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WaPo: Here’s How to Make 2018 Candidates Squirm

With primary season soon to be upon us for the 2018 midterm elections, Jennifer Rubin, who writes the Right Turn blog for the Washington Post, offered a list of “How to make the candidates squirm in 2018.” [1]

Since the reported opinion comes from a conservative perspective, one might expect questions that put Democrats in uncomfortable positions. But it’s not Democrats she is trying to make uncomfortable. It’s Republicans.

“Republican incumbents who tried to minimize their public interactions with large groups of constituents for fear of being verbally mauled by voters irate over their positions on health care or taxes or over their cheerleading for President Trump will have no choice but to come out of hiding,” she crowed.

“Sen. Susan Collins, for instance, is not even on the ballot in 2018, but if the protests at her Maine offices are any indication, Republicans will find it hard to hide from their constituents and to dampen voter anger.”

Fortunately, the questions Rubin suggests are Democrat Party boilerplate talking points and easily swatted down.

If President Trump fired former FBI director James B. Comey to shut down the Russia investigation or tried to pressure him to let up on Michael Flynn, whom the president understood to have lied to the FBI, would that be an impeachable offense? That’s two hypotheticals, neither of which is underpinned by facts – Trump said he fired Comey because he refused to investigate Hillary Clinton, [2] and there is no evidence he pressured Comey to “let up on Flynn.”

Would you vote to require all presidents to release their tax returns? It’s a political issue. If the president’s refusal to make public his tax returns bothers you, vote for his opponent.

Why have you not sought a single hearing on the president’s potential receipt of foreign emoluments and/or conflicts of interest? A lawsuit over emoluments clause violations by President Trump was laughed out of court [3], and Americans were well aware of the president’s business ventures when they elected him president.

What specifically are you prepared to do if Trump fires Robert S. Mueller III or pardons his relatives? Another hypothetical from outer space. President Trump has given no indication he plans to fire Mueller – in fact, he has said otherwise on numerous occasions [4]. And Mueller has given no indication any of Trump’s relatives will need a pardon.

Do you think only Congress can authorize a first strike on North Korea? If so, what are you prepared to do to defend that constitutional prerogative? No.

What have you done to make the cost of health insurance cheaper for Americans? It seems impossible to square how reported opinion from a conservative perspective could produce such a question for Republicans, when not a single one voted for Obamacare, which manifestly increased costs [5]. What Republicans have done is pass tax reform legislation that included repeal of the individual mandate. The market can now undergo the transformation necessary to achieve health care cost savings for Americans. 

If the tax cut is supposed to be for the middle class, why did you vote to lower the top rate to 37 percent? To create a 20 percent deduction for pass-through companies that rich people set up? To raise the exclusion for the estate tax? Again, it’s impossible to square how such questions could come from a “conservative perspective.” Conservatives understand tax cuts that favor investment bring more jobs and higher salaries [6] and that, since they are merely returning to taxpayers their own hard-earned money, they need not be “paid for” by other tax increases.