It is certainly true that some of former president Donald Trump's supporters are struggling to come to terms with his defeat in the 2020 election. But the struggle to accept political reality is even more pronounced among Trump's hysterical critics at the Washington Post opinion section.
Trigger warning: The following contains detailed descriptions of addiction, codependency, and withdrawal.
Nearly two weeks have passed since President Joe Biden was inaugurated. For many in the professional journalism community, it was an occasion to celebrate. Tragically, though, it was also a "rock bottom" moment for opinion columnists whose addiction to being outraged by Trump had rendered them intellectually inert and incapable of writing about anything else.
Jerry Adler, senior editor at Yahoo! News, captured the desperation of his fellow addicts in his column this week: "When will we hear from Donald Trump again?" Like a strung-out Hunter Biden scavenging the alleys of Skid Row for a luscious lump of crack, the journos cry out in despair. They'll do anything to fill the Trump-shaped hole in their hearts.
The anguish of addiction haunts the pages of the Post opinion section, where hardcore junkies like Jennifer Rubin are still chasing that Trump high by gorging themselves on "Republican Party" outrage, which doesn't hit the same.
A sample of the columns Rubin has published since Inauguration Day:
- "Shrinking the GOP, one state at a time"
- "Republican weakness enables domestic terrorism"
- "The Republican Party is about doing nothing"
- "Just how nuts is the Republican Party?"
- "The latest attempt to normalize the Republican Party"
- "Prosecuting Trump is more essential than ever"
As you can see by the final entry, opinion columnists are often unable to resist the urge to attack the former president. Earlier this week, for example, Michael Gerson opined that "Trumpism is American fascism." Trump may be gone, but our esteemed opinion writers continue to suffer from the intellectual lethargy his presidency inspired. Gerson's column on Jan. 18 advised Republicans to "abandon authoritarian populism."
Max Boot, as you might expect, has been sweating through his fedora, churning out insightful takes about his favorite subject:
- "Republicans just blew their chance to move on from Trump"
- "Trump couldn’t have incited sedition without the help of Fox News"
- "It’s not just Trump on trial. It’s the whole Republican Party."
- "Rob Portman has done more damage to America than Marjorie Taylor Greene"
- "Trump was the worst president ever. But his failures set up Biden for success."
Boot's grudging acknowledgment of Biden's victory in that last example is echoed—if not copied verbatim—in the work of his colleagues. Indeed, one feels for the Post editors forced to come up with a different headline for what is essentially the same column.
- Eugene Robinson: "Trump leaves a scorched landscape. But Biden brings hope at last."
- Colbert King: "Democrats have prevailed, but Trumpism is still here. We can’t be complacent."
Boot, of course, is not alone in succumbing to the intoxication of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R., Ga.), the freshman backbencher whose unapologetic insanity is the head rush version of Trump's full body high.
- Colbert King: "The GOP once knew what to do about problems like Marjorie Taylor Greene"
- Karen Tumulty: "The GOP struck a bad bargain. That’s how it got stuck with Marjorie Taylor Greene."
- Eugene Robinson: "If the GOP is to rise from the ashes, it has to burn first"
- Kathleen Parker: "The GOP isn’t doomed. It’s dead."
It's worth pointing out that not all Post opinion columnists are hopelessly addicted to the Orange Man's badness. Jonathan Capehart, for example, appears to have resisted the temptation. His last two columns hark back to the simpler times of the Obama administration, when opinion columnists could earn their inflated salaries by expounding on the inherent greatness of Democratic politicians and their families.
- "Biden will return joy to the White House"
- "Why we should be in awe of Kamala Harris’s mother"
If someone you know is suffering from addiction, please encourage them to seek help.