January 28, 2019

Strategy or Defeat?

Timothy Birdnow

In a recent blogpost here at The Aviary I took the President to task (most vociferously) over his reopening of the government. Dana Mathewson thinks I'm reading too much into it and we had the following exchange:

Dana Mathewson states:

Well, Tim, me ould son, I still think you are a bit morose about all this, and are way too ready to give up. I am of the opinion that Our Mr. Trump still knows how to play the cards in such a way as to stymie everybody on the Democrat horse's-ass cart. In other words, I still believe he has Nancy's knickers in his hand, twisted up tighter than she can stand.

Mr. Trump is not a politician. He's a New York real estate kingpin, and he does not give up. These Washington political pukes are second-rate crapolas to him. He's playing 3D chess, they're playing checkers, as somebody else said.

I was discussing this with Bob Redmond yesterday and as he said, if you're in a boxing match, and you're fighting against the heavyweight champ, and it's a 12-round bought, and you're in the ninth round and the champ is still coming out fighting, you are in big trouble. Trump is the champ, and he's coming out. Pelosi and Chuckles don't even know they've been beaten.

Tim Replies:

Dana, I sure hope you're right but I don't think so. I think what happened is the Senate Republicans went wobbly on Trump, and McConnell came to him with an ultimatum; "settle this now or I'll have to bring a restore bill to the floor and you'll lose". Trump figured, in my opinion, he didn't have a lot of choice on the matter and it was better to fight another day. Of course, this IS politics and not business and he figured it would be possible to make a comeback, but he is now PERCEIVED as weak and vacillating and the public perception is more important. In business it's what you get, but not so here.

Remember; Trump didn't get a repeal of the ACA, either. He just managed to kill the individual mandate (by Executive Order, meaning it can easily be reversed) and he tried to claim victory and move on. He got a pass from the public that time, but will he this time? He's not getting a wall. At most he'll be able to get a few bucks for some chain link fence that will deter nobody. The Democrats knew they had to deny this to Trump. He knew he needed this win, too, but between the Senate and his own White House he is the guy who blinked.

Trump no longer holds any cards. He threw them all in with the surrender. In three weeks he is not going to be able to do anything. He might be able to shut the government again, but I doubt the Senate will allow it. They'll vote to override his veto. And then the whole process would start up again anyway. The pain of Federal workers was a necessary evil to accomplish his goal. He can't do that while these guys are getting paid.

Federal law states that after thirty days of being furloughed Federal workers can be given a pink slip. Trump should have quietly threatened to do that with a lot of them - particularly the TSA and Air Traffic Controllers who did not show up for work. It's a hard thing but if Trump thinks he's getting any kudos for not doing it he needs to think again. Now he is back to square one.

I admit this could maybe work for the GOP in the long run, but I doubt it; the public will probably forget that Pelosi was willing to throw her own people under the bus. By the time of the next election all that will be remembered is that Trump caved and Pelosi stood strong. With the media that is sure to be the only takeaway.

Unless Trump has some sort of very devious scheme in his mind (and frankly I don't think he does or he would have played that card six months ago) I don't see any
way to look at this but a complete surrender. I hope you are right, Dana, but I just don't see any pathway to victory here.
Fay Voshell adds:

I hope so, too. Here's what I see happening. Both Dems AND fence sitters think Trump is done, and they're piling on--even folks like Ann Coulter, who should know better.

I don't think he's through yet. I suspect he's flushing out all his enemies. But I do think he as to act with great strength by the end of this three week cease fire. He has to come out of the trenches and attack.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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