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The president of the United States called on Communist China to "investigate" his leading campaign rival. On the White House lawn. In front of cameras. On Thursday morning. Shortly after forcing an impeachment inquiry for asking another country to investigate his leading campaign rival.

Who needs an impeachment inquiry? Just put a microphone in front of this guy and turn the cameras on. To borrow a description from comedian Ron White, Trump had the right to remain silent but not the ability.

Is there enough patriotism left in this country for this latest fiasco to make any difference?

Anyone wanting to make excuses for what Trump did should see the video first. There is plenty of it. Here is ours: www.nwaonline.com/news/2019/oct/03/trump-calls-for-china-to-investigate-bi/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter_nwademgaz

It is also worth nothing that the president's remarks came two days after Trump wished the People's Republic of China a happy birthday on Twitter.

I can practically hear already protests of "What about the investigations the president wanted? Why are you not looking at those?" Two reasons. First, call me cynical, but I doubt an investigation by China would fail to find or make up dirt on anyone they saw as a competent U.S. presidential prospect. Since our decline is in their national interest, they cannot do better than Trump. Second, to use an analogy, I would not be all that interested in whether the person in front of me in the line to the teller's window is trying to cash a hot check if the guy behind me had a shotgun and was robbing the bank.

It is a pretty low bar to measure patriotism, granted, but I consider selling out our country to be a far greater sin than ripping off someone else's.

When someone from here rips off another country, we use our mutual legal assistance treaties. Our law enforcement agencies cooperate with theirs in the other country, such as the People's Republic of China. We do not ask other countries to unilaterally investigate our citizens and then publish their results. When the president is throwing out favors he wants done as if he is hosting the Home Shopping Network, though, doing something about it is all up to us.

We just spent more than two years making sure Trump's campaign did not collude with a foreign government in the last election. That was when he was just a candidate. Now the president is practically reading out collusion requests on cable TV.

Not just any foreign country was asked, either. China, unlike Russia, is a rising world power and serious rival. Our trade war with China is killing markets for our farmers and cutting off supplies to our manufacturers, too. But hey, the president says, do me a favor.

Critics of impeachment say the Democrats' inquiry is useless because the Senate will never vote to convict. In the most limited sense, that is true. Senate Republicans do seem to have no shame left. But the House or the Senate either one could censure the president if they do not want to remove him. The president frequently expresses admiration for President Andrew Jackson. Fine. Give them something in common, Congress. Either chamber or both can do it.

And keep the impeachment inquiry going, too. What we have seen so far is fascinating.

As for the Republican Party in general, they could stop shutting down presidential primaries in various states. Give Trump some potential consequences, however slight, for his actions.

I remember the "Flight 93 election" essay of September 2016. That article argued rational members of the GOP should take their chances and vote for Trump. It began: "2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You -- or the leader of your party -- may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

"Except one: If you don't try, death is certain."

Well, sane Republicans, you did not rush the cockpit. You did not die, either. Instead, you boarded the plane. Now you are in the Flight 93 presidency. The time for rushing the cockpit is now, but I predict you will just sit there squirming in your seats. So sit away and hope the loon in the cockpit somehow lands the plane.

You signed up for this. Finish the ride.

Commentary on 10/05/2019

Print Headline: The Flight 93 presidency

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