September 7th, 2017

Trump and the debt ceiling

Trump trumps the GOP in Congress:

Republicans and Democrats alike were left scratching their heads after the president did a deal with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the express wishes of the most senior members of his own party.

Trump signed up to terms proposed by the Democrats on government funding, which would soon have run out, and the nation’s debt ceiling, which would soon have been hit.

Crucially, another funding measure and another hike in the debt ceiling will be required before the end of the year.

That’s a big problem for GOP leaders including Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who wanted a longer-term deal, kicking the next likely debt-ceiling increase beyond the midterm elections in November 2018.

Why did Trump do it?

People in his orbit say that the president was demonstrating to GOP leaders that they do not have the whip hand — and that, if they repeatedly fail to move his agenda, the commander in chief is willing to look elsewhere.

“I think it’s a warning shot,” said Barry Bennett…

Separately, a GOP strategist with ties to the White House said that the president was “triangulating.” Trump’s overall aim, this source said, was “to show voters that [Congressional Republicans] are the real problem with Washington and that progress can be made if the will is there.”

Beyond the ranks of Trump loyalists, however, the dominant reaction was one of perplexity.

Trump loyalists, who defend whatever he does—and who usually are also people who have long been angry at Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnnell—have no problem defending this move of Trump’s and seeing it as in line with their own desire to stick it to the latter two, even if it hurts the right’s cause. So they would be eager to see Trump as doing something they want to do in the personal sense—giving the finger to Ryan and McConnell no matter what the issue.

Everyone else, however, should realize that this is what you get when you elect a guy like Trump. I spent the better part of a year documenting a few things that I’ll now review, and I’ll add a few other thoughts as well:

(1) Trump has no reliable coherent conservative philosophy. Everything he does that is conservative is gravy, and I’m grateful for it, but there is no point in relying on him to be conservative. All bets are always off with Trump.

(2) Trump is inconsistent on a lot of things. During the campaign year I called him “mutable,” and that is exactly what he is. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t sometimes do exactly what he said he would do. But you can’t rely on it. In fact, I believe he really really likes to surprise people.

(3) Trump is a New Yorker with a history of liking some big government functions. He knows Schumer quite well. It should be no surprise if he works with him sometimes and gives him what he wants.

(4) Slightly off-topic, but this “mutable” history of Trump’s is especially true of DACA, a topic on which he’s been all over the map but has signaled time and again that he is mostly inclined to go easy on DREAMERS.

(5) Trump’s supporters will rationalize whatever he does.

The article I linked goes on to offer these quotes:

“I find [Trump’s actions on the debt ceiling] very difficult to understand,” said Doug Heye, a former communications director for the Republican National Committee. “Clearly a long-term Republican majority and the long-term health of the Republican Party are not priorities for Donald Trump.”

Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former aide to ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), pronounced himself “absolutely mystified.”

Manley added: “One of the things it shows me is that [Trump] just doesn’t care or understand how the Hill operates. There is nothing the Republican leadership hates more than rounding up votes for the debt limit. And he has now forced them to take votes twice on it.”

I think the heart of the matter is this: “Clearly a long-term Republican majority and the long-term health of the Republican Party are not priorities for Donald Trump.”

Nor are they priorities for most of his supporters. I’ve spent years blogging and fielding comments from people on the right—or who consider themselves to be on the right—who hate and despise the GOP and have wished for and even worked for its demise. They’re the “burn it down” crowd, and in the main they voted for Trump because they felt he was an instrument to further that goal. I’m not at all sure he shares their “burn it down” sentiments; his actions seem more sporadic to me than that. But I would imagine that many of his supporters think he shares their sentiments and is actively working for such a goal.

So the only surprise to me is why anyone would be surprised at this latest development.

56 Responses to “Trump and the debt ceiling”

  1. Dave Says:

    have been saying for a long time that Trump needs to do just that, use the democrats to check and balance his own party. Should have negotiated a deal with moderate democrats to repeal and replace Obamacare and shut out the hard right elements of the republican party.

  2. Richard Saunders Says:

    “So the only surprise to me is why anyone would be surprised at this latest development.”

    Only those who think that having an (R) after your name and a capitol office gives you an excuse for not accomplishing anything!

  3. Oldflyer Says:

    Who is this Dave who seems to think there are moderate Democrats who would work with Trump to repeal and replace Obamacare?

    I think what the country most needs at the moment is consistency. What we have borders on chaos; and a trajectory that seems to be heading toward greater chaos.

    McConnell and Ryan have become favorite whipping boys. Trump can score easy points by undercutting them. I hope, but am not confident, that he is thinking about where that leads.

  4. physicsguy Says:

    Trump is not really a Republican. He is a 3rd party president who happened to run under the GOP banner. So seeing him doing this is not really a surprise to me.

    I also read something today that this move also allows Harvey relief money to more easily move forward. I don’t know if that’s true, but it would seem a good reason, both politically and humanitarian, to raise the debt ceiling. And with Irma on its way, the same issue will arise late next week.

    And yes, I’m one of those who despises McConnell, and less so Ryan. I’m fairly fed up with the GOP. So it that sense I have become much more forgiving of whatever Trump does lately.

    Kurt Schlichtler’s columns continually express what is becoming my viewpoint on the GOP.

  5. Yancey Ward Says:

    I think it was the exact right move for Trump.

    Nothing is preventing the Republicans in Congress from crafting and bringing to a vote a longer term debt limit bill, if that is what they really want to do. That there seems to have been no movement at all for the last 3 months on the issue, I do have to question what Ryan’s and McConnell’s intentions are in this regard.

    If it were a Democrat in the White House, I wouldn’t have to guess at their motivations- it would be try to force the president to sign some other legislation along with the limit raise, forcing a veto and government shutdown, in which they would eventually cave in anyway. Their stated rejection of tying the debt limit bill to other, far more popular legislation, though argues against this. Based on this, I think Trump looked at it and decided it was better to kick the can down the road a bit until the leadership decides what it wants to do.

  6. Tuvea Says:

    It seems it was only on back on Monday that the d’s thought President Trump was literally worse than Hitler.

    And now they are making deals with him?

    Scott Adams has been consistently calling things correctly since at least last August. Wow!

  7. BrianE Says:

    While they are probably miffed at the snub, I imagine Ryan and McConnell are secretly relieved since it takes off the table any leverage the Freedom Caucus and other conservatives have for spending reductions.

    Yes, that will be revisited before the 2018 elections, but how about we do something novel– pass a budget for 2018, instead of continuing resolutions.

    I’m guessing the Trump administration considered the debt ceiling fight with conservatives an obstacle for passing infrastructure spending or tax re-adjustment.

    I see three main areas where interests of the GOP– Republicans and Conservatives don’t align.

    Social policy
    Economic policy
    Foreign policy

    So far President Trump has aligned with conservatives on Social policy.

    He’s not going to get much support from conservatives on some economic policy– infrastructure spending or healthcare spending, but should get agreement on overall government spending levels.

    This is a conundrum, of course. The Trump administration sent a budget that actually, really reduced spending– which was immediately shot down by the GOP. He can still affect the growth of government by not spending all the money appropriated (is that constitutional?)

    I suspect Trump is trying to gain leverage in the future for some grand bargain on the budget. Whether anything will change during the year remains to be seen.

  8. expat Says:

    I get a little annoyed with the “real conservatives” who seem to prefer stomping their feet to making arguments that would win over voters for better reps in congress. Ryan and McConnell both have to deal with the cats they have to herd. Why aren’t more people working to elect cats that agree with them and represent their voters.

    I don’t know whether you read the Ann Coulter piece at Frontpage today, but she seems to think immigration is the only issue that brought voters to Trump. This is all too typical today on the right–my issue is the only thing that counts. As if judgeships, jobs, and taxes weren’t important.

    I didn’t start off in the Trump camp because I found him too unprepared (and because I am not impressed with gold-plated bathroom fixtures). When it came to a choice between him and Hillary, there really wasn’t a choice. I’ve been happy with Trump’s cabinet appointments, but I still don’t trust him to always make good decisions. I also don’t mind him upsetting a few apple carts, but he has to learn when to stop tweeting.

  9. parker Says:

    I agree this latest move by djt is not surprising. There is not a conservative molecule in his body. So yes, raise the debt ceiling to 25 or even 50 trillion and pile up unfunded liabilities from the current 200 trillion to 500 trillion. Happy days are here again until the day _______.

  10. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    It’s even simpler than what Neo proposes. Trump is one of those “busy” managers who is constantly fluttering about. They don’t really work at the real job but are busy none the less.

    This little exercise with the Democrats kicks things down the road 90 days so Trump doesn’t have to put up with whatever Kelly has been reminding him needs to get done. It also allows him to take the spotlight away from others for a while which he can’t stand.

    Never fear though, someone in the world who does have a fundamental philosophy (even if truly evil) will force a serious situation on the President soon enough.

  11. blert Says:

    How many times do I have to post it: Trump’s a Conservative Democrat.

    Like Reagan, he has no problem with FDR’s welfare state.

    As for triangulation… yup… pure and simple.

  12. Oldflyer Says:

    Wow, my lack of sophistication–compared to other commenters–is shocking. I apparently do not understand the long game that Trump is playing the way that they do. It seems to me that he is wobbling all over the place. Yes, he has done some good things, and I appreciate those. Yes, he talks about doing others good things one day, then modifies his position the next.

    It seems to me that if the Democrats wanted to cooperate to replace Obamacare with a better plan for the American people, they would have worked with McConnell and Ryan. I would think that if the President were serious about it, he would try to coalesce elements of his own party, then approach those mythical moderate Democrats with a coherent plan and united front. (There is nothing to prevent him and his HHS from drafting a plan and presenting it to the Congress for consideration.)

    When I look at the history of the Democrat Party, at least since the era of Reid, Pelosi, and Schumer, all I see are characteristics of the Communist Party or the Nazi Party; i.e. none dare deviate from the party line. And the party line has nothing to do with cooperation. So, I see glee on the faces of Schumer and Pelosi as they watch a President at odds with the party that elected him, and the opportunity to drive a wedge between this President and the Republican Congress. Yes, despite the mythology, the GOP got him elected. He benefited greatly from the maligned moderate local and state GOP organizations in key states, and tens of millions of us voted for Trump, despite misgivings, simply because he was the GOP nominee; and not part of the alternative party.

    Well, sophistication is overrated. Too late anyway. We are up the creek, and searching for a paddle.

  13. Ymar Sakar Says:

    There are two strategic options for the Alt Right. They can burn down the GOP purge it, and use the Alinsky hijack technique comparable with gramsci, which worked for feminist patriotic institutions and civil rights equality movements.

    Alternatively, they could form their own independent third wing, by engineering the collapse of the GOP. Two party system is only stable because there looks to be two choices. If they negate An American’s view of Democrats and Republicans, then what choice do they have except with the ALt Right?

    Some of the factions are going for 1 and the other for 2, but either way, they can end up with a solution to burn down the establishment. That isn’t the goal, but merely the way to get to the goal.

  14. Jim Doherty Says:

    This is hilarious, from a conservative stand point. I know the demorats are gonna crow, but they are just making it that much easier for conservatives to say DJT is not one of us, he is more one of you.

    Going to be real hard for the Democrats to demonize him as racist when they all all come over to the white house for the signing ceremony next year.

    Cant blame him for lookin out for himself, the repubs in the congress have done the same thing.

    The 2018 midterms will be interesting, especially if some indictments on Democrats start to fall out around then.

    Course they are ignoring the whole Menendez trial easily enough so maybe it does not really matter what happens when Comey and a few other leakers from Obama admin gets the ax.

  15. Richard Saunders Says:

    Brian E– could you possibly explain what the Congressional Republicans’ Economic Policy is? I know it’s not repealing and replacing Obamacare, and I know — at least for many — it’s not enforcing the immigration laws to keep low-wage workers out of the US. I’ll bet you it’s not for tax reform either.

  16. BrianE Says:

    Richard Saunders– Do Republican leaders have an economic plan? Got me.

    I think it’s basically “we’re for just a little less than the democrats.”

    In addition to the things you mentioned they appear to not be for, add infrastructure spending and cutting government spending overall.

    I’ll repeat what others have said. Trump isn’t a Republican. His interests align on some things and not on others. The mythical Democrat congressmen that might support him on a few issues– no longer exist as the Democrats appear to have gone full socialist.

    In addition to Trump’s immigration stance, his pledge to nominate conservative judges was key to electing him. While many were skeptical about his pledge, I was confident he would keep that promise.

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Look at this picture, it tells the story. There’s only one principle in this picture who’s not happy and it’s not McConnell.

  18. parker Says:


    At least Pelosi is not kneeling on the sofa.

  19. Kyndyll G Says:

    I’ve said, and I know others have as well, that Trump had two big choices to make about running for President: one was, whether to run, and the other was whether to run as D or R. The guy is not a conservative.

    But – even if only 1% of the actions he takes please me, that’s more than I would have been pleased with the actions of Hillary, who was dangerous to middle-class working US citizens in every possible way. And when it comes down to it, when we walked into the voting booths last November, Hillary or Trump were the only possible winning outcomes.

  20. Ann Says:

    On a purely personal level, Trump and Schumer have got to be simpatico. Trump vis-à-vis Ryan and McConnell not so much so. A truism to say this matters a lot in politics.

  21. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Richard Saunders
    The Congressional Republicans Economic Policy is to keep on getting a paycheck without having to do anything like leading.

  22. Romey Says:

    Trump is not a Republican. Never has been. The best part of Trump’s Presidency is it’s not Hillary’s Presidency. The Donald has done things I really like, he has also done things I really don’t like. I fully expect this pattern to continue.

  23. chuck Says:

    > There is not a conservative molecule in his body.

    Fiscally, you could say the same about Reagan. I recall George Will saying that the budget would be balanced because the Reagan tax cuts would lead to 7% growth, so it was just fine to ignore entitlements. Yeah, George was sniffing unicorn farts.

    I honestly haven’t a clue how to fix entitlements. I’d personally be happy with means testing, but politically it seems that nothing works. Oh well, I’ll be dead …

  24. ColoComment Says:

    I’m sure not as politically aware as most here, but when I heard of Trump and the Dems’ agreement this morning, I thought to myself, “He’s *(a) getting $$ to Houston (and probably FL+), and **(b) he’s again setting a deadline for Congressional action.
    Was Trump supposed to wait [again, interminably, as with Obamacare] while both Repubs & Dems posture and prance and procrastinate and, finally, punt? Maybe this agreement is not a sign of “surrender” to the horrors of the Left agenda, but perhaps merely a relatively painless tactical maneuver to highlight that he’s got alternatives to the dilatoriness of Ryan and McConnell and their herd of cats called a Republican Congress?

    *(a) What’s the point of dickering over political advantage points when Houston needs federal assistance, and we don’t know what kind of damage Irma is going to do to the SE? Get them money and it’s a winner.
    **(b) Just like the DACA decision, Trump is saying to Congress, “I’ll give you some time to do something on your own w/r/t debt ceiling, but it’s not open ended. Get off your heinies and legislate: raise it, lower it, terminate it, but do SOMETHING. It’s YOUR job, not mine!” That Congress will be faced with that “something” before the next election is simply asking them to take a stand, on the record, and live with the consequences. Too bad, so sad.

    Ryan and McConnell have made it quite obvious that neither wants anything to do with Trump, his administration or his agenda, or to lend him any consequential assistance in governing. Trump saying, “Pretty please,” simply won’t cut it. I think he’s figured out a way to bounce pass that ball back into their court, with the clock running. Let’s see if they lose the ball or score.

  25. Jim Miller Says:

    If you haven’t seen Michael Ramirez’s RINO cartoon, you really ought to look at it.

    An image search with this string: “Michael Ramirez + RINO + Trump” should get you there.

    In recent years I know of only two prominent politicians who could be called RINOs — if you are using ordinary dictionary definitions: Ron Paul and Donald Trump.

  26. parker Says:


    Where to start? No one in DC will ever admit ever growing debt and ever growing unfunded liabilities can not be cured by evermore debt and evermore growth in unfunded liabilities. Same goes for the elites across the globe and 80 percent of the population. That which can not be sustained shall fall. This is how empires fall, how civilizations crash and burn. It always ends up in chaos, the death of 80% of the population, and darkness for a few centuries. Curently, Venezuela is the latest test case study.

    And it might come to pass sooner than you are willng to acknowledge. “Gentlemen prepare to defend yourselves.”

  27. parker Says:

    The elephant in the room, the bull in the china shop, and last of all the 3 monkeys. Can eventually falls into the abyss. If anyone sees a remedy speak up now or forever bite your tongue.

  28. Jim Miller Says:

    You can evaluate a leader’s actions by different standards. For instance:

    Does this action make the leader feel good? (Or me, because he attacked people I dislike.)

    Is this action good for my party?

    Will this action further my ideoloigical goals?

    Is this action good for the nation and the world?

    And so on.

    More than a few Trumpistas appear to use the first.
    Democratic leaders seem to think Trump helped their party by this agreement. The agreement will make it a little harder for Trump to work with the Republican-controlled Congress. If you think the conservative causes the Republicans favor would be good for the party, the nation, and the world, you’ll regret that.

    (Some Trumpistas even seem to think he ought to be protected by a “Lèse-majesté” law.)

  29. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    Since you insist that we ‘speak now or forever hold our peace’, I shall. If Trump fails, we will be reduced to but one last curative; another “Oliver Cromwell” will be needed to prune the body politic and right the ship of state.

  30. kevino Says:

    RE: “Clearly a long-term Republican majority and the long-term health of the Republican Party are not priorities for Donald Trump.”

    Clearly a long-term Republican majority and the long-term health of the Republican Party are HIGHLY UNLIKELY.
    Given the fact that GOPe doesn’t have any principles, other than making the Ruling Class rich and destroying the Constitution, I’m not going to support any RINOs next year. Or anytime in the future. Voting for GOPe is counter productive. They have proven themselves to be brainless, gutless, and useless.

    Furthermore, I didn’t vote for President Trump, and I’m not a fan. But I understand why he would reach out to democrats. He’s giving the GOP the same level of support that they’ve given him. And why not work with the democrats? The republicans don’t appear to be able to do anything useful.

  31. steve walsh Says:

    This is probably a bit tangential to the discussion, but why do we bother having a debt ceiling if all they ever do is raise it when it’s reached? Clearly there is a majority that thinks it pointless; there’s always some great reason to increase it. The ones in Congress that truly want to address the Federal debt are a small, small minority.

  32. Bill Says:

    I think I would just ask for consistency. Many Trump-followers have spent the last year extolling how he fights, doesn’t give an inch, etc. I’ve been told that we can’t give an inch to the Left because if we do they’ll take a mile, etc. ,etc., etc.

    Do you realize that Trump is in the process of doing something absolutely amazing (and it was predicted. I certainly predicted it) – he’s destroying the GOP. His own followers are promising not to vote GOP”e” (whatever that means) and Trump himself is talking about primarying his own party’s senators.

    Effectively, in the race to see who Trump followers hate the most, between Democrats and the majority of the GOP, the GOP wins. The bad news is that this, in effect, means that the Democrats win. Doesn’t it?

    Do you see a 2018 with Republicans actually gaining seats, at this point? This is an honest question.

    Do Trump-followers think Democrats like Trump and will work with him for conservative policies? Sure, they will work with him to further their own agendas, and I guess we can call that a “win” if by “winning” we mean whatever’s good for Trump.

    I’ve never seen anything like this. The most ardent Trump followers in the media are repudiating things that they would have never repudiated just a year or two ago. This is the definition of a cult of personality. I almost could come to respect Ann Coulter who, after writing the ridiculously titled In Trump we Trust has at least stuck to her core principles and called him out when he has broken his promises.

  33. OldTexan Says:

    I have not had a seconds remorse for voting for Trump, I knew he was a mixed bag of crazy but now we have a conservative in the Supreme Court and we don’t have Hillary for president continuing Obama’s policies.

    Republicans also have a majority of the house and senate seats and some of those might have been on Trump’s coat tails. Special interest groups turned out for Trump and they were not present for Hillary in large enough numbers so we had the grand upset and anyone who thinks we voted in a conventional Republican President with strong ties in the Grand Old Party is denying reality. Trump is the Not-Hillary wild card and I suspect might turn out to be a Joker.

    I started out a Conservative Democrat over 50 years ago when most all of the South were registered Democrats electing mostly conservatives who reined in the Commie Yankees Democrats from the North. We also had wild cards like LBJ and 1963 was a pivotal year for the shift of conservatives in the South from the Democratic party to the Republican.

    I think perhaps we are on the cusp of another shift and I have no clue how this will play out but for the moment I am glad we don’t have Hillary and who the heck knows what will happen after this next hurricane moves up Florida and leaves a terrible mess of destruction to pile on the Texas mess. These few weeks right now might become the defining moment for Trump with the performance of the Federal Government as a make or break situation.

    George W. had 9-11 and the subsequent overseas adventures in nation building that became eclipsed by Katrina when he caused half of New Orleans to drown, at least that was the way it played out. Now Trump is going to be hopping all over the place to avoid getting blamed for the one, two 2017 hurricane disaster of the history of all time.

    I suspect every elected official is going to work the system to come out looking good and of course as usual they will leave the check on the table for others to pay the bill. I blame all the professional politicians and their oversize fleet of staffers who are primarily interested in their own next election run and having enough voters to remain in office, often by hook or crook.

    Here in Texas we are stretched to the max with years of rebuilding and now we as a nation are looking at Florida to see what happens in the next few days which most likely will be worse. Folks this is a big damn deal.

  34. The Other Chuck Says:


    As much as the idea of an Oliver Cromwell may give us last ditch hope, I doubt some strong man on a horse would save us. If it reached that point we’d be ripe for a civil war. While the radical left is itching for it they don’t have enough of a following, yet. My biggest worry is a serious economic downturn while Trump is in office. The haunting Yeats’ verse that Neo has quoted comes to mind:

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    That last The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity is so true of our situation. We’re led by a man of no conviction while hordes of thugs rampage.

  35. Jim Miller Says:

    “Republicans also have a majority of the house and senate seats and some of those might have been on Trump’s coat tails.”

    Actually, if there were any coattails, they were “reverse” coattails since Trump ran behind the Republicans, nationally. For example, Republican House candidates won the popular vote, nationally, 49.1-48.0 percent, while Trump was losing it by about 2 points.

    It’s nearly certain, in my opinion, that Kelly Ayotte would have kept her NH Senate seat, if the Republicans had had a better candidate at the top of the ticket.

    (I have been documenting the reverse coattails in a series of posts this year. I suppose I should finish up the series and summarize it, soon. But here’s the bottom line: There is good reason to believe that Trump won because he was pulled across the line by more popular Republicans in crucial states.)

  36. ColoComment Says:

    “Do Trump-followers think Democrats like Trump and will work with him for conservative policies? ”

    No, give us some smidgen of credit: Schumer and Pelosi are as sleazy as ever, and their ultimate motive will always be to return to majority power. But they, too, are under the gun to show something positive, anything, to their constituents. “A Better Deal” slogan won’t get them there….

    It used to be that the parties COULD work together in a positive way, even as they mutually recognized that each was working in its own self-interest, so long as they could point to a national interest being served. We now have gotten to the point where they refuse to do the nation’s work if it would in any manner give points to the other party.

    If Schumer and Pelosi are willing to allow Trump to glean the benefit of timely funding of Harvey-rebuild money, then Trump would be stupid to refuse to accept that gift when a shorter debt ceiling extension is a relatively small price for a bit of political comity.*

    To stand on rigid principle and refuse to “deal” with Schumer and Pelosi, and deprive Texas of necessary assistance, would be, as my mother might have described it, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

    * frankly, this reminds me just a titch of the Reagan-O’Neill times — obviously the Dem positions are diff., but if we can return to a political environment where at least the parties TALK to each other instead of spewing acrimony, ’twill be an achievement.

  37. arfldgrs Says:

    funny stuff.
    but its only for three months
    and it takes everything off the table that the dems can use to negate his arguing to pass things… ie. they cant be too busy now…

    so he played them and most dont get it

    in fact, most are so used to the kabuki fake wrestling they get the real deal gamester things completey wrong!!!!!!!!!!

    on another note, today
    1945: U.S. troops land at Inchon to establish a military transitional government and to prevent further Soviet expansion in Korea. A month earlier, the Soviet Union violated an agreement not to declare war on Japan and had invaded Japanese-held Korea. Following Japan’s surrender, the new country was split at the 38th Parallel with the Russians administering the north and the Americans, the south. Five years later, North Korea will invade the South, once both superpowers have left the peninsula, to reunite Korea under the flag of communism.

  38. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    “Effectively, in the race to see who Trump followers hate the most, between Democrats and the majority of the GOP, the GOP wins. The bad news is that this, in effect, means that the Democrats win. Doesn’t it?

    Do you see a 2018 with Republicans actually gaining seats, at this point?”

    Yes, it does and the GOPe knows it. No way do Republicans gain seats in 2018. But then, they prefer to be the minority party.

    The Other Chuck,

    “Desperate times call for desperate measures”. When all that is left is a last ditch hope, doubt that a strong man can save us is a given.

    “We’re led by a man of no conviction while hordes of thugs rampage.”

    You’ll recall that I prefaced that IF Trump failed, all that would be left is the ‘remedy’ of an Oliver Cromwell. It’s a given that a “man of no conviction” cannot be an Oliver Cromwell. And, only from a civil war can a Oliver Cromwell emerge.

    IF Trump fails, a civil war is almost a certainty. Our RINO oligarchy hasn’t the passionate commitment necessary to stop the Left and the Left will not stop in its drive to eviscerate our Constitutional liberties. That is a formula guaranteed to precipitate an irresolvable conflict.

  39. Jim Miller Says:

    Ordinarily we judge presidents in part by their legislative successes, fairly or not.

    Trump’s failures in working with Congress are largely the result of his flawed character and his incompetence.

    It turns out that the man whose name is on “The Art of the Deal” is lousy at making them.

    Worse, by his continuing interference, he is making it harder for real leaders like Ryan and McConnell from getting their work done.

  40. Bill Says:

    “No, give us some smidgen of credit”

    Depends who “us” is. The Bill Mitchell wing of Republican punditry is still firmly in the 4 dimensional chess delusion – which means they’ve quit using their brains and Trump can absolutely do no wrong. If he started supporting single-payer and open borders they would argue that his “long game” is just too inscrutable for us mortals. I’ll give you credit but I won’t give any credit to people like that. They are being conned by an open con man.

    To stand on rigid principle and refuse to “deal” with Schumer and Pelosi, and deprive Texas of necessary assistance, would be, as my mother might have described it, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

    Agreed. But I’ve heard a long cascade of pro-Trump arguments that have eviscerated the “RINO’s” and “Squishes” who even hinted at compromise with the left. Most of the hatred I’ve heard regarding the so-called GOPe is because they’ve done deals exactly like Trump just did with the Democrats.

    Think the Democrats don’t have more leverage now?

    Trump also has telegraphed that if the Republicans don’t pass DACA he will go ahead and re-instate it anyway. He tweeted out that the DACA folks don’t need to worry. (I personally support DACA, btw). He had set it up to use the rescinding of DACA as leverage, but gave that up. I’m beginning to think Trump’s main motivation is not conservative policy but just punishing Republicans.

    Republicans own congress and the Presidency. A straightforward, clean bill for Harvey/Irma relief should be an absolute no brainer with no need to cut deals with Democrats.

  41. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Jim Miller,

    “Trump’s failures in working with Congress are largely the result of his flawed character and his incompetence.
    Worse, by his continuing interference, he is making it harder for real leaders like Ryan and McConnell from getting their work done.”

    Certainly Trump’s difficulties in dealing with Congress are somewhat self-inflicted. That said, to claim that Ryan and McConnell are “real leaders” is to reveal yourself to either be a fool or a troll.


    Isn’t this,
    “I’ve heard a long cascade of pro-Trump arguments that have eviscerated the “RINO’s” and “Squishes” who even hinted at compromise with the left. Most of the hatred I’ve heard regarding the so-called GOPe is because they’ve done deals exactly like Trump just did with the Democrats.”

    A direct contradiction of this,
    “Republicans own congress and the Presidency. A straightforward, clean bill for Harvey/Irma relief should be an absolute no brainer with no need to cut deals with Democrats.”?

    What metric do you use to distinguish between Republican compromise with the dems and surrender to the dems?

  42. Jim Miller Says:

    Geoffrey Britain – If you have a rational argument, make it — but skip the name calling.

    One example of leadership: The biggest succes for the Republicans so far this year is Neil Gorsuch. The leader who deserves the most credit for that: Mitch McConnell.

    Those interested in learning something about the successes Ryan and McConnell have had in the past should, at the very least, read their Wikipedia biographies, flawed as those may be.

  43. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Bill’s comment serves as rebuttal;
    “Republicans own congress and the Presidency. A straightforward, clean bill for Harvey/Irma relief should be an absolute no brainer with no need to cut deals with Democrats.”?

    Ryan and McConnell can pass almost anything they wish. There’s no need to get democrats on board for anything. Approving one SC justice does not make the case that they are doing thier jobs.

  44. Irv Says:

    What many don’t seem to realize is that the Republican Party split in the early 2000’s under Bush. That was the start of the Tea Party which was a conservative revolt against the policies of a big-government establishment.

    Conservatives continued to vote with the Republicans as the lesser of the two evils because they didn’t have the power to choose a third way. As the third party grew in numbers and strength there were some early attempts to force the Republicans to come back to conservative principles. One good example was when Senator Cruz tried a filibuster against Obamacare. Unfortunately he was not joined by other Republicans and the effort failed.

    So he third party continued to grow and in the presidential election they coalesced around a non-establishment candidate. Trump won solely because he was not an establishment Republican or Democrat. He was a businessman with a record of success, and like so many true businessmen, he has a strong pro-freedom and anti-regulatory bias. Those characteristics, and the fact that he had a chance, made him a perfect choice for the third party.

    Many Republicans voted for Trump for the same reasons that many conservatives voted for people like McConnell and Ryan; they were the lesser of the evils available. There were at least some redeeming factors for Trump such as the promise of a conservative Supreme Court justice, a preference for a strong military, an America-centered foreign policy and a strong free market bias.

    Now that Trump is in office he’s acting just like a businessman who wants to get things done. He realizes that he’s not always going to get his way completely but he will get it in the long run if he keeps making deals with anyone who will work with him. Ryan and McConnell have shown that they are incapable of offering him anything he wants so he gets a little of what he wants elsewhere. It reminds me of the country song ‘When I’m not with the one I love; I’ll love the one I’m with’.

    So here we are now. The third party still isn’t strong enough but if it keeps making inroads into the Republican Party then it will slowly bring it around. You’ll know this is happening when Ryan and McConnell either start producing legislation or are removed from their power positions. Does anyone remember Eric Cantor? Trump will keep making deals with whoever can produce legislation for him. His preference is the Republicans but he’ll take deals wherever he finds them as long as he gets something in the bargain.

    If Trump is successful enough with the economy and foreign policy and disaster recovery then the next election will bring a larger Republican majority and there will be more and more pressure on Ryan and McConnell to produce. If the Republicans lose strength in the next election then Ryan and McConnell will take the blame and Trump will continue making deals with the Democrats.

    Either way Trump will be okay. It’s up to us to make it okay for conservatives as well. We can do that by continuing to put pressure on Ryan and McConnell to produce legislation. What matters to voters is if they produce, not how they produce. If they have to get rid of the filibuster to do it then they need to show their devotion to the people is greater than their devotion to Senate tradition. The Democrats have shown their devotion to their base repeatedly but the Republicans haven’t.

    The future is up to us and we shall reap what we sow in the next year or so.

  45. Ira Says:

    I agree with neo-neocon’s essay.

    expat Says:
    September 7th, 2017 at 3:09 pm
    . . . . When it came to a choice between him and Hillary, there really wasn’t a choice. . . . I also don’t mind him upsetting a few apple carts, but he has to learn when to stop tweeting.


  46. Ira Says:

    I meant my first sentence to read,
    “I agree with neo-neocon’s essay, and Irv’s September 8th, 2017 at 1:13 pm comment. “

  47. ColoComment Says:

    I guess the “deal” wasn’t THAT abhorrent after all (text lifted verbatim from a comment at Althouse):

    “The House easily cleared a package Friday to provide more than $15 billion in disaster aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raise the debt ceiling and fund the government for three months.

    President Donald Trump is expected to swiftly sign the bill, which delivered on the fiscal deal he struck with Democrats earlier this week. The House passed the legislation 316-90, a day after the Senate passed it, 80-17.”

    President Trump’s deal with the Devils seems to have had a lot of Republican support.

  48. Bill Says:

    “Either way Trump will be okay.”

    If Trump loses the Republican congress and gets a congress full of Democrats who absolutely hate him (which they do) he won’t be “ok”. He may be able to somehow spin that as a “win” and his true-blue followers, who somehow believe Trump is never to blame for anything, will buy it. But his true-blue followers are not a majority of the country. Not even close.

    Trump won a historic victory in November 2016, and I believe that since then many of his followers assume that he can’t lose. I think it’s unwise to think that. Ever, about any politician. Especially one who, with all his media savvy and persuasive skills, is still a political novice.

  49. neo-neocon Says:


    Of course it wasn’t abhorrent to the whole GOP. Who ever said it was? The GOP is composed of a group of people who are widely divergent from one another in their views. That’s one of the problems with getting legislation passed compared to when Democrats do it; somehow the Democrats manage to unite.

    Plus, I am sure there are some GOP members who voted for it because it was a done deal and Trump negotiated it, who would not have supported it without his lead.

    The Democrats voted unanimously FOR the bill. The GOP representatives were split 133/90. So all 90 votes against the bill were from the GOP. This is quite an unusual split, indicating that the bill is basically something the Democrats love and the Republicans are split on.

  50. neo-neocon Says:


    Two things re your comment at 1:13.

    The first is that the split in the GOP goes back FAR earlier than 2000. The Goldwater/Rockefeller years were emblematic of the split. The proportions were different at the time, as well as the issues that were emphasized, but the split was the same and it was there.

    Second thing is that the song you cite is not a country song. It’s a Broadway musical song, from “Finian’s Rainbow.” It was produced in 1947 and had some great songs with great lyrics. That was one of them; it was sung in the musical by a leprechaun in the process of becoming a human. Another verse is (I am doing this from memory and I want you to be suitably impressed 🙂 ):

    “As I’m more and more a mortal,
    I am more and more a case.
    When I’m not facing the face that I fancy
    I fancy the face I face…”

  51. Richard Saunders Says:

    Trump has now sent out Morse code, semaphore flags, and smoke signals to the Congressional Republicans. Maybe this will work. Otherwise —

    In a mountain town during the Gold Rush, a mule skinner was hitting his lead mule over the head with a 2 x 4. The town school marm saw him and rushed over. “Mister, what are you doing? You’re abusing that poor animal!”
    “Lady, I would never abuse these animals! I make my living from them! I feed my family with them! I’d never hurt them!”
    “But I just saw you hitting that mule over the head with a two-by-four! What do you call that?”
    “Oh, I wasn’t hurting him, ma’am — I was just getting his attention!”

  52. arfldgrs Says:

    havent learned the frenc turn yet, eh?

    on another note..

    History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don’t know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

    because that is what is going on once again

    And i dare you to ask one question to know why and what and why it wont stop… in all the changes feminists have made to our culture, including the racialists and united fronts. is there anything that they or any of them will say is bad or wrong? if not, then your stuck on a train with no brakes and thats why things are going to keep coming… what else happens when people who are in power claim they arent and have no brakes?

  53. ColoComment Says:

    Neo, sorry I left off the /sarc from the “abhorrent” comment. It was written with tongue firmly in cheek.

  54. Irv Says:

    Neo – I agree that the split goes back a long way but I believe it was largely ineffective until the Tea Party.

    See this: for the country song I referred to. It was on my mind because I heard it on a classic country station on the radio in the last few weeks. However I am suitably impressed with your memory of the other lyrics.

    Bill – If Trump loses the Republican congress then he’ll govern as a Democrat and make deals with them. He’s a businessman, not an ideologue. He’ll deal with whoever he has to in order to be successful. His definition of success is very flexible. He can make any percentage of getting what he wants into a success.

    I always told my son that the way to be sure your decisions are the best ones is to make the decision and then make it into the best one. In the words of Charles Swindoll “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

    Trump isn’t successful because he always gets his way. He’s successful because he adapts.

  55. parker Says:

    “How do you stop a runaway train, how do you stop the driving rain, how do you stop the ripening corn, how do you stop a baby being born? Choose and you lose if you hesitate.”

    Too late. There is no Republic. We are all on our own. Going artfldgr…. learn to grow preserve food, how to hunt and butcher, reload, etc. So it goes when the lights go out. You and your’s are on your own. If you live in a metro area you have my pity.

  56. Matt_SE Says:

    Maybe Trump thought he was playing the Dems off the GOP, but if they both belong to the uniparty, then it’s closer to say that they’re teaming up to good cop/bad cop Trump.

    …assuming Trump isn’t on their side.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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