Surprise, surprise. The impeachment saga rolls on. We decided to avoid talking about it week after week and continue discussing some of the real policy plans that are being advanced during the presidential campaign.
Last week, I wrote about the wealth taxes being proposed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Our readers voted two to one against such taxes. Predictably, most of the emails I received were about me being so ... liberal! So liberal that I dared to even bring up the subject of wealth taxes and present both arguments for reader discussion.
Bernie Sanders’ recent heart attack makes Warren’s chances of being the nominee even higher, so I think we should continue exploring some of the bold policy positions that leading Democrat candidates are advancing. I credit them for doing so forthrightly, especially Bernie. That is what elections are for.
My incoming emails suggested that I should instead try harder to find good things to say about President Trump and defend him against this latest attempt at impeachment. My responses were basically as follows.
First, I did not state my own opinion on the wealth tax, but if you want to know, I am not a fan. It is just an important topic that has not been given much air time due to the impeachment furor. One email called me a “closet liberal” for even bringing it up! Believe me, if Elizabeth Warren becomes the Democratic nominee, it won’t be the last time you hear that subject discussed.
My goal, and that of Post Publisher Mike Trogdon (my son), is to stimulate viewpoints from all sides on our opinion pages. We have consistently done that in our 44-year history. We do this by linking a reader poll to my column, through our uniquely-local open forum guest column approach and in our letters to the editor. It may be the old fashioned way, but I am an old (literally) newspaperman.
Earlier this year, I wrote a column about Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg being a name you should know. Almost nobody had heard of him and I felt he did a good job of articulating his viewpoints so I did a little piece on him that predicted he would be a rising candidate. He is now fourth in the polls, so I am glad we did. I still get emails talking about Buttigieg being “my” candidate that I “endorsed” (I did not).
To reiterate, the goal of this column is not to promote my own viewpoint. I enjoy reading some opinion columns, but there are so many these days we don’t need one more. Let’s leave that to other Posts like the one in Washington.
Second, yes, I have written here multiple times that I am not a fan of Trump’s behavior. Still, I do agree with many policies he gets bashed for, such as trade with China (somebody needed to stand up to them). Stimulating the economy by eliminating excessive bureaucratic regulation is another. I also agree that the “mainstream” media is unbelievably biased towards him.
My personal problem with Trump is that he brings the vitriol on himself, especially with his tweeting. I also do not like his erratic careening from one stance to another and his tweets are often contradictory to that of his official spokesmen.
For instance, during the campaign he denounced President Obama for “drawing a line in the sand” in Syria and then not backing it up. When elected, Trump leaned heavily on our alliance with the Kurds to stop the Russia/Iran advance in Syria and destroying the ISIS caliphate much quicker than Obama predicted was possible. He deserves credit for that. Now, after one phone call to Turkish strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he immediately pulls troops out and leaves our ally, the Kurds, defenseless.
This is one of the reasons that Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned. Even Republican leaders, when awakening to news accounts on the withdrawal announcement, denounced Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds. Pentagon officials struggled to justify it when told that Kurdish commanders said they would have to abandon the Syrian prisons, holding thousands of captured Islamic State fighters.
Trump responded to the criticism by tweeting “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).” Tweets like that, from the president of the United States, continuously astound me. He did go on to say that he had campaigned on the idea of bringing troops home, which he did. I wish he would have just left it at that, without the egomaniacal bombast.
This week’s Post online poll question focuses just on that angle: “Do President Trump’s tweets help or hurt America’s cause?”