Sen. Chuck Schumer is trying to sabotage the Trump administration, at the expense of the country.
The obvious retort, that President Trump is doing a lot to sabotage himself, isn't wrong. But that doesn't justify the extraordinary depths of the minority leader's partisan irresponsibility.
Schumer says he will try to block a new director of the FBI until Trump appoints a special counsel to investigate Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.
It's obvious what Schumer sees to gain from this effort. It pleases the liberal base and serves Schumer's broader purpose of crippling an administration, making it ineffective, and then reaping the electoral rewards of complaining against a president who can get nothing done.
The Left pompously describes its truculence, conspiracy theorizing, and obstruction as "resistance," which conveniently carries an echo of anti-Nazi activities during the Second World War, and thus tarnishes Trump just a little bit more.
Schumer and his Democratic gang want to resist Trump on everything — this not an accusation; it's stated policy — including filling important jobs. Remember that the minority leader even suggested a while back that there should be no vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court because the question of Russian meddling in the election had not been sufficiently answered. There again, the implication is that because of Russian meddling, Trump's presidency is somehow illegitimate. The self-serving innuendo is unceasing.
Schumer and the Left want to maximize the political price Trump pays for any action he takes, whether it is genuinely controversial and troubling, or only frothed up by critics to look that way. It's crucial "that Democrats don't just hand Trump and his party a quick bipartisan victory in the fight to replace James Comey," a liberal writer urged at Rolling Stone on Friday.
By last Friday evening, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was laying down that party line that no FBI director would be approved until Democrats get their special prosecutor. Schumer went on CNN on Sunday and signed on to the idea.
Democrats cannot block the FBI nomination without Republican help, thanks to former Sen.Harry Reid's demolition of the filibuster on nominations. But they can bring Senate operations to a crawl. They can also block Trump's nominee if they can peel three Republican votes away from the majority.
We urged Republicans, in our editorial following the Comey firing, to join Democrats in blocking Trump's FBI pick if, but only if, the nominee is a political stooge likely to put loyalty to the president above fealty to his constitutional role. Schumer scheme has the opposite purpose.
It's one thing to demand, as we did, that Trump should name a staunch public servant to run an agency in peril of being bowled over by a wave of politics. But for the Schumer crew, the whole point it to give Democrats a veto over the nomination, and thus to politicize it.
The comparison with Gorsuch and the Supreme Court is again apt. Schumer suggested that no judge should gain approval if he or she could not command broad support from the Senate. Put another way, he was insisting that he and his party have the right to confirm only judges of whose judicial philosophy and politics they approved.
So it would be with the new head of the FBI. Only a nominee likely to be antagonistic to Trump, not just strict in his rectitude, would pass muster with the opposition party.
A good, fiercely independent FBI director confirmed with bipartisan support is what the country needs. The investigation of Hillary Clinton during the election has left a sour taste in the mouths of both those who thought she deserved indictment and those who thought Comey's October surprise swayed the election.
A strong FBI director should be a priority for anyone interested in good government, in strong law enforcement, and in protecting federal law enforcement from over-politicization. But in Schumer, we're dealing with a politician who has, rather, shown a consistent instinct for the jugular and a determination to put his party above all else.
Trump has not shown sufficient interest in good government, in hiring staff sufficient in number and competence, and in keeping politics out of places where it's not supposed to go. Schumer's response has been to inject more politics and more dysfunction, hoping dysfunction helps the out-of-power party.