Likable Liberals: Four Democrats Who Wear Well in the Trump Era

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As the holiday season arrives, in recognition of the Democrats’ respectable House reclamation victory, let’s momentarily lay acrimonious partisanship aside. Let’s give credit where due. There was no blue wave, and President Trump’s “Hello Houston” tour to defend Republicans and hold the Senate was masterful. But Democrats did win in some traditionally red congressional districts, won some governorships, and achieved auspicious advances that may bode well for them in the next election cycle.


Seasonal olive branches notwithstanding, the Democratic Party and their pundit corps mostly consist of hyper-partisan and unhinged Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers to whom most conservatives and Republicans will never extend even a smidgen of credit. There is plenty of time between now and Election Day 2020 to criticize, vilify, undermine, and thwart them.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’ll pull back the shade and share some warmth with those to the left of the aisle who don’t tempt conservatives to go all Travis Bickle on their television sets.

Pause and reflect: four Democrats (all I could find, really) worthy of nomination for the fictitious Zell Miller Memorial John F. Kennedy Democrat Award.

1. Austan Goolsbee

There’s a rumor going around cable news that Sean Hannity owes Austan Goolsbee a dinner. Listening to the former Obama cabinet economist and FNC host banter about it reminds me of comedian Red Buttons’ old “I never got a dinner” shtick.

The key to Goolsbee’s tolerability is his affability. He comes across as a happy warrior and is willing to laugh when his talking point is exposed as spurious. Goolsbee never exhibits a confrontational or bellicose manner. His preferred approach can be characterized as friendly persuasion. He smoothly redirects with plausible alternatives to conservative interpretations of political developments.


Scorched earth is the order of the day, and Democrats’ calls for incivility are largely responsible. But hey, it’s Christmas. Mr. Goolsbee brings civility to the table.

Mr. Hannity, buy this man his dinner already.

2. Jessica Tarlov

Must proceed with caution here. There are reasons to like Ms. Tarlov that have no place in a socio-political discussion.

Tarlov has a good sense of humor, and, like Goolsbee, is good-natured when cornered in a debate. On the flip-side, she knows how to successfully counter conservative assertions, often with ready factoids specifically related to polling.

Even at her most rhetorically strident, she exudes an appealing femininity (not feminism, though she is surely a feminist) that conservative men, or any man, is not supposed to notice or be swayed by post-#Metoo. We notice.

I definitely would still rather live in Trump-supporter Jesse Watter’s world, but for a few hours of interesting political discourse, you could do a lot worse than Jessica Tarlov’s world.

3. Douglas Schoen

I like pollster Doug Schoen because he reminds me of the less complicated, less transparent days when Democrats got things done in smoky back rooms. Who needs all this public agonizing? As long as President Reagan was around to check their power, what real harm could they do?

Schoen is ready, willing, and able to vocally criticize his fellow Democrats. Republicans should hope that the Democratic Party apparatus does not listen to him. Schoen would have the left eschew an agenda of endless investigations the American people don’t care about in favor of actual policy proposals they might be receptive to.


The most engaging aspect of Schoen’s presentation is that it is blessedly free of identity polemics, social justice contortion, and sub-textual un-Americanism.

Doug is a numbers guy, and with him crunching the numbers and interpreting the data, the Democrats have an analytical ace in the hole.

Likable? Sure, until January. After that Schoen becomes a dangerous man.

4. Alan Dershowitz

While researching this submission, I checked over at HuffPo and found two articles which highlight opposing views on Democrats who appear on the Fox News Channel. The first piece, going way back to 2007, castigates Fox’s “dumb Democrats,” whose presence amounts to mere theatrics aimed at promulgating the appearance of “balance.”

A newer piece, circa 2017, argues that given the numerically dominant Fox audience, it is imperative that Democrats appear on the more conservative-leaning network to counter a bastion of pro-Trump opinion.

In the strange case of Alan Dershowitz, it’s all about his bestseller, The Case Against Impeaching Trump. Liking Alan should have nothing to do with his controversial stance against impeachment. It is about ethical consistency. Though he admitted to voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, he’s calling foul on unwise and legally indefensible arguments currently warming the hearts of newly empowered House Democrats.


Once a member of O.J. Simpson’s legal team, Dershowitz is all over media and has become a regular on FNC.  Just the fact that he is being shunned by his elitist Democrat friends on Martha’s Vineyard should be enough to predispose conservatives and Republicans to cut this avowed liberal and brilliant legal scholar some slack.

Feel free to nominate your candidate for the Zell Miller Memorial John F. Kennedy Democrat award in the comments below.


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