Watching the GOP these days is excruciating, unless you are a Democrat who is salivating over 2018 mid term prospects and beyond. America’s “sports mentality” about politics has Republicans tolerating their leaders corruption and we see the same of the Democrats too. No wonder the vast majority of Americans could simply care less about politics. Who can really blame them? But with our current system, the attitude of “oh well, I do not really have a choice” has become so common. We have an unheard of number of choices for toilet paper, but only two “real ones” for politics? There has to be a joke there somewhere.
The GOP is in a desperate condition. The President of the United States is not only Head of state and Head of government, he is also the commander in chief, head of party, etc. He leaves a profound impact on the perception voters have of the party that leader represents. Some, like Jimmy Carter, were disparaged for being weak. Others, like Ronald Reagan, were seen as one of strength and a force for freedom both here and around the world. With the vast majority of these modern Presidents — even the weak ones — they were at least seen as sincere when it came to what their party believed, They largely mirrored the values of the bulk of their constituencies. Then there is Donald J. Trump.
We have an unheard of number of choices for toilet paper, but only two “real ones” for politics? There has to be a joke there somewhere.
Donald Trump was not a conservative. This was well established and documented by many. Trump is a man who gave $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, more to Hillary Clinton than any other candidate, gave to Democrats more than Republicans for other offices, he switched parties (at least) five times, supported Obama in 2008, he used government (both before running for President and since) to profit himself personally and never opposed crony capitalism until he ran to (now laughingly) “drain the swamp.” Trump’s lack of conservative credentials are breathtaking.
He is not a Democrat either. He, again, changed parties, positions on issues, etc., in such a way where it is difficult to determine what he is ideologically. I have concluded he is not an ideologue at all, but simply a megalomaniac. Trump is interested in whatever drives his personal interest or agenda at that time.
Trump shocked voters by announcing that the GOP’s healthcare reform was “mean.” There are very few conservatives (if any) in the public policy space that believe that. They believe Obamacare will lead to a system of rations that would have the poor, in particular, being (essentially) allowed to die in order to keep costs down. They also believe it would lead to a new Dark Ages for discoveries in medicine. They believe markets, not bureaucracies, create innovations in everything, especially healthcare. Clearly now the GOP in Congress doubt their own message. They had no problem voting for repeal multiple times when they knew Obama would veto their efforts. Now, they cannot get it passed no matter how many times they try under Trump. The GOP is proving that talk is cheap.
Trump announced “this bill will not benefit me!” In fact, he argued that this tax reform would “hurt him.” It was a bizarre form of class warfare.
Donald Trump ran on a strange pro-protectionist policy and is slowly looking for opportunities to implement it both in regulations and treaties. Congress does not want to touch it, but members of the GOP in that body have been remarkably silent about it. The last Republican in office that supported protectionism was Herbert Hoover. His policies threw the US into a Great Depression and led to the GOP being a perennial minority party in Congress. In fact, the Democrats controlled the Senate for 50 of 60 years after that Depression and 58 of 62 years of the House after Hoover. Why would the GOP ever want to go back to policies like that?
Now the party of tax cuts — be by Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s or Ronald Reagan of the 1980s — is struggling to get reform passed. I recently interviewed the Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and its chairman, Kevin Brady, made a strong case for tax reform. Foolishly, Trump announced “this bill will not benefit me!” In fact, he argued that this tax reform would “hurt him.” It was a bizarre form of class warfare. The GOP’s approach to tax reform has always been about stimulating the economic activity of the job creators by giving them incentives. From a tax perspective, Trump is a job creator. Ironically, based on GOP orthodoxy, Trump’s policies cannot benefit anyone, unless they also help him. Again, this lack of understanding of basic Republican views has his party reeling and even slowing down its efforts to pursue that reform.
Trump loves to berate the GOP Congress for its inability to get things done. However, with leadership like Trump, the party literally has no champion.