The politics of contempt

By Tom Quiner

American politics has always been a rugged sport.

A particularly ugly strain of the sport has taken root at great cost to public discourse. I call it the politics of contempt.

It is foundational with three particular politicians on both sides of the aisle: Barack Obama; Hillary Clinton; and Donald Trump.

Barack Obama made his contempt known for a significant swath of Americans when he sneered at those “clinging to their guns and Bibles.”

He didn’t know he was being recorded, but it was instructive. He knew the First and Second Amendments were obstacles to his ideological rewiring of the American Republican. His contempt for those of us who embrace the Bill of Rights, and the entire Constitution for that matter, has been on full display for seven years.

He showed his contempt for Republicans right out of the starting gate when he taunted them with a ‘I won, you lost’ approach to governance.

He showed his contempt for the American people on another occasion when he again thought no one was listening. He was talking to then-Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev when he whispered to him:

“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

True to form, the president has flexed his leadership-from-behind strategy and allowed Putin to walk in and take Crimea and threaten Eastern Europe.

Mr. Obama’s contempt is particularly obvious towards Republicans and the Constitution’s separation of powers.

Under his administration, the IRS has targeted conservative groups. When caught, his henchman were called before Congress, where they did nothing to hide their contempt for Congress, conservatives, or the American people.

Hillary Clinton’s contempt for the American people is legendary.

Seldom has a public figure been more comfortable lying about her actions than the wife of Bill Clinton, another human being comfortable with speaking untruths.

Ms. Clinton’s e-mail deceit represents a breach in ethics that is breathtaking. They are one part of a legacy that boldly lies even when facts, video records, and logic prove her wrong.

She claims she came under fire when video records prove she lies.

Missing records mysteriously show up on her dining room table after years of searching for them.

Her foundation rakes in millions of dollars from powerful organizations who desire her favors.

She does what she wants without consequence, but with total contempt for the ‘little people’ she claims to represent.

With a straight face, she says we need to believe women who claim they were sexually harassed at the same time she attempted to destroy the women who proclaimed that her husband sexually harassed them.

The politics of contempt.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump reminds me of a school yard bully who feels a need to display public contempt for any perceived slight.

He is defined by his contempt. A sampling …

On Lindsay Graham: “I see your senator, what a stiff. What a stiff: Lindsey Graham.”

On George W. Bush: “Bush didn’t have the IQ [to be president].”

On Jeb Bush: “JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.”

On Hillary Clinton: “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

On conservative columnist, Jonah Goldberg: “Jonah Goldberg @JonahNRO of the once great @NRO#National Review is truly dumb as a rock. Why does @BretBaier put this dummy on his show?”

On Charles Krauthammer: “One of the worst and most boring political pundits on television is @krauthammer. A totally overrated clown who speaks without knowing facts,”

On John McCain: “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said at a rally on July 18. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Seldom has American politics witnessed a candidate so comfortable displaying his contempt not just for the opposing team, but for members of his team as well. Seldom has any candidate been so comfortable giving us a glimpse into his ugly soul.

There is a single reason he gets away with it: Americans have had a bellyful of Big Government’s contempt for us. Some view Mr. Trump’s willingness to fight fire with fire as appropriate.

I don’t.

He feeds the pathological cynicism infecting the body politic. A Trump/Clinton election ensures the spread of the poison.




  1. Lori on December 16, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    I don’t get it. I can’t believe Trump has gotten this far. He is hurting the Republican Party by running. Are you worried?

    • quinersdiner on December 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      Yes, I am starting to worry.

  2. parrillaturi on December 17, 2015 at 12:12 am

    You are so spot on, on all three. Obama is delusional, Hillary is a pathological liar, and as for Trump. Well, his true colors are coming to light. Sadly, he thinks that running the country is akin to running a private enterprise. He would be better of as the Dept. of Labor Tsar.

  3. shields3 on December 17, 2015 at 1:06 am

    If you guys end up with Trump as President and the government administrators are not quick enough to shackle him we may see the third world war that will truly be the war to end all wars.

    • quinersdiner on December 17, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Things truly are dicey, aren’t they!

    • John R. Hugo on December 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      WWIII has already begun and you want to blame it on Trump???
      I suppose you think today’s Omnibus Spending disaster our Republican controlled Congress just passed is Trump’s fault too.
      Wake up.

      • shields3 on December 20, 2015 at 11:30 pm

        OK John from where I sit if Trump spouts radical ideas about immigration policies and makes his personal assessments on foreign policy in the same way without any consideration of the consequences the USA could make some really powerful enemies.

        • John R. Hugo on December 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm

          Temporarily suspending all immigration would be ideal.
          All Muslims are not terrorist but all terrorists at this time are Muslim so stopping the immigration of Muslims makes sense and that’s all Trump is recommending. How many innocent American citizens need to die before some people wake up?

  4. oarubio on December 17, 2015 at 9:07 am

    From the beginning, Trump has been a “Republican” version of what the Left has been throwing at their ignorants — and winning. Trouble is, when that type wins, we all lose.

    • quinersdiner on December 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      That’s how I see it, Tony. I think the rank and file Trump supporter is fed up by PC bullcrap (excuse my French) and phony politicians in the beltway. I get it. But Trump is not the answer. It’s hard to build coalitions when you’ve relentlessly torn down everyone with whom you disagree.

  5. John R. Hugo on December 18, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks to Trump; the important topics are being discussed.
    I will take blunt to stupid which is what Republican controlled Congress is for passing that Omnibus Spending Bill Paul Ryan just orchestrated. And they are going to continue taxpayer funding of abortion too. Sick…….

  6. John R. Hugo on December 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    When everyone (both sides of the isle) comes out against Trump it’s obvious he scares people with special interests because they can’t control him.
    Never thought quinersdiner would be part of a group like that………
    Hope you are not censoring my comments on Trump.

    • quinersdiner on December 20, 2015 at 10:08 am

      John, it’s always great to hear from you. I appreciate your perspective, because I don’t see the appeal of Trump myself. Your comments help to flesh out what his supporters see in him. Thanks for writing.