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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Does bashing GOP leaders in public help or harm Trump’s cause?

As it looks like we’re finally moving past the silly “everyone’s a racist!” collective American fit that followed the riots in Charlottesville a couple weeks ago, it’s now time to focus on the real issues that will be forthcoming when Congress returns from its annual August snooze in a week (slated for the day after Labor Day, September 5).

First and foremost on many people’s minds are next year’s federal budget and the inevitable fight over whether Karl Roveto raise the government’s credit card limit, more popularly known as the “debt ceiling.”

As would be expected there’s plenty of posturing taking place on both sides with Democrats swearing they won’t agree to any budget that contains x, y and z (mostly cuts to their sacred cows of Planned Parenthood, Obamacare and funding their social agenda such as welfare for refugees) and conservatives and Republicans demanding more concessions on cuts, etc…

History suggests the Democrats are more serious about holding the spending line since they need to keep the gravy train flowing to their various constituencies. Meanwhile the Republican leadership doesn’t seem intent on holding out for anything, fearing the dreaded “government shutdown” words they’ve heard so many times before.

Republicans always cave. And there are plenty of hints they’re already preparing to do so again.

Susan Jones of CNS News reported last week, “President Trump told a rally in Phoenix on Monday he's going to get his long-promised border wall, even if it means shutting down the government.

“’Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall,’ Trump said.

“But House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said no one wants a government shutdown. He also said a short-term funding bill ‘will probably be necessary’ to keep the government running while Congress works on individual appropriations bills.”

No one wants a shutdown, Ryan says? I can think of at least one person who would welcome a shutdown if it would equate to getting the budget under control.

Oddly enough Ryan bragged that the House has already passed funding for the border wall and if a continuing resolution is needed it will be the Senate’s fault because he can’t imagine the upper chamber being efficient enough to pass the full complement of appropriations bills in time. Ryan has certainly never demonstrated a whole lot of spine for standing on principle, but at least by appearances, the Speaker is correct on this one.

The Senate returns still smarting from its failure to accomplish much in the final weeks of its summer session, culminating with feckless Mitch McConnell’s inability to get Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain to go along with a “skinny” repeal of Obamacare. McConnell then increased the size of the hole he plans to occupy by claiming President Trump has “excessive expectations” in terms of the pace of legislation.

Yes, it seems like whenever the GOP leadership is told they’re expected to produce something it’s deemed unreasonable by the elites. It’s kind of like as a kid telling your mom you’ll call when you reach a destination and then forget all about her (and her concerns) the minute you leave the house.

McConnell is fast running out of excuses and the pressure for replacing him only got more intense in the last month. President Trump added a little heat of his own last week.

The Politico Staff reported, “President Donald Trump on Thursday blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan for creating a ‘mess’ on the debt ceiling, saying they rebuffed his request to raise the country’s debt limit as part of a veterans bill.

“’I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval,’ Trump tweeted. ‘They didn't do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!’”

It does seem simple, but nothing is ever easy with the GOP congressional leadership. On one hand you’ve got the president virtually begging them to act on an issue and on the other there’s the Washington establishment demanding that they preserve the status quo. Add in the various interest groups and their own “must have” ultimatums and the poor leaders’ knees start knocking.

And that’s not even including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer seeking out the nearest willing media member to plead their case for more stalling.

If only principle guided the GOP leaders’ management philosophy it would be a whole lot less painful to try and get something done. And Trump is right, a government shutdown absolutely must be on the table in order to force the hands of the liberal and “moderate” holdouts who understand based on past history that the leadership will do anything they ask and cave endlessly in order to avoid having the media brand them as heartless government shutter-downers.

Instead of coming right out and declaring there will be an unconditional increase in the debt ceiling and additionally there won’t be a government shutdown, why doesn’t the leadership educate the public as to what these things really entail? If the government shuts down, Social Security recipients will still get their checks, healthcare providers will still receive Medicare reimbursements and the military will continue operating in far off lands to root out terrorists.

Life went on when the moon crossed in front of the sun last week, didn’t it?

The “essential” functions of government keep on ticking, which includes law enforcement and border patrol. The FAA will carry on monitoring air travel – planes won’t suddenly start falling from the sky because the controllers aren’t getting paid.

To claim otherwise is a baseless lie, but with the media firmly on the side of the Democrats and the big spender Republicans, only part of the story is being relayed.

Ditto on the debt ceiling. Certainly serious repercussions would occur if the government actually defaulted but as long as tax money is still coming in to the treasury there’re plenty of funds to pay the interest on the debt as well as for most other government functions. The government could never borrow another dime and most of what it already does would be covered at the priority of the president – and if Congress would pass a bill, by them as well.

It’s nothing short of absurd for Democrats and a good many Republicans to claim doom will transpire if the government hits its borrowing limit. If anything, reaching the “ceiling” would finally force our elected representatives to get serious about their jobs of legislating and appropriating money. They wouldn’t be able to just toss around billions of dollars as though it were printed monopoly notes. Continuing resolutions would be a thing of the past.

And you better believe there would be progress on an Obamacare repeal if that were the case. Maybe Trump should set ditching Obamacare as a condition for his assent to raise the borrowing limit. That would get ‘em going on Capitol Hill, wouldn’t it?

It’s hard not to see how if Trump means what he says about the border wall and other things that the fight over the budget and the debt ceiling will devolve into one massive game of chicken with the ruling class (Republican establishment, Democrats and media) on one side and Trump on the other.

How far will Trump bend? It’s hard to tell at this point. Many reported Trump wasn’t at all happy with the GOP congressional leaders’ budget capitulation in April and he only went along with it because Obama’s name was on it. With the Trump brand behind anything that comes out of Congress in the coming months, common sense indicates he’ll be a lot more demanding.

We’ll see. Trump certainly won’t be getting much encouragement from the GOP blueblood ruling class.

In a post titled “Good Riddance to Steve Bannon,” “Bush’s brain” Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Memo to the White House: The worst way to strengthen a president is publicly to blame his difficulties on allies. The least effective way to pass an agenda is to threaten the president’s party in Congress.

“Team Trump must grasp the basics of governing. A better approach would be systematically to make the case that the president’s proposals are good for the country. To do this, the White House must display interest and fluency in its policies, and avoid surprising Congressional allies. When Republicans go out on a limb to defend the president and he cuts it off with an unexpected tweet or unnecessary controversy, they become hesitant to drive the White House agenda.”

With friends like Karl, who needs enemies? Rove only seeks to provide more reasons for congressional Republicans to cry like babies and then take the ball and limp home when they’re embarrassed before the onlookers.

Politics is a dirty game and there are nearly 20 trillion clues to prove the system isn’t working. With Trump highlighting the debt issue in public the establishment is clearly frustrated it can no longer hide from it. Congressional Republicans will be back at it soon – and they’d better get something done.

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