by Jeffery Rendall
It’s no big secret in media circles how many conservatives and Republicans are upset (to put it mildly) with the party’s congressional leadership. With a healthy House majority and a slim but viable senate preponderance going into the first term of President Donald Trump last year, it’s safe to say most right-leaning folks expected the GOP to churn out bills like consumer goods on a Chinese assembly line.
It hasn’t happened this way. To date Trump is seen as an effective if atypical chief executive having slashed regulations by the boatload, appointed an impressive number of conservative jurists to the nation’s federal courts and fast-tracked foreign policy achievements that have many, including foreign leaders, suggesting the New York celebrity/real estate developer turned first-time politician is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize.
Needless to say, when comparisons are made between Trump’s seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm for Making America Great Again to the lethargic and moribund GOP congressional leadership, most suggest the party could do (much) better on Capitol Hill.
But what about the “loyal opposition” (the Democrats)? Is everyone on the left side of the aisle happy with their leaders? Recent signs indicate apparently not.
Clinton pollster Douglas Schoen wrote at The Hill the other day, “Pelosi’s popularity among voters nationwide continues to decline. A CNN poll last fall showed that only 29 percent of voters have a favorable impression of her, while 50 percent take an unfavorable stance. For these reasons, the longer Pelosi leads the House Democrats, the more negatively her unpopularity hurts the party as a whole…
“With 2018 elections drawing closer, the next steps that the Democrats take will be tremendously consequential for the party’s future viability. Democrats have a choice. They can either continue to campaign under the banner of ‘resistance,’ using similar faces, messages and policies that proved so uninspiring in 2016, or they can present the American people with a new generation of leaders and a new slate of ideas.
“Indeed, the latter will do far more to excite voters across the ideological spectrum and will help Democrats in key swing districts that are crucial to the party taking back the House. Ultimately, it is the best way for the party to take advantage of the political opportunity before them.”
Who can argue with that wisdom? In modern times the Democrat party came to be the working man’s political home precisely because it supposedly championed government-centered solutions catering to an approving (if uninformed) part of the public. Big bubba Bill Clinton enjoyed widespread popularity during his two terms because the twangy “I did not inhale” Arkansan talked like a conservative – meaning he cared about deficits, etc. – while pushing policies that generously sprinkled goodies to favored party constituencies.
“The Era of big government is over,” Clinton famously sputtered during his 1996 State of the Union Address. Prior to these weighty words, Clinton prefaced them with, “We know big government does not have all the answers. We know there’s not a program for every problem. We know and we have worked to give the American people a smaller, less bureaucratic government in Washington. And we have to give the American people one that lives within its means.”
Do you think it was a coincidence that one of the country’s most pervasive and effective liars would base his re-election campaign around such themes? These ideas could’ve just as easily been articulated by Ronald Reagan and no one would’ve batted an eyelash. Poor doltish Bob Dole (the ’96 Republican nominee) had no chance against such a populist message.
Of course, Clinton’s second term was shrouded in the Monica Lewinsky scandal but there’s no doubt he could deliver a fine speech up until his last day in office. Bill possessed an uncanny ability to fib out of both sides of his mouth, bite his lip and tilt his head better than just about any other active politician. The “Reagan Democrats” came home to the party because of Bubba, though Clinton never did receive a popular vote majority.
Today’s Democrats are not cut from the same mold as Bill even if wife Hillary was the party’s presidential standard-bearer two years ago. These days if a Democrat said something like “We know big government does not have all the answers… We know there’s not a program for every problem…” he or she would be drummed and jeered off stage. Democrats believe there’s a government solution for every societal ailment; and if there isn’t an ailment to treat, Democrats will make one up!
Ideological socialists have completely taken over the party, which is precisely why Pelosi remains in power despite her rotten poll numbers. The same goes for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the next-in-line heir to another liberal crusader, Harry Reid. Schumer is as liberal and partisan as they come. If he were to be replaced would a “moderate” assume the Democrat senate leadership?
No. These days a Democrat truly is a Democrat. They’re pretty much all the same.
Another problem for the Democrats is the lack of a natural successor to Pelosi, even if she were to willingly turn over the party leadership post. As revealed by the dearth of Democrat spokesmen (other than Pelosi and maybe Rep. Adam “shifty” Schiff in the House) there’s a decided absence of “star power” on the bench for the minority party. Here’s thinking they’re not going to allow Minority Whip Steny Hoyer have a shot at it – the guy will turn 79 in a month and looks more like a droopy-eyed beagle than a national mouthpiece.
And, why would Democrats look to an untried and unknown young Midwesterner to lead the House when the rabid leftist base will be calling for Trump’s scalp on an impeachment board? Facts are facts — Pelosi is the best fit to feed the hungry Democrat voters what they truly want.
And whether Democrats admit it or not impeaching Donald Trump is their ultimate aim. The wisdom of such a move is another matter entirely. Byron York wrote at the Washington Examiner this week, “[I]t is again spring in a midterm year, and there is again talk of impeaching a Republican president if Democrats win the House. Pelosi is still around and hopes to become speaker again. What’s not clear is whether her 2006 [no] impeachment strategy will work with today’s Democratic Party.
“In a new Quinnipiac poll, 71 percent of Democrats say they would like to see President Trump impeached if Democrats win the House. Just 21 percent oppose the idea, while 8 percent aren’t sure. By way of contrast, 38 percent of independents support impeachment, while 54 percent oppose.
“So where does that leave Pelosi and other Democratic leaders? Her instincts are as cautious as they were in 2006 — and at this moment, Trump’s job approval rating in the RealClearPolitics average, around 42 percent, is higher than Bush’s was when Pelosi declared Bush impeachment off the table.”
It’s true — Bush’s approval rating was 35 percent in 2006. By then, as you may recall, Bush had thoroughly alienated much of the conservative base and supporters were beginning to abandon him – and the listless Republican Congress – in droves. Election night 2006 swept 31 additional Democrats into the House chamber and handed the speaker’s gavel to Pelosi for the first time.
It was a low-light in every conservative’s political memory, but again, the Republicans brought it upon themselves…kind of similar to what they’re doing these days.
But York was correct in suggesting things are different now than they were in 2006, at least in terms of the Democrat base’s appetite for impeachment. Bush was a lame duck president at the time, was all but rendered politically impotent because of the flailing Iraq War and there really wasn’t a need for Democrats to force impeachment because the miserable dolt Republican would be gone soon enough anyway. With the House and Senate in Democrat hands (after 2006), Bush was powerless to do any further damage legislatively by getting bills through Congress.
Contrast that situation with today, when President Trump will have only completed half of one-term (by 2019), is a much more effective chief executive than Bush and represents a yyyuugggeee threat to the big government hegemony Democrats hold in such high esteem. Not only do Democrats despise Trump – they hate what he stands for, and the fact he was able to cut into their traditional electoral “blue wall.”
With all the recent hubbub over Kanye West and the rapper’s very public support for Trump, maybe more black voters will start giving the outsider president and Republicans a longer look. I’ve argued many times that even a four or five point swing in the African-American vote would be catastrophic to Democrats’ chances to win a great many federal contests and would all-but sink any of their presidential nominees.
In other words, for Democrats the time is now to put on a show trial with Trump as the cretin with a chain collar around his neck. Trump says bad things about women, right? And nobody fears mild-mannered Mike Pence. Get rid of Trump and the country would turn on all the Republicans … that’s the Democrats’ thinking.
President Trump and his political team aren’t taking the impeachment threat sitting down either. Nicholas Ballasy reported at PJ Media, “Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, argued that the Democratic Party does not have a ‘cohesive message’ to take back the House but said ‘eyes are wide open’ at the White House as the midterm elections inch closer.
“Conway was asked to describe how she is advising the president to handle the midterm elections, given that many Democrats are predicting a blue wave.
“’As far as I can tell, their only message is we are going to win and take over the House. They don’t have a cohesive message as far as I can see,’ she told PJM at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday. ‘Many of them, I’ve read in the paper, have had to go home and explain to their constituents why they voted against historic tax cuts that has led to so much growth and prosperity and the five million or so bonuses and raises for those Americans at the over 500 companies who have stood up and done that for their employees.’”
Conway makes it sound like Trump’s inner circle is keeping close watch on the polls but believe voters will eventually recognize the Democrats only stand for obstruction and “resistance” to his administration. It’s a message Democrats have been pushing for almost three years and hasn’t yet taken hold; the question now is whether voters have enough confidence in the Republican Congress to care about voting GOP on Election Day.
None of it will happen without good conservative candidates and nationalizing the election around President Trump’s MAGA agenda. Trump is the only GOP leader calling for action to combat illegal immigration; he’s the only one vociferously defending gun rights (admittedly after some wishy-washy post-Parkland statements) and he’s certainly the only politician pushing foreign allies and enemies towards resolving conflicts rather than letting them fester unaddressed.
What do the Democrats offer? Anyone? Anyone?
There are a good many conservatives who aren’t afraid of the Democrats’ threats to bring down Trump either. Kurt Schlichter wrote earlier this week at Townhall, “We’re winning so much they gotta spin our wins. The economy is running at 2.8% growth – not enough! Well, then just wait until next quarter. Tariffs? Our opponents are folding. Unemployment is in freefall, and people are dropping off of the food stamp program – this is a tragedy for liberals, because they feed on those who need handouts. Remember: Good news for Americans is bad news for Democrats…
“Don’t be down. Don’t be discouraged. We’re winning. And somewhere, in a dark room, Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit sits sucking down tumblers of Canadian Club and dreaming of the American Venezuela that might have been.”
The end of the first week in May is never a good time to make accurate predictions as to what will happen on Election Day in November. A million things could occur in the next six months, but one factor will remain the same regardless – Democrats will always be Democrats.