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Outsiders vs. Insiders: For R’s and D’s in 2018, ‘working together’ just ain’t in the stars


That’s the shrieking sound of conservative anguish this week upon learning President Donald Trump intends to work with Democrats next year to advance his agenda. After nearly two years of nonstop success – at least Chuck and Nancyfrom an executive standpoint – it seems highly unnecessary for the administration to be switching strategies now.

But with the critical midterm elections just a few weeks away Trump is perhaps looking towards the next phase – and one way or another he’s determined to continue the quest to Make America Great Again next January regardless of which party establishment commands Capitol Hill.

Jordan Fabian and Mike Lillis reported at The Hill, “If Democrats take control of the House after the November midterm elections, Trump will have no choice but to reach across the aisle if he wants to check off campaign promises such as a massive infrastructure package.

“But the partisan animosity in Washington is likely to increase if Democrats win majorities in one or both chambers of Congress, which could make bipartisan dealmaking all but impossible. Trump could also risk a backlash from his base if they believe he has gone too far in dealing with Democrats.

“White House officials say they have begun preliminary talks internally — and with Democratic lawmakers — about areas where they could work together in 2019. They also say the ball is in the Democrats’ court.”

Ball in the Democrats’ court? If that’s the case the minority party’s already urgently seeking a place to stash it so as to run out the clock on Republicans and give their own candidates an upper hand. Or maybe they’ll just let the air out of the ball so it won’t bounce. It’s awful hard to execute a layup without a fully functioning roundball.

In the old days Americans (mostly) assumed both parties had the country’s best interests at heart and wouldn’t do anything counterproductive just to score political points.

But in Donald Trump’s America Democrats won’t ever allow him anything that smells of a legislative victory, especially so close to the 2020 presidential vote. Imagine CNN’s Anderson Cooper quizzing two dozen (or more) Democrat presidential hopefuls during a debate about the wonderful infrastructure package the Democrat House just passed and Trump signed into law? Or what if MSNBC showed a smiling Speaker Nancy Pelosi and sheepishly grinning “Chucky” Schumer leaving the White House arm-in-arm with Trump trumpeting “bipartisan” cooperation?

Wakeup! It’s a dream/nightmare that will never happen. Democrats haven’t demonstrated a commitment to work with Trump thus far and won’t suddenly start today, tomorrow, next week or next month regardless of changed circumstances. Democrats still maintain he’s an illegitimate president elected by a hopelessly out-of-date Electoral College and only sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office today because he cooked up a scheme with diminutive dictator Vlad Putin to pull a fast one on the politically pure-as-new-fallen-snow Hillary Clinton.

Nothing indicates Democrats would be more accommodating next term, especially if they win a House and/or Senate majority. Hand Democrats power and they’ll use it to investigate Trump to the hilt, the country’s welfare be damned. And the last thing Democrats need is to provide Trump the appearance of “normalcy” and getting along with his opposition. If that were the case what’s their justification for being? Their party base would revolt…maybe start tossing bricks through Democrat party office windows.

Democrats exist to #resist. Party donors expect their congressional Democrats to oppose Trump at every turn in anticipation he’ll be defeated at some point. At least Hilary Clinton admitted it last week, saying “civility” returns to Congress only when Democrats retake control.

And Trump isn’t dumb. He and his advisors realize the president must reach out to the other side regardless of the odds of success; it makes him look more “moderate” to independent voters and comforts the electorally up-for-grabs wishy-washy suburban soccer moms – and #NeverTrumpers – who allegedly are all about presidential “tone” and demeanor.

Rest assured, conservatives, Trump isn’t about to sell us out to make “Chuck & Nancy” wag their canine tails in glee. Should Democrats gain control of one or both houses of Congress next month – highly unlikely – he’ll still possess plenty of political cards to play. While it’s true the biggest items on his agenda list may be out of reach for a time he’d then have a ton of things to talk about on the campaign trail (as if he doesn’t already).

Voters appreciate distinction. A certain portion of the public favors “cooperation” and “getting things done” but not if it means giving up everything they consider important. For example, would Democrats trade Planned Parenthood funding for a shining infrastructure bill? No way.

Not to mention all presidential powers would still be in good hands. House committee Democrats can subpoena and pontificate to their heart’s content but the levers of power are still worked by Trump’s cabinet officers. And needless to say, Democrats can’t do much to shackle Trump in the foreign policy realm.

The Supreme Court is now dominated by constitutional originalists and a likely Republican senate would keep churning out confirmations for Trump’s judicial appointments. Schumer can run the clock but he can’t stop the game if Mitch McConnell possesses the gumption to push for more of Trump’s Federalist Society-recommended judges. With legislation at a virtual standstill it’s a guarantee the Majority Leader will look to do whatever he can.

Lastly, Trump’s veto pen might finally get some use. Anything a Democrat majority manages to jam through still must meet Trump’s exacting standards to become law. Make no mistake, having the House in Democrat control isn’t the best possible scenario but it’s also not the end of the world. The president can pick and choose the issues on which to compromise and conservatives will watch closely to ensure Trump – or anyone else – doesn’t give away the store.

No politician wants to appear intractable a few weeks ahead of an election. Most of the Democrats (quoted in the article) said they’re even willing to work with Trump on areas of “common ground” (is there such a thing?). It’s a game both sides play to fool the gullible into believing a political détente is in order.

Here’s thinking Trump’s overture to Democrats is a feint to the center, a calculated political gamble with a smidgen of an upside and little to no downside. That’s all you can do these days when there’s no such thing as a “moderate” Democrat any longer.

Democrats’ attitudes are more in line with liberal commentator Juan Williams, who writes on a weekly basis about how badly Trump is wrecking every American institution and dividing the country at the same time. Williams penned this week at The Hill, “The [Republicans’] complete lack of grace also cements the current Supreme Court’s reputation as Trump’s rubber stamp on the most contentious issues of the day – from abortion to immigration to voting rights to his right to refuse subpoenas and stop the Russia probe...

“Trump’s damage to the court fits with the damage he has done to the CIA, the FBI, the Justice Department and the House Intelligence Committee under Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). The Trump playbook is clear — if an institution or an individual does not agree with him, it is to be dismissed as part of the ‘deep state’ conspiracy against him.

“’Law and order’ now joins ‘free trade’ and ‘deficit hawk’ in the ash heap of once-sacred GOP slogans jettisoned by Trump. Trump has been called the ‘great disruptor’ but it would be better to label him as the ‘great destroyer’ of trust in government as he goes about dividing Americans from each other.”

As would be expected Williams resurrects the Charlottesville incident from over a year ago, when in the aftermath of the rioting there (between neo-Nazi scum and urine-bomb armed black-hooded leftist Antifa goons) Trump said there are “very fine people” on both sides of the Confederate statue removal controversy. Democrats completely twisted Trump’s words at the time to make it sound like the president was praising the haters – this despite his lifelong record of empowering women and minorities in his businesses.

Plus, it shouldn’t be forgotten Trump’s daughter Ivanka married a Jewish man (Jared Kushner), converted to Judaism (and is now a practicing Jew) and the president has three Jewish grandchildren. In addition, Trump appointed several Jewish men and several women and minorities to his cabinet. If he’s accused of being a Jew-hating white supremacist sympathizing “great divider” in beliefs it hasn’t worked out that way in practice.

Besides, Democrats argue anyone who doesn’t conform to Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s and Eric Holder’s (et al) notion of “diversity” is perfunctorily assumed to be a racist, sexist, anti-Semite, bigot, anti-homosexual, xenophobic and… whatever other “phobic” you can come up with. Trump isn’t a fool – he understands even giving the appearance of bigotry or prejudice would be horrible for business in today’s world. Yet still the accusations keep coming.

So much for working with Democrats on moving forward the MAGA agenda. Should Trump invite Democrat congressional heads and opinion leaders like Williams or Rachel Maddow to the White House to hash over ways to patch up the nation’s gaping political wounds and forge “bipartisan” laws that win popular approval by wide margins?

It’d be a cold day in you-know-where before Democrats agreed to such a meeting. If Williams suddenly switched directions like the winds in spring and began praising Trump he’d be out of a job. If Williams was hired to present the liberal point-of-view and abruptly became all warm and fuzzy about Trump and Republicans Democrats wouldn’t read his columns. Remember what happened when Williams “got religion” and admitted he felt apprehensive when he sees Muslims on airplanes? He got fired from NPR.

Conservatives then rallied around Williams’ freedom of thought and expression and he was hired full-time at Fox News where he continues to this day to annoy Republicans to no end with good-natured but off-base analysis of today’s political situation.

It isn’t exactly like having the parties “working together” but at least there’s an aura of respecting each other’s opinions. Similar cooperation is completely lacking in Democrat circles. Every time a conservative expresses a view about Trump contrary to the politically correct thought police they’re jumped all over and labeled a hater.

Democrats simply won’t concede an inch even when the truth is right before their eyes (and mouths). For instance, Hillary Clinton recently argued hubby Bill’s 1990’s affair with Monica Lewinsky didn’t constitute an abuse of power, a claim so fantastic even some liberals wouldn’t touch it. There’s little doubt the Clintons despise the “Lewinsky” matter coming up time and again but why are they exempt where no one else would be?

Rich Lowry wrote at the New York Post, “If Hillary doesn’t want to spend her time re-litigating 20-year scandals — as well as her loss in 2016 — she could simply step out of the public eye. It’s not as though her own side gains anything from her constant presence. Nor will the 2020 Democratic field lack for women candidates. All of those candidates will presumably be less conflicted talking about #MeToo, because they’ve never mounted bare-knuckled political defenses of their powerful, scandal-plagued husbands.

“But Hillary isn’t going anywhere. She and Bill are about to embark on nationwide speaking tour. Their prominence will serve as a reminder that no matter what progressives say now, when push came to shove and they had to decide between protecting one of their own in high office and their feminist principles, it wasn’t even a close call.

“This is a public service of a sort, although one that no Democrat should welcome.”

One can’t really blame Hillary for taking a position justifying her husband’s serial philandering, since if she unexpectedly reversed course and admitted big bubba Bill was a lot too friendly with ladies who weren’t his wife she’d not only be cast out by Democrats as a traitor she’d cede any dwindling chance she has left to be president someday.

But Lowry’s right – Hill & Bill aren’t doing their party any favors by maintaining such high public profiles almost two decades after he left office. Constitutionally speaking Hillary was the de facto heir to the Clinton dynasty though her caustic nails-against-a-chalkboard personality and fluctuating issue positions didn’t help her any. Imagine if she were president today – would any Republican be welcome at the White House to discuss “bipartisan” proposals, nominations and foreign policy views? John McCain’s no longer around…and Lindsey Graham went over to the “dark side.”

For his part, Trump’s made numerous overtures to Democrats and he’s doing it again. Will it amount to anything? The days and weeks ahead will reveal the answer.

Don’t count on R’s and D’s working together to solve the nation’s issues anytime soon. Trump’s shown a worrisome (to conservatives) tendency to compromise on certain topics but Democrats simply won’t meet halfway on anything meaningful. No one wins…and everyone loses.

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