Time for the GOP to teach the Democrats a scandal lesson
Why do Republicans in D.C. act like a battered spouse, allowing Democrats to continually impugn their motives and decency? And why do they so often surrender control of the institutions of the state to Democrats, even when Democrats are in the clear minority, as the donkeys are now? Through the sort of passivity and weak-mindedness that leads bruised women to claim they fell down the stairs, Republicans let themselves be bamboozled into accepting, via recusal, the definition of the first period (at least) of the Trump presidency as an age of scandal.
Against all odds, the Democrats managed to have a special counsel, with unlimited budget and no constraints on his investigatory scope, appointed to see if any crimes can be hypothesized – or even fabricated via "process crimes" – to damage, if not end the Trump presidency. (See Clarice Feldman's brilliant Sunday column explaining how some of the current cast of characters traded roles and managed to convict V.P. Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, of a phony crime, the last time a special counsel was ginned up over a nonexistent crime: the "unmasking" of Valerie Plame.)
The old injunction that we should be careful what we wish for needs to be brought home to the Democrats and the Deep Staters seeking to oust President Trump from the office to which voters elected him. Having generated hysteria over alleged Russian "interference" in our election, they have opened a door for the GOP. Those charges are a propaganda ploy dreamed up by John Podesta and the Hillary inner circle, as documented in the book Shattered, yet they have been used by the Democrats and their media friends to distract and hobble our president.
The only way the Democrats will become reluctant to use investigations as a means to harass President Trump is if they experience the weapon themselves and come to the conclusion that it ought to be used only in genuine scandals, as in crimes. There has never been any crime alleged in the "Russia collusion" narrative, which is why a special counsel request should never have been entertained, much less the A.G. recused over the matter. (Yes, it was a "matter," not an "investigation" – because there was no crime alleged.) That is why Robert Mueller's investigation is by its charter a witch hunt, seeking to find a crime, not investigating evidence of a crime that already has been identified.
Victor Davis Hanson addresses the questions I just raised in an article published at American Greatness, titled "Republicans and the Lost Art of Deterrence." As with all of Hanson's writing, it is full of the kind of insight that comes from the close study of human nature over the ages, as expressed in the wars fought as civilization pursues its course.
Here is a brief excerpt, containing his consideration of the reasons for the GOP Battered Spouse Syndrome (my term, not his):
Is naiveté the cause of such laxity? Do Republicans unilaterally follow Munich rules because they hope such protocols will create a new "civility" and "bipartisan cooperation" in Washington?
Or is the culprit civil dissension among the ranks, as the congressional leadership secretly has no real incentive to help the despised outsider Trump? When Republicans get re-elected on repealing and replacing Obamacare during the assured Obama veto-presidency, and then flip in the age of surety that Trump would reify their campaign boasts, should we laugh or cry? Is the Republican establishment's aim to see Trump's agenda rendered null and void – or does intent even matter when the result is the same anyway?
Or is the empowerment of progressive conspiracy-mongering due to fear of the mainstream media, which demonizes principled resistance to progressivism and lauds unprincipled surrender to it?
Or, lastly, is the cause a bewildering misreading of human nature? I say "bewildering" because conservatives supposedly brag that they are the more astute students of unchanging human nature, while progressives are purportedly naïve believers in therapeutic remedies to perceived human frailties?
If any of the above, the Republicans had better soon wise up. For eight months, progressives have swarmed the media and our politics with false charges of Russian collusion, aimed at delegitimizing both a president and his conservative agenda.
His recommendation is spot on:
Go Full-Bore on Real Scandals
The salvation of both the Trump Administration and the Republican congressional fate in the 2018 elections is to reestablish political deterrence – accomplished by going on a full-fledged offensive against real, not merely perceived or alleged, political scandals. Only that way will the accusers feel the predicament of the accused, especially as there is real merit to Democratic liability in a way that charges of Trump collusion have largely proved a political fraud. Only when deterrence is achieved, will the Democrats be forced to concentrate on agendas, issues, laws, and messages, not on ambushing the president.
It's the read of the day.