It’s been a really bad week for the establishment.
It has been a bad few days for the establishment, really bad.
In a 51-49 vote, the Senate refused to call witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump and agreed to end the trial Wednesday, with a near-certain majority vote to acquit the president of all charges.
As weekend polls show socialist Bernie Sanders surging into the lead for the nomination in the states of Iowa, New Hampshire and California, the sense of panic among Democratic Party elites is palpable.
Former Secretary of State and Joe Biden surrogate John Kerry was overheard Sunday at a Des Moines hotel talking of the “possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole.”
Tuesday, Trump takes his nationally televised victory lap in the U.S. Capitol with his State of the Union address, as triumphant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a humiliated Speaker Nancy Pelosi sit silently side-by-side behind him.
Democrats may declare the Trump impeachment a victory for righteousness, but the anger and outrage, the moans and groans now coming off the editorial and op-ed pages and cable TV suggest the media know otherwise.
History, we are told, will vindicate what Pelosi and the Democrats did and stain forever the Republican Party for voting to acquit.
Perhaps, but only if some future Howard Zinn is writing the history.
Reality: The impeachment of Trump was an attempted — and failed — coup that not a single Republican supported, only Democrats in the House and their Senate caucus. The impeachment of Trump was an exercise in pure partisanship and itself an abuse of power.
What was the heart of the Democrats’ case to remove Trump?
Trump failed to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to the White House, and held up military aid to Kyiv for several months, to get Zelenskiy to hold a press conference to announce that Kyiv was looking into how Hunter Biden got on the board of a corrupt energy company at a retainer of $83,000 a month while his father was the chief international monitor of corruption in Ukraine.
The specific indictment: Trump’s suspension of military aid imperiled “our national security” by denying arms to an “ally” who was fighting the Russians over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here.
And what was the outcome of it all?
Zelenskiy got his meeting with the president. He got the military aid in September. He did not hold the press conference requested. He did not announce an investigation of the Bidens.
No harm, no foul.
How did President Obama handle Ukraine?
After Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and intervened to protect pro-Russian secessionists in the Donbass, Obama’s White House restricted U.S. lethal military aid to Kyiv and provided blankets and meals ready to eat.
What punishment did House and Senate Democrats and anti-Trump media demand for the pause in sending weapons for Ukraine?
Capital punishment, a political death penalty.
Democrats demanded that a Republican Senate overturn the election of 2016, make Trump the first president ever impeached and removed, and then ensure that the American people could never vote for him again.
Nancy Pelosi’s House and the Democratic minority in the Senate were demanding that a Republican Senate do their dirty work and keep Trump off the ballot in 2020, lest he win a second term.
For four years, elements of the liberal establishment — in the media, “deep state” and major institutions — have sought to destroy Trump. First, they aimed to smear him and prevent his election, and then to overturn it as having been orchestrated by the Kremlin, and then to impeach and remove him, and then to block him from running again.
The damage they have inflicted upon our country’s institutions is serious.
U.S. intelligence agencies are being investigated by U.S. Attorney John Durham for their role in instigating an investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign. The FBI has been discredited by exposure of a conspiracy of top-level agents to spy on Trump’s campaign.
The media, by endlessly echoing unproven claims that Trump was a stooge of the Kremlin, discredited themselves to a degree unknown since the “Yellow Press” prostituted itself to get us into war with Spain. Media claims to be unbiased pursuers of truth have suffered, not only from Trump’s attacks, but from their own biased and bigoted coverage and commentary.
The NSC and State Department have been exposed as employing individuals with an exaggerated view of their role in the origination and the execution of foreign policy. Disloyalty and animosity toward the chief executive appear to permeate the upper echelons of the “deep state.”
Not in our lifetime have the institutions of government and the establishment been held in lower regard.
Almost all now concede we have become an us vs. them nation.
How we accomplish great things again, giving our seemingly unbridgeable differences, remains a mystery.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.