Recent negotiations between Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Donald Trump left me not only surprised, but also unsettled and conflicted. That certainly wasn’t what I expected. However, Trump has had no success getting his legislative agenda passed by the Republicans in Congress and I guess he is so hungry for a “win” he is even willing to partner with Democrats to get the ball rolling. I think this is also his “shot across the bow” of Congressional Republicans, warning them to get their act together or else he’ll deal with the Democrats instead.
On the Democratic side I can understand the tactical reasons for negotiating with Trump, but whole idea of making it easier for this deplorable man to govern is emotionally difficult for me handle. It reminds me of fictional tales of people making deals with the devil. Those stories usually don’t turn out well.
The deal that Pelosi and Schumer made with Trump concerning raising the debt ceiling and providing funds for the victims of Hurricane Harvey is easy to understand from all points of view. The crazies on the Republican side (better known as the Freedom Caucus) were against a clean debt ceiling bill. Instead they were insisting on accompanying spending cuts which weren’t going to happen. As usual they were willing to shut down the government to get their way. Speaker Paul Ryan and other semi-sane Congressional Republicans remember the damage inflicted on their party the last time they shut down the government and wanted no part of a recurrence. In fact, they wanted to pass a bill which would ensure that the issue wouldn’t come up again for at least 18 months. They did not want the issue to embarrass them again before the mid-term elections. However, with the crazies refusing to help, they needed Democratic votes.
On the other hand, Congressional Democrats put a lot of political hay in the barn by blaming the Republicans for the original government shutdown and had little interest in being labeled as hypocrites and the bad guys by voting to shut down the government this time around. Of course they also wanted to use the Republican squabbling to obtain negotiating leverage that they ordinarily wouldn’t have with minorities in both houses of Congress.
I guess Pelosi and Schumer got the best of the “Great Negotiator” by agreeing to only a three month extension of the debt ceiling, essentially guaranteeing that the issue would be revisited several times before the mid-term elections. That gives them additional opportunities to extract concessions from the GOP legislators, especially when the Republicans try to pass more tax cuts for the rich and when they attempt secure legislative protection the dreamers. The fact that many Republicans weren’t happy with Trump over the agreement is an added benefit because I view any disagreement between Trump and Congressional Republicans as a good thing.
The agreement between Pelosi, Schumer and Trump at a later meeting also made sense for both sides. Protecting the dreamers with legislation became an instant priority for Democrats the moment Trump rescinded President Obama’s executive order protections, and they didn’t have to agree to let Trump build his wall to get that agreement. On the other hand, Trump understands that public opinion now heavily favors providing a path for allowing the children of illegal immigrants brought into this country when they were young to remain. He has reportedly been stung by the wide spread condemnation of his actions which put the dreamers at risk of deportation and has been be anxious to remedy the situation ever since.
Of course, it is difficult for me to be against an agreement which gives these young people, who are just as American as you or I, a chance to stay in the only country they have ever known. I also love the fact that the news of the agreement put Trump squarely at loggerheads with his alt right base who view any protection for the dreamers as a form of amnesty. The White House even subsequently put out partial denials that there was agreement on the subject, but the major news outlets had already reported on what really occurred.
Alt right firebrand Representative Steve King tweeted: “If AP is correct (about the dreamer agreement), Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible”. Ann Coulter retweeted Robert Costa, “Put a fork in Trump, he’s dead” and then suggested that Trump be impeached saying she’d rather have President Pence if they weren’t getting the wall. Even Sean Hannity, Trump’s best “media” buddy, pilled on while Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News did its best impression of a website foaming at the mouth with rage. If the issue drives a wedge between Trump and his most ardent deplorable followers, who will he have left?
Okay, so I guess the agreements with Trump make rational sense, but I am having a lot of trouble stomaching them emotionally. I know that the Democrats were never going to vote irresponsibly to shut down the government, but I would have rather see them let Ryan and his bunch twist in the wind trying to deal with their Freedom Caucus crazies until the last possible moment. Yea, I know what Pelosi and Schumer really had in mind when they made the debt ceiling deal was the further agreement with Trump on the dreamers which they eventually secured. However, was dealing with the devil himself worth it? I just don’t know. I hate anything that even hints of making the Buffoon in Chief House look Presidential. And who can trust anything agreed to by a compulsive liar?
Deep down I don’t like it, but I guess that for now we have no choice but to hope that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer know what the heck they are doing.