What Is an Attack?

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As I reread my post below about staying on the attack, I realized I hadn’t defined what it means to “attack,” perhaps not even entirely to myself. Attacking isn’t saying mean things or criticizing someone or calling them out. An attack is something that compels a response. If it doesn’t do that it wasn’t an attack or not one that mattered. Don’t hold me to a universal definition. Some attacks are designed to overawe an adversary to the point they’re unable or afraid to respond. But this basic definition helps us understand what counts and what doesn’t.

In politics today we spend a lot of time doing things that don’t matter. Criticizing Trump, insisting how outrageous the latest statement is — none of that matters. It’s true. It doesn’t compel a response. A big part of Trumpism is driving cries of outrage. Those cries may be good for other things. It’s not an attack. It’s not an action in any political context.

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