“The political and media hysteria surrounding the Trump administration lies somewhere on the repulsiveness scale between the Jacobin excesses of the French Revolution and the McCarthy era. Thus far the public knows of no presidential action that would justify impeachment. Never mind, the crowd cries, let us have the verdict now…
…We can do the trial later.”, Ted Van Dyk, VP Humphrey’s assistant in the White House and 40+ years serving Democrat administrations and campaigns, The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2017
“This is exactly how the Democrats attacked bankers after the 2008 financial crisis, except those bankers didn’t have the ability to fight back. In fact, nearly all were silenced by actual or threatened government investigations and/or lawsuits. To this day, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress did not prove a single crisis era allegation it made.”, Mike Perry, former Chairman and CEO, IndyMac Bank
Anti-Trump Democrats Invite Chaos
If they succeed in bouncing the president from office, they may find that what comes next is even worse.
By Ted Van Dyk
‘A jackass can kick down a barn,” said the legendary Speaker Sam Rayburn. “But it takes a carpenter to build one.”
Democrats should reflect on that wisdom as they consider the special counsel now appointed to investigate President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. In the short term, the inquiry will probably hurt Mr. Trump and feed attempts to drive him from office. But in the end the president’s attackers will pay a price.
The political and media hysteria surrounding the Trump administration lies somewhere on the repulsiveness scale between the Jacobin excesses of the French Revolution and the McCarthy era. Thus far the public knows of no presidential action that would justify impeachment. Never mind, the crowd cries, let us have the verdict now. We can do the trial later.
What about discussions between Trump campaign advisers and Russian or other foreign leaders? Don’t they count as high crimes and misdemeanors? No, such conversations take place all the time in national campaigns.
What about the firing of FBI Director James Comey ? Wasn’t that suspicious? No, Mr. Comey disregarded the Justice Department chain of command and the normal proprieties of his office. He made public statements about ongoing investigations. He allowed it to leak that the president had suggested leniency for Mike Flynn, the former White House adviser now under investigation. A presidential suggestion of that nature would be neither illegal nor unprecedented.
What about Mr. Trump’s disclosure of classified information during a meeting with Russian leaders? It’s a tempest in a teapot. The president has the authority to classify or declassify information as he wishes. I have witnessed other presidents doing it.
What about Mr. Trump’s executive order declaring a short-term pause on immigration from countries with active terrorist movements? It may have been poorly handled, but other presidents have done similar things.
What about all Mr. Trump’s flip-flopping? Shouldn’t a president be trustworthy and reliable? Yes, but when Mr. Trump has reversed his campaign pledges it has been mostly for the good.
If Mr. Trump were a conventional president, these missteps would be shrugged off as growing pains or considered worthy of only mild reproof. President Trump, it is true, lacks the knowledge, experience and temperament for the office. His crude narcissism is grating. He has carelessly contributed to his problems with heedless public statements. He nonetheless was duly elected and should be given the leeway that new presidents are traditionally afforded.
Critics, moreover, misread the temper of the American people. Most voters don’t much like Mr. Trump. But they like chaos less.
I spoke recently to a Democratic group consisting mainly of Bernie Sanders supporters. Many were searching for a constructive response to the Trump presidency. They were people, as the saying goes, seeking to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.
I suggested that they concentrate on developing alternatives to Mr. Trump’s proposals—on health care, taxes, the budget. “You mean we should help Trump?” someone asked. “No,” I answered, “you should help your country.” I was surprised by the outburst of applause that followed.
Democrats, in their all-out opposition to Mr. Trump, are missing real opportunities to influence policy. The tax-reform debate is a prime example. If Democrats were shrewd, they would try to negotiate a grand compromise, in which loopholes are scrubbed from the code and Social Security and Medicare put on sounder long-term footing. But to get there, purposeful polarization must give way to constructive engagement.
Trump haters disregard an old rule of politics and history: In the end, voters always choose order over disorder. Kicking Mr. Trump to the curb wouldn’t return the country to the pre-Trump status quo. It would likely bring forth new law-and-order leadership more disciplined and conservative than Mr. Trump’s.
Mr. Van Dyk was active for more than 40 years in Democratic administrations and campaigns, including as Vice President Humphrey’s assistant in the White House.