CIA Director Mike Pompeo was a particularly distinguished, well-qualified nominee to become the next secretary of state. So why did most Senate Democrats vote no when his nomination came up for a vote? Because their most motivated voters, the “progressives” who form the angry core of the Resistance, demanded it.
As Victor Davis Hanson wrote in National Review this week, “The aim of the so-called Resistance to Donald Trump is ending Trump’s presidency by any means necessary before the 2020 election.” The message from progressive voters to their representatives in Congress is clear: Oppose President Trump on every matter, all the time, or else. As a practical matter, this means Democrats in Congress are expected to never pass up a skirmish or any opportunity to resist a Trump appointee or initiative — which gets us back to Pompeo.
Pompeo, a Wichitan, is a proven leader. He is a U.S. Army veteran who graduated first in his class at West Point, served as editor of the Harvard Law Review and went on to have a successful career in business and at the highest levels of government. By opposing someone of Pompeo’s caliber, the left allowed its emotional disdain for the president to erode its political judgment. Its mindless opposition to anything and everything Trump diminished its sense of what is fair and what is right and wrong.
Ordinarily no one would think that the nomination for secretary of state would be a useful place to pick a fight or display petty rancor. Remember, John Kerry received overwhelming support from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2013 when he was confirmed for the post. Hillary Clinton also won an overwhelming majority of support in 2009 with just one Republican voting against her confirmation in committee.
It isn’t hard to imagine that Republicans at the time disagreed with both nominees on an array of issues. But Republicans didn’t make a mockery of the confirmation process, didn’t belittle the institution of the Senate and didn’t make fools of themselves.
Democrats’ efforts against Pompeo didn’t further any particular policy goals or even score political points with anyone outside the circle of Trump’s most devoted haters. With the exception of a few Democrats who expected tough competition from Republican challengers and subsequently voted to confirm Pompeo, all that the Democrats’ opposition did was reveal how their disdain for Trump has no limits. It was further evidence that Democrats have no affirmative agenda and that their only purpose is to oppose whatever Trump is for.
As an example of just how vapid and empty the Democrats are, Sen.Cory Booker, D-N.J. — who is off to a particularly clumsy, toe-curling start to a run for president — actually said of Pompeo, “I believe you can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people.” What does that even mean? How does Booker measure “love,” anyway? And what number does he ascribe to himself, since he is the one who can spot the deficiency in others?
Anyway, severe cases of Trump derangement syndrome are often accompanied by severe cases of amnesia. And that is exactly what appears to be happening. Democrats fail to acknowledge that during Trump’s first days in office, he was greeted with the realities of the calamitous aftermath of President Barack Obama’s destructive foreign policy. Have they really forgotten the calamities from Crimea, Syria and Libya? Letting wars fester in Iraq and Afghanistan, capitulating to Iran and being humiliated by Cuba? How about the prized joy of the P5+1 nuclear deal? Iran has used its more normalized circumstances to attempt to take control over the capitals of Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. The list of Obama failures goes on. And, oh, by the way, these problems didn’t start on Jan. 20, 2017.
It is easy for liberals to criticize Trump for not having an apparent and easily discernible strategy. But it is hard to have a strategy when you are battling chaotic leftover wildfires from the Obama administration. With that said, some progress is being made. Trump has at least begun opening the door to North Korea when Obama and his predecessors ushered Pyongyang into its nuclear weapons state status. China is also hearing from the United States about reciprocity on commercial issues. And solidarity with Israel has finally been restored.
Democrats thought that by harassing Trump and trying to hold Pompeo’s nomination hostage they could somehow keep their unhinged progressives at bay. In reality they wasted everyone’s time, made themselves look silly and contributed at least as much as Trump has to the erosion of American political order.