Thursday, November 17, 2016

Will the Republicans Oppose Trump? Probably.

     About six or seven years ago, I vividly remember being at a church picnic with several of my highly educated, professional friends.  They were in hysterics because: 

   a.   President Obama was going to create a fifth branch of the US military, with allegiance sworn only to him, and not the Constitution. 

   b.  President Obama was going to outlaw all guns, and the members of the fifth branch of the military would conduct a house to house search to find and confiscate all the guns in America. 

    The Village Elliot protested this could not possibly be true (it came from a distorted reading of a speech Obama gave praising the Peace Corps and comparing to to military service), but my friends simply dismissed me as a naive liberal.   Everyone was upset, and some of the wives were literally in tears, crying over the expected loss of their guns.  

    Now flash forward to 2016.  The conservatives have regained their sanity, and it is the liberals who are losing their minds.  Trump, you see, is going to become this supremely powerful leader and impose his will on all of us from Day 1 of his regime.  

     I don't want to impose an artificial limit on Presidential stupidity, but I doubt whether any of this can be true.  Please, let's not invent new conspiracy theories to replace the old ones.  The President can not pass legislation. He can only sign bills that the Congress gives up.  I doubt whether the Republicans can pass any meaningful bill within their own party, never mind overcoming Democratic resistance.  The Speaker of the House is Paul Ryan, who basically denounced Trump and refused to endorse him for President. I think he was hoping for a Hillary Clinton win frankly.  It is very doubtful whether a  thin majority in both Houses will allow Republicans to come together on much of anything.  I'll be surprised if they can pass a budget.  
   
     For 8 years, the Republicans have prided themselves on obstructing whatever the President wants to do.  Can they suddenly change, unite and start passing the Trump agenda (whatever that is)?  I doubt.  I think that obstruction has become such a strong habit, they will not be able to break it. 

    As a whole, this generation of politicians has come to regard compromise as a weakness, and they have very poor skills at negotiating and compromise.   In the Senate with 51 Republicans, they need zero defections in order to be able to pass a bill.  Good luck with that.

   What Republican Congresspeople want more than anything is to keep their job, and not get blamed for the bad mistakes that President-elect Trump will surely make.   I see major voting blocks trying to paint Trump as a pawn of the Democrats, and opposing both of them, hoping that you, dear Voter, will buy off on their story and re-elect them.   A few Republicans are actually sane and may not support tax cuts for the super-rich and things like that.   So no, I think this Congress will continue to be remembered for gridlock and deadlock.  They will not be able to overturn legislation of the past Administration, even if it's bad and needs to be overturned.  

     I just doubt they have the stomach for presenting the President with a real bill.  On anything.  And I even wonder, even with a Republican majority in both Houses, will somebody like Ted Cruz  filibuster the budget bill again?  I think it's very possible.      

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