By Kyle Smith
Trying to dislodge a president whose approval ratings have been stuck well below 50 percent for virtually his entire presidency, in an atmosphere of economic effervescence, Democrats would be smart to signal voters that they won’t bring about major policy shifts but will restore decorous behavior.
Instead, they’re doing the opposite.
George W. Bush inspired Charles Krauthammer to coin the term “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” President Obama likened his opposition to a “fever.” But no president has ever done what President Trump is doing to his ideological adversaries, which is to cause them to lunge uncontrollably around the political stage like so many kittens chasing the dot made by a laser pointer.
Behold: Nancy Pelosi, she of the tight self-control and the 32-year run in Congress, threw a hissy fit on live television and ripped up the State of the Union speech. The silky slalom schusser tumbled over her skis and planted her face in the side of the mountain. What she probably thought would look like a gesture of aggression and defiance instead looked more like petulance and frustration. Trump not only gave a great speech, he gave great television, which is far more important. “A master showman at his best,” declared Norah O’Donnell, the CBS Evening News anchor.
The effectiveness of the SOTU made Pelosi mad. Trump’s discipline made Pelosi mad. His obliteration of the impeachment drama by not even dignifying it with a mention made Pelosi mad. #PelosiTantrum and #NancytheRipper were top trending topics on Twitter. Democrats think they’re going to rage their way into the White House. Maybe you can try that when the country’s on fire. It isn’t.
The Democrats cannot go to the voters with a straight face and tell us that the country has lived down to Paul Krugman’s notorious 12:42 a.m. prediction on November 9, 2016: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” Trump has so much winning to boast about, and boasting is not something he’s bad at. Democrats would prefer the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone the way of the San Francisco 49ers defense and that unemployment stood at 117 percent, but in politics you play the hand you’re dealt. Things are good. People have noticed.
The case against Trump must, on present trends, rest on his behavior and personality. Yet if Pelosi would have us believe that Trump has shattered all norms, abandoned all restraint, and sullied his high office, those claims seem hollow if she’s ripping up paper like a first-grader refusing a homework assignment. Pelosi herself acknowledged her blunder by hastily sending out a tweet echoing, in effect, the eternal childish lament, “He started it!” In the tweet she claimed she had proffered the “hand of friendship” and sadly been denied. Please.
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