Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
- So, President Trump did a snap-decision deal with San Fran Nan and Cryin’ Chuckie Schumer on the debt ceiling, the budget and a supplemental appropriation for FEMA on Wednesday, and Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are reportedly mad as hell about it. There is only one word for this, and that is…
- Think about it: You are the duly-elected President of the United States, a President who was elected to accomplish a very clear, specific set of goals on which you campaigned more tirelessly than any recent presidential candidate for 18 long months. Included in those goals are several major legislative items on which you know that pretty much every member of your own party’s congressional membership campaigned in favor of during the 2016 campaign, and it was on those issues that they all won their own elections.
- Given that reality, and given that your own political party won majorities in both houses of congress, your expectation coming into your presidency was that you would be able to get a lot of good things done working hand in glove with your own party’s congressional leaders. Cool, right?
- But you have now had eight months in office, and during that time, you have watched as your agenda – and what you had reasonably thought was also your party’s own agenda in congress – has been undermined time after time after time, not by the minority Democrats, but by the leaders in your own party.
- At first you thought the speaker and the majority leader were just incompetent boobs. How else to explain their consistent failures to coalesce their own memberships together to vote in favor of key legislation on which so many of them had themselves campaigned? How else to explain the speaker’s and majority leader’s refusal to arm-twist recalcitrant members by threatening to take away their committee chairmanships, a tactic that the leaders of the minority party had never been shy about using? How else to explain the inexcusable decision by the speaker and the majority leader to take the full month of August off after having achieved pretty much nothing of significance from January through July?
- But then, probably sometime during August, it hits you: They’re not incompetent, they’re completely disloyal. They aren’t failing to get anything done because they’re idiots, they’re failing to get anything done because they don’t want to get anything done.
- They, and most of their “establishment” caucus members, have no intention of keeping their campaign promises to repeal Obamacare, to enact major tax reform, to do a major infrastructure bill, to beef up funding for border security, or anything else. Those were empty promises made to voters they don’t respect, in the anticipation that your opponent would win the presidential contest. They actually looked forward to that outcome, because they consider it the best of all worlds: A win by your opponent would have enabled them to continue taking empty votes on major issues they really aren’t in favor of, and send their empty bills to an opposition POTUS, knowing they would be vetoed.
- This is the Kabuki Dance that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell love. It is their true core competency.
- And this is why Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are so angry today: Because the President’s deal with the Democrats denies them the opportunity to engage in their favored Kabuki Dance rituals over the debt ceiling and the budget. You know what I’m talking about – the Dance in which Ryan and McConnell get tons of TV face time, pretending to give a damn about the nation’s mounting debt problems, inevitably taking the nation to the precipice of a government shutdown, only to give in at the last minute when they extract a few billion dollars of meaningless spending cuts from the Democrats, cuts that will quietly be restored at a later date.
- They had their Kabuki steps all set, their choreography carefully coordinated, and they assumed they’d easily be able to sucker this President to just accede to their wishes and let them have their precious stage time when they went into Wednesday’s meeting in the Oval Office. After all, they consider this President to be a dope, just as he spent seven months assuming they were just incompetent boobs.
- Mitch McConnells’ ashen-faced press conference following Wednesday’s deal tells us everything we need to know: He realizes now that he has mis-judged Donald Trump, and that his bluff has been called. The days of the Kabuki Dance going un-remarked upon by a willing fellow dancer in the White House are gone.
- Donald Trump is not a dancer, he’s a doer. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan discovered on Wednesday that they can either decide to become doers as well, or become leaders of a minority party in congress after the 2018 elections. They can either start working honestly with the President or be relegated to the sidelines in crucial negotiations, because this President is not going to allow himself to be held hostage to partisan Kabuki Dances. The choice is entirely up to them.
Just another day in the political equation in Washington just shifted America.
That is all.