by Julie Kelly
There is a small slice of the American populace who, by their own admission, are exhausted.
No, I do not refer to new moms caring for cranky infants or emergency room nurses working the night shift or tactical officers patrolling the ’hood or farmers plowing their soybean crops.
Our bone-weary countrymen populate opinion magazines, newsrooms, editorial boards, and cable networks up and down the Acela corridor. Their fingertips, nearly stripped of all flesh from excessive tweeting, have lost agility. Heads droop over coffee-stained laptops; they can’t even muster enough energy to brush off the morning’s donut crumbs from the keyboard.
Cognitive fatigue has set in: “How do you spell Haberman again,” they mumble to themselves as they struggle to search the pages of the New York Times. Slippered feet shuffle aimlessly under the desk of their home office. Makeup artists in the MSNBC green room desperately try to conceal dark circles sagging under the eyes of barely-functioning hosts and guests.
Now, one can understand the fatigue associated with a prolonged hangover after a two-year bender on Trump-Russian collusion that came up empty. One can certainly sympathize with talking heads and columnists who want to crawl under the covers after being wrong about nearly everything since 2016. And, really, having to interview Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for the umpteenth time would take its toll on any mere mortal.
But, of course, their collective exhaustion is caused most of all by Donald Trump. In embarrassing fashion, anti-Trump pundits on the Left and Right are admitting that the president is getting the best of them. NBC’s Chuck Todd, mercifully giving the “white supremacy” canard a temporary rest, launched this week’s new narrative. “Weeks like this is [sic] what wear people out,” Todd told Andrea Mitchell on August 23. “Amen,” she replied. Todd further claimed, without evidence, that even Trump’s supporters are “exhausted.”
A cadre of prostrate pundits chimed in. “The editors of National Review are exhausted with presidential tweets, from asking whether Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell or Chinese leader Chairman Xi is the bigger enemy, to ‘hereby ordering’ private companies to look for alternatives to operations in China,” confessed National Review’s Jim Geraghty on August 26.” (Imagine being a grown adult and publicly admitting that a few crazy social media posts are grinding you down.)
Geraghty then mimicked Todd’s assertion that “even Trump’s supporters are getting tired of his daily drama,” but his proof only included a shortlist of random comments by a handful of professional opinionators.
Kyle Smith, NR’s critic-at-large, concurred. “It really is hard to imagine 5 and a half more years of this. It’s just exhausting,” he tweeted. The affliction spread on the commentariat’s right-wing, with Washington Examiner editor Seth Mandel Twitter-whining, “Aren’t you tired? I’m tired.”
MSNBC contributor Neera Tanden told Chris Matthews on August 28 that she, too, was exhausted. When Tanden, head of a progressive think tank, asked the Twitterverse who else was exhausted, her tweet was liked more than 12,000 times.
No one, however, is more tired than New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. In what could be the most humiliating confession of the week/year/decade, Bruni told his readers how he spent a summer Saturday morning—incapacitated by news headlines about Donald Trump.
“He had commandeered too many of my thoughts, run roughshod over too many of my emotions, made me question too many articles of faith,” he explained. “I was sapped—if not quite of the will to live, then of the will to tweet, to Google and to surf the cable channels, where his furious mien and curious mane are ubiquitous. What I was feeling was beyond Trump fatigue and bigger than Trump exhaustion. It was Trump enervation. Trump enfeeblement.”
Someone get this man a double espresso, stat.
Bruni managed to keep his eyes open long enough to find fellow bedragglers on the other side of the political aisle. “Apparently weariness with Trump’s wackiness does something virtually unheard-of in the United States circa 2019: It transcends partisanship,” he noted as he linked to Geraghty’s NR column.
Somehow, Bruni bravely mustered the energy to make it to the CNN studios later that day.
“I think voters are exhausted with melodrama,” he told his fellow panelists who were, miraculously, awake. “You just have to go to his Twitter account and look at the volume and vitriol of what he tweets.” (While 100 percent of political journalists are on Twitter, it’s worth remembering that only about 7 percent of Americans bother with the platform.)
Yet through all the mental fog and haze, a campaign slogan was born. Linking to Bruni’s piece, ace political consultant David Axelrod suggested this message for the Democratic presidential candidate: “The question for 2020 is not going to be ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ It will be, ‘Can we really do another four years of THIS?’”
Yes, we can?
They Brought It on Themselves
To be fair, Trump’s tweets remain widely unpopular with voters, including many Republicans. But if there is exhaustion among Trump’s supporters, it is in response to the Left’s neverending assault on the president, his administration, and his voters—not because of anything the president himself has done.
It is Democrats, not Trump, who launched a destructive special counsel investigation based on manufactured evidence that divided the country for more than two years. It is Democrats, not Trump, who ridicule Republicans and Trump-supporting Americans as racist rubes who want children locked in cages and concentration camps built on the southern border.
It is Democrats, not Trump, who orchestrated the vilest attack on a Supreme Court nominee in American history. It is Democrats, not Trump, who now wish for an economic recession. It is Democrats, not Trump, who side with foreign adversaries against the best interests of the country. It is Democrats, not Trump, fomenting violence against political foes.
And all of it is amplified by a national press corps and punditry class now complaining about how tired they are. Clearly, working as de facto foot soldiers in #TheResistance after indulging in an eight-year nap has shown how badly out of shape these brave warriors have become.
There is one person, however, who doesn’t seem a bit exhausted: Donald Trump. So if the Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans want a fighting shot to take him out in 2020, they had better rest up. They’ll need all the energy they can get.
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