The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The Democrats’ ditch is only getting deeper

Schumer questions if 'anyone' likes GOP health care proposal (Video: The Washington Post)

Democrats in Congress are digging themselves a ditch that keeps getting deeper. There’s no good fight to be had on Judge Neil Gorsuch, they’re getting steamrolled on repealing and replacing Obamacare, and their base has lurched to the far left, fully outside their grasp. The result? An out-of-touch leadership that can’t stop babbling. And for all the Trump administration’s miscues, Democrats haven’t laid a glove on the president. They couldn’t appear any weaker.

On Monday, Gorsuch presented himself as a consensus-builder, a true jurist. He continued yesterday, describing himself as nothing less than “a fair judge.” But liberals are overreaching in trying to paint him as a judicial tyrant, an anti-working-class villain. All they are doing is posing for the angry left. They aren’t even attempting to block Gorsuch’s confirmation. Doing so would be a pointless exercise. Rather, they are just trying to get on the record as “resisting” President Trump.

According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from New York (the home of corporate America), Gorsuch “harbors a right-wing, pro-corporate, special interest agenda.” His desperate attempt to appease the newer, angrier left is laughable. The far left has wildly different views than those of your garden-variety, Schumer-style Manhattan liberal. And the clearly disoriented House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) actually said of Gorsuch’s nomination, “It is a hostile appointment … if you breathe air, drink water, eat food, take medicine or in any other way interact with the courts — this is a very bad decision.” What? Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I guess this was an earnest attempt to appeal to air-breathers, water-drinkers, food-eaters and the like.

On the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans are similarly steamrolling opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA). According to some who were in the room during yesterday’s meeting of the GOP caucus, Trump was effective and they are close to getting the votes needed for passage. I hope he didn’t jinx it, but Trump is already taunting Democrats. As he left the caucus, the president said: “We’re going to have a real winner. There are going to be adjustments, but I think we’ll get the vote on Thursday.”

Democrats are clearly lost, with no sense of direction. Their efforts to oppose the GOP agenda have failed, and their base knows it. Writing in the Hill yesterday, Jonathan Easley describes Democrats as having “a leadership vacuum at the top.” He’s right. The Democratic base has lurched so far to the left that the party’s establishment now looks foolish trying to catch up. The only good news I have for my friends on the left is that in politics, things are never as good or as bad as they appear.

If Trump and the GOP leadership in Congress can keep their heads level for the next few weeks, they will succeed in not only repealing and replacing Obamacare but also confirming a justice to the Supreme Court who will help shape the country for decades to come. A conservative vision for the nation may finally have a chance to be realized.