Turns Out the Best Negotiators May not be the Ones Who Tell You They Are
Ok, look. I know I’ve written a lot about this, this morning. And I do agree you never want to be triumphalist as I’ve made clear.
In the discussion over the Trump’s First 100, I argued that: the Dems and the #Resistance are winning but haven’t won. Very big difference.
Trump’s failures are our successes-America’s success. You don’t want to assume we’ve won-as there are still three years and eight months. Far from winning. On the other hand, it’s not as ‘early’ as some charitable pundits in the media tell us. The first year is where the POTUS has the most political capital and it’s sort of like milk-there’s a sell by date.
Nevertheless Trump is still doing a lot of damage in his immigration raids and the pure larceny he and his family are perpetuating every day through violating the Emoluments Clause.
Same thing with the budget deal. It is a credit to all of us in the #Resistance and the Democratic party that Trump got so little of what he wanted and even saw some of his powers rolled back. Again, don’t want to be overly triumphant as we still have a lot of fights ahead. But this is a very impressive win, and it’s worth looking at it in some depth.
So I will list one by one the eight ways the Washington Post says Trump got roiled as it’s very worth understanding and appreciating:
THE BIG IDEA: Perhaps the best negotiators are not the people who tell everyone that they are the best negotiators.
“Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen bragged during the campaign: “He’s an amazing negotiator, probably the best in this world.”
“But Democrats are surprised by just how many concessions they extracted in the trillion-dollar deal, considering that Republicans have unified control of government.”
Turns out there may be value in not telling everyone what a great negotiator you are-you know, before you negotiate. Trump says he likes to be unpredictable but telling everyone you’re the world’s greatest negotiator is kind of predictable. The Dems never bragged about being great negotiators. Yet, check out this deal.
1. There are explicit restrictions to block the border wall.
So not only is there no wall funding, there is a restriction against using other funding for the border wall-that nobody who lives near the border wants, incidentally.
2. Non-defense domestic spending will go up, despite the Trump team’s insistence he wouldn’t let that happen. The president called for $18 billion in cuts. Instead, he’s going to sign a budget with lots of sweeteners that grow the size of government. Mitch McConnell made sure $4.6 billion got put aside to permanently extend health benefits to 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families. Nancy Pelosi made sure $295 million was included to shore up Medicaid in Puerto Rico. Chuck Schumer got $61 million to reimburse local law enforcement agencies for the cost of protecting Trump when he travels to his residences in Florida and New York. There is also another $2 billion in disaster relief money for states, which bought a couple votes. (Kelsey Snell, our lead budget reporter, has more examples.)”
Of course, Schumer’s demand for the $61 million is saving money for us NYers. It’s Trump not Schumer who is ripping the country off.
3. Barack Obama’s cancer moonshot is generously funded.
Who would have thought that would have survived with all the faux outrage over it?
4. Trump fought to cut the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. The final deal trims its budget by just 1 percent, with no staff cuts. As part of a compromise, the EPA gets $80 million less than last year, but the budget is $8 billion.”
The world’s best negotiator.
5. He didn’t defund Planned Parenthood. Despite the best efforts of social conservatives, the group will continue to receive funding at current levels.”
Remember that 84% of the increased activism if women and they just won a big victory there.
6. The president got less than half as much for the military as he said was necessary. Trump repeatedly prodded Congress to increase military spending by $30 billion. He’s getting $12.5 billion, with an additional $2.5 billion if/when he delivers a detailed plan on how to defeat the Islamic State. Many Democrats from states with bases and manufacturers, especially those up for reelection in 2018, wanted this, too. Like Trump, they will tout the increased spending as a victory. The White House plans to call this a down payment on a much bigger investment down the road.”
This was a very big victory in making Trump’s accountable to Congress and making some of his defense spending contingent on providing more information to Congress and making it clear no more action in Syria without Congressional approval.
7. Democrats say they forced Republicans to withdraw more than 160 riders.
8. To keep negotiations moving, the White House already agreed last week to continue paying Obamacare subsidies.
Yes, this is my fourth piece on this budget this morning. But it’s really a great budget! This is with the GOP controlling the entire government.
“Soon after the deal was reached last night, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi quickly put out celebratory statements. But McConnell and Paul Ryan did not.”
- “Overall, the compromise resembles more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one,” Bloomberg reports.
- The Associated Press calls it “a lowest-common-denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on Obama’s watch last year.”
- Reuters: “While Republicans control the House, Senate and White House, Democrats scored … significant victories in the deal.”
That this is an Obama Administration era budget validates both Scott Sumner and Jonathan Chait:
I’m not saying that leaders don’t matter at all—that would be crazy (again, Hitler). Rather I’m claiming that they don’t drive the ideological waves that impact the world; rather they usually surf along the tops of those waves. Trump’s Supreme Court pick is a bit different from Hillary’s, and his trade policy will be a bit different. His Obamacare 2.0 will be a bit different. The new tax deal with be a bit different from the “lower corporate rates in exchange for infrastructure” deal that Hillary would have struck with Congress. His incompetence will lead to more screw-ups, like this one, than what would have occurred under Hillary.”
Jonathan Chait is looking more prophetic post the new budget:
Why President Obama's legacy was broader and deeper than you think, and why it will endure https://t.co/HJdOAmXIEx
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 24, 2016
Sumner nails it here:
The establishment (now called the deep state) is a good thing, as it reduces the risk of a dangerous demagogue causing major problems.”
It really is a good thing to have a permanent government that will limit these problems. Some like Shadi Hamid complain that this is undemocratic. But that suggests his definition of democracy is absolute unitary power for the executive.
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.