Get Trump's Kids? The smarter Democrats are steering clear. The dumber ones? Not so much...
The Democrats are in a dilemma. They're desperately slavering to destroy President Trump. House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Smith, for instance, has taken a "kitchen sink" approach to finding something, anything, on President Trump now that the Mueller probe is winding down with little to show on the original charge, that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. So now it's balls to the wall for the Democrats, to Get Trump, by any means necessary, even with virtually nothing on him. Here are a couple of choice Trump tweets to give the flavor:
The greatest overreach in the history of our Country. The Dems are obstructing justice and will not get anything done. A big, fat, fishing expedition desperately in search of a crime, when in fact the real crime is what the Dems are doing, and have done!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2019
Congressman Chris Stewart: “No one is accusing the President of a crime and yet they (the Democrats) are issuing hundreds of subpoenas. This is unprecedented.” They are desperately trying to find anything they can, even a punctuation mistake in a document!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2019
Politico reports that the issue is coming up now about whether to Get Trump's Kids since the Democrats are having such a bad time pinning anything on Trump.
As with most things, they're divided. Politico reports secondhand that House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) doesn't think this is a good idea. Another experienced Democrat, Virginia's Gerry Connolly, is openly stating his leeriness of the entire idea:
"Getting to family members I think is dangerous," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. "Only because it gets real personal, real fast. And it risks backfiring.
"Maybe at some point we have to call them in," Connolly added, "but I'd rather let prosecutors look at that."
Rep. Jamie Ruskin, another Maryland Democrat, is also in favor of steering clear.
The fact of the matter is, when you're obviously going after someone's kids in a desperate bid to take down the old man, because you can't get the old man, the voters are going to see what's happening and get pretty disgusted. It's an appalling state of affairs to see the prosecutorial dragnet target the kids and their spouses, who, after all, had little to say about who their father is. Ivanka, Jared Kushner, Don Jr., and Eric Trump are all potentially in the crossfire now. Internal polls and general voter behavior suggest that voters find this bad stuff, and that does get some of these Democrats' attention. No wonder they have the willies.
But in the Politico report, these three were the only cited examples. There's also an abundant supply of the other kind of Democrats, the kind who can't stop themselves and want to see an attack on all fronts to take down the kids, too. Do they outnumber the smarter Democrats?
Well, there's Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, a member of the Oversight and Intelligence Committees, and Rep. Steven Lynch (D-Mass.) of the Oversight Committee, who are still all in for prosecuting Trump's kids now that Trump is proving elusive.
It's hard to say at this point if they outnumber people such as Cummings and Connolly, but they are out there. Call them the dumber Democrats — and there are undoubtedly more of them beyond the Politico report.
What's vivid here is how different these Democrats are from past Democrats who always sought to keep presidential children out of the line of fire. Remember how they yelled when Amy Carter was criticized for her anti-nuclear activities? Remember how they tried to shield President Obama kids from criticism of their open pot-smoking in public places? (The Bush twins, who got falling-down drunk, got the double standard.) The broad precedent has always been to leave the kids out.
If the dumber Democrats succeed in dragging the Trump kids into their probes, trying to jail them, trying to heap the legal costs onto them, a lot more might happen than just voter disgust, although that problem is real enough. The bar will be lowered, and Democrats could find themselves seeing their own kids in the line of fire. U.S. politics will start looking like Mexican politics, with its jail-them-all, drive-the-ex-president-out ethos.
Should the kids of Joe Biden and John Kerry, both of whom have gotten immensely rich in matters linked to their fathers' positions in public office, suddenly be targets of find-something, find-anything probes? How about the kids of House speaker Nancy Pelosi? And then there are the Kennedy kids — a look there can find all kinds of stuff. Shall the "can indict a ham sandwich" style of prosecution be leveled at those kids, too? Anything that can be done on one side can be done on the other. Democrats, who changed House and Senate rules in the belief that theirs was permanent political power, looked on in dismay as Republicans took power and captured their weapons.
The dumber Democrats sound as if they're going to have to learn this lesson a second time.