On Your Right: Donald Trump’s ‘excessive expectations’ (column)
August 14, 2017
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks Donald Trump had "excessive expectations" about how business got done in Congress. He might be right. Speaking as someone who voted for the Donald, I certainly had "expectations." I'm not certain they were "excessive," but they might have been.
I expected, after six years of promises that Obamacare would be repealed if only Republicans would be delivered into a moment such as they found on Jan. 20, that they would keep that promise. Evidently, that expectation, as well as that of Republican leaders being competent to the task, was excessive.
I expected, after interminable yawping about budgets and debt from the right side of the aisle, that Republicans would produce an actual budget in the manner set forth in Article One of the Constitution. True, it would be the first budget in 20 years — including the years of Republican control of Congress — but after endless grousing about process, including from Mitch McConnell himself, I expected something to be accomplished. And it was: a Congressional vacation. I suppose the expectation that Congress, like the rest of working America, wouldn't knock off until it got at least one of its self-selected jobs done was "excessive" as well. Now we'll have to wait for three weeks to see if Congress can even scrape together the will to keep the government running after Sept. 30. I'm not putting money on that either.
I expected, after much ballyhoo from those willing to ride Trump's coattails to victory last November, that we would see some sort of sanity restored to the tax code. What we are seeing instead is a panicked rout by Republicans so eager to dive for the exits they can't get out of each other's way.
I expected some appreciation for the man who returned the White House to the Republicans, something neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney could accomplish. But what I see, and the rest of those who voted for Donald Trump see with me, is a churlish example of sore-losership; a fit of childish petulance that would risk even the security of the country, if only it would harm the president. I see disunion, self-centered disloyalty and craven surrender to the slightest Democrat pressure that make me ashamed to be a Republican.
I expected ideas. Innovation. Initiative. In a word, I expected leadership from those who said they wanted it, and promised great things to get it. Nor was I alone in disappointment and annoyance at the Senate Majority Leader's cavalier dismissal of my expectations. What Mitch McConnell doesn't seem to realize is that his hold on power has a "use by" date, and the clock is ticking. Treating both the president and his substantial voting bloc like a bunch of unlettered rubes may play well in the salons of K Street or at the National Press Club, but it can have deleterious consequences. Ask former House Majority Whip Eric Cantor how it worked out for him.
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If the Republican party and the Conservative movement which is its heart is to be prevented from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory once again, a few things need to happen quickly.
First, the president is going to have to become actively involved in the sausage-making that is the legislative process. He claims to be a dealmaker; so let's see it. Second, party bigwigs are going to have to exhibit leadership, not cringe and whimper when confronted by Democrats — or even their own members. Third, the party is going to have to embrace the president's agenda which, as far as I can tell, has been the Republican party agenda for years: repeal and replace Obamacare; sensible tax reform; budgetary sanity and debt reduction; stronger military and a more robust foreign policy; a stronger U.S. economy, better trade deals and more jobs; immigration reform centered on protecting U.S. citizens and serving U.S. interests. This is the program of the forgotten Americans, not of the bicoastal elites, and it guarantees success to anyone who pursues it vigorously — as November last shows.
Finally, there is a caveat: As there is a clear route to success, so is there a wide road to defeat and irrelevance. That lies in turning one's back on those who created today's Republican majorities. In denying one's promises. In bickering, instead of cooperating to achieve goals. In indolence, inertia and the status quo. Majority Leader McConnell has clearly indicated which he prefers.
So perhaps his expectation of future support is what is "excessive."
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily. Email him at email@example.com.
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