President Donald Trump traveled abroad and you almost wanted him to stay there because he put himself first and America last. His playing footsie with a murderous tyrant known as Vladimir Putin was the worst of it, and it’s no excuse that too many on the left are up to something as bad or worse.
But while no one should be saying that botches on one side make botches on the other OK, no one should be ignoring the way in which too many in the anti-Trump, anti-conservative, anti-free speech, anti-checks-and-balances, pro-administrative state, autocratically bewitched crowd are endangering so, so much of our precious culture and system of government.
The overriding issue is whether we can preserve the best of maybe the most liberating, humanly enriching political invention in history, this America of ours. It’s true that Trump did the idea no favor when he said our government’s finding of Russian intervention in the 2016 election had met its match in Putin’s denial. Here is a Russian president abetting inhumane slaughter and international disruption retreating not an inch while our president’s adulation knew few boundaries.
Trump talked about Russia’s nuclear might, and its power is frightening. Maybe, in some as yet unnoticed way, he’s disabling the worst possibilities. It seems more likely that he is disabling Republican chances in the midterm elections as voters worry whether Republicans will fight hard enough against election interference that might actually make a difference the next time.
Even a usual Trump supporter like Newt Gingrich is saying here was “the most serious mistake of his presidency,” and you wonder whether “mistake” was a tough enough word. National Intelligence Director Dan Coates says Trump was simply wrong.
Of course, then you have the slippery, sliding former CIA Director John Brennan saying Trump’s remarks were “imbecilic,” “treasonous” and “high crimes & misdemeanors,” implying impeachment is justified. Some people figure there are always ways to worsen the worst, and that’s not so sure because how do you worsen the FBI’s disregard of rule of law and checks and balances? It is refusing to share records with Congress that just might show how every rule in the book was broken by officials spying on an American, and Democrats don’t care.
Under the Obama administration, Russians were accused by intelligence officials of hacking computers at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff without a lot of concern. China stole all kinds of technical information from us and got personal data on 4 million federal employees, past and present. Remember President Barack Obama’s firmness? No? And, on a very different matter, recall how he returned billions of dollars to Iran, enabling more terrorism?
Trump’s sanctions on Russians for suspected election interference have been tougher than anything Obama did, and, where Obama refused to supply Ukraine with weapons to defend itself against Russia, Trump came through. Obama once said there was no way to rig a presidential election and Democrats have steadfastly opposed voter ID laws on the absurd grounds that they are oppressive.
Understand, too, that Democrats are ever more socialistic these days and then keep in mind that socialism is a coercive system. Recall that Democrats did their best in 2014 to amend the First Amendment by empowering Congress to define free speech, and note today that many want “hate speech” laws that would inevitably define hate so loosely as to shut up millions.
Keep in mind the Obama administration’s autocracy, as in rewriting laws, wanting to eliminate some state laws by executive order and spying on reporters.
Remember how, after Trump’s election, our intelligence agencies sprung possibly felonious leaks to news media that were, just maybe, a way of undoing votes of the people by the sneakiness of the bureaucrats.
What Trump said after the Putin meeting in Finland was a major misfire, but there are other worries to keep an eye on.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.