Budget Deal Underscores How Intellectually Bankrupt the Republican Party is
Yes, we know that Trump is intellectually bankrupt. But consider the GOP. Sure, they needed and got the government funding. But at the cost of having to lean on the Democratic vote at all and at major concessions to the Democrats.
“And while President Donald Trump can claim victory that the government’s lights will stay on and crucial federal programs will stay funded, it’s Democrats who really came out the winners in the deal. Almost none of Trump’s major budget cuts were included in the deal. Some programs Trump called to be cut received even more funding in the deal than they previously had.”
“It’s a sign both that Republicans are not afraid to defy Trump, and that the GOP still needs Democrats to accomplish basic tasks like funding the government, despite the fact that the GOP holds majorities in both the House and Senate.”
But this goes to a deeper question the GOP has faced since FDR: can they be trusted to govern as they don’t approve of most of what the modern New Deal government does?
The truth is the government could function decently well if the GOP would just scrap the Hastert Rule that says only bills with the majority of the majority make it to the floor. But this would also lead to essentially Democratic governance.
That’s the problem-post FDR, governing itself is by definition Democratic governing. When the government functions this is prima facie a victory for FDR’s party.
GOP ideas are just very unpopular. And they always have been. The American people support the New Deal. They support Social Security, Medicare, and any number of government programs. The laws of political physics haven’t changed: once you give the people a new entitlement you can never take it back.
The GOP had imagined Obamacare would prove differently, but now it’s clear they were wrong.
Trump in a way found out how the GOP can be successful-by pretending to oppose many GOP ideas. Of course, that was something Nixon did a good job with as well.
But the problem with Trump has always been that his victory is not a victory for GOP ideas. And Trump is not a good salesman for their ideas. The more he pounds the table on an issue the less popular his position becomes. Whether that’s ending the ACA or an immigration crackdown, he by holding an idea makes it less popular not more.
“Donald Trump is an effective salesman, but he’s a terrible propagandist. And when it comes to the big things he and the Republican Party want to accomplish while he’s president, the ones that require legislation, his inability to shape public opinion could be their undoing.”
Trump has apparently been talking-a lot-about getting rid of the Senate legislative filibuster. But this is sort of like when the Bernie Bros go after Super Delegates-ignoring that Hillary won without the SDs.
Trumpcare hasn’t gotten to the Senate and gotten over 50 votes but under 60. If it gets to the Senate, it will lose based on not having the GOP support. So far it hasn’t even lost a vote on the House floor as it hasn’t even made it to the floor. The Dems haven’t had to do anything except sit back and pass the popcorn.
“Democrats think they have set the stage to block President Trump’s legislative priorities for years to come by winning major concessions in a spending bill to keep the government open.”
“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) secured nearly $5 billion in new domestic spending by exploiting disagreements between Trump and GOP lawmakers over spending priorities.”
“Democrats’ lopsided victory on the five-month deal, which is likely to be approved this week, means it will be very difficult — if not impossible — for the GOP to exert its will in future budget negotiations, including when it comes to Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint.”
“That’s because Republicans are hopelessly divided over how much to spend on government programs, with a small but vocal minority unwilling to support such measures at all. That has forced Republicans to work with Democrats to avoid politically damaging government shutdowns.”
“And that means Democrats are in the driver’s seat when it comes to budget battles, even with Trump in the White House.”
Take a victory lap, Senator Schumer, you’ve earned it:
“I think we had a strategy and it worked,” Schumer said in an interview with The Washington Post. “Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate were closer to one another than Republicans were to Donald Trump.”
“The extra money for domestic programs will now be that much harder to strip out of future budgets, and Trump’s priorities, such as money for a wall along the border with Mexico, could be more difficult to include.”
“We can’t pass anything without them,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a top deputy to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said of Democrats recently.
So this is how the Hastert Rule ends: with a GOPer in the WH, the Repubs can’t afford to have a shutdown or budget default.
How good was this budget deal? Rush Limbaugh hated it.
This is the problem for the modern GOP: what does the party of opposition do when it’s the party in power? The GOP in many ways has done pretty well in the post FDR-Truman era. After all, considering that most Americans disagree with the GOP on the role of government, the GOP has done pretty well in winning about half of the Presidential elections starting with Ike in 1952.
They figured out how to win in 1952 despite Americans disagreeing with them by nominating a very popular war hero with transpartisan appeal. Nixon showed the way with both lying and dirty tricks. Remember peace through strength?
Reagan was a great actor. And he took up much of the aesthetics of FDR even as he opposed his policies. George W. Bush ran as a ‘compassionate conservative’ie, a different kind of Republican. Trump ran as-a different kind of Republican. Noticing a trend?
The GOP has had pretty decent electoral success then-while in the immediate PostWar era, the Dems had a lock on Congress, starting with 1994, the GOP has dominated Capital Hill.
But they still haven’t gotten around this impasse: how does the party of opposition to government govern effectively when it runs the government?
If you wonder why the modern GOP is so dirty-that’s why. This impasse they can never got around. They remain the party of a bad conscience-for pushing ideas that are unpopular and that they can only win by obscuring what their ideas really are.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.