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The Democrats’ Real Enemy

It’s the Republicans, not those who seek our destruction

Jen O'Malley Dillon
Jen O'Malley Dillon / photo by Andre Chung for The Washington Post via Getty Images
• December 17, 2020 5:00 am

Glamour magazine's interview of Jen O'Malley Dillon, President-elect Joe Biden's campaign manager, was the talk of the Twitterati on Wednesday.

The Biden administration, Dillon told the softball-lobbing fashion mag, intends to forge a productive working relationship with its loyal opposition and is prepared to compromise to advance the urgent interests of the American people. Still, she felt compelled to make clear that Republicans are a "bunch of fuckers."

"I’m not saying they’re not a bunch of fuckers," Dillon declared. "Mitch McConnell is terrible."

While Democrats may be grumbling privately, according to Axios, those who weighed in on-the-record responded with one voice: You go, girl! Obama flack Tommy Vietor praised Dillon’s "direct, clear-eyed assessment" and told would-be critics not to "pretend that profanity is more obscene than letting people starve during a pandemic."

Our objection is certainly not to the vulgarity—but as long as we are not pretending, let’s not pretend this was a particularly brassy or memorable outburst (Vice President Dick Cheney set the bar when he told Senator Pat Leahy to go fuck himself on the floor of the Senate). Still, Dillon’s remark made clear that despite Biden’s mealy-mouthed talk about healing the country’s divisions and reaching across the aisle, his team considers the opposition to be an enemy with whom compromise is neither acceptable nor possible. It also got us wondering: When is the last time a prominent Democrat had harsh words like that for one of America’s actual foes?

Ben Rhodes, of course, told us that there was nobody his boss disliked working with more than Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu, who was "dishonest" and "not on the level." Good luck finding any such condemnation of the tyrants he was soliciting in Havana or Tehran.

We struggle to think of any instance in which the Democrats have offered a harsh word for those fuckers. Obama himself reportedly overruled advisers who wanted to signal support for the 2009 Green Revolution, refusing to risk alienating that regime even as it slaughtered its people in the streets. At the time White House press secretary Robert Gibbs mustered this withering condemnation: "Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely."

The Democrats stand ready to compromise with the killers that lead Iran and China and work to understand the root causes of their hostility to America. And one never gets the sense that they have to hold their noses in the process. Do they disdain America’s enemies? Or is it only us, the 75 million Americans who stand athwart their agenda of appeasement and decline, who they despise?