I was debating between writing about President Trump’s acquittal, the Iowa Caucus and Nancy Pelosi but decided to write about all three. Each one is bad news for the Democrats.
First, the acquittal. We all knew that would be the conclusion. Democrats have been trying to get rid of him since he won the election. The charges of collusion with Russia didn’t pan out so they impeached him because of a call with the Ukrainian president. They made no attempt at fairness and have gone down in flames again. I’m not sure if they were so deluded that they actually believed he could be convicted or thought it would damage him politically. Either way, it’s a ridiculous assumption. Neither party should try to throw a president out of office without broad public support. Now Trump is getting the highest approval rating of his presidency. The House has accomplished nothing since Democrats gained control except going after Trump.
We still don’t have the final results of the Iowa Caucus but it clear that Pete Buttigieg is the winner. Bernie Sanders is close behind followed by Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klubuchar. This is a huge win for Buttigieg. He now is clearly a contender. Biden was the big loser. A few more results like that could knock him out of the race. Klubuchar was also a winner. She could be a contender if Biden fails. Sanders and Warren are in a huge battle for the party’s left flank. Michael Bloomberg was not on the ballot. At this point it is hard to tell if he can move to the front ranks. Money alone is not the answer.
Nancy Pelosi is a very savvy politician. She has led House Democrats since 2003 without a serious challenge to her authority. That’s an incredible accomplishment. Lately she has been making questionable moves. She long resisted efforts to impeach President Trump. It was inevitable that she would have to allow it. Instead of trying to manage it, she became one of the howling mob. Her stunt of using a number of pens to sign the impeachment was beneath her dignity. Holding it up to try to control how the Senate would handle it had absolutely no chance of working. Tearing up Trump’s speech made her look petty and mean-spirited.
I once read about a woman living in New York City. She was surprised that George McGovern lost the 1972 presidential election since everyone she knew voted for him. Many Democrats are as insulated as she was. They are consumed by hatred toward Trump and assume the rest of the country feels the same way. That has been their complete focus. The only ones talking about the issues are the extreme left. They have nine months to develop a story on why people should vote for them. So far, they have shown no signs of doing so.
The Iowa caucus was a debacle but that will soon be forgotten. The bigger problem is the candidates themselves. Right now, the most likely nominees are a 78-year-old cranky Socialist, a 70-year-old who is almost as far to the left, a 77-year-old whose campaign is falling apart and a 38-year-old small city mayor. Is this the best they can come up with? Trump has all the advantages of incumbency and a party united behind him. I just don’t see any of these four beating him. Maybe there is someone coming to their rescue but I don’t see it.
House Democrats have totally failed in their efforts to oust Trump. Unfortunately, their leader seems to have suddenly lost her good judgment.
A lot can happen between now and November. If Democrats want to win, something better start happening soon.
Primaries, not Caucuses
The Iowa Caucus has turned into a debacle. As of this writing, we still don’t have the results. The Democratic Party hasn’t offered an explanation. They even hung up during a conference call with the campaigns. This clearly shows that the government is better off running an election than a political party.
That isn’t my real objection to caucuses. Instead of casting a ballot and going home, you spend several hours listening to people giving speeches. That means that mostly activists will attend. Roughly 5% of Iowans participated in the Democratic caucus. Such a small number of people shouldn’t have so much influence in choosing their party’s nominee.
There is one group that is happy. My relatives and other Iowans are no longer barraged by telephone calls and political commercials.
His Own Damn Fault
There is one thing I value in a president above all else; judgment. My ideal president will get the facts and make a thoughtful decision. That is the exact opposite of President Trump’s modus operandi. He makes snap judgments based on his gut. That has gotten him in trouble many times, most notably the infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president.
Democrats have been in a frenzy to impeach him since he took the oath of office. There are many in the intelligence services who are out to get him. Given that, I cannot conceive how he thought using a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a potential rival was a good idea.
This entire impeachment process has been totally unfair. The Schiff hearings were little more than a kangaroo court. Among the things they impeached him for was choosing to go to court. They deserve to be roundly criticized and I have done so many times. In the end, it’s his own damn fault. He should have known better.
Whether or not there are witnesses, this farce will soon be over. I hope he has learned something from it but I doubt it.
I have been away getting a new hip. Now I am back for my usual ranting and raving.
The trial has begun. This is a more structured procedure than those we saw in the House but still is full of silliness. The big question is whether or not there will be witnesses. It is a crisis wholly manufactured by the Democrats.
There has been a long-standing rule called executive privilege. The president may choose not to have his advisors working in the White House testify before Congress. It does not apply to those working in a cabinet. For example, the Secretary of Defense can testify but not the National Security Advisor.
Several subpoenas were challenged in court. Rather than waiting for the case to be heard, they dropped them. Apparently, their testimony wasn’t all that important. Now, all of a sudden, it is extremely vital. While they were in a big rush to impeach President Trump before Christmas, now they want to slow things down. They seem to be doubling down on their strategy to make this their one and only issue. Telling the voters they have done nothing but harass President Trump doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.
Some claim he needs to be removed from office to ensure a fair election in November. I guess their definition of a fair election is one in which Democrats win.
Whether or not you agree with her politically, Nancy Pelosi is a very shrewd politician. Deciding to hold up the Senate trial of President Trump was an unbelievably bad decision. There was absolutely no chance of her pressuring Senate Republicans. She finally bowed to the inevitable and caved in.
Last month the House was moving at warp speed to get the impeachment done. Refusing to submit it to the Senate has no constitutional basis. The House could have called the witnesses she wanted but didn’t want to take the time to go to court.
We will soon have the trial. Everybody knows how it will turn out. My expectation is that it will quickly disappear from the headlines and will have little effect on the election.
If House Democrats want to come out ahead in November, they ought to start talking about what they are for. Telling voters they did nothing but harass Trump is not a good strategy.
We have to recognize that there are those in the world that wish to do us harm. The Obama foreign policy of weakness and apology was a disaster.
The misapplication of strength can also lead to disaster. We are seeing a perfect example of that right now. Iranian-backed forces killed an American. We retaliated and killed twenty-five of them. Protestors took over part of our embassy in Iraq and we booted them out.
That should have been the end of it. Instead, we launched a kinetic (euphemism for assassination) attack against General Soleimani. He was a top general who reported directly to the Supreme Leader. He had been mentioned as a presidential candidate.
There seem to be two justifications. The first is that he is a bad actor. That is without dispute. Apparently anytime an American is killed, we are entitled to kill everyone up the chain of command. The second reason is that there was an imminent attack. How is killing the equivalent of the head of the Joint Chiefs or Secretary of Defense going to help avert an attack.
This accomplished nothing. His replacement is already on the job. We have made a martyr out of Soleimani.
To make matters worse, we did it in Iraq. We now have lost whatever influence we had. It is possible that Iraq will turn into Iran 2.0.
We need to respond to any provocation. It should be proportional. Apparently, President Trump believe in a disproportional action that will escalate the situation.
An Iranian general is dead. Who knows how many Americans will die before this is over?
In just two days we will watch the ball drop and welcome 2020. Here are some predictions:
Nancy Pelosi will let the Senate impeachment trial take place – Once Congress returns, she will stop playing politics with the impeachment. President Trump will not be convicted.
The impeachment will not be a major factor in the fall election – Once the Senate trial is over, it will quickly fade from the headlines.
Democrat’s flirtation with socialism comes to an end – A year ago Occasio-Cortez seemed to be running the party. She can still make noise but has relatively little influence.
Neither Warren or Sanders get the nomination – I’m not sure who will get it but don’t think it will be either of them.
Health care will be an issue in the election – Right now nobody is talking about it except the Medicare for All crowd. Republicans and moderate Democrats will need to address it.
President Trump wins reelection
Neither party will do anything to address our needs – This is the one I am most confident about.
Impeachment and the Constitution
Rather than discussing what President Trump did or did not do, I would like to look at the Constitution and how some are interpreting it.
The House voted to impeach him on two counts. The first deals with his actions toward Ukraine. They have said he was trying to affect the outcome of the election and was so dangerous he should not be allowed to run for reelection. He went about it in his usual clumsy manner but he was doing opposition research. That has been done since the republic was founded. He also campaigners and gives speeches to try to affect the election. Should he be prohibited from doing that?
The second charge relates to obstruction of Congress. Among the items he is charged with withholding are those he has gone to court to prevent their release. Apparently, he shouldn’t be allowed to do so. Other charges are regarding things he said. Doesn’t he have First Amendment rights?
Now we have a situation in which the Constitution is clear that Nancy Pelosi should turn the results of the impeachment vote over to the Senate. Instead, she is playing political games.
This has nothing to do with ideology or the people involved. I am greatly concerned when public officials say that people they don’t like shouldn’t have constitutional rights or that they can ignore the Constitution.
Fortunately, James Madison’s system of checks and balances is working. It seems extremely unlikely that either party could get enough Senate seats to remove a president from office for political reasons.
A New Strategy?
Ever since the 2016 election many Democrats have been frantically trying to find a way to get rid of Donald Trump. Their efforts have not been well thought out. They were suffering from what conservatives called Trump Derangement Syndrome. There was talk about the 25th Amendment and impeachment even before he took office.
Then they staked their hopes on the Russia collusion scandal. It turned out that the only evidence was a document bought and paid for by Democrats. They were desperate when that collapsed so pursued impeachment on multiple fronts. A committee is still trying to make the collusion story stick.
Once news of the Ukrainian phone call broke, even Nancy Pelosi couldn’t stop the impeachment effort. In spite of all the hype, they realized there was no way he would be convicted. However, they thought they could inflict enough damage to prevent his reelection. This was the same strategy Hillary Clinton followed. So much mud has been thrown at him that there is a diminishing return.
Now I believe they have a new strategy. Some have realized that going to the voters having done nothing but harass him is not a winning formula. They are now moving at lightning speed (something Congress rarely does) to get him impeached before Christmas. Then they can actually get something done. They already approved a budget and game President Trumps things like the new Space Force.
News cycles are very short. It is possible that the impeachment will not be a major issue in the fall elections. I don’t know if that helps Democrats or Republicans but it is good for the country.
Are Free Elections Dangerous?
During the heated debate over impeaching Donald Trump, some Democrats came up with a new argument for throwing him out of office. They said he was so dangerous that he shouldn’t be allowed to stand for reelection. In other words, they are saying that the people cannot be trusted to elect a president. They are using the same argument against democracy that tyrants have used for centuries.
Obviously, they are not calling for a dictatorship. They clearly want a system in which a bunch of self-appointed, so-called elites have all the power since the rest of us don’t know what is best for us.
I have written many times that preserving our democracy is far more important than which party is in power. Having our elected leaders show a lack of faith in democracy is not a good sign.