Let’s be clear at the outset, on the surface President Trump’s signing the omnibus spending bill on Friday was a betrayal at every level of his base and his campaign. Personally, I hit the roof when I heard he signed that bill after putting up token resistance to it.
It reminded me of his earlier weak-sauce battle against John McCain’s poisonous sanctions bill from last summer. That bill is being used to push all manner of hybrid war attacks on Russia over European energy supplies that are tantamount to a shooting war.
This is not MAGA. Not the use of the sanctions bill nor signing a spending bill filled with more pork than a bacon factory.
With this spending bill Trump had nothing to gain by signing it.
He’d framed the questions on DACA, Congress’ opposition to the border wall, tax cuts and nearly everything else in domestic policy for the last six months as petulant, business-as-usual obstruction by the Democrats.
You know, those people with an approval rating so low I’d get thrown in a British jail for making little people jokes.
And he was immensely successful at it.
He beat Schumer and Peolsi to pieces, reducing them to spluttering, nonsensical bobble-heads. This pushed his approval rating out of the gutter and towards respectability.
And secured his democratic mandate over that of the Democrats and the GOP leadership filled to the brim with “Never-Trumpers.”
Do You Believe?
These past six months had me wanting to pull an Al Michaels, cautiously believing in miracles.
Trump beat the neocons at CPAC and the globalists at Davos. He forced “Globalist” Gary Cohn out of his White House, plugged the leaks from his National Security Council by firing H.R. McMaster and roused his potato of an Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire the traitorous Andrew McCabe in the most embarrassing way imaginable.
And he let his opponents out themselves as the vile, lying scumbags they are while trying to pin a bogus ‘collusion with Russia’ rap on him.
So, why would he turn around and give all of those political gains back in the blink of an eye, handing an unearned win to Schumer, Pelosi and the RINO-leadership of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell?
It makes zero sense from a realpolitik standpoint.
None. Zero. Bupkis.
With the sanctions bill he had the excuse that his hands were tied. There was a veto-proof majority standing in his way. His position in the White House was precarious, to say the least. So, I cut him tons of slack on that bill. But with the neocons circling his administration like the vultures they are, I’m not sanguine about where things go from here in foreign policy.
So, okay, foreign policy may be a lost cause for the remainder of his first term, fine. The Swamp is deepest there. Al least we could hold out hope on domestic policy, which would then begin to emanate out to foreign policy circles.
But, on Friday he wasn’t facing a Congress united against him. There was strong opposition to this bill and his veto would have stuck. Congress-critters and Senators would have had to explain their veto-overriding vote to voters.
Sure, there was a looming shut-down of the government. But, Trump wouldn’t have been blamed for it. Schumer, Pelosi, Ryan and McConnell would have been blamed for it.
This bill didn’t address any of the things that Trump voters wanted. It’s a 2200-page monument to the status quo in Mordor-on-the-Potomac. And instead of his base continuing to believe, it’s the post-modern Democrats reassessing their faith.
A Deeper Game?
The only conclusion I could draw from Friday’s insanity was that the Deep State finally pulled the ‘kill your family’ card on Trump in a way that made him realize it was truly serious.
But, even that felt wrong. The country will not stand for that kind of overt coup d’etat and Trump knows it. He’s used that against his opponents on multiple occasions. He’s already called that bluff.
However, when people are desperate they do stupid things, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Then this morning I read a twitter thread that made me think about this situation. I’m not one to believe Trump is playing 4-d chess. In fact, I think that crowd is certifiable. But, I also think that the line of thinking I’m about to lay out makes enough sense politically and tracks with Trump’s personality that I can’t ignore it.
In a nutshell, since Trump signed the State of Emergency regarding human trafficking back in December, he has the power as President to reallocate funds in a spending bill in support of conditions of that State of Emergency.
Moreover, since this is not a budget but a spending bill he is under no direct compunction as President to spend the money allocated by Congress the way Congress has allocated it.
Because of this State of Emergency he can then tie the building of the Border Wall to it through the rubric of “National Defense” and reallocate funds for the Department of Defense to build the wall.
This State of Emergency supersedes the language in the bill about Border Wall funding.
At the same time he can choose not to spend money on obvious pork and political footballs like Planned Parenthood and return that money to the U.S. Treasury.
A LARP and a Prayer.
Now, here’s the thing. While I’m inclined to believe this is, as a friend of mine put it, “LARPY Bullshit,” in thinking this through from a realpolitik perspective this would be absolutely brilliant. Why?
- He would regain his base and people like me, James Woods and Ann Coulter who just puked all over his signing this bill by fulfilling a major campaign promise.
- He would reveal, at last, a level of sophistication that would finally put to rest any doubts he can navigate the Swamp and secure his place as President.
- It would justify his base’s faith in his plan to Drain the Swamp.
- The Democrats would be left high and dry. Congress, who the people hate with a purple passion, will be gutted further setting up a rout in the mid-term elections.
- This spending bill only goes through to September, putting all of these issues back on the table in time for the elections.
Moreover, the Democrats will be forced to run on DACA and Gun Control. Wow. Two big loser issues after Trump just body-slammed you on the Border Wall, fiscal control and the proper role of the Legislative branch.
The response from Congress would be apoplexy. The level of hysteria would make Russia-Gate look like a high school Battle of the Bands. CNN would begin calling for his impeachment the minute they got wind of anything like this.
And, if the Democrats and “Never Trumpers” take the bait then Trump would truly have them by the short and curlies.
Because, at that point his popularity would be through the roof. Even opponents would be like, “Well played, sir.” And it will come down to democratic mandates.
Congress’ vs. Trump’s.
And that’s one fight where David ain’t beating Goliath.