(This was previously posted under an offensive title. I apologize for that.)
I almost never read WaPo house conservative Henry Olsen. He’s not as bad as Marc Thiessen, but the two of them do hang out together at the kool-aid water fountain. Olsen refused to see anything nefarious in the sabotage of the Postal Service, for example. Today’s column, though, caught my eye, and it does appear that another rat is wandering off the deck.
President Trump’s visit to Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday could have been the start of a unified approach to stem the urban rioting plaguing the United States. Instead, we got typical Trump: a photo op, an announcement of federal aid and a quick dash back to the White House.
He praises the Malignant Mangoface for meeting with the business owners and police and for promising aid. But even Olsen can see that it’s the president’s job to calm racial tensions, and he faults Trump for failing to do so:
What’s not good is that this is all Trump seems to offer more than three months after the killing of George Floyd launched the waves of protests and riots that increasingly rivet the nation’s attention. Nor has the administration addressed the underlying causes of police violence and public discontent.
Trump could order Attorney General William P. Barr to explore how federal laws are being potentially violated by groups conspiring to cause violent unrest and order federal law enforcement to arrest perpetrators. He has not done so to the best of our knowledge. . . .
Trump seems to think that the only response to rioting is brute force. . . .
Trump has also failed to calm his supporters as many increasingly see themselves under threat. . . .
(Actually, Trump can’t order Barr to arrest anyone — fortunately.)
He can’t resist accusing unspecified local leaders of being unwilling to address violence, nor calling Portland a “war zone.” But he concludes with:
Trump nominally belongs to the party of Lincoln, but in this crisis, he is more like a blustering version of Lincoln’s ineffectual predecessor, James Buchanan. Our nation needs, and deserves, much more.
Trump is going all out to convince the nation that the violence is the fault of the “dark shadows” controlling Biden and that only he, the Chosen of God, can rescue the country from the slavering horde. Increasingly, even conservatives aren’t buying it. And Biden is taking advantage. Here’s a snip from Jennifer Rubin’s column that ran alongside Olsen’s:
Biden continues to lead Trump in polling on the law-and-order issue. A new Morning Consult-Politico poll reported on Wednesday that “47 percent of voters said they trust Biden more to handle public safety, compared to 39 percent who said they place more trust in Trump. The president’s deficit on safety — one of many issues on which Biden is more trusted — comes as Trump has sought to portray the former vice president as a danger to voters’ personal security in advertising, on Twitter and perhaps most prominently during his Aug. 27 address from the Republican National Convention.”This might explain why Biden feels confident in going to Kenosha, Wis., on Thursday; rather than avoid the law-and-order issue, he seems to be saying, “Bring it on.”
In short, let’s not relax at all. But let’s not panic, either. By all accounts, Biden and his team know what they’re doing.