Trump Bypasses Ryan and McConnell; Cuts Deal with the Real Congressional Leaders

 

So here’s why PDT bypassed Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and went to work with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on the debt increase: What do you do when you’re a customer and an employee isn’t doing his job? You demand to talk to their supervisor. Which is essentially what Trump did, he went to the people who are actually running the House and Senate.

Ryan and McConnell are all butt-hurt now, but seriously, what was their plan anyway? They were going to cave to the Democrats eventually, they always do. Trump just forced them to cut to the chase.

Congressional Republicans (apart from the Freedom Caucus) are in a perpetual conundrum because they actually want the same things as Congressional Democrats: bigger Government, more spending, mass immigration and cheap labor, and favors for their cronies. But Republican constituencies do not want these things. So, the trick for Republicans like Ryan and McConnell is that they have to fool the voters into thinking they’re against what they are actually for, and for what they are actually against.

It’s much easier for them to do that as Kabuki opposition; they can put forth all kinds of legislation… Obamacare repeal, border security, even modest spending cuts… knowing that Democrats will stop them and then they can shrug and say “Well, we tried.” (This is what is known as “Failure Theater.”)

But when they are the majority in both houses of Congress with a Republican president, it’s a harder for them to advance a Democrat agenda while pretending to oppose it. But still, they manage.

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  1. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    So if Trump gets the Dems to go in for a big-spending deal first, then the GOP can oppose it by trimming it back some token amount and claim a victory. So it’s a win-win for all. If the base says that the cutback isn’t enough, then the congressional GOP leadership can whine about how that’s the best that they can do until there is a GOP supermajority. Pretty slick. I think you’re onto something here.

    • #1
  2. Gumby Mark Thatcher
    Gumby Mark
    @GumbyMark

    So Trump is doing the same thing as McConnell and Ryan would have and that’s a good thing?   Looks like we elected Jeb Bush.

    • #2
  3. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    The Republicans are a major disappointment – they sat on their heels throughout Obama’s tenure, letting him ruin the healthcare system, increase the debt massively, do nothing about containing the rogue regimes, we could go on and on, but it’s as though they are all on the same page with Democrats. I’m starting to believe, given the passed on opportunities given to the Republicans by the voters, that to get anything done, Trump will work with anyone. Standing still isn’t an option – When did Republicans lose sight of the mission?

    • #3
  4. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I’ve long thought Ben Domenech is one of the few pundits with an ounce of sense. I don’t always agree with him, but he always makes a great case.

    Ben Domenech is the one who gets what is going on. From today’s Transom:

    “But let’s be clear about what this pivot is, and what it isn’t. This pivot doesn’t mean Trump will start working with Democrats to get GOP priorities done. That’s absurd. What it means, if applied broadly, is that Trump will dump anything Congressional Republicans favor which represent heavy lift items and instead make his agenda the five to ten most popular things in both parties, with the understanding that the weak-spined GOP will buckle before you, while daring Democrat elites to own the defeat of popular bipartisan ideas in service to their “hashtag resistance” base.”

    “What this amounts to is a triangulation from a position of strength over your own party (technically). It comes from a recognition that the country largely hates the GOP. A combative, populist non-ideological president not hung up on small government budget principles who infuriates the left and says anti-politically correct things and delivers on judges is, as it turns out, what “his own party” wants. The assumption that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell represent some large constituency of Republican voters turns out not to be true.”

    “Mitch McConnell has been the most effective agent of the GOP donor class for a long time – but that’s not the party. The party is the voters. And by that measure, it’s never been McConnell’s party. The conferences he and Ryan represent are simply not proxies for the average GOP voter. So everything they do blows up in their faces and people somehow still don’t seem to understand why.”

    “Congressional leadership thinks if they and Trump disagree, clearly Trump should give way and follow their lead. But why? He beat them, and they couldn’t beat him. The party didn’t go for any of the other candidates because they wanted him. Yet since his inauguration congressional Republicans have acted like they have an equal seat at the table. They don’t have that, and they don’t deserve it. And Trump should stop pretending they do.”

    “An actual pivot would have Trump embracing popular Democratic ideas, often coupling them with popular Republican ideas, and having Democratic votes kill the compromises. What does that look like? DACA for e-Verify. Minimum wage increase for welfare work requirements. Cutting payroll taxes while raising the phase out. Infrastructure billions for employee labor reforms. Universal catastrophic coverage in exchange for regulatory relief to drive down health care prices. The deals are there to be made.”

    And yes I think this is a good thing – an excellent thing.

    • #4
  5. Chris Bogdan Member
    Chris Bogdan
    @ChrisBogdan

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    So Trump is doing the same thing as McConnell and Ryan would have and that’s a good thing? Looks like we elected Jeb Bush.

    Sad!

    • #5
  6. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    This is from the Patriot Post today and I think it is an amusing thought:

     

    “Just for the record, we’ll give the last word to Ted Cruz, who had this to say on the campaign trail in 2016: “If as a voter, you think what we need is more Republicans in Washington to cut a deal with … Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, then I guess Donald Trump is your guy.””

    • #6
  7. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Imagine that.  The populist doing populist things.

    Abolish the debt ceiling.  Its useless.

    • #7
  8. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good.  I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    • #8
  9. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    The debt ceiling was a symbol and leverage with Obama.  President Trump needs to get it out of the way to clear the path for tax reform.  I’d prefer the ceiling stay there as a symbol and reminder, because we must cut  and cut deeply, but it’s just a symbol.  The fact is we shouldn’t  worry about the deficit except for it it shows.   It shows  that we spend to much and save too little and that’s addressed through tax and budget cuts.  Congress can’t do it.   I hope President Trump can figure out how to go about it, but I rather doubt it and the chorus to which he is subjected from both parties and the media offers no guidance.   As always they get everything wrong and it is really difficult to see the light when darkness is in one’s interest.

    • #9
  10. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    Did this deal get us, who voted for Trump, what we want: tax reform, the wall?  Time will tell, I guess.  It was hard to imagine things could get any worse with the GOP leaders in Congress.

    • #10
  11. Umbrasjg Inactive
    Umbrasjg
    @StevenGruenwald

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    When the Freedom Caucus doesn’t have a plan they default to attacking Republicans.  It would explain working with Bannon.  Here’s an honest question: what was the last bit of legislation that originated from the Freedom Caucus?

    • #11
  12. Umbrasjg Inactive
    Umbrasjg
    @StevenGruenwald

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    Did this deal get us, who voted for Trump, what we want: tax reform, the wall? Time will tell, I guess. It was hard to imagine things could get any worse with the GOP leaders in Congress.

    I suspect it will make those things more difficult if not impossible.  You can’t let Schumer and Pelosi write policy.

    • #12
  13. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    That’s exactly the line of reasoning that got us to Trump in the first place

    • #13
  14. Umbrasjg Inactive
    Umbrasjg
    @StevenGruenwald

    People told me that if I didn’t vote for Trump then Schumer and Pelosi would be running the Country.  They were right.

    • #14
  15. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    When the Freedom Caucus doesn’t have a plan they default to attacking Republicans. It would explain working with Bannon. Here’s an honest question: what was the last bit of legislation that originated from the Freedom Caucus?

    What was the last actual conservative piece of legislation supported by McConnell?

    • #15
  16. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    Imagine that. The populist doing populist things.

    Abolish the debt ceiling. Its useless.

    It’s only useless because there are useless people in Congress.    They pass legislation with pie-in-the-sky CBO budget numbers.  The debt ceiling is where they actually have to face facts … this is how much more we spent than we have.  Are you sure you still want to do this?   Unfortunately they continue to say “Yes”.    But it provides a valuable opportunity to – on some happy day – say “No”.   And it provides a public shaming for all those fiscal hawks who never deliver.

    • #16
  17. Umbrasjg Inactive
    Umbrasjg
    @StevenGruenwald

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    When the Freedom Caucus doesn’t have a plan they default to attacking Republicans. It would explain working with Bannon. Here’s an honest question: what was the last bit of legislation that originated from the Freedom Caucus?

    What was the last actual conservative piece of legislation supported by McConnell?

    My favorite was the time as the Minority Leader he made the Dem Hard Left Ideological President actually spend less money than the year before, not just the rate of growth but shrank the size of federal spending.  Not sure if it was a CR fight or Debt Ceiling.  I think annual deficits of $1.4 Trillion “dropped” to about $500 billion.  It was kind of a big deal, in all the papers.  In fact I think that dumb old Mitch stymied President Pen and a Phone so much that he decided to become President Pen and a Phone.

    Oh and Gorsuch…

    • #17
  18. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    So conservatives should not take positions that make the party negotiate with them rather than with liberals?  It’s better not to have clear positions and goals so that the party can cut corrupt deals with the corrupt party amidst the shadows of complexity.  I’m afraid that’s why we call them the stupid party.

    • #18
  19. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Hang On (View Comment):
    “An actual pivot would have Trump embracing popular Democratic ideas, often coupling them with popular Republican ideas, and having Democratic votes kill the compromises. What does that look like? DACA for e-Verify. Minimum wage increase for welfare work requirements. Cutting payroll taxes while raising the phase out. Infrastructure billions for employee labor reforms. Universal catastrophic coverage in exchange for regulatory relief to drive down health care prices. The deals are there to be made.”

    And yes I think this is a good thing – an excellent thing.

    So … when Republicans win they get 50% of what they want, and Dems get 50%.

    When Dems win they get 100% of what they want.

    That explains the last 20 years pretty well.

    • #19
  20. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    What was the last actual conservative piece of legislation supported by McConnell?

    What was the last conservative piece of legislation supported by Chuck Schumer?

    • #20
  21. Umbrasjg Inactive
    Umbrasjg
    @StevenGruenwald

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    So conservatives should not take positions that make the party negotiate with them rather than with liberals? It’s better not to have clear positions and goals so that the party can cut corrupt deals with the corrupt party amidst the shadows of complexity. I’m afraid that’s why we call them the stupid party.

    I’d rather they spend time negotiating with Ryan rather than attacking him from the right.  Listen I want 100% pure Conservative legislation but that ain’t going to fly in a 52-48 Senate and a socially liberal and dare I say fiscally liberal President.  Compromise is required to pass anything.  Better 75% than nothing but that’s not good enough for the FC in too many situations.

    • #21
  22. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    So … when Republicans win they get 50% of what they want, and Dems get 50%.

    When Dems win they get 100% of what they want.

    That explains the last 20 years pretty well.

    With McConnell and Ryan it is a certainty that it would be 0% of what we wanted.

    • #22
  23. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):
    My favorite was the time as the Minority Leader he made the Dem Hard Left Ideological President actually spend less money than the year before,

    Hahahaha!!!!    The Obama budget talking point!    Let’s put this in some context …

    The prior year was the “shovel ready project” year.  Obama had just done a one time stimulus of almost a trillion dollars.    Remember…. one time stimulus.    This means that in the next year – the year you are pointing to – you’d expect that spending would go down by hundreds of billions of dollars!!!   The one time stimulus is over.  Spending was supposed to go down – by a lot!!!   But it only went down a little.    Obama actually spent billions more than you’d expect but bamboozled McConnell and you into thinking he spent less!

    Oh … all that TARP money doled out under Bush got repaid under Obama.   And when it got repaid the Obama administration accounted for those receipts as “negative spending”!!!!   There’s another 100 billion or so.    You and McConnell got played.   Obama pee’d down your backs and convinced you it was raining.

     

    Oh.  And Gorsuch.   If he didn’t do Gorsuch there would have been a recall election in Kentucky.

    • #23
  24. Umbrasjg Inactive
    Umbrasjg
    @StevenGruenwald

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):
    My favorite was the time as the Minority Leader he made the Dem Hard Left Ideological President actually spend less money than the year before,

    Hahahaha!!!! The Obama budget talking point! Let’s put this in some context …

    The prior year was the “shovel ready project” year. Obama had just done a one time stimulus of almost a trillion dollars. Remember…. one time stimulus. This means that in the next year – the year you are pointing to – you’d expect that spending would go down by hundreds of billions of dollars!!! The one time stimulus is over. Spending was supposed to go down – by a lot!!! But it only went down a little. Obama actually spent billions more than you’d expect but bamboozled McConnell and you into thinking he spent less!

    Oh … all that TARP money doled out under Bush got repaid under Obama. And when it got repaid the Obama administration accounted for those receipts as “negative spending”!!!! There’s another 100 billion or so. You and McConnell got played. Obama pee’d down your backs and convinced you it was raining.

    Oh. And Gorsuch. If he didn’t do Gorsuch there would have been a recall election in Kentucky.

    No that would be the “Reconcilliation Bluff Called” Einstein.  You might want to look at a calendar and the Federal spending by year…..

    • #24
  25. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The “so-called” Freedom Caucus has repeatedly demanded perfection and does not understand the adage that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good. I blame the Freedom Caucus for this situation and for the Democrats taking over the House in 2018.

    So conservatives should not take positions that make the party negotiate with them rather than with liberals? It’s better not to have clear positions and goals so that the party can cut corrupt deals with the corrupt party amidst the shadows of complexity. I’m afraid that’s why we call them the stupid party.

    I’d rather they spend time negotiating with Ryan rather than attacking him from the right. Listen I want 100% pure Conservative legislation but that ain’t going to fly in a 52-48 Senate and a socially liberal and dare I say fiscally liberal President. Compromise is required to pass anything. Better 75% than nothing but that’s not good enough for the FC in too many situations.

    It is never wise in a negotiation to preemptively capitulate.  Always better to be clear, simple and insistent until the end and not even signal that there is an end.  But no, public attacks on our own people do not further the agenda but aggressive PR is always essential.   Few of these people have firm convictions so the most immovable has the strongest position and  any of them can be moved with clear public positions sold by Presidents, or people like  Cruz, Sasse, Cotton, Lee. i.e. pressure from the folks, TV appearances making position clear etc.

    • #25
  26. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Umbrasjg (View Comment):
    You might want to look at a calendar and the Federal spending by year…..

    The raw numbers tell you little.

    (1).  The spending numbers themselves are misleading because of the way the administration accounts forTARP repayments.  There are over 700 billion dollars in TARP repayments (including interest) that are masquerading as spending reductions.    They account for TARP repayments as negative numbers on the spending side of the ledger.

    (2).   You have to look at spending with the stimulus in mind and every year ask the question … how much ‘one-time’ stimulus spending was there in last year’s number.    That’s how much – other things being equal – you’d expect to see this year’s spending reduced by.   So as stimulus spending slows and stops total spending is supposed to go down all by itself.

    • #26
  27. derek Member
    derek
    @user_82953

    The Republican Congress had a chance to fix health care but decided that they really didn’t want to. Their political donations went up. (there is a correlation there) They felt empowered by kneecapping Trump. The Never Trump ideal of boxing in the president, strutting about being the ‘adult in the room’ looked like a winner.

    I was wondering what Trump would do. I thought maybe he would publicly encourage primary challenges against recalcitrant Republicans. But that ultimately would be working within the Republican establishment system.

    So he throws the chair through the window. He throws a lifeline to the thrashing and dying Democrats.

    Again, the parochial twits in Washington still haven’t figured out how he made a living. You don’t get paid until the building is built. A successful developer makes it the interest of everyone involved to get the building built, otherwise any malcontent can stop the process. So any bludgeon, any encouragement, any knife, any sweet pastry, anything to get the building built.

    The Republicans acted like every petty bureaucrat with the dreams of significance that tried to stop the great man from building the building. He acted like he always did, steamrolled over them. They didn’t see it coming because they are as stupid as every other petty bureaucrat.

    • #27
  28. Confutatis maledictis Inactive
    Confutatis maledictis
    @Pseudodionysius

    Trump bypassed the Washington Generals and walked over to the Harlem Globetrotters bench and said “I have a different game we could play.”

    • #28
  29. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    Imagine that. The populist doing populist things.

    Abolish the debt ceiling. Its useless.

    Oh, no. It’s quite useful. To Democrats. It lets Congress pretend to be “fiscally responsible” while pinning the blame for even a whiff of a shutdown on Republicans. I’m actually surprised the Democrats are agreeing to it.

    • #29
  30. Chris O. Coolidge
    Chris O.
    @ChrisO

    Drawing out this debate even a day would have been terrible for Republicans. It would have looked like politics for politics’ sake, and playing the game with disaster aid funding. Yeah, that would win the public’s trust back (16% approval among Republicans). This saved the GOP Congress from digging an even deeper hole for themselves. Perhaps they’re also upset they now have some work to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    • #30

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