From The Week — Written by David Faris
Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony was a typical partisan Rorschach test, with Republicans immediately claiming vindication and Democrats pouncing on his description of what sounds distinctly like the obstruction of justice. The spectacle of Comey calling Trump a liar of questionable character on national television was deeply damaging to the president.
Yet when the Comey dust clears, the biggest problem for both the president and the Republican Party will still be not the Russia investigation, but rather Donald Trump himself. As Comey might adorably say, there’s “no fuzz” on that conclusion. If they are to have any hope of holding the House and Senate against an energized Democratic Party next year, Republicans are going to have to find a convincing answer to one very simple question: Why is the president of the United States so dreadfully unpopular just 140 days into his first term?
The Republican Party controls both branches of Congress as well as the presidency and the Supreme Court and could, theoretically, legislate more or less at will. The public is generally forgiving of new presidents, who enjoy a honeymoon period that they have to try really hard to screw up. But this president has been unable to escape the tar patch of an approval rating in the low 40s, and has spent as much time in the upper 30s as he has out of it.
There is only one explanation for why a president with all the prerequisites of massive popularity has instead managed to make lemons out of lemonade: People just don’t like this guy. Beyond Trump’s base, people are not buying the preposterous narrative that the media is conducting a hostile campaign to destroy the president. President Trump is completely daft and can’t go more than a few days without carelessly tossing a lit rhetorical match into a clump of political underbrush. The American people don’t seem to enjoy it when their leader is a spiteful mess of a human being who looks like he can barely dress himself, demonstrates almost hourly his incapacity for empathy or civility, and remains utterly, aggressively clueless about his responsibilities and objective realities. You can succeed as a brilliant cad (Bill Clinton), or as a genial lunkhead (Ronald Reagan). It turns out that being both fathomlessly ignorant and aggressively jerkish is not a sweet spot in American politics.