The political world was shaken over the weekend as Donald Trump struck a deal with Chuck and Nancy in a matter of minutes that left Mitch and Paul gaping open-mouthed at the altar. The deal raises the limit on the nation’s credit card into the stratosphere with no concessions, authorizes bloated government spending - including funding for Planned Parenthood - through December 15, and provides Hurricane Harvey relief with no offsets to pay for it anywhere.
In other words, it’s a perfectly terrible, no-good, very bad deal. Liberals all across the fruited plain are doing the happy dance today, while conservatives, paraphrasing Hillary, are asking, “What just happened?”
Well, what happened was, the feckless, weak, spineless, inept, convictionless leadership of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill, who don’t have clue one what to do with political power when they actually have it. You get the sense from the suits in the GOP that they’d actually rather be losers, so they can beat their chests about how bad the liberals are, raise money off their promises to do something about it all, and then secretly hope they lose so they can rinse and repeat.
When voters actually give them majorities in both houses of Congress, they dither around in dizzying circles with no idea what to do. They’re like the dog who caught the car and then has absolutely no idea what to with it.
What they have done is drive Trump right into the arms of their political adversaries. Trump, whether rightly or wrongly, fancies himself a deal maker extraordinaire. He wants to make deals and get things done. He’s waited an excruciating eight months to get something done with the Republican leadership, and has now realized there are no deals to be made there.
They don’t know what they believe and have no intention of keeping their campaign promises (e.g., to burn ObamaCare to the ground). Mussolini reportedly once said about the Italian people, “Governing the Italian people is not impossible, it is merely useless.” Trump has realized the leadership of the GOP must be Italian at heart.
Trump was ready to broker deals with Republicans on repealing and replacing ObamaCare, defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, dramatically reducing illegal immigration, and getting rid of the fake filibuster that lets eight obstreperous Democrats control the political agenda on Capitol Hill. He’s waited eight long months for any signs that the Republican leadership actually believes what they said to get elected. He’s given up looking. Who can blame him?
What’s worse is that Mitch and Paul are not even bothered that Trump flatly ignored them in the Oval Office and did a deal with the Democrats. They were blasé about the whole thing, and even voted for this misbegotten legislation.
Trump’s best friends Chuck and Nancy are willing to deal, and they can find enough Swamp Creatures in the GOP to get things done. More Republicans than Democrats voted for this debt ceiling-spending-relief bill, and Trump and his new best friends will be able to cobble together enough of these renegade Republican votes to get the Democrat agenda pushed right on through.
As Paul Begala put it, “The two just made a deal with the guy who wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ and made it the Art of the Steal. Poor President Donald Trump was lucky he got out of the room with his hair.”
Bottom line: if the GOP leadership actually believed their own platform, and what they claim to stand for, Trump would be willing to make deal after deal with them and enact a conservative agenda. Trump is not an ideologue. He operates on gut instinct. But he wants to get things done. He’d like to get them done with Republicans, because their supposed agenda lines up better with his instincts. But he’s discovering that Republicans don’t actually want to govern.
This all leaves conservatives with a massive case of what one observer called PTSD: Pelosi-Trump-Schumer Disorder. The only cure? A spinal transplant for Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and their fellow Swamp Creatures on Capitol Hill.