I’m no fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But this caricaturing of candidates has gone too far.
Donald Trump makes his points through repetition. The nicknames are a part of that.
Lyin’ James Comey. Low Energy Jeb. Low-IQ Maxine Waters. Crooked Hillary. Crazy Bernie. Sleepy Joe Biden.
And the worst: Pocahontas, for Senator Elizabeth Warren, an ethnic slur that should be as offensive to Native Americans as it is to the Democrats who support her.
I’m sure these nicknames are effective. But they’re the lowest of mud-slinging tactics. They take the politics of personal attack and turn it into a branding element.
Governing is complex and takes extended effort and intelligence. Campaigning has nuance. Calling your enemies by a simple name is a lot easier: it creates an impression without proof of anything. It appeals to the unthinking lizard brain, it doesn’t belong in our politics, and we should renounce it.
What about Moscow Mitch?
If you want to question McConnell’s patriotism, have at it. If you want to paint him as the most partisan politician to have power in the modern era, let fly.
But once you start with the nicknames, you’ve sunk to the lizard-brain level. There’s no need for proof. It’s just tar and feathers. Just because Trump has led on this trend, do you really feel you need to follow?
“It’s just good clean fun,” I hear you protesting. “And that meme is awfully funny.”
If you really want to use any tactics to boost your own side in the argument — if you want to stoop to this level — I can’t stop you. But take a moment to consider where things will end up.
Any candidate, Democrat or Republican, that engages in this sort of name-calling in this election doesn’t deserve your respect. That’s not how we do things. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.