It is commonplace of the political left that Republicans are the party of angry White men. It seems that once again, we are witnessing the standard misdirection of Democrats — accuse the Republicans of what they, themselves, are doing.
Consider Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Why is Mr. Sanders always so angry? He is a United States senator from a state so tiny it wouldn’t have senators if it weren’t for the Constitution’s Great Compromise. His views are so extreme they are not shared by even 10% of the American people. He has never won a presidential nomination. Yet here he is, shaping the Democrats’ agenda out of all proportion to his standing. What’s to be angry about?
He is angry because he cannot get his way. He is angry because people in his own party are putting roadblocks in his path. When Republicans such as the late Sen. John McCain or Sen. Mitt Romney buck their party’s wishes, they are called mavericks or independent thinkers or statesmen. When Sen. Joe Manchin III or Sen. Kyrsten Sinema buck their party’s agenda, they are called traitors to the cause by Mr. Sanders and his media acolytes. This is not the attitude of a tolerant liberal but that of a would-be authoritarian.
Some years back, Mr. Sanders railed at the free market for producing too many brands of deodorants. Wouldn’t one or two be enough? This seemingly innocuous comment is all you need to know about Mr. Sanders; he is quite prepared to substitute his own judgment for yours and for that of the entire American marketplace.
This is also all you need to know about why Mr. Sanders should be kept as far away as possible from a position of government authority. The five-year plan for deodorant production would likely be only the first step.
Mr. Sanders is not alone in his anger. Exhibit number two is surely the Democrats’ Senate leader Chuck Schumer. Have you ever seen Mr. Schumer happy at a press conference? He, too, is angry when he does not get his way, which is not a helpful attitude for the difficult position he holds, especially in an evenly divided Senate. One senses that his anger is less ideological and more transactional than Mr. Sander’s. He is a psychological captive of the progressives — speaking of angry people — always trying to demonstrate his unhappiness with any departure from the purity of their views.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just did Mr. Schumer a favor by bailing him out of a nearly impossible political dilemma. Mr. Schumer’s response? Go to the Senate floor in full rabid dog mode. Even the mild-mannered Mr. Romney called his performance “classless.”
Other senators said far worse.
Not to be outdone, President Biden has entered into the ranks of the angry. He ran as a “moderate” (though his Senate record demonstrated no such thing) who would bring the country together. How is that working out? The further his approval rating dips, the angrier he becomes. He erupts sporadically, often unexpectedly and usually out of all proportion. He tells Republicans “to get out of the way.” He justifies the outrageous treatment of Ms. Sinema in a women’s bathroom (requiring roughly the 10,000th “clarification” by White House press secretary Jen Psaki). As columnist Peggy Noonan has observed, Mr. Biden “is more rhetorically hostile to the unvaccinated than he is to the Taliban.”
Further examples abound. What did we do to deserve this kind of angry leadership? A clue can be found by scanning a few left-wing blogs. There, one can learn that it is simple justice that the late radio star Rush Limbaugh had cancer. Or that Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh has COVID-19. Or that Sen. Rand Paul was assaulted by his neighbor.
Win or lose, the political left is never satisfied. The left is never happy about any progress nor pleased by any good fortune. Their anger is not accidental: The slightest display of happiness or gratitude is seen as complicity in whatever injustices, real or imagined, can be found in the status quo. There is always more to demand, more to denounce, and more to impose on others. It’s hard to see the country coming together around this attitude.
• Jeff Bergner has served in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. His most recent book is “The Vanishing Congress.”