A Pyrrhic Victory
We are seven months into the Trump Administration and have over three years to go. I do not now that the nation can handle three more years like the past seven months. But whether it can or cannot, we should pause for a moment to reflect on the president’s agenda. Things are not looking good.
The wall? It is not built. The president is threatening a shutdown to get it funded and Democrats, along with some Republicans, are excited to blame the president, which they will do and get a 2/3 vote to override any veto.
Tax reform? Not happening now. In fact, congressional Republicans are telling the White House to keep the president as far from it as possible just to improve the chances of getting something.
Obamacare repeal? It’s not going to happen.
Judges? Only five total judges have been confirmed to the entire federal judiciary since John Roberts administered the oath of office to President Trump. Not only that, Anthony Kennedy is not retiring and the word around D.C. among Kennedy’s friends is that he has recoiled at the president’s behavior. Kennedy, who already considers himself an uber guardian of constitutional order, now thinks he cannot leave.
The debt ceiling? The GOP isn’t even going to fight it, just raise it. The national debt will keep going up.
An infrastructure spending bill? There is bipartisan agreement to spend large amounts of taxpayer dollars on all sorts of infrastructure nonsense and they cannot get it passed Congress and cannot get direction from the White House on shaping it.
Not since Pyrrhus of Epirus beat Rome only to be wiped out later because of the irreparable loss of soldiers in his fight have we seen such strategic bungling. The President’s supporters will respond to all of this blaming Congress and congressional Republicans for not helping and Democrats for blocking his nominees.
But Trump himself told us that he would drain the swamp. He told us he would get the best deals. He told us only he could negotiate the best deals. He told us only he could get Washington working again. And all of what is happening right now runs counter to all those promises of performance.
On top of that, Trump has made strategic miscalculations by assuming the congressional GOP presiding over a co-equal branch of government would be his water carriers. He has sabotaged all his good will on Capitol Hill, built up a trust deficit and poured gasoline on already burning bridges.
He might be able to manage the errors and betrayals of others, but he has surrounded himself with yes men who tell him his poop does not stink and he continues his self-immolating behavior.
Thankfully (or not), the man has over three more years to try to get something accomplished, but it is not looking good when his “first 100 days” plans have turned into a first 500 day plan and that 500 day plan looks likely to be a first 1000 day plan, at which point his agenda looks to go the way of Anne Boleyn.
The president’s few great accomplishments have been rolling back Obama era regulations and undoing some, but not all, of Obama’s damaging executive orders. The problem, though, is that much of this will be reversed by a future president. The big wins get scored with legislative victories and there are very few.
It will be a greatly noticed bit of irony if, in voting for Trump to save the judiciary, the GOP actually loses it with a frozen court to a Democrat President in 2021. And if that happens, whether you want to admit it or not, you need to know it will have happened because the president’s behavior so spooked several Supreme Court Justices that they dug in their heels and fought death for time to wait out Trump.
The president and his party’s only saving grace right now is that the Democrats cannot help but express their open contempt for working class voters and people of faith as that party lets the insane take over their asylum.
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