Credit: White House/Wikimedia Commons

If the Democrats played as dirty as the Republicans, they could make a lot of hay out of this:

– Trump’s newest proposed tariffs on Chinese imports — on hold for now — include the paper used to print Bibles.

– Publishers recently told the administration that up to 75% of what it costs them to make a Bible, with complex illustrations and ultra-thin pages, is now spent in China after specialized printing moved there decades ago from the U.S.

– Middle- and low-income readers could be priced out by the proposed 25% tariffs, religious leaders and publishers said.

Forget birtherism, do you remember when the Republicans went nuts about Fast & Furious and Solyndra? Or when they lost their minds about the phase-out of the traditional light bulb? Or they forced Obama to have a beer summit during the Henry Louis Gates controversy? Remember when they freaked out when Obama said if he had a son he’d look like Trayvon Martin? How about the unending Benghazi controversy? This is just a sample of the Republicans’ ability to invent controversies and make mountains out of molehills.

I can imagine the Democrats accusing Trump of secretly despising Christians and pursuing a tariff policy designed to interfere with missionary work and deny working folks access to the Gospel. They could just start saying this despite the fact that it’s ludicrous. They could have a handful of their politicians make reference to it and say, “some people are making that accusation.” They could make it known to all the bloggers and left-leaning think tanks and magazines and columnists that they want to spread this rumor. Talking heads could go on the radio and television and make the charge. Mailers could be sent out to Christian congregations. Party leaders could play stupid and pretend that they’ve never heard of the theory while refusing to debunk it.

This isn’t going to happen because this isn’t how the center-left operates in this country. That’s mostly a good thing, but there’s a cost to it when one side will say anything and the other has scruples.

I know for certain that if Barack Obama’s tariff policies were going to have this effect on the production and cost of Bibles, we’d never hear the end of it. The Republicans put winning above all other considerations. The fact that the idea of the Democrats exploiting this story is laughable tells you have far they are from putting winning first. There’s no way they’ll start asking why the president hates the Holy Bible.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at