Friday, September 8, 2017

PTSD - the Pelosi, Trump, Schumer Deal

No--The Omnivore didn't make up that acronym--congressional Republicans were doing the gallows humor thing first.

The Omnivore has read on Twitter that it just passed the house.

What Is It?

Basically a deal to provide Hurricane Relief funding, raise the debt ceiling (for 3 months), and fund the government (for 3 months) and nothing else. It was the deal that the Democrats cut with Trump, angering and flummoxing Ryan and McConnell who were in the same room.

Why Is It Bad?

The PTSD is bad for the GOP because (A) a bunch of their members want to use the Debt Ceiling as leverage to pass otherwise unpopular legislation (force Dems to choose between America's credit rating and funding Planned Parenthood) and (B) because it only puts the problem off for 3 months meaning we'll be back here again in December--the last thing the GOP wants.

For Democrats, it's all good.

Why Did Trump DO It?

Nobody knows. Axios has a list of theories that boil down to:

  1. Revenge - He is fed up with McConnell and Ryan and stuck it to them.
  2. Frustration - Trump wants a win--any win. This was a win.
  3. Likes Schumer - A theory that he likes Schumer (?)
  4. Personal Brand - He can do whatever he wants. Doing what the Dems want will make him popular.
Here's what The Omnivore thinks: The nightmare for the GOP is that Trump has determined that following their agenda will lead to one loss after another. He may not know why that is--but he's figured it out. So he flips over and bathes in good press coverage.

The good press coverage--which he definitely likes (perhaps craves) is due to two sources: The fact that the press likes the Democrats and the fact that he is actually doing things rather than running around like a rat in a procedural maze with no way out.

If that's the case, how would we know exactly?

The Big Lie At The Heart of the GOP

The GOP ceased to be a national governance party some time ago. This is most-visible in the health-care debacle wherein, no only could they not repeal the a health care plan (the ACA) that members of the GOP had said with a straight face was worse than slavery--but they didn't have a clue as to what to replace it with.

We can see this with NAFTA--Trump wanted to tear it up, until he was shown a map illustrating that it helped his voters. The same for the Iran-deal--he was against it . . . but Trump presumably learned / was told that while the deal legitimately grates, it also is our best chance of stopping Iran from going nuclear. Hence: he didn't tear it up.

And so on (if Trump had kept the TPP he'd have leverage against China with regards to North Korea--he disarmed himself because the base doesn't understand the TPP and is against anything Obama does on that principle alone).

Basically it comes down to this: There is no actionable policy that the GOP could hand to Trump. They want to slash corporate tax-rates? Well and good--but do that without blowing a trillion-dollar hole in the budget and what do you do?

(They had a plan to tax money going into 401k accounts--which would, of course, wreck middle-class retirement savings).

They could cut Social Security? Maybe Military spending? No. They tell you they can cut foreign aid and Sesame Street--but that's a lie. Cutting that stuff won't come close to covering the gap.

In fact, it's a lie that our corporations pay one of the highest tax-rates in the world. Our corporate tax rates are high--but our corporations find tons of ways not to pay.

Basically--there is nothing--nothing material--that the GOP can hand to Trump as a viable policy. The Wall? Southern-border politicians (Republicans) generally don't want it. It's a solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist (the GOP base just thinks it does).

So Trump did the only thing that could give him a serious actionable win: he went with the Democrats.

The Nightmare Scenario

What if--WHAT IF--Trump really is the media-obsessed narcissist he's painted as? What if he just wants to be loved? What if he determines that the way to be loved is to join with the Democrats. Partially, yes, because of the liberal media--but mostly because the GOP doesn't actually have any real ideas?

What then?

Well, the fact of the matter is that Trump isn't going to be much of a Democratic hero. He has already crossed the moral event horizon with white supremacists to be fully accepted. But he definitely can win cycles by taking action that is backed by the Democrats--and they have enough unity to provide a powerful voting bloc when he wants them.

The thing to look for is what happens with the next crisis. Can the GOP get its house together in order to present an actionable course of legislation? Or will it just be more signaling and churn?

No comments:

Post a Comment