Seriously, can everybody take off their Trump Derangement Glasses and MAGA Brain-dampening Caps for just a moment and consider the proposition that Trump has done some fine work over the last week?  Yes, yes, I’m sure he said something stupid and offensive and some of you can’t get past the DACA reversal, but I said take off the TDS glasses and look at where things stand with your own eyes.

First, Trump’s response to Hurricane Harvey was superb.  He has avoided any of the flak that (figuratively) drowned Bush in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina.  What he came away with were some terrific photo-ops and that’s not too shabby.  Yes, he is going to have his vacation home in Mar-a-Lago devastated, which has to be some sort of omen, but he’s positioned himself to handle that one as well as can be expected.

While balancing two devastating hurricanes, Trump has also been responding to the threats made by North Korea.  Nothing he has done yet has shut KJU down, but Trump is building an international consensus, ramping up the stakes, and enjoys overwhelming support on this issue at home.  He’s not backing down or kicking the can down the road.  He’s sent the message that this is going to be dealt with for good, one way or another.  That’s a bonus for American prestige.

Next is the whole DACA thing.  Sure, you can be pissed about how Trump is kicking out a bunch of children (he isn’t).  You can call it anything you like, but Trump has set the stage for a big win within the next six months on immigration reform.  Since he’s effectively holding those 800,000 Dreamers hostage, he can get virtually anything he likes included within such a bill.  What could he ask for?  The wall, an end to chain immigration, laws that make it tougher for parents of anchor babies to take up permanent residence, caps on immigration, or Rod Rosenstein’s penis on a silver platter.  If Congress fails to deliver, they take the blame for what happens next.  Trump will have fulfilled a campaign promise by killing DACA and his base will thank him.

Finally, Trump shocked everyone by accepting the Democrats’ deal on raising the debt ceiling for three months.  This is the sort of pivot that Establishment Republicans have been afraid of for months and they’ve pretty much driven him to it with their incompetence and treachery.  Pelosi’s recent civility apparently wasn’t just a symptom of senility.  He’s positioned to make further deals and the GOP Congress is going to find that it has no choice but to play along.   The American people want bipartisanship and action out of Congress.  Trump is going to start looking like the sane and wise one if the GOP doesn’t pull it together.

I want to say I’m not terribly happy about Trump cutting deals with the Democrats.  It’s just that there’s no other way forward.  McConnell and Ryan have already failed enough times that I think it’s perfectly fair for Trump to treat them like they’re already gone.

Don’t misunderstand.  I’m not writing a fawning, kiss ass post here.  Could Trump still screw absolutely everything up?  Yes.  I’d almost be amazed if he didn’t.  Plus the media, once it senses that he’s moving the needle in his favor, will probably start harping on Russia again.  Oh, and we could end up in WW3.  However, Trump has been demonstrating the resolve abroad, the willingness to compromise at home, and the independence of action that he campaigned on and with which he won.

Either he’s been stupidly lucky or he’s finally setting the stage to really govern.  Do you think this week could be a turning point or was it just a blip?  It’s all going to play out in Congress over the next few months.  That’s when we’ll know for sure.

25 comments

  1. I will give him the week of wearing presidential pants. He hasn’t really said anything stupid and he made me laugh shoving a white homer bucket into the cab of a truck. Melania looked fabulous in her custom FLOTUS cap. I am quite happy that we will not be dicking around with budgets and debt ceilings during two back to back major hurricanes.

    So, basically Trump and Congressional Dems +1 and Congressional GOP -1. Ryan and McConnell really need to step it up because Trump is making them look like chumps. It occurred to me this morning that Trump probably could give a shit if Congress is R or D as long as he can make deals.

  2. I will always allow for the idea that Trump could be an effective President. I am not so close-minded that I cannot give credit where it is due. If he does find a way to button up NK once and for all, it’s noteworthy. If he can get Congress to work together again IF ONLY TO SAVE THEIR OWN HIDES, I’ll applaud it. However, I’m absolutely inflexible regarding my opinion of the man as a human being.

    Fair?

  3. Yes. I’ve said a couple of things since the election that I will reaffirm now. If you hate Trump for who he is and can’t move past it, don’t. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong in thinking he’s an amoral sleaze. He is and I voted against him in the primary for a lot of the same reasons many of you did in the general election.

    I do, however, ask that his policies be judged objectively. Do not succumb to TDS or call for making America “ungovernable”. Republicans did this to Obama and it left important issues unresolved when he couldn’t do anything for his entire second term. I’ve written a couple of posts about how this was bad for the country.

    Second point I want to reaffirm is that conservatism is going to be on the ropes by the end of Trump’s presidency, not liberalism. The pivot he’s made to the Democrats is something I’ve expected for months. It’s the GOP’s fault and the Democratic leadership is wise to welcome it. I see nothing but gain for them if things continue their present course.

    Democratic voters should encourage this.

  4. I *love* the idea of turning on Congress. If Trump could go full CNN on Congress and get the American public to go along with it, that would be historic and praiseworthy.

  5. Yea, Trump is an utter scumbag and it colors my opinion of him. He also sometimes doesn’t appear to grasp governing. BUT ..

    I am not a values voter for the most part. I don’t care about your beautiful family or your “values” when it comes to passing legislation and waging wars, etc. Everyone has the same values when they are running for office. If Trump starts hitting issues that are important to me and solves some problems for people that are hurting then I will support those things wholeheartedly. I certainly hope the nation is better off when he leaves than when he got there. Sometimes people seem to waffle on what is important to them based on who is in charge at the time. As Thrill has said, this is a mistake. and results in a system that doesn’t function for the American people.

  6. I firmly believe most Republicans will back Trump over the GOP Congress now. Trump is getting very little criticism from the Right over this deal because we’ve lost confidence in McConnell/Ryan.

    The only way Democrats can screw this up is by attacking their leadership for trying to work with Trump and make compromises where they can for no other reason than “Trump bad”.

    I predict now that not a single Dreamer gets deported and Trump will let Schumer/Reid take credit for however it comes about to protect them from their own voters.

  7. One measure of leadership has always been how a president responds to a crisis. Trump has at least been competent so far, and he has put the pressure on the Republocrats in Congress to actually get something done.

  8. On both Harvey and NK, he’s done ok. Or rather he hasn’t f-ed it up. He could do with stopping promoting his hat that’s for sale on his website though.

    On the Democrats deal, my initial (TDS) opinion was that it looked like he got played. He basically took the first offer in a negotiation. The Dems actually held very few cards here, and he’s put the congressional republicans in a bind.

    Maybe it’s a strategic pivot? A swing to run essentially as a third party president, appealing to the country as a buffer between the Republicans and the Democrats? Trump hasn’t been very strategic so far, even in his business life, so it might be giving him too much credit?

    Be interesting to see how this turns out. My instinct is that it was simply a meeting that Trump got played in. We’ll see more in three months I guess.

  9. On the Democrats deal, my initial (TDS) opinion was that it looked like he got played.

    That was my first reaction, but really it is Ryan and McConnell that got played here. For some reason they keep thinking that Trump is their bitch and that will never be the case. If Trump is truly not beholden to a party we may see something that we haven’t seen before. Who knows?

  10. Maybe it’s a strategic pivot? A swing to run essentially as a third party president, appealing to the country as a buffer between the Republicans and the Democrats?

    The best word is “triangulation”. The link I provided above to the Federalist gives a good rundown of what he might be playing at.

    In my opinion, the debt ceiling argument was unnecessary. It’s going to get raised no matter what. What we would get is weeks of brinksmanship and bitter acrimony in Congress. Republicans would pretend to try to defund Planned Parenthood or something and then….not….and blame their lack of 400 votes in the House and 83 votes in the Senate or something.

    Trump instead put Hurricane Harvey relief front and center in the discussion. He made the people of Houston the winners and elevated what was actually important for the country over petty squabbling.

    Even better, he has now shown both parties that he will deal with either party. Now he can have both the GOP and Democrats competing against each other to put legislation on his desk. He’s effectively turned Ryan, Schumer, Pelosi, and McConnell into Apprentice contestants.

    Trump gave up nothing here. He’s stronger politically than he was a week ago, no doubt, and poised to go higher. If he doesn’t screw it up, of course. The big if.

  11. Remember the lessons of the Fourth Turning! A Crisis doesn’t really end until the faith in public institutions is restored in the eyes of the Hero generation. I can think of nothing better to help bring that to pass than “breaking the wheel” that has paralyzed effective government.

    These debt ceiling fights really have been the worst examples of government irresponsibility and dysfunction in every way. If it ends for good, fantastic.

  12. I agree that’s what he could be doing. But I do think it’s weird that the conservative media is applauding Trump for this strategic genius thats going to allow him to ‘Govern like Clinton’. (H/T Federalist)

    Like, what exactly is the Trump agenda that this is going to serve? I mean if he’s siding with the Democrats to advance their agenda (DACA etc) why are you guys so happy with him?

    There was nothing to gain or lose from a policy perspective – this was all politics. Trump just named the liberals a huge political win. A political win that’s going to help the liberal agenda in the future.

  13. Like, what exactly is the Trump agenda that this is going to serve? I mean if he’s siding with the Democrats to advance their agenda (DACA etc) why are you guys so happy with him?

    It has more to do with us being frustrated with the GOP Congress rather than being enamored with liberal policies. I’ll allow for some version of DACA if, and only if, it includes appropriate caps on immigration and strong enforcement. It’s because the GOP didn’t trust Obama to uphold enforcement that no immigration reform was passed. Trump can pull that off.

    I’m with pfluffy on this one. It wasn’t a “Democrats vs Republicans” thing. It was a Trump vs Ryan/McConnell thing and Trump won. I’m rooting for Trump in that conflict.

  14. It has more to do with us being frustrated with the GOP Congress rather than being enamored with liberal policies

    That’s kind of my point. The policies are the things that make you a conservative, not who you like/hate. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a good thing, just not sure why you do.

  15. Where I think you’re leaving me a bit confused is what exactly you think was “lost” by conservatives here from a policy standpoint. The debt ceiling was going to be raised, no matter what. Whether it’s extended for three months, six, or nine isn’t a make or break issue for all of conservatism.

    Look, I have principles and ideals. I also know that I’m never going to get everything I want. I want strict immigration controls. What I want is far stricter than what the average GOP congressman and possibly even Trump want. I want full Obamacare repeal, deregulation of health insurance, and solutions that actually address the rising costs in health care. The GOP Congress isn’t going to give me that.

    So what do I do? Should I just say, “Well, it’s my way or the highway! I don’t want anything to pass at all!” Of course not. Only little children think that way.

    The challenge Americans have right now is to rediscover compromise. Republicans need to acknowledge that maybe the Democrats are right that we need low-wage earning foreign workers and that the benefits they bring outweigh the costs. Democrats should also recognize that immigration does have costs and we should ensure that we’re not harming citizens’ best interests for the sake of cheaper goods and services.

    Republicans can acknowledge that health care costs are driven by so many variables that a free market solution alone might not work and we need to adopt some Democrat ideas to ensure that the poor and elderly aren’t left to die. Democrats should also recognize that Republicans were right about the unsustainability of health care and that the Republicans might be right that we need to increase competition among the insurance companies to stop them from reaping insane profits as costs rise on American consumers.

    I don’t think I’ve ever said that compromise is a dirty word. Trump isn’t a conservative. He’s barely a Republican. I know this and I voted for him. I did it because I knew I’d get maybe 10% of what I wanted vs 0% from his opponent.

    If I say “Yeah, we’re probably going to have to let Dreamers stay if we want better immigration policy” it doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning conservatism. It means I understand politics. Or at least I think I do.

    The last thing I want to see is major legislation passed with only one party’s support, causing it to ultimately fail as it is undermined at every turn. I don’t want to see the national debt keep spiralling out of control because the parties refuse to work together on a long term budget. I don’t want Social Security to go bankrupt. I would hate to see national policy decided by executive orders that can be thrown out on a whim by the next president. I want the government to work. As a conservative, I don’t think government is the solution to every problem, but I do recognize that it has a proper role and I want to see it function for our people’s benefit. Right now, it isn’t.

    I really hope that you haven’t been reading this blog thinking that I’m some sort of maniac who thinks Republicans are great and Democrats are idiots who must be opposed on all things at all times. Is that really what you think of me? You have to admit that this isn’t how I interact with people who politically disagree with me. People like you. I think conservatives believe some stupid things and I think liberals are right about many issues. I want to know what you have to say. I read what you say and I try to be fair when I evaluate it. You have a totally different perspective and there have been many times you’ve gotten me to think differently about a subject or at least examine my own biases. That’s valuable to me.

    We have to talk to each other. That’s really what RVS is all about. I figure that if we can have a civil conversation about our problems, exchange ideas, and agree on solutions then so should America’s leaders.

    If we’re so locked into dogma like “Well, I’m a conservative and I’ll NEVER accept this because Nancy Pelosi likes it!” then we’re collectively screwed.

  16. A lot of good points here guys, looking back it does seem that Trump had a good week politically.

    Seeing him flip over and siding withe dems on the Debit ceiling, pretty much settled it for me that he will do what ever it takes, even siding with dems over the back stabbing republicans, to push his agenda. The wailing and gashing of teeth in the media over the DACA order, was pretty hilarious, they went on a tear abut how unhuman he was, and if one mentioned how unconstitutional the original EO was you were called . well, pretty much every thing inthe book. In the end he forced congress to do something, but left him self a out at the end of 6 months , where he could “revisit” the issue.

  17. I don’t believe he wants to send the Dreamers back. He’s had 8 months. Could have gotten rid of them at any time. Could have made the deportation order immediate instead of waiting 6 months. Didn’t.

    The knee-jerk reaction was embarrassing from the other side.

  18. Where I think you’re leaving me a bit confused is what exactly you think was “lost” by conservatives here from a policy standpoint

    Nothing from a policy standpoint, but lots from a politics standpoint. Which makes it harder to enact your policy agenda. This is my understanding gained from TDS podcast land.

    The vote to raise the debt ceiling is a chance for people to tack on spending or spending cuts or other policy issues – essentially it’s a chance for the Democrats to hold the Republicans agenda hostage, using the debt ceiling as a game of chicken. The republicans did it with Obama.

    This one was a pretty easy one to get a deal on. By tacking Harvey funding on it, no politician was going to want to be seen denying funding to the people of Texas. So the Republicans went in there with a proposal to raise the debt ceiling until after the 2018 elections. This would mean that Democrats wouldn’t have the chance to derail their agenda by using the debt ceiling vote as leverage until after the midterms.

    Democrats went in with a three month proposal, and Trump took it.

    So now there’s a vote in December that the Republicans NEED Democrats votes on, and the Democrats know that. You want the debt ceiling raised? How about we talk about a minimum wage of $15 and you might get our votes. Nice Global Economy you’ve got there, be a shame if something happened to it. How about we talk about funding for public education, and an increase in food stamps?

    Listen – I totally agree with you on the importance of compromise. On having really honest conversations on what the best solutions are to the problems that face us all. The discussion is what keeps me checking this blog several times a day.

    My point wasn’t to say that you don’t believe in the value of bipartisanship. My point is that Trump wasn’t being bipartisan on solutions to problems.* If this signals the start of a more nuanced discussion on Healthcare, the Economy, Climate Change, Immigration, Security and all the other problems, then great. Awesome. I’ll applaud Trump for being the first president to do that.

    But it looks like what’s happened is that he’s still demanding the GOP agenda, but is making it harder for them to achieve it.

    *NB: If his plan is to compromise with the Democrats and then get rid of the debt ceiling altogether, then I will applaud some very very impressive strategery.

  19. To that, I have to fall back onto something I said in the post. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in Congress. It remains to be seen whether this is a “turning point” or if Trump and the GOP really did give up something for nothing as you’re seeing it.

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