Let’s be clear. The primary reason President Trump is likely to be impeached is because he mostly acts like a jerk.
Being a jerk is not an impeachable offense, so Democrats have struggled to find some other excuse to punish him for his inexcusable behavior. They began by trying to pin Russian interference in our elections on him; when that didn’t work, they tried to blame him for obstructing their investigation into a crime he didn’t commit. Nobody cared.
Now the issue is that he asked Ukraine’s president to look into possible corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Hunter Biden was on the board of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings Ltd., and was drawing $50,000 per month for his efforts. Nice gig if you can get it.
Does anyone truly believe that Hunter Biden got that position on his own merits and not because his dad had friends in high places? Because Joe Biden has now decided to run for president, does that mean that the Bidens are immune from investigation? Did Joe Biden try to stop an investigation of Burisma? The Obama Justice Department had no reservations about using the Hillary Clinton campaign’s opposition research to investigate Trump.
Democrats say Trump temporarily delayed military aid to Ukraine, thereby undermining our national security. If Trump didn’t act like such a jerk, no one would care about a temporary delay, regardless of the reason.
Part of Trump’s problem is that he is not a good delegator. We’ve seen it in the constant turnover in key advisers to the president. He himself asked the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens. Other presidents may have acted similarly in sensitive situations, but used go-betweens to maintain plausible deniability. (Think Iran-Contra or Tea Party audits.)
Likewise, Trump met directly with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. North Korea’s effort to go nuclear has been in process for at least 25 years. Other presidents have tried to stop it, using go-betweens. Trump hasn’t had any more success than they did. His defenders say, “Well, at least he tried.” The difference? His predecessors kept their hands clean.
He also is conducting his trade war with China unilaterally. China has been taking unfair advantage of us for years, from stealing our technology to dumping steel, without any consequences. However, Trump fails to realize that the United States is not alone in that regard. He criticizes our NATO allies for failing to do their fair share to defend themselves, not understanding that many of those same nations could help in making China behave.
Regardless, the American people knew they were choosing a jerk when they elected Trump. From “Low Energy Jeb” and “Lyin’ Ted,” we’ve moved on to “Shifty Schiff” and “Sleepy Joe.” Trump’s style is straight out of the playbook of Vern Gagne, Vince McMahon and the WWF. Anybody who criticizes him is a “loser.” Always blame someone else for failures. That’s not leadership. It’s manufactured drama designed to inflame the passions of his supporters and draw in others resentful of life’s unfairness.
Conservatives are happy that the economy has not tanked under Trump. Unemployment has reached generational lows, and taxes and business regulations have been cut, even though the mushrooming federal deficit remains a major concern. The Titanic of economies is picking up speed while the red ink continues to pour into the bilges.
Conservatives also like that he is not ignoring the immigration laws on the books, attempting to enforce them in spite of Congress’ inability to make them better.
And conservatives are ecstatic that he is appointing federal judges who believe in following the original intent of the Constitution. It beats choosing judges who use their imaginations to create new laws without the counsel of the citizenry.
Is Trump the only conservative who could have accomplished this? To hear his supporters, one would think so. It’s more likely that any conservative could have done as much without creating half the outrage caused by his insulting behavior.
It has been clear since the Ukraine story first broke in September that the House Democrats would try to impeach him. The two new Minnesota DFL members of Congress, Angie Craig in the 2nd District and Dean Phillips in the 3rd, switched overnight from wait-and-see to all-in for impeachment based only on hearsay evidence at that time. A few Democrats, such as 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson, who represent a heavily pro-Trump constituency, will defect, but this is the Democrats’ deal.
They will do everything possible to bloody Trump before sending him on to the Senate for trial. Unless something changes, the Republican-controlled Senate will quickly vote to acquit him. The Democrats’ goal is to make an acquittal vote as politically painful as possible come next November.
However, they face great risks in doing so. An acquitted Trump will go back to the voters full of righteous indignation and point out how the Democrats never accepted his 2016 election. Unless the stock market crashes, he will take credit for a wonderful economy while reminding voters the Democrats are calling for more socialism, taking away your guns and forcing more government-control of your health care.
Given that scenario, he’d win in a landslide — if he wasn’t such a jerk.
Tom West, now retired, is the former general manager of this paper. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.