Some of the finest critiques of the Trump administration and its politically dysfunctional party have come from none other than Bush-speechwriter Michael Gerson. Indeed, in general he's probably the finest writer on the Washington Post's op-ed page (E.J. Dionne being the smartest).
This morning, having designated the administration as "empty, easily distracted, vindictive, shallow, impatient, incompetent and morally small," Gerson summarizes the GOP's "free fall" as rather hopeless:
It is now dawning on Republicans what they have done to themselves. They thought they could somehow get away with Trump. That he could be contained. That the adults could provide guidance. That the economy might come to the rescue. That the damage could be limited.
Instead, they are seeing a downward spiral of incompetence and public contempt — a collapse that is yet to reach a floor. A presidency is failing. A party unable to govern is becoming unfit to govern.
And what, in the short term, can be done about it? Nothing. Nothing at all.
I admire Gerson's writing and his many insights, but here, he falls freely himself. For there is, in the short term, something that can be done, at least far as shoring up the Trump administration goes. Congressional Democrats can bail him out.
I shan't (not so soon, anyway) rehash my familiar objection to a Democratic rescue of Trump. (You're welcome.) I shall offer some much-needed clarification of it, however.
My objection has been read by some as a purely (and somewhat tawdry) political one: That should the Dems cooperate with Trump and help him put some intelligent policy points on the board, the latter will grab all the credit and leave Democrats, pathetically, begging for praise (which won't be forthcoming). It's true that this would be politically unwise of Democrats, and so I've opposed it. But there's far more to my opposition than the self-harming, short-term politics of assisting Trump, even if intelligent policies enacted would be of some national benefit. And it has to do with the long game of American politics — and just plain human decency.
Assisting Trump, cooperating with Trump, merely tolerating Trump would be to reward the most ghastly politics ever inflicted on this country. If Democrats wish to see a quadrennial repetition of Trump's monstrously contemptible politics played out — the lies, the distortions, the malignant hate, the fake news dispensed daily — then just give him a boost and save his thin hide. American politics would be permanently corrupted by the scourge of Trumpian politics, for it will have proven itself permissible — and salvageable. This generation would suffer less than the next, and the next, as America slides irretrievably into the prevailing Trumpian slime.
My objection to Democratic cooperation is about more than cheap politics — and it's not personal, Donald. It's strictly business — the long-term and serious business of this nation: passably honorable politics and thus responsible governance. To both, cooperating with Trump would only do limitless harm.