What was and what might have been

The big news of the past couple days has been the latest budget continuing resolution, or CR, that the establishment Republicans have managed to shove through Congress with the help of the Democrats, and that the Democrats are out laughing their ponderous hindquarters off about how they somehow managed to clobber the GOP even though they control literally nothing.  Even though their only weapon with any power now, the filibuster in the Senate, which never seems to stop them for long when they don’t have 60 votes, was taken off the table due to a process called budget reconciliation, which does not follow the same rules as other legislation, meaning a simple 51-50 majority is all you need.  I know the laundry list of horrors has been making the rounds but I’ll reprint the list of shame here: no money for the wall, funding intact for Planned Murderhood, the EPA, sanctuary cities, and pretty much everything on the lunatic left wish list.

I’ve listened to Republicans from the President on down try to pitch this as a win for us, and there are some bright spots that don’t show up unless you look for them.  Increased funding for border security is one of those places.  Another is that this budget does away with the asinine “parity” policy that required that for every dollar of increased defense spending there had to be an equivalent amount wasted on stupid domestic programs, and while it’s good to plant a flag there, the amount allocated was…paltry.  Yes, it measures in the billions of dollars but this is Washington we’re talking about, and for a win of this magnitude otherwise a ~$20 billion price tag of unmatched defense spending is a small price for the Democrats to pay.  I’ve heard about all the other good things, school choice programs and such, and I’ve heard people defend this by holding it up in light of President Trump’s other accomplishments so far, such as allowing the states to defund Planned Infanticide should they choose to do so.

That’s all well and good but it still does not answer the question: WHY in the name of all that is holy do we elect Republicans if THIS is the result?  WHY do we bother to care and believe and fight and debate and argue and stand up for our beliefs when our so-called “leaders” get to Washington and can’t wait to surrender?  If this is what we’re going to get after we run the table and take over all of government, what the hell are the Democrats out “resisting?”  For every good thing pointed out by voices I trust, from Vice President Pence to Mike Mulvaney to the President himself, every high point that has me nodding my head and saying okay, that’s good, that was worth doing, I can’t not think at the same time, but why didn’t we get everything?  Why did we not even try to stand up to these people?  Yes, I understand that the Democrats were threatening a government shutdown–so the hell what?  Let them!  Let’s see a government shutdown with a party in power who is NOT determined to make it hurt.  Let’s see how many veterans are NOT barricaded out of their memorials and open-air parks under President Trump.  Every good thing we got just reinforces the point that we should not have had to give an inch to these people–and we gave a mile.  We should have been able to ram it down their throats and make it hurt these smirking bastards, we should have been singing “God Bless America” around a bonfire of EPA regulation books with champagne flutes filled to the brim with sweet liberal tears while the baby killers held a pink hat bowl-a-thon to raise money to butcher another child.  Every concession we won is a reminder that we ought to be dictating the terms, not receiving them.  Every time someone said “well, President Trump got to make his mark on the budget early because of the continuing resolution!” it just stood out more starkly that this mark doesn’t look a thing like what President Trump is working for and there’s no good reason for that.  And every rationalization and claim of victory simply rang hollow like an excuse from someone who didn’t even bother to show up.

I’m going to sound like a fanboy here but I don’t care.  I don’t blame President Trump for this.  I don’t blame him for claiming victory, you can’t ever admit you were beaten until the battle’s over so of course he needs to go to Twitter and spin this as best he can–and I think by threatening a shutdown in September he’s sending a signal that this is not over.  I don’t blame him for getting what he could out of this deal and getting back to handling the wreckage of the Unaffordable Don’t-Care Act–and I don’t mean getting what he could out of the Democrats.

I blame the Republicans.  I blame Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, the whole damn surrender caucus that seems to think they grew a spine long enough, they pacified their conservative voters by confirming Neil Gorsuch (which was a big step) and now they can quietly go back to their comfortable role as the perennial minority party and forget that they are in fact in control now.  I don’t care if you want to call them establishment career sellouts, squishy “centrist” RINOs, or just plain cowards, but when I hear dinosaur media pundits or Hollywood bubbleheads crowing about how the GOP doesn’t want to govern, I can’t help thinking they’re right.  They certainly do not want to push anything resembling the conservative agenda they ran on–and that means they have learned precisely nothing from the last election.  The silver lining there of course is that maybe the old guard GOP haven’t learned, but plenty of others HAVE learned.  Maverick upstarts like Dave Brat and Matt Bevin have come out of nowhere to defy the establishment, and while every presidential election I can recall has featured an “outsider” candidate (from Ross Perot to Ralph Nader) whose ultimate influence wasn’t so much to win as it was to decide the winner, this time out the outsider cracked the system.  I’m still happy, no, make that thrilled with President Trump.  I hope he’s gearing up for a showdown with the establishment GOP, but even if he gets no further and becomes mired in the swamp he came to drain, he’s given us all a great gift.  He’s shown the nation that Washington can be defeated.

I do want to note a couple of things about sentiments expressed by my friend and mentor, Rush Limbaugh, regarding the situation (please note, I do not know the man personally).  Rush’s exasperation with this debacle has been so pronounced that Vice President Pence called in to his show to talk about it.  One of Rush’s theories is that President Trump and his team just didn’t attach a lot of significance to this CR, and therefore didn’t go out ready to fight over it.  I can see that.  Rush also points out, to his dismay, that the good parts of this CR are being measured in how much money is being spent, and laments that President Trump didn’t ever say he was going to shrink the government, so Rush surmises this could be the President’s yardstick as well.  While Rush is correct that President Trump is not an ideological conservative (as I said many times before, Trump is Trump), one of his core promises has been to “drain the swamp,” which by necessity will mean shrinking the size of the government in the fetid D.C. pools.

My faith in President Trump is still strong, he’s less than four months in still.  But my faith in the Republican Party as it exists today gets weaker with every passing election.  Every win in this continuing resolution is a slap in the face, knowing that there’s no good reason why this was not either a win all around for the good guys, or a chance to show the Democrats and the media we’re not afraid of their little game of shutdown chicken anymore.

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