Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why the Republican Party Cannot Govern

The best news at the end of the first 100 days of the ill begotten regime of Der Trumpenführer is that other than some admittedly horrible executive orders and the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the Republicans in Washington, DC, have accomplished almost nothing.  Rather than proving himself to be another Hitler - he has too little self-discipline or core ideology - Trump has shown himself instead to be a version of Sargent Schultz from the old Hogan's Heroes TV show. (he even has a similar girth).  All of which is good news for America given that so much of what the Trump/GOP agenda has to offer is toxic to all but the extremely wealthy or large corporations.   Yes, there remain plenty of reasons to be fearful of what the narcissist-in-chief might do, but with luck his regime will remain a do nothing one and that his supporter's sole source of glee will be limited to no longer a black man in the White House.  A column in the Washington Post by a conservative columnist looks at the GOP dysfunction and incompetence at governing.  Here are excerpts: 
The markets are waking up to the reality that President Trump is not going to accomplish much of anything, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
Markets are signaling caution after investors greeted President Donald Trump’s election with enthusiasm.
Bets on higher economic growth, inflation and interest rates—which became known as the “reflation trade”—have eased since the election. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is lower than it was when Mr. Trump took office, including a decline Wednesday after the White House unveiled its tax proposal. 
If one had any doubt, this week’s events — a half-baked tax proposal that would not pass one let alone two houses, another failed effort at Trumpcare, White House bluffs and retreats on the budget — should have disabused observers of the notion that Trump’s agenda would sail through Congress.
The Trumpcare effort was the quintessential “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.” For every Freedom Caucus member who figured he’d jump on the bandwagon (the opt-out for states who could choose to do away with the list of essential benefits), there was a moderate who jumped off. What did Ryan and the rest expect would happen when they made a bad bill even less attractive to the great majority of Americans?
Trump cannot manage to devise attractive legislation or get down in the weeds of negotiation, while House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) seems willing to accommodate whatever group is currently rocking the boat, regardless of the likelihood of success. Neither Ryan nor Trump can lead a successful legislative effort. As a result, members of Congress figure there is little reason to stick their necks out for either one. 
To a large degree, the GOP’s angst is to the country’s benefit. The national and world economies are slowly recovering from the 2008 financial meltdown. Unemployment is way down in the United States. If “do no harm” (or, as President Barack Obama would say, “Don’t do stupid stuff”) is the watchword, then gridlock and inaction may not be the worst thing. Not exiting from NAFTA, not pulling the rug out from millions of people who got coverage under Obamacare and not building a wall or harassing cities (for refusing to do the feds’ work on immigration enforcement) are certainly preferable to Trump “succeeding” on these issues. A tax plan that exacerbates the gap between rich and poor and starves the federal government of revenue so that it cannot make worthwhile investments in worker training, education, science and infrastructure would arguably be worse than the current situation. If they fail on the big, ambitious items, then small improvements in Obamacare or the tax code may be possible.
[T]his president and this Congress have not a clue how to proceed. They would potentially do much more harm than good. They are prisoners of extreme ideology, unrealistic expectations and their own incompetence.
Perhaps under another president, the center-right and center-left can make progress on key issues. For the remainder of Trump’s term, however, the best-case scenario would be no new wars or new nuclear powers and the status quo at home.

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