“It’s terrible, You wanna know the truth? I think it’s a disgrace You wanna know what’s going on in this country, I think it’s a disgrace” so says Pres. Trump in support of the Memo released from Rep. Nunez’s Republican majority House Intelligence Committee. He’s right of course, just not in the way he thinks. Nothing before this 3 1/2 page document highlighted how much the right has fallen in line with President Trump. Legislators, pundits, editorial boards, website and talk radio hosts are dancing to the Trump tune. Now the right had every reason to unite with the President on taxes, judges and regulations. These were on the right’s wish lists long before Trump traveled in their direction to run for President. However, his problems with the Russian probe are of his own making and have nothing to do with the aims of the right. Why then are they for the most part rallying to the defense of Trump and this ultra partisan memo?
Last week, traveling to their to their West Virginia Retreat, Republican members of congress were looking forward to taking bows on the tax cut and the economy. Polls were up ticking. They were going to present their agenda going forward as a springboard for success in the 2018 elections. Instead, this memo drowned out their upbeat message focusing the nation’s attention on Trump’s Russian problems even before its eventual release. Maybe the wreck of the train taking them to the retreat was an omen. Why rush the memo out. without waiting for the Democrats minority report as is customary? By not waiting, their memo could only be seen as a partisan attack on the Mueller investigation. Even though they never shared Trump’s pro Putin stance which drew the original scrutiny to his campaign, they were sucked into Trump’s mess. Amazingly, one of the few recent bi-partisan Congressional Acts, putting additional sanctions on Russia for interfering with our election, lies dormant because Trump to date has refused to implement them.
So why did the Republican house leadership not only on the Intelligence Committee but also speaker Ryan allow the memo release to go forward? “This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller’s investigation, and his investigation should be allowed to continue,” Ryan said, but this is patently false. How do we know? Because the President has told us via a tweet:
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!
So much for the memo not being ammunition in Trump’s war on the Mueller investigation. What really animates the Republicans is the determination any lack of support for Trump will alienate his supporters who they must turn out in big numbers to avoid a wipe out in November. Any fight with Trump would mean doom. We know from recent elections Democrats are highly motivated and in any case the first off-year election is rarely favorable to the incumbent’s party. This is the box we warned against running up to Trump’s election. How do Republicans get their solid agenda through without being destroyed in the process by the disdain for Trump held by large and growing parts of the populace. Even a good economy doesn’t guarantee success and the large number of Republican incumbents choosing not to run tells you what they see and hear in their districts. In any case there is no assurance the economy will be as favorable in November as it is today. The economy has been improving since the “Great Recession” so Republicans can’t say they brought us out of any deep hole. However, they totally own any downturn from here on. Given that fact, a 600+Dow drop must have them terrified.
Talk radio and far right websites are a big part of Trump’s success and their revenues to a large extent depend on their pro Trump stance. These are the ones who sunk any immigration reform in the past and so long as he builds a wall, reduces immigration, limits trade and is tough on illegals they’ll cheer this partisan memo. Their audience is largely a shrinking proportion of the population, older white men, and they have to garner enough of them to survive. Like the Republicans as a whole, they seem to lack any ability to broaden their appeal.
Pundits and editorial boards present a curious picture. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and some of its associated pundits, perhaps fearing the reversal of business gains in taxes and regulations if the Democrats make big gains, have been very supportive of this Memo. This has been echoed by other pundits and editorial boards who in the past weren’t in the Trump corner. This is understandable to a point but leaves them in adrift when it comes to the important pillars of growth Trump opposes. In the past many of the same Boards and pundits including the Wall Street Journal realized in order to grow we need more immigrants not less. We need more trade agreements for businesses to have broader markets to expand. Already Trump pulled out of Trans Pacific Partnership the Peterson Institute estimated would’ve added a 1/2 percent to our annual GDP. The world is moving ahead on opening up trade and unless Trump changes direction we’ll be on the outside looking in. Instead, NAFTA may go by the wayside. This could go a long way to reversing the boost from the tax cuts and regulatory relief. How does all this work with lining up with Trump? Especially on a memo having to do with troubles of Trump’s own making. Surely they must realize his fight isn’t with the Democrats, it’s with his own appointees in his own Justice Department. If there are problems in any Department, a President can appoint new management and makes corrections. This is working fine in other departments such as Scot Pruitt’s EPA. We just don’t see the upside for these thought leaders on the right lining up to protect a Man against his own Republican appointees, when it’s possible they may wake up and find they’ve backed a criminal. Remember we warned of Eau de Trump polluting the air around those supporting him. We getting quite a whiff now coming from the right.
With this partisan politicization of the essential House Intelligence Committee, our advice to these memo supporters on the right is to ask yourselves are you serving your liege or the country?