The omnibus spending package passed by Congress and signed by Trump deserved to get flushed down a toilet. It goes against the entire idea of what makes for proper budgeting in Washington DC. Not that it matters. It’s been twenty years since Congress passed a budget where the president signed appropriations bills. The omnibus spending package is the new normal.
There’s no doubt that Congressional leaders, in particular, Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, deserve every ounce of criticism they’re getting for passing such a terrible spending bill. Plenty of stories have been written detailing all of the wasteful spending. People who thought Republicans might get back to some fiscal sanity once they controlled Congress and the White House are rightly ticked off.
What’s remarkable, however, is the corner of the universe occupied by meta Trump defenders. If they’re not the people, who have been with him since he went down that escalator, then they jumped aboard later on down the line. What’s more remarkable is their view that Trump does no wrong. No matter what it is.
They brag he “says what he means” but when he says something dumb, they respond, “That’s not what he meant!” If he gets anything done, it’s due to his ability to make things happen. When he fails, the defenders blame Congress or the media or other outside forces. The omnibus spending package is no different.
Trump defenders use the excuse that he doesn’t write bills and Congress does. Therefore, he doesn’t deserve the blame since the dreaded “establishment” forced his hand. There are a few reasons this doesn’t hold water.
A. Presidents help shape policy, and Trump doesn’t know anything about policy. He sees the Presidency as him being the boss and Congress as his lackeys who are there to do what they’re told. But that’s not how it works, and he doesn’t have the patience to learn.
B. Trump, during the campaign, not only said he’d get things like this done but that it would be easy for him to do. He said Obama, Bush and other presidents didn’t have his incredible ability to negotiate and get what he wants.
Additionally, Trump defenders attempted to make Trump’s veto threats part of the long game, 3-D chess brilliance he supposedly exhibited in the past. First, he brags about the bill. Then he makes a veto threat which lights a fire under the original Tea Party people and Freedom Caucus members. But ultimately comes around and signs it.
Why? Because contrary to the notion of Trump’s devoted class of butt-pimple pundits, he can’t deal with or control Congress because they likely know he’s a joke. Trump talked the tough game, and now that he’s there, he’s found doing the job requires work. The role demands he works with people, not just order them around. What he thought would be easy, turned out to be a problematic workload.
There is one reason Trump defenders throw out about the omnibus that’s intriguing on several levels. They say, “What is the end-game if Trump were to veto the bill? He was dealt a bad hand and had to suck it up!”
Assume for a minute Trump sends the bill back with a veto of the bill. He demands Congress make cuts and pump up his border wall the amount requested ($25 billion). Republicans rework the bill. But by doing that, they’ll get more Republican votes, but fewer Democratic votes and they need 60 in the Senate to get it done. It would languish. All the while, the government shutdown happens and goes on and on with the mainstream media noting the inability of Republicans to govern. Trump didn’t have much choice.
However, those same people never afforded that kind of leeway to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner or Paul Ryan from 2011 to 2016. Remember the “Surrender Caucus?” Any time the GOP made a deal and didn’t shut down the government in perpetuity, the same people who ask now, “What’s the end game?” didn’t care to hear that question when it was asked of them while they were busy gnashing their teeth in the Obama era. Without a majority in the Senate with 60 votes, Republicans had to make the best deals they could and at times they were crap deals. It happens. That’s how Washington works.
Now that Trump and his merry little band of sycophants know this, here’s hoping they remember it, next time.