidential election to task aren't at all disenchanted with the presidency—they're just sorry that the wrong messianic figure took office.

The same can be said of too many of the folks who are happy with the outcome of November's vote. If you're looking for evidence that the cult of the presidency lives on, you really can't beat the image of a room full of alt-right activists saluting their guy with cries of "hail Trump!" as happened at a gathering of the National Policy Institute in November.

Yeah, that makes my skin crawl too.

And if fans of the latest White House occupant get all hot and bothered over their fearless leader, some lawmakers from his party seem to have decided that this is the right moment to raise the stakes on public protest. Washington state Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Whatcom County), who was Trump's deputy campaign director for the state, wants to allow felony prosecution of protesters who disrupt economic activity. "We know that groups are planning to disrupt our economy by conflating the right to protest with illegal activities that harm the rights of others. We need this legislation to protect the rights of all citizens," he huffed in a press release.

GOP legislators in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Dakota have similarly introduced bills targeting protests. Yes, these bills specifically target illegal activity associated with protests rather than the speech itself, but they all come now, when their guy is taking office—not months or years ago when the old regime might have been the target.

So yes, it's cool again to call the president a bastard—for people, some of whom who thought the last chief executive was just dreamy and beyond reproach and are just pissed that their savior didn't win.

But too many other folks who sputtered under the last administration want to make life a little tougher for dissenters to their chosen one.

The president, now as always, is a bastard. But for many Americans, the cult of the bastard lives on.

NEXT: UK Supreme Court: Parliament Must Approve Brexit

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  1. People like and want to protect their guy and don’t like and want to discredit the other guy-nothing new there.

    1. The President interrupts economic activity every time he visits somewhere (closing down airports, highways, streets in business areas, etc…). I suggest that he be prosecuted.

      1. This article is highly inappropriate and unpresidented; I would remind Mr. Tuccille that his proper duty as a contributing Reason editor is to ensure that our national leader is portrayed in the most flattering manner possible, and that the public is informed whenever our leader chooses to present alternative facts in one of his important tweets. Soon, hopefully, we will begin to establish certain limitations with respect to the “expressive” capacities of those who do not understand how this works. Surely no one here would dare to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

        http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/.

        1. “unprecedented”

          1. Do you have an issue with my (correct) spelling of the word “unpresidented”? This adjective was selected as last year’s word of the year by the Guardian, so I certainly have no qualms using it.

  2. …all-too-ubiquitous “still with her” signs and chants.

    Unlike how she makes Bill junior feel: “Still Wither”.

  3. And Hillary Clinton, who everybody thought was going to be president, is utterly worthless too.

    Well, she is now.

    1. To be fair to the wife of the Ivanka gazer, she was always worthless.

      1. Was Jimmy also lusting in his heart?

      2. I think that he was lusting with another organ. Me too, though I’d prefer Melania.

    2. I bet uranium oligarchs don’t even return her calls anymore.

  4. Opposition to the sitting president was very likely motivated by racism…

    I have heard a lot made of the color of this president’s skin.

    1. Skin is the body’s largest organ.
      Super important.

  5. This has been cool for 24 years. But I see the trend fading.

  6. “California Governor Jerry Brown (D) vowed to pursue his own foreign policy on environmental issues, bypassing the White House. His fellow state officials want to extend that independent spirit to all sorts of policies. ”

    “Likewise digging in its heels, Boulder, Colorado, declared itself a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants in defiance of federal law and the new president’s border-warrior stance.”

    State’s rights! Oh wait, I thought the lefty narrative was that state’s rights are only about bringing back ____________ (some racist thing).

    I think these lefties ideas and state’s rights are a win-win-win for the USA. Congress can repeal most laws on the books and Trump can shut down the EPA since Jerry Brown’s got environmental foreign policy. By the time the lefties realize what hit ’em, the federal government will hopefully be shrunk by 50%+.

    1. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      1. *throws coin in wishing well*

    2. thought the lefty narrative was that state’s rights are only about bringing back ____________ (some racist thing).

      Umm, States Rights — unlike Federalism ? was invented by southern racists as an excuse to ignore the 14th Amendment and justify their rejection of fundamental rights. Google “Jim Crow” and learn.

      Example. In 1957, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus activated his state militia — government force to keep 9 black kids from registering at Little Rock’s Central High. President Eisenhower sent federal troops, ordered to use force if necessary, to defend the rights of 9 kids. Faubus caved, later claiming he was defending the voters of his state from an overreaching and intrusive federal government. Elsewhere, it was a landmark victory for equal rights.

      Until Ron Paul.

      Ron resurrected Jim Crow, by claiming “rogue judges” overturned DOMA … thus denying the entire constitutional balance of power between THREE co-equal branches … rejecting two centuries of legal precedent ? claiming we are DEFENSELESS from abuse by state governments. As a constitutional conservative!!!!

      Shamefully, Ron even sponsored an attempt to FORBID SCOTUS FROM HEARING ANY CHALLENGES TO DOMA …. the first group denied a constitutional defense since slavery,

      Ron’s cult, like the original KKK, exists to justify the most shameful bigotry and denial of fundamental rights.
      As any literate 12-year-old can plainly see in the 9th Amendment.
      Any questions?

      1. Just one: What the hell are you talking about?

        1. States Rights.

      2. Bully, you hate the Pauls because they sneered at you, MOCKED you. Matter of fact: 91% of Libertarians mock you. *giggles

        1. Great minds discuss ideas.

          Average minds discuss events.

          Small Minds discuss people.

          1. Small Minds discuss people.

            And before you were so rudely interrupted, you were talking about Ron Paul, right?

            1. And before you were so rudely interrupted, you were talking about Ron Paul, right?

              Wrong.
              States Rights. And Ron’s IDEAS on the topic I was responding to. Compared with this:

              Bully, you hate the Pauls because they sneered at you, MOCKED you. Matter of fact: 91% of Libertarians mock you. *giggles

              Are you unaware of the difference between ad hominems (personal attacks) and well-supported arguments? And I don’t celebrate feeding people into wood chippers.

          2. what about people who have small penises?

            1. One became President.

              1. I bet you barely felt it inside you. Such a disappointment.

      3. Doesn’t 10 come before 14?

        1. Yes And 9 comes before 10.
          Why do you ask?

  7. “the national unpopularity contest”

    FIFY

  8. “We know that groups are planning to disrupt our economy by conflating the right to protest with illegal activities that harm the rights of others. We need this legislation to protect the rights of all citizens,”

    The rights of others. I once heard a libertarian say that protecting these rights was the government’s primary function. Musta been on HuffPo.

    1. The rights of others

      From “illegal activities that harm” those rights.

      I once heard a libertarian say that protecting these rights was the government’s primary function

      As the words you quoted? The principle is also in our Declaration of Independence.

      1. I mean everyone’s rights. Protection is the govt role. No?

        1. Thanks! It seemed confusing, the way you phrased it, to what you quoted. And I guess HuffPo was satire!

  9. Wait…so shriek will actually say something bad about Teh Lightworker now??

    I don’t think anyone is having trouble with calling the Orange Host of the Hat and Hair any names, right?

  10. “Yes, these bills specifically target illegal activity associated with protests rather than the speech itself, but they all come now, when their guy is taking office?not months or years ago when the old regime might have been the target.”

    Come on now…

    When were there mass groups of tea parties disrupting commerce, smashing windows, starting fires, etc. during the last 8 years?

    These bills are clearly in response to the violent riots in recent days.

    1. That, and taking over an out-of-the-way wildlife refuge that nobody cares about is not at all the same as shutting down a major thoroughfare.

      Love trumps hate, let’s riot, destroy property, assault people we don’t like, pick on children, call our opponents every manner of vile thing as if one has no agency, no dignity, and no foresight. Love trumps hate indeed.

  11. Yes, these bills specifically target illegal activity associated with protests rather than the speech itself, but they all come now, when their guy is taking office?not months or years ago when the old regime might have been the target.

    Uh, chilli… those links don’t do much to bolster your case since those fellas were, in point of fact, charged with multiple felonies – the ones that weren’t shot in the back and summarily executed by state police and FBI agents, that is.

  12. Tucille seems a little annoyed by laws which target desctructive “protesters.” Why? Isn’t it libertarian to protect the rights of others from these so-called protesters? If these fuckers are fucking up property, blocking a fucking road, blocking a business entrance, harassing people or interfering in other people’s lives in any other fucking annoying way, they need to be fucking arrrested and charged appropriately.

    1. Nah, it’s your duty as a good ‘murican to sacrifice your property and a little bit of your safety so that a bunch of overprivileged fucking children can play 1960s fantasy camp. Anything less would be un-‘murican and unlibertarian.

    2. I read it as annoyance at the idea of making the act of protest illegal, or regulating it into obscurity. If anybody believes in property rights, it’s 2Chili.

    3. #secretserviceinterruptslocalbusinesses

  13. Yeah… If we could stop calling rioters protesters… That would be great. If rioters were destroying public property I wouldn’t mind as much, but it’s other people’s livelihoods, and they have no entitlement to feel that destroying other people’s stuff is very OK.

    1. Right? They’re “protesting” fascism by smashing up a Starbucks? I must have missed the bit where Starbucks was in the bag for Trump and became a bastion of the alt-right.

  14. Generally I operate under the policy that if someone wants to be the most powerful person in the world, they are a bastard.

    Yet to be proven wrong, even if I agree with some of the bastards more than others.

  15. It’s not “okay to call the president a bastard again”

    It’s “still okay to call republicans bastards”

    It’s “still okay for most of the media to be the propaganda arm of the left”

    Journalists aren’t going to start asking the hard questions again, they’re going to keep attacking republicans and the right as they always have–it will just look vastly different from their fellatial pose so evident these past 8 years because their guy was in the White House.

    How can reason get this so incredibly wrong?

    1. He didn’t get it wrong. He’s coyly mocking these people.

      1. Yeah, and that’s a line I’m getting fucking sick of as well.

        Every time the reason leftists can’t keep themselves from revealing their inmost selves unto their god, some asswipe wannabe white knight oozes in waving their flaccid sword and screaming ‘they didn’t mean it’ in as many ways as it takes to push the issue away.

    2. Try reading the article.

      I know, I know, REEDING IZ 4 FAGGITZ & CUCKZ

      1. So who’s reading for you then?

  16. And, where once Hollywood celebrities issued a thoroughly creepy “pledge to serve Barack Obama” when he took office as president, eight additional years of seeing the duties of that office exercised led us to singer Madonna saying she’s thought a lot about “blowing up the White House.”

    Sorry, J D, but those same people were breathlessly speculating about how wonderful it would be if we could magically do away with the 22nd Amendment and keep the Ascended One in power forever. They want their noble philosopher king to rule over them in perpetuity they want to pledge their lives in service to Him. Their newly unearthed disrespect is only for the usurper, not the office.

    1. Wow, Dude, what a kewl high!

      1. Well don’t stop there, tell us what you’re on!

        1. Are you crazy enough to believe a word he said?

  17. “pledge to serve Barack Obama”

    I found this to be particularly frightening. Why is it so many people want to be ruled? //FreedomIsScary

  18. This is hardly the only example of double standard concerning Trump. See for instance http://necpluribusimpar.net/no…..on-equal/, about foreign interferences in the presidential election.

  19. To criticize government officials?and to embrace the right of others to do the same?is to step back from the cult.

    No different than anyone who dares speak against another cult — the libertarian establishment … which became The Waling Dead on November 8th,

    1. should be: “WALKING dead”

  20. I ain’t no goddamned sonofabitch.

    1. Will Duterte Harry call call Trump a son of a whore? I doubt it.

  21. Is this a trick question?

    Resistance to and ridicule of governmental authority is a freedom-loving-citizen’s duty, not a privilege.

    F*ck the whole lot of them.

    1. (yawn) Our “duty” is to stop pissing and moaning about, and show HOW and WHY things can be done better.

  22. Bravo, J.D.

  23. The Shrillary supporters who lost this election need to wake up to the reality that they have themselves to blame for losin this election, not Putin. Let’s say the Russians had no involvement in the hacking. Podesta’s emails were ridiculously easy to hack which brings into question about the security for Hillary’s private server. How do we know her private email server was as secure as they say it was?

    I don’t like Trump. but the whining has to stop about how he won the election. I do support namecalling. While I think the namecalling of Obama went overboard, it was silly of some guys to accuse the namecallers of treason. But I have no sympathy for Trump as he was one of the idiots who wasted a lot of time focusing on the birther issue. So I find it rich that he gets oversensitive about criticism of him. That time could have been focused on pointing out real issues to criticize Obama’s government on .

    1. Trump and his supporters seem to thrive on the name calling, in fact they seem to seek it out, and that is what helped him win. The proggies did this constantly under GW Bush and Trump’s campaign and have failed miserably-guess they haven’t learned yet that old saying about “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  24. At this point, what harm is there in allowing states to go their own ways? You don’t like president X or Y? Fine-form your own sovereign nation. Conservatives in Blue Nations could move to Red Nations, or stay put and shut the hell up if they so choose and vice versa. Libertarians could also form their own as well. I think it will be the only solution in the long run, and it need not be a violent secession. It might be the end of the US experiment in democracy, but better to fail to continue, than continue to fail.

    1. There’s too big issues that would likely prvent an amicable dissolution:

      1). What happens to the existing debt?
      2). For all the red state talk about self-sufficiency, the federal spending is a net transfer from blue states to red states. What’s gonna happen to, say, Alabama and Mississippi when the spigot suddenly gets turned off?

      1. 1. The debt problem can be resolved by the new nation-states floating their currencies. Could be some painful inflation at first but things would eventually settle down. They would be free to make their own trade agreements.

        2. The lost tax revenue, which mostly goes towards funding military bases, agriculture subsidies, and federal infrastructure in red states, could be partially made up for with black market sales of cigarettes, fireworks, and other contraband that blue state residents’ puritan masters do not approve of. Also, most of the urban northeast depends on the Midwest and south for food and fuel. I do not see them being able to make it through winter on wind and solar alone.

        1. Also, most of the urban northeast depends on the Midwest and south for food and fuel.

          Which is already the case, and those states are already capable of buying all the food and fuel for an amount that doesn’t leave those states self sufficient. Alabama isn’t suddenly going to get paid twice as much for soybeans or coal to make up the lost federal subsidies.

        2. PS – Largest agricultural producers are in order: California, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Indiana

          I don’t think the northeast is quite as dependent on the south for food as the south likes to think.

      2. Re: #2

        What happens when you remove Medicare and SS from the mix.

        Those follow retirees wherever they decide to settle.

        1. Why would it continue to though? Why would the Northeast’s taxpayers vote to continue to paying SS and Medicare to a bunch of now foreigners in Arizona and Florida?

      3. Probably nothing, since those states’ economies tend to be more burdened by federal regulations than state regs, while in progressive states the state regulations (e.g. Minimum wage) tend to supersede federal ones, so red states will get compensated by disproportionately benefiting from being free of fed regulation.

        Also, I should note that blue states are entirely to blame for hemorrhaging tax money. When you adjust for costs of living, there is no correlation between party affiliation and average income, but federal taxes don’t account for regional variation in living costs, so by driving up housing and other costs with regulations and forcing employers to pay higher wages to compensate, they’ve pushed their own citizens into a higher tax bracket.

        Also, because blue states have such high living costs, there’s net migration of poor people out of blue into red states, leading to more people in the latter eligible for federal aid.

        1. *note that I’m referring state political affiliation and statewide average income, not individuals.

  25. I keep seeing posts on my FB to the effect of “Sure, we complained that OUR guy wasn’t being given enough respect, but the other guys didn’t give our guy enough respect, so now we can do whatever too!!”

  26. The press spent the last eight years being subservient to power, sucking up to power, and kissing powers butt. Now, suddenly, they discover they need to speak truth to power, or tell lies about those in power?whichever advances their leftist agenda. Regardless, they have all but rendered themselves irrelevant.

  27. Yup, the people who enjoyed the last presidency and were inclined to defend him are likely to not find anything to defend this one about, to say the least. And the people who threw absolute bile at the last president are most likely going to be very uptight about anybody criticizing this one.

    And in between are a lot of people you don’t hear as loudly, maintaining that criticism and even mockery have their place but that there are certain things we should strive to treat as off-limits as a matter of principle. That lazy, sloppy insults that have victims beyond the intended target should be curtailed. That fixation on the minor children of politicians you happen to disagree with (or even find despicable!) is creepy and inappropriate as hell. And similar.

    You can find hypocrisy and ridicule wherever you look for it, because every group and every party is 100% made up of humans. You can also find good common sense and personal accountability, for the same reason.

    1. “That fixation on the minor children of politicians you happen to disagree with (or even find despicable!) is creepy and inappropriate as hell.”

      Sorry, but once you drag them onto the stage to use for your agenda (“daddy, when will they fill the hole?”), then they become public property and susceptible to criticism. Want to keep your little chelsea outta the fray? Don’t bring the little unformed minds into arena.

  28. there are a handful of reasons i’m glad trump won, even if i’m still disappointed he won at the same time. the primary reason is that the cult of personality that surrounded obama would’ve continued, and rather than racists, we all would’ve been sexists for 4-8 years. trump has his own apologists of course, but the extent of the blind worship that surrounds him seems to be mostly reduced to his reflection in the mirror.

    1. Nothing irks me more than people defending a president using regurgitated sound bytes from media heads.

  29. Sorry, but per the past 8 years the precedent has been set for all time: criticizing the president in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER is automatically “racist” and you have to shut up…

  30. It is funny those that said just before the Democrats pushed the ACA, better known Bamma care, though both houses with not one Congressional committee hearing, voted all Democrat. Polosi said on video, ” why read about the Bamma care act, we can read it after it is law”. Nancy now has a different approach, go figure.

    And the fact afterwards we see the videos of the architect of Bamma care say plainly on video they designed Bamma care to fail using public healthcare and the goal was pure us government funded , no public options.

    There is more, but even this site forgets facts that prove Bamma care was designed for failure, very high costs, deductables and the government bone payer healthcare.

    Go figure, Nancy Polosi knew.. No one cares, even this site

    1. I called this approach the Pelosi Stool Test argument.

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