I’ve been an observer of the American political scene for more than 50 years, but I’ve never seen anything quite like what’s going on in Washington, D.C., these days. Veteran politicians are acting like fifth-graders in a school lunchroom food fight. Perhaps it’s time for new leadership in our nation’s capital.
The nadir (lowest point) in this undignified political food fight occurred Tuesday night during our impeached president’s State of the Union address to Congress. When 73-year-old President Donald Trump delivered a copy of his speech to 79-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the president turned his back on her when she reached out to shake hands. She retaliated by ripping up her copy of his speech, which she called “a manifesto of mistruths,” on national television as he basked in the glow of enthusiastic Republican applause.
As State of the Union speeches go, it was a stirring political stemwinder the night before the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted the president of two impeachment charges brought by Trump-hating House Democrats. So the political battle lines are drawn and Democrats are in disarray as we enter the final months before November’s presidential election. “Disarray” is a mild word for what happened in Iowa last Monday.
Iowa Democrats caucused on Monday but no official results were announced until Tuesday afternoon due to an alleged “coding error in the caucus app.” Translation: the technology failed. Perhaps they should have counted the caucus votes the old-fashioned way. The Nevada Democratic Party hastened to assure us that they won’t be using the defective Iowa “app.” What a relief.
Just to remind you how I feel about Trump, I think he’s a rude, crude bully who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (look it up). Nevertheless, despite his impeachment, he’ll be running for reelection on the strong record of achievement he outlined in his rousing State of the Union speech. The economy is booming, unemployment is at an all-time low, minority employment is at an all-time high, Trump has negotiated several important international trade agreements and he teamed-up with Congress to enact real judicial reform. And moreover, two of the world’s most bloodthirsty terrorists are dead, thanks to the president.
So it’s not enough for Democrats and those of us who dislike the president to campaign against him on grounds that he’s a hateful person. The president’s opponents must offer a better alternative. So who might that be? The 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., Pete Buttigieg, “won” the chaotic Iowa caucuses, followed by three elderly politicians – 78-year-old Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 70-year-old Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden – in that order. Meanwhile, former New York City “Nanny” Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 78, is spending millions of dollars to buy the Democratic presidential nomination. Regrettably, at this point in a lackluster campaign, I’d vote for good old “none of the above.”
Frankly, I think the American people are sick and tired of all of the impeachment and investigations shenanigans that have been going on in Washington since President Trump took office in January 2017. First, we had the exhaustive, and very expensive, Mueller investigation of possible Russian involvement in our elections. Respected former FBI Director Robert Mueller concluded that there was NO collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign organization. And then we endured an endless, partisan impeachment process alleging that Trump abused the powers of his office and obstructed Congress, whatever that means. Impeachment turned out to be a colossal political miscalculation that will help the president win reelection.
I hope I’m wrong, but I fear that I’m right. Stay tuned.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.