It’s time to Break It Down!
Before laying out the case that is today’s discourse, let us begin by stipulating a working definition for mulligan. According to Merriam-Webster, mulligan is defined as:
“A free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played” If you’re counting, that’s one shot.
If you are a golfer, you are probably already familiar with the term. If not, think of do-over, fresh start, redo, refresh, renew, restart, or start over. The subtle distinction is, in golf, a mulligan is most often a onetime thing. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you Donald Trump is not a “onetime kinda guy.”
Alas, I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to the future…or at least the immediate past. Yesterday, Tony Perkins, a former Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and current President of the Family Research Council, a conservative policy organization based in Washington, D.C., said in an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront:”
“Yes, evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan. They let him have a do-over. They said we’ll start afresh with you and we’ll give you a second chance.”
The timing of Mr. Perkins’ comments was important in that it followed a Wall Street Journal report that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate. For the record, Mr. Cohen, President Trump, and the former porn star, Stormy Daniels, have all denied the alleged sexual encounter.
Family Research Council is best known for promoting socially conservative family values. One of the foundational pillars of the organization, per its website is promoting marriage and family. This is expressly stated as:
“Family Research Council champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society. Properly understood, ‘families’ are formed only by ties of blood, marriage, or adoption, and ‘marriage’ is a union of one man and one woman.”
Mr. Perkins, in clarifying his position, and that of evangelicals and conservatives, writ large, who support President Trump (no matter what), said it is the relationship Trump has built with evangelicals, as well as his “constitutionally conservative” policies, including appointing judges who oppose abortion that garners the support.
You know what? I’m not even gonna trip about this incident. In fact, were it just this one instance, while I would still be inclined to deem it hypocritical, I could at least accept the premise of it being a mulligan. But I think we all know that is not how this President rolls.
What do I mean by that, you may ask? That’s a great question; I’m glad you inquired. It means this gentleman, and I use the term loosely, has a long and lurid history of using words and taking actions upon which conservatives in general, and evangelicals in particular, would routinely frown. But even in golf, he is apparently known for his excesses. That Mr. Perkins employed a golf analogy is apt, because the President has certainly indulged frequently in his love of golf during his first year in office, during which time he is said to take “one free mulligan after another” on the links, according to former ESPN columnist Rick Reilly.
The Right and the Evangelicals attacked President Obama day in and day out during the entire 8 years of his presidency. Eight months into the Trump presidency, it is clear comparisons are there, just begging to be made between Trump and Evangelicals’ hypocritical new stances. As I have noted often, conservatives and evangelicals leap to twist themselves into pretzel shapes, all in an effort to defend Trumpspeak and behavior.
Undoubtedly Mr. Perkins and his evangelical and socially conservative friends are schooled in the ways of our President, and they not only know just what he needs, they are committed to giving it to him. So how about these for do-overs, fresh starts, redo’s, refreshes, renewals, restarts, or start-overs?
- In 2016, President Obama visited flooded areas of Louisiana. At the time of his visit, there had been 13 deaths, 7 trillion gallons of rainfall, 24 inches of measured rainfall, and an estimated $15 billion in damages had accumulated. Evangelicals lambasted President Obama for not visiting earlier.
- In 2017, President Trump visited a dry airport near flooded areas of Texas. At the time of his visit, there had been 16 deaths, 11 trillion gallons of rainfall, 49 inches of measured rainfall, and an estimated $50 billion in damages had accumulated. President Trump didn’t hug a neck, kiss a cheek, or wipe a tear. He didn’t encounter water falling from the sky or puddling upon the earth. He didn’t mention the loss of a police officer, or the drowning of a family of six. Evangelicals offered no criticism.
- In 2012, in anticipation of President Obama’s quick response to Hurricane Sandy, Citizen Trump tweeted: “Not only giving out money, but Obama will be seen today standing in water and rain like he is a real President—don’t fall for it.” He went on: “Obama is now standing in a puddle acting like a President-–give me a break.” ~ October 31, 2012. He was damned for getting to NJ to soon and actually getting his feet wet, and damned for waiting for the water to recede in Louisiana, as the Governor asked him to do.
- In 2011, evangelicals excoriated Obama for leading from behind and not protecting Libyans from being slaughtered by Gaddafi. Then, after getting others to go first with their troops and money, evangelicals eviscerated President Obama for getting involved in Libya. Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.
- In 2013, when Syria erupted, President Obama sought a Congressional prescription by asking Congress to direct his actions. They refused. The GOP led Congress opted out because had they taken a position, they wouldn’t be able to change it and be on the opposite side of the President. They wanted to be on the opposite side of whatever action he took.
- In 2010, after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, conservatives castigated President Obama for not doing enough. They named the spill, “Obama’s Katrina.” And then…when President Obama met with BP and persuaded them to pay a $20 billion fine to execute the cleanup, a House GOP member, Joe Barton – TX, openly apologized to the CEO for the shakedown of BP by President Obama, and Rand Paul said President Obama’s criticism of the foreign company was “un-American.” Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. Imagine the crowing Donald J. Trump would have done about his negotiating skills.
- In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to support President Obama’s initiative to warn the public about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. McConnell would not sign a bipartisan statement about Russia’s efforts. President Obama felt the lack of a bipartisan action would serve the Kremlin’s interest. Naturally, when the conversation emerged after the election, Republicans, conservatives, and evangelicals blamed Obama for not doing anything to warn the public about the Russian intrusion. Not just damned if he did, but obstructed, and then damned when he didn’t.
So it is with this serial conservative, GOP, and evangelical hypocrisy as a backdrop that I pen today’s post. Team Trump, which includes an amalgamation of all of the above, and then some, has the unmitigated gall and outrageous audacity to whimper, whine, and whinny that the current criticism of President Trump is unprecedented; worst than any previous president has had to endure. I do not hesitate to convey to you that such a claim fails to pass either the reasonable man (or woman) standard, or any version of a truth test. It’s just a fact-free claim; baseless and absurd on it’s face. What is clear is that…Evangelicals Have Given Trump A Mulligan: It Must Be To Infinity!
I’m done; holla back!
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