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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Wretched GOP leaders are already blighting Donald Trump’s legacy

The anniversary passed a few days ago but it’s still worth noting that Donald Trump has now been the official head of the Republican Party for over a year now. Not bad for a guy who for years said he was closer in beliefs to the Democrats and who almost ran for president as a Reform Party candidate in 2000.

If Trump had actually run in 2000 it’s probably safe to say he wouldn’t be president in 2017. From Wikipedia, “Trump focused his campaign on the issues of fair trade, eliminating the national debt, and achieving universal Ryan Trumphealthcare as outlined in the campaign companion piece The America We Deserve, released in January 2000.

“He named media proprietor Oprah Winfrey as his ideal running mate and said he would instantly marry his girlfriend, Melania Knauss, to make her First Lady. Critics questioned the seriousness of Trump's campaign and speculated that it was a tactic to strengthen his brand and sell books. Trump defended his candidacy as a serious endeavor and proclaimed that he had a chance to win the election.”

If this sounds hauntingly familiar it’s because it almost all came true sixteen years later…except for maybe the Oprah part. No wonder no one took Trump seriously back then. What would Oprah’s role be, Chief town hall meeting host? Groupthink coordinator? Liaison to the soccer mom lobby? Representative of couch manufacturers?

Now that Trump truly did run for president – and won – there have been a number of rumors that Winfrey herself is considering following a similar path.

But that’s a story for another time.

For now, Donald Trump, last year’s serious candidate and now outsider president, is the figurehead of the Grand Old Party. Who would have ever thought it possible? And he’s doing a pretty good job too, at least where Republican opinion is concerned.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner wrote, “Despite anemic job approval ratings overall, Trump remains extremely popular with the Republican base. He is a less polarizing figure among GOP voters than when he won Indiana a year ago, even though many of the old party's problems remain.

“Conservative activists remain skeptical of Republican promises on spending and Obamacare. Establishment leaders are struggling to keep GOP lawmakers united behind a governing agenda.

“Still, some Republicans in Congress would even like to see their colleagues do more to back the president. ‘Congress needs to do a better job in understanding the reason Donald Trump is our president,’ Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., told the Washington Examiner. Trump was the first Republican to win Kelly's home state in a presidential election since 1988.”

Antle’s last observation is probably the most salient one simply because it’s the only thing directly attributable to Trump. The Republican “problems” Antle mentioned existed long before the New Yorker even announced he was running and would still remain even if the president shocked the world and said he was resigning today.

If congressional Republicans still want to partake in a circular firing squad even after Trump figured out a way to win a national election, that’s their own doing. The GOP suffers unity issues because it’s got leaders who care a lot more about getting themselves and their members re-elected than they do about governing principles.

Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both pretend to favor limited government and call themselves “conservatives,” though when push comes to shove they’re usually found nowhere near where the real fights are taking place. Instead of instituting an open process where bills are introduced and passed through the system according to regular order they draw up omnibus legislation that no one reads and everyone is pressured to pass.

That’s no way to “lead.” That’s a tactic the Democrats use; remember when Nancy Pelosi said Congress would have to pass the Obamacare bill for the public to find out what’s in it?

Ironically it’s the Democrats who now enjoy remarkable unanimity, all rallying around the cause of opposing Trump. Many of them, for example, campaigned in 2016 on the notion that Obamacare had problems and needed some alterations; but when Republicans introduced their Ryancare bill the Democrats scattered like a bevy of quail flushed by a hunting dog, directionless and lacking reason or sensibility.

But somehow they all came out against it. Trump has had a lot of success in convincing conservatives and Republicans to back him but Democrats remain aloof.

Needless to say, so does the media. Roger Kimball wrote in American Greatness, “The problem—well, one problem—with all these assessments is that reality is not cooperating with the narrative. In fact, Trump is governing as a supremely conventional figure. The only ‘contempt’ I see about is not emanating from Trump but from his blinkered critics who cannot bear the fact that someone won over their objections.

“And if you want to see ‘political nihilism’ in action, don’t look to Trump’s White House but rather to the streets of Berkeley, campuses like Yale and Middlebury, the pages of The New Yorker or The New York Times or any of the other reliably anti-Trump organs.”

I would add the Trump-bashing isn’t just from typical liberal media sources. Some so-called “conservative” publications have been equally hard on Trump, primarily because of temperament reasons (man, they HATE those tweets, don’t they?) but also for the president’s supposed breaking of campaign promises.

National Review comes to mind immediately as several of the magazine’s regular writers continue their sniping at the populist outsider president. Fair commentary and criticism is one thing but when it gets over-the-top these faux “conservatives” only devolve into defenders of the establishment, which I suppose many of them are.

Unable to let go of the fact they were so wrong a year ago during the GOP primaries they keep up their rhetorical “I told you so” assaults and accusations as though their great wisdom would have led to a different outcome today if Jeb Bush, John Kasich or Marco Rubio were leading the country.

And if it wasn’t apparent before it’s crystal clear now that Trump is not the barrier to reform – it’s the “moderate” establishment Republicans in Congress along with the easily frightened party leadership that is proving to be immovable. From all accounts Trump went out of his way during the healthcare debate to bring the parties together and cajole them into making an agreement.

Was it Trump who capitulated on the budget? Hardly. Some of the items in it are downright disturbing. Terence P. Jeffrey of CNS News reports, “The 1,665-page spending bill the Republican-controlled Congress is planning to pass this week includes multiple measures that seemingly demonstrate a commitment to securing the border — in Libya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon...

“Had the Republicans included money in the bill to fund Trump's border wall, Schumer would have needed to explain to Americans why he is happy to spend their tax dollars to aid Jordan's military in securing Jordan's border while refusing to give the U.S. Border Patrol all the resources it needs — including walls — to secure the borders of the United States.”

It’s true – the language of the bill specifically mentions allowing funds for the protection of these countries’ borders. It’s just the latest example of the “okay for thee but not for me” game played by the Democrats and enabled by the wretched Republican leadership.

The People aren’t stupid; they know who’s making the effort to fix the problems and who is just perpetuating them. Donald Trump’s year as head of the Republican Party hasn’t been perfect but he’s off to a pretty good start; the establishment should beware.

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There is only one task for Republicans

The one job, which the GOP consistently fails to do, is to preserve and defend our Constitutional Republic. Without that, we have nothing.

How many years since Angelo Codevilla exposed the divide between the Ruling Class and the Country Class, and yet we continue to send more swamp creatures to mud-wrestle in the swamp!