Gutknecht: What Doesn’t Kill Me…

You see, the American people want leaders, especially presidents, who are strong. They want someone who can take the heat. Someone who can take a punch and keep fighting.

Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Many were surprised that President Bill Clinton emerged from his embarrassing impeachment ordeal stronger than when it began. We scratched our heads and asked, how that could happen?

Only much later did we begin to figure out that there was an important factor at play that we simply did not understand. It is now painfully apparent that the Democrats who control today’s House don’t understand this factor either.

You see, the American people want leaders, especially presidents, who are strong. They want someone who can take the heat. Someone who can take a punch and keep fighting. Americans know that their president will need to stand firm against adversaries both foreign and domestic. They believe that the true measure of a heavyweight champion has more to do with their ability to take a knockout punch than in their ability to deliver one. They want those qualities in a president. Bill Clinton took some haymakers and when it was over, he was still standing.

Americans admired that. Clinton’s approval went up.

Which leads us to the current spectacle orchestrated by the House Democrats. For more than two years we have been treated to daily accusations that President Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election. It was the only plausible explanation for his besting of Queen Hillary. The new president was little more than Vladimir Putin’s personal hand puppet. The investigations also served as a convenient smoke screen obscuring the soft coup at the highest levels of the Department of Justice. The media breathlessly reported any morsel of possible evidence. They then could spend hours speculating about what it may mean and when senior Republicans might go down to the White House to inform Mr. Trump that it was time for him to go. There was only one problem with the unending grand collusion narrative.

It never happened.

So now the Democrats are scurrying around looking for other possible high crimes or misdemeanors they might investigate. Other than his confirmation that there was no collusion, the hearing involving their star witness Michael Cohen fell flat. So, they press on. Never mind that there is no crime. Never mind that there is no evidence and few facts. They will just subpoena everyone who has ever had contact with Mr. Trump and see if anything turns up. Any objective legal scholar worth their salt can see this for what it is, a gross miscarriage of justice. This is the greatest abuse of oversight power in the history of the Republic. If they are permitted to proceed on this track, it will set a dangerous precedent. If they can do this to a President they don’t like, they can do it to a Supreme Court Justice.

This is chilling.

Among the many things we have learned about this president is that he can take a punch. He can also deliver a powerful counterpunch. Just look at the number of people who have taken a swing at him and come out much the worse for it. Stormy Daniels, her lawyer Michael Avenatti and several former staffers come to mind. Stormy was ordered to pay Mr. Trump $293,000 for his legal fees. The other sucker punchers left the ring glassy eyed after taking a standing eight count. Never wanting to try that again.

Unwittingly, the Democrats may actually be helping Donald Trump cruise to an even larger victory next year. Some pundits have even started using the word landslide. If true, it will cost the Democrats the House as well.

German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche first said, “That which does not kill me, only makes me stronger.” The endless investigations and abusive tactics employed by House Democrats are intended to weaken President Trump and intimidate his supporters. The collusion crusade collapsed. The Dems and their friends in the media have thrown everything they have at Mr. Trump and his approval is rising. Their tactics will surely backfire. The reality is that they cannot kill him politically. In the view of the broader body politic, they will only make him stronger.

Gil Gutknecht served six terms each in the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a Member during the Clinton impeachment proceedings.


Gil Gutknecht

Gil Gutknecht is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.