Richard Nixon is often said to have been the trickiest president the U.S. has ever had. “Tricky Dick” was his nickname, although in the end, he wasn’t tricky enough to escape from the snares laid for him by the hard-left Democrats who never forgave him — and haven’t yet — for nailing the commie spy Alger Hiss, the toast of the Georgetown set. Or for winning the Vietnam War— which then required them to lose it by failing (after Nixon resigned) to honor the U.S. commitments to the South Vietnamese.
But President Trump makes Richard Nixon look like junior high.
Among Trump’s many and signal accomplishments is one he achieved even before being elected; indeed it was at least partly because he accomplished it that he got elected. And that, of course, was neutralizing the mainstream (i.e., hard-left) media. They have lost all credibility, except among their own hard-left readers. Even a former editor of The New York Times said the grey lady has lost her soul — always assuming she had one to lose.
For the first two years of the Trump presidency the Democrats were obsessed with Russia. The whining, moaning, and gloating were non-stop and unrelenting, not just bordering on, but going well beyond, the deranged.
Russia has been a single obsession, like Andy Warhol’s silent movie “Empire,” an epic eight-hour black-and-white shot of the Empire State Building. One single eight-hour scene only: the Empire State Building.
It’s just like Russia. Russia. Russia. Russia.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Donald Trump was getting his pro-middle class, “Make America great again” program rolling, getting GDP growth up to 3 percent (the Obama people having assured us that 2 percent growth was the new normal).
Taxes cut versus Russia, Russia, Russia. Regulations eliminated, including, especially Dodd-Frank regulations versus Russia, Russia, Russia. Unemployment low, and at record lows for blacks and Hispanics versus Russia, Russia, Russia. Federal judges appointed, including two to the Supreme Court versus Russia, Russia, Russia. The U.S. withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, and NAFTA renegotiated versus Russia, Russia, Russia.
What have the Democrats got to show for their 2017 and 2018 paychecks? Nothing. Nothing. Of course, they had no legislative power then, being in the minority in both houses of Congress. But they had the power of honest discourse, which remained totally unused.
Now that they have a majority in the House of Representatives, what’s the plan? You have to see it not to believe it. The game plan is to investigate in order to prove: Russia, Russia, Russia.
As long as Robert Mueller keeps his investigation going, the Democrats can hope and pray — well, not actuallypray; they’re Democrats — that something dastardly done by Donald Trump will come to light, making all the Democrats’ efforts worthwhile. But it’s a little like a grade school kid’s hoping, hoping, hoping that it snows on the day of the test because he hasn’t opened a book since September.
What are the Democrats, and most especially their presidential candidate, going to run on in 2020?
It is always possible that Mueller has discovered, or will, something that will sink the Trump ship, but as time goes by that seems less likely even as Democrats, now the majority in the House, crank up their rhetoric.
The folly of having oversold and overpromised will be clear. It’s already clear enough now that it’s inexplicable Democrats continue to invest so much in their “dream” outcome of the Mueller investigation. They’ll do their own investigating (and hold hearings) in the House, but what are they likely to find that Mueller will not have been able to find?
Will Trump fire Mueller? Of course not. That’s another dream scenario for the Democrats. It’s a Washington truism that what gets you is not the crime (often because there isn’t one) but the cover-up. Trump knows that. But, as if dragging a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, he rails against Mueller on a regular basis, deliberately taunting the Democrats by saying that of course he has the power to fire Mueller — which of course he has.
Trump is just playing the Democrats for fools: which they seem to be, investing their whole portfolio in Mueller’s report and the Russia canard. It’s tulips from Amsterdam all over again.
And when the Mueller investigation ends and it’s election time again, and the tulips haven’t been delivered again, what will the Democrats run on?
Meanwhile, back at the great ranch in the sky, looking down with admiration on Donald Trump, is the ghost of Richard Nixon.
Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was executive editor and subsequently chairman of the board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.