KOLB: Let’s Blame Trump For Everything — Except the Economy

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Charles Kolb Deputy Assistant to George H.W. Bush
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For better or worse, it’s all Trump’s fault all the time.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delay in forwarding two articles of impeachment to the Senate removed any doubt that the primary motivation for impeaching Trump was political, not constitutional. Her delay has also backfired.

The House of Representatives conducted speedy hearings in the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees that resulted in the partisan, Dec. 18 vote to impeach President Trump. The rationale for speed was that Trump posed a national security threat and was likely to invite foreign interference in the 2020 elections (as he allegedly did in 2016).

Thereafter, nothing happened for nearly a month.

Pelosi refused to forward the impeachment articles to the Senate absent assurances that the Senate trial would be fair, whatever that means. The jury is in: few people believed her claims, even among her fellow Democrats.

The speaker’s main desire was to hijack the entire impeachment process and generate a national outpouring of concern over Senate trial procedures. She promptly discovered that lawyerly process is not an American pastime.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell appropriately ignored the Speaker and announced that, under the Constitution, the House has no say about how the Senate conducts an impeachment trial. Whatever you might think of Mitch McConnell, his approach has been judicious (in contrast to Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s inflammatory remarks about the Senate itself being on trial). McConnell appears to be planning a Senate trial that is similar procedurally to President Clinton’s 1999 trial.

Pelosi’s delay now means that the Senate trial will dominate the media and suck momentum and attention away from next month’s Iowa caucuses. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will have to leave the campaign trail to serve among Trump’s Senate jurors. The excessive number of Democratic presidential debates has already created a jaded public, just when Americans should be paying closer attention to the first caucus and primary results.

If one or both Bidens (Joe and Hunter) remain of interest throughout the Senate trial and are called to testify, then the former vice president will also have to skip time on the hustings, while his son’s efforts to trade on the family name will remind caucus-goers, progressives, and everyone else of Washington’s ongoing, influence-peddling cesspool. The beneficiaries of this continuing distraction will be candidates Buttigieg and Bloomberg.

Additionally, Hunter Biden’s $50,000 monthly payments from a Ukrainian energy company for doing next to nothing, and where he lacked even minimal experience, will remind voters of Trump’s disdain for career politicians. Remember that the median income for an American family is approximately $75,500. Per year.

Thus far, Democrats have managed to botch their impeachment messaging. Then came Trump’s drone strike that killed Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani.

The negative response to Trump’s decisive action has, again, demonstrated Democrats’ penchant for hyper-partisan hypocrisy. Where were their concerns when President Barack Obama used drone strikes to eliminate terrorist leaders? Where were they when Obama, like Trump, informed Congress after — rather than before — the fact?

One sign of political maturity is the ability to recognize, and admit, when your opponent has a good idea. Therein lie the seeds of genuine bipartisanship. In today’s tit-for-tat political environment, however, no doubt Democrats can levy similar charges against Republicans. Unfortunately, things won’t change until there’s another major national crisis.

In the meantime, Democrats’ single-minded, oppose-Trump-at-all-costs approach is undermining their ability to propose a credible, affordable governing agenda. Instead, they offer an unrealistic, unaffordable progressive wish list of programs that will deepen our already out-of-control national debt. Their visceral Trump hatred also weakens their ability to develop their own national-security and foreign-policy agendas.

Democrats remain strangely, studiously silent on the economy and are thereby ceding to Trump the most salient issue on which most Americans tend to vote. Perhaps their silence is the result of a wish they dare not articulate: that sometime between now and late summer, today’s economic bubble will burst, depriving Trump of his strongest reelection talking point.

There’s an old saying that sometimes it’s better to be attacked than to be ignored. The relentless Democratic attacks on Trump highlight his personality and policy differences, while also drawing attention to Trump’s own reelection messaging. The Democratic Party would fare better to ignore Trump, let him be himself, and concentrate on presenting their own sensible agendas.

Americans want to know what their next president is for, not just what he or she is against.

Charles Kolb was deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy in the George H.W. Bush White House from 1990-1992. From 1997-2012, he was president of the nonpartisan, business-led think tank, the Committee for Economic Development.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.