The Freedom Caucus is the tail that aspires to wag a whole country though it represents just a sliver of Americans. Even within the House it’s outnumbered by moderate centrists.
President Trump wrote a book on deals, and so did I. Mine is shorter and didn’t sell quite as many copies, but it was a deep dig into how political agreements are born. The process — slow, plodding, painstaking, strategic, and did I mention slow? — is nothing like what went on with Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Nothing at all.
As a citizen, I’m thrilled by the lightning round between the Republican president and his two Democratic amigos. It feels strange but wonderful to get hurricane aid, keep the government in business and increase the U.S. borrowing limit (sparing the world a financial crisis) — all before we even began to type our traditional angst-ridden headlines about polarization, paralysis and brinksmanship.
As a liberal, I’m also pretty psyched. If Pelosi (the House Democratic leader) and Schumer (her Senate counterpart) are even half the geniuses Republicans seem to think they are, Democrats may be well positioned to help protect undocumented young immigrants in a program Trump just canceled, and to keep a lid on the deliverables to rich people who are anticipating huge tax cuts.
If I were a centrist Republican, I’d be intrigued by this hint of bipartisanship. Could it be that the GOP fever is finally breaking, five long years after Barack Obama predicted it would? If so, all it has taken is Obama’s exit from the stage, absolute Republican power, and a president like Trump.
It turns out that a lot of what Obama did wasn’t so god-awful. The problem was who did it (him) and in some cases how he did it — executive actions or, heaven forbid, party-line votes. Quick, pass the smelling salts.
The latest of many examples is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In the absence of congressional action on a new immigration law, Obama unilaterally started a permit system so people brought here illegally as children could work and study without fear of deportation. The conservative backlash was ferocious.
But now that Trump has canceled it, with a six-month grace period for Congress…