Trump’s Domestic Agenda Has Failed; Will Dems Help Him Wag the Dog With Foreign Policy?
Let’s face it-we knew this was coming. Eventually Trump would go here. The War on Terrorism. After all, it gave W a 90% favorability rating. During that time, criticizing W was almost seen as disloyalty to the country.
What”s amazing is how quick Trump got here. But that is because his domestic agenda failed so quickly.
GQ editor wrote this 2 weeks ago for May's issue:
"Can you imagine how desperately Trump wants a war right now?" https://t.co/JIUhEZUIye
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 7, 2017
So we knew he’d get here. But this is fast. Amy Siskand points out this is right out of the authoritarian’s playbook.
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) April 8, 2017
“Over the past three weeks, Trump’s approval plummeted, as he struggled to take back the narrative amidst legislative failures and a ubiquitous Russia. He floated several attempts to deflect, and replace Russia as the lead story: the Obama wiretapp, the Nunes brouhaha, the Susan Rice unmasking — but none seemed to work. This week he figured out a way to take back the narrative — one commonly used by autocrats — he started a war.”
“The media loved Trump’s show of force, and on Friday Syria become story one, displacing Russian interference and ties to Trump.”
“The Onion ran the perfect parody of the situation on Friday, “Trump Confident U.S. Military Strike On Syria Wiped Out Russian Scandal.” Other pundits used the euphemism, Wag the Dog.”
Yes I wrote about the Onion piece as well.
But there’s no question that there’s something about the prospect of war that makes the media weak:
‘That’s the Job. We Are Adversarial.’
“Veteran reporter Andrea Mitchell has long been at the center of the biggest stories—and she’s never faced off against a White House like this before.”
Yes, unless it’s foreign policy.
But the question for the Democrats is do they do for Trump what they did for W? Their support of his Iraq war and War on Terrorism gave him a 90% approval rating. I’ve written about this already but this is where I think we are: the Dems should learn from the GOP 2013.
It turns out that Obama’s action was bigger than Trump’s yet the GOP dismissed it as a pinprick.
Unlike some Democratic hawks today, the More Hawkish Than Thou Republicans did not try to depersonalize the man from the policy.
So what should the Dems do? Partly they should do what they are in fact doing: demanding Trump get Congressional approval for any further action in Syria. Tim Kaine rightly argues that what he did already was unconstitutional.
In Kaine’s interview with Chuck Todd, Todd argued that other Presidents have taken ‘limited actions’ like Trump did without Congressional approval. Ok, but the GOP in 2013 said Obama needed their approval for his action.
Todd also asked what the Dems must insist is the wrong question. Todd asked if there is anything that could come out of this Congress that would give Trump the room he needs.
Remember when Trump whined ‘wrong answer?’ Well this is the wrong question. Todd is already construing this as a predetermined result: We need Congress to give him approval and the worry is maybe they won’t. So maybe it’s better for Trump to do what he wants without it.
But a real deliberative process logically entails that Congress may or may not approve him.
And honestly, the Dems need to consider not approving it. The Dems are rightly going in demanding Congressional approval. But that’s not enough. This vote must not be a rubber stamp.
They must be willing to refuse to give it to him-I’d urge every single Democrat to strongly consider not giving it to him.
Yes, I know the counterargument. The Democratic Congress people will be scared to put themselves on that limb. Now if Assad does anything terrible in the future it’s on them. Trump will say he wanted to do something but Congress wouldn’t let him.
So be it. The GOP didn’t worry about that with Obama 2013.
Listen, what’s going on in Syria is a tragedy. But charity begins at home. Empowering a fascist madman won’t be good for anyone and that includes the Syrian people who Trump cruelly wants to ban from this country.
As I noted yesterday, for once Glenn Greenwald is right:
“New wars will always strengthen Trump: as they do for every leader.”
“The instant elevation of Trump into a serious and respected war leader was palpable. Already, the New York Times is gushing that “in launching a military strike just 77 days into his administration, President Trump has the opportunity, but hardly a guarantee, to change the perception of disarray in his administration.”
“Political leaders across the spectrum rushed to praise Trump and support his bombing campaign. Media coverage was overwhelmingly positive.”
“New wars trigger the worst in people: their jingoism, their tribal loyalties, their instinct to submit to authority and leaders. The incentive scheme here is as obvious as it is frightening: great rewards await political leaders who start new wars. In Federalist 4, John Jay warned of all the personal benefits a leader obtains from starting a new war – which is the reason it was supposed to be difficult for U.S. Presidents to do it.”
“Trump is going to see – and feel – the establishment and media respect he craves, the sensations of strength he most lacks, by dropping bombs. Every person, let alone Trump, would be tempted to keep pursuing war as a result of this warped incentive framework. Indeed, Trump himself has long been aware of this motivation as he accused Obama in 2012 of preparing to start a new war in response to falling poll numbers.”
Democrats need to really think about this:
Those who instantly fall in line behind Trump as he bombs people are ensuring that he will keep doing it. As the instantly popular post-9/11 George W. Bush showed, those praising Trump for bombing Syria are also building him up in general so that he becomes stronger with everything else he wants to do.”
When you look at W’s time in office, the Dems opposed his domestic agenda but supported his foreign policy. But supporting his foreign policy also strengthened his hand at domestic policy.
Democrats this guy is beaten. He’s on the mat flat on his back. He has nothing. Unless you want to throw him a lifeline and praise his ‘decisiveness’ on launching a few missiles into Syria.
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