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Assault on America, Day 387: To Trump’s foes, great victories and progress aren’t presidential

Trump rally
“It’s all Trump’s fault.”

We’ve heard the gist a lot this week as the Democrat House managers methodically presented their case to the riveted (NOT!) body of Senators in our nation’s capital. Those poor lawmakers are forced, by nature of their job description, to sit silently and listen to the trumped-up impeachment farce unfold before their disbelieving eyes and ears. I don’t recall hearing the exact words -- “It’s all Trump’s fault” -- but the implication is certainly there nonetheless.

Put a different human being in the Oval Office today and we likely wouldn’t be having this conversation. Lifelong real estate developer and tabloid celebrity Donald Trump is certainly one of a kind in American political lore, but even an establishment Republican president wouldn’t engender such hatred and animosity from his “loyal opposition.” If Jeb Bush were the Commander in Chief instead of Trump, for example, Democrats would’ve scaled back their attacks and simply resorted to labeling Bush III a criminal instead of a criminal and an existential threat to humanity.

Having devoted several hours to viewing the trial (when my mind didn’t wander, that is), I’ve tried to make sense of how we, as a people, got to this point. Little did anyone imagine four years ago, before the 2016 Iowa caucuses, that Americans would be subjected to an impeachment trial during the next president’s first term, less than a year before the 2020 election. But then again, no one could’ve anticipated the multitude of ways Trump changed domestic politics -- for the better -- in his brief tenure. And the ruling class DC swamp creatures don’t like it one bit.

#NeverTrumpers -- the few that still exist -- join Democrats in pointing the accusatory finger of blame at Trump. Ultimate Trump pessimist Jonah Goldberg wrote at National Review earlier this week, “Our problems with partisanship and polarization predate Trump’s election, but his presidency has been gasoline on a fire. Trump could have avoided impeachment countless times. Most obviously, he could have not done what he obviously did vis-à-vis Ukraine. Or he could have admitted his error, apologized, and taken the steam out of the impeachment train’s boilers.

“Instead, because of his low character, he opted to stand by his claims that his actions were ‘perfect.’ As a result, Republicans must now further deform their character to accommodate his and scramble to protect themselves from hearing the truth at his impeachment trial, on the accurate but embarrassing pretext that the Democrats didn’t expose the truth the right way.”

First off, objectively speaking, Trump didn’t do anything on Ukraine that was outside his legitimate presidential powers, and Goldberg should cease suggesting that he did. If a foreign aid recipient is notoriously corrupt it’s within a president’s purview to ask its leaders to get their proverbial act together before the next dollar transfer. What did Trump do wrong… point out that the Bidens were part of the Ukrainian corruption?

Besides, by his own admission Goldberg conceded that the political divisions existed pre-Trump, but the “Orange Man Bad!” chorus is hotter and more vocal than ever because of the New Yorker’s unique punch-back style. We’ve heard it all before. It’s almost like Goldberg and his ideological soulmates forgot every political happening from the past half century. As though Democrats and Republicans were great friends up until the year 2016 (or June, 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy) and all of a sudden this crass outsider who called certain people murderers and rapists in his opening speech flipped a magic switch and the heavens started raining flames of contempt.

Kind of like the old Billy Joel song, “We didn’t start the fire,” the (political) “world’s been burnin’ since the world’s been ‘turnin. No we didn’t light it but we tried to fight it.”

Goldberg’s about my age, so therefore he’s lived through many of the defining moments of recent political history in the same manner I have. In college, for example, we had a front row seat during the senate confirmation hearings -- a true farce -- for Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. The way Democrats dragged Bork’s name and philosophies through the mud and smeared his good reputation is the stuff of despicable legend. If anything, the “gasoline on the fire” was dumped at that moment. Democrats seemingly discovered that character assassination and patently false inuendo helped them achieve their aims when they couldn’t otherwise get it done at the ballot box.

And the only victim, they thought back then, was Bork himself. What’s one man’s life compared with decades of liberal policy triumphs affirmed by an ideologically charged and self-interested Supreme Court? Lest we forget, Justice Anthony Kennedy in turn received the seat that would’ve been Bork’s. As a justice, Kennedy established himself as a right-leaning but most definitely swayable “centrist” vote, one that helped affirm Roe v. Wade and perpetuate the tragedy of legalized abortion (which will be memorialized today in the annual March for Life).

Then there’s the matter of same-sex marriage, where Kennedy served as the deciding vote in joining with the court’s liberals to overturn thousands of years of cultural precedent.

After Bork’s demise, Democrats frequently employed the scorched-earth character assault strategy to target other “outsiders” who might upset the status quo. Does Goldberg remember Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings in the early nineties? Would he say Trump’s tweets and purported off-putting personal governing style is more responsible for the suspicions and animosities of today’s political class than the “high tech lynching” of the nation’s second African American justice?

Or how about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s quarter-century long reign of terror at various levels of government and culture? Did Trump’s behavior embolden the Obama deep state and Clinton’s campaign to initiate the whole “Russian collusion” nonsense in the first place? If so, which one of Trump’s tweets or campaign utterances did the trick? Didn’t Big Bubba Bill’s “behavior” contribute mightily to today’s schisms? How many times have we heard recently about the Clinton impeachment trial precedent?

Reasonable minds differed on whether Bill merited removal from office, but the genuine problems Democrats and liberals have with Trump have nothing to do with his character and everything to do with his ability and willingness to keep his campaign promises. Trump’s personality may upset the sensitive snobby decorum clique over his refusal to accept “the way it’s always been done” with our NATO “allies.” Trump’s non-interventionist foreign policy beliefs tweaked the neoconservatives, who feared his election and ascension to power would stifle their stranglehold on the GOP’s “War Party” orientation.

What’s character got to do with any of it? If Trump were the nicest guy in the world, a man who petted every kitten he met and dropped everything to help old ladies cross the street, would people like Goldberg view him any better for it? If Trump had apologized for asking the Ukrainian president to do him a “favor,” would this satisfy them?

Vice President Mike Pence is the epitome of a gentleman with impeccable manners, he doesn’t enrage the media via tweet and almost everyone gets along with him on a personal level. If Pence were president instead of Trump and pushed hard for the same policies as the current chief -- as you know he would do -- would today’s political atmosphere be more agreeable?

Everyone who’s paid attention recognizes Democrats and the forces of the left despise Pence at least as much as they do Trump. Because Trump’s enemies see him as an intellectual lightweight who supposedly rules according to his momentary mood or the quality of his daily Big Mac, shouldn’t this make him less of a threat than the principled-to-the-core Pence?

Blaming Trump for everything that’s haywire in Washington is far too simple -- and wrong -- to explain where we are today. Nevertheless, Goldberg concluded his piece, “Trump could have avoided impeachment had he governed, from the start, as a servant of all Americans, whether they voted for him or not. But that option was no option at all, because his character would not allow it. Now we are plunging further into dysfunction because the presidency was never designed for a man who could not comprehend what it means to be presidential.”

Here too, Goldberg appears to forget -- or flat out ignore -- the experiences from Trump’s three years as president. Trump’s inaugural address did indeed reach out to his detractors, promising he would always put the interests of all Americans first. In addition, Trump has repeatedly invited and hosted leaders from both parties at the White House on a wide variety of issues. Remember Trump presiding over a meeting discussing gun control after the Parkland High School shooting? If Trump weren’t open to listening to other views, why would he care what Dianne Feinstein had to say?

What exactly is unpresidential about Trump’s approach to governing, anyway? There are a number of areas he’s attempted to work with Democrats to reach legislative compromises. There was his four-pillar plan for immigration reform, which would have granted legal status and an eventual path to citizenship to the DREAMERS (against the wishes and lobbying of most conservatives) in exchange for leeway on building a border wall and improvements in legal immigration. Then there were Trump’s overtures regarding infrastructure, an issue both parties would theoretically agree to if the current president wasn’t the one making the suggestion.

How about trade? Or the numerous budget concessions Trump’s made that infuriated fiscal conservatives because they were too generous to Democrats and the purveyors of big government spending?

If this isn’t how a president should act, how could Trump possibly do it differently? Send Nancy Pelosi a bouquet of roses? Goldberg and Trump’s Democrat critics couldn’t care less about “presidential” behavior. They just want their pet issues acted upon with a compliant “presidential” face.

Lastly, do any of the Democrat candidates look to be more “presidential” if elected? How about Bernie Sanders? His campaign backers have already provided glimpses of America’s gulag future if “The Bern” occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday. Stephen Kruiser reported at PJ Media, “The Sanders Doctrine consists of rhetoric that is heavy with mentions of being punitive to any individuals or groups Sanders deems unacceptable to his New World Order. One doesn’t achieve his types of goals in a representative republic. A heavy-handed commie dictatorship is more conducive to turning a country into Bernie World. (Sandersland? I was torn.)

“As such, Bernie attracts the Jureks and Weissgerbers of the world -- scared little boys who are desperate to become part of a collective that will help them not soil themselves whenever a stranger says ‘Boo!’

“When the Sanders types come into power, it’s kids like this who they put in charge of things because they’ll ruthlessly work out their mommy and daddy issues via their subjugation of the citizenry.”

Or if they’re denied power they may shoot up baseball diamonds full of GOP congressmen and senators like James Hodgkinson did in 2017. Did Trump’s behavior send Hodgkinson over the edge? Or did Trump’s “unpresidential” mannerisms force Democrats to impeach him?

Common sense is in scarce supply in our times when Democrats and #NeverTrumpers cite Trump’s behavior as causing the sorry state of American politics today. Blaming Trump for his own impeachment is akin to condemning an innocent man because you don’t like his haircut. It’s a lesson Trump’s critics should’ve learned by now.

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