The Evening Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
So, here’s our reality as of today, with the passage and presidential signing of the disgrace of a fake budget bill: The GOP “establishment” is actively working to surrender its House majority, so that it can go back to being comfortable again.
Republican squishes like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the congressional GOP leadership are only “pretend” conservatives. They are in their natural habitat when they are able to throw darts at governing Democrats while in Washington while never having to take any real responsibility for actually getting anything done. They are incredibly brave and confrontational when in that mode, as they were for the 6 years in which they controlled one or both houses of congress while Barack Hussein Obama was President.
In those years, those brave GOP squishes in the house were able to vote 30-odd times to repeal the Obamacare monstrosity, and even the GOP senate managed it a few times. Once they had a Republican in the White House, though, repealing Obamacare suddenly became a bridge too far, as McConnell could always find a few Republicans like McCain or Collins or Murkowski to kill it in the Senate.
Establishment Rs also love to pretend to be fiscal conservatives, just so long as they’re never required to actually get anything real done to prove it. When they’re in the minority, they’re the first to run to the nearest microphone to squeal about Democrats leading the nation to financial ruin with their profligate spending. But squealing is all it ever amounts to – let them be confronted with a government shutdown as their only avenue for stopping the waste, and they become a pack of surrender monkeys.
Put them in the majority, and it’s even worse. Now, their only excuse is the senate’s arcane filibuster rule, and its requirement of 60 votes to be overcome. When that rule is all that stands between them and a government shutdown over funding Democrat spending priorities, again it becomes surrender monkey time.
Governing is simply not a Republican core competency. Never has been, never will be. So when they control all the levers of power, you end up with legislative atrocities like the bill the President signed into law today, because they are eager to give the Ds anything they want in order to avoid being blamed for shutting down 14 percent of the government by that nasty ol’ news media.
The bill enacted today represents complete capitulation by the GOP congress. As what is likely to become the last major legislative action prior to the November midterms, its passage is going to have a terrible dampening effect on GOP voter enthusiasm, likely dooming the Republican Party to the loss of its majority in the house.
The truth is – and it may only be on a sub-conscious level – that is really the outcome that establishment Republicans prefer. Lose the majority in the house, and the squish Rs can just go back to tossing darts at the Democrats. So what if it means that the Democrats will get their way and impeach President Trump? Most establishment Rs never supported the guy in the first place, and are not at all comfortable having to carry his water in the halls of congress.
Besides, they’ll still have the majority in the Senate (probably, anyway), so McConnell can surely muster up enough votes to prevent the President’s removal over there. And they’ll all get to toss darts at the Democrats for being so irresponsible while it’s all going on, which is just an added bonus.
President Trump should have vetoed the bill, for his and congressional Republicans’ own good. Shutting down the government with a veto would have been consistent with Trump’s persona, and you could tell at his press conference that he knew this. Plus, a veto would have forced Ryan and McConnell to actually govern a little bit, against their own will. They’d have simply had no choice.
But Trump promised during the campaign to rebuild the nation’s military, which had been neglected by his predecessor, and signing this bill ensured that he could keep that promise, even if it likely means he will never get the funding he needs for his also-promised border wall. In the end, he chose to go with the pleas from Mad Dog Mattis, grab the military funding while he could, and hope to find some leverage point on immigration somewhere down the road. McConnell and Ryan heaved huge sighs of relief, knowing they wouldn’t have to be bothered with doing any governing in any real way until at least 2019, and possibly never again if the Rs do lose the house.
At the end of the day, we all have to just face it: Tossing darts at Democrats is really all that establishment Republicans go to Washington to do, because that’s fun, and it’s easy, too. Governing, now that’s hard, and not fun at all.
That is all.
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