Amidst the wailing and gnashing of teeth going on over the passage and signing of the craptastic budget bill (or the cackling and glee coming from the exact wrong people), it’s important to take a minute and a sober look at exactly what this is and what it is not.
It IS a disgusting travesty, first and foremost. ANY omnibus spending bill is a bad excuse to slip things like ten million dollars of taxpayer money to disadvantaged students in Egypt through. Without a line-item veto (which the Supreme Court has said will never happen, even when the Republicans tried to give it to a Democratic president) there’s no way to cut such ridiculous items out of a budget bill without scrapping the whole thing and sending it back to the drawing board, not once it gets to the President anyway.
It IS President Trump’s fault. Not entirely, not even mostly, but it is his fault for not standing up to this. I know General Mattis came out in support of the bill because it cranks up badly needed military spending, and that gives me a small degree of comfort. I know there is a vital distinction to be made between Congress holding a gun to the military’s head, and capitulating to said threat. Neither is forgivable, but one is unquestionably worse than the other. So despite the fact that the President had and should damned well have used his executive authority to veto this abomination, and his failure to do so means he shares the blame, the other inescapable fact is that the majority party in Congress should never have allowed such a bill to come to his desk in the first place. Seeing how its proponents (especially on the GOP side) aren’t even trying to justify this speaks volumes about how much they really don’t care that they just gave up on their principles without so much as a whimper, let alone a fight. Not all of them, but enough.
That said, it is NOT the end of the world. It is not armageddon nor is it the end of the Trump agenda. At worst this bill is maintaining the status quo–a status quo filled to the brim with ongoing outrages, but no better and no worse than the situation we were in before. Planned Infanticide is still funded, as are sanctuary cities and innumerable other wasteful money sinks. The wall is not. Adding funding for the wall later is likely, removing it for baby murder not so much, but again, this is the way things were. I’m NOT saying that as an excuse. I’ve said before that I’m not now nor am I going to be content with Neil Gorsuch and a tax cut, and there’s no damn reason why this should not have been everything the GOP has ever dreamed of (or claimed they wanted). But on the flip side of that, it’s not as if this is calling for a whole bunch of new spending and other nonsense on these atrocities. Put in more blunt terms, it’s continuing the same stuff the GOP let Whatshisname get away with all this time, and the GOP has had plenty of time to stop it. Does not change the fact that President Trump definitely whiffed this one.
It is NOT in any way evidence that NeverTrump was in any sense correct. Seriously. There are people out there right now acting like we all got conned and we’d be better off with Dr. Pantsuit. That’s insane. If NeverTrump had given it up after the primaries were over they might have some credibility now, but they didn’t. As a Cruz supporter from the moment he announced to the moment he withdrew, all I can say is everyone who is fussing about how we got conned AND how Ted was “too conservative,” you can kindly shut the hell up. But even with this failure, and it is an unvarnished failure on the President’s part, he’s still light years better than Dr. Pantsuit or literally any other Democrat ever would have been or ever will be. NeverTrumpers out gloating over this are worse than damn Democrats.
It does NOT erase the year-plus of consistent winning we’ve had. It is still NOT okay. It is NOT an unrecoverable loss. But if anything was going to create that “blue wave” for the midterms, it’s this. This is a clear signal that in the battle between President Trump and the GOP swamp, the swamp is winning. On a day that should have been full of much rejoicing and celebration with the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, this is an absolute unforced error. Nothing could possibly kill GOP base voters’ enthusiasm more than the GOP demonstrating once again that they’re not even going to try to fight for what we believe in, they’re going to give up without a fight and even President Trump is going to go along with it. Already they’re vowing to stay home in droves. I’ll grant that there’s a long way to go between here and November, but this is primary season and people are tuning out.
Which is why it’s important to remind people that this does NOT mean you stop voting for the lesser of two evils. It’s still a binary choice. You have a limited time right now to determine what those choices are, but when you get to November, your options are the Democrat and Not the Democrat. There is no “third party.” Failing to vote Not the Democrat is every bit as bad as voting for them outright and if you don’t get that then you shouldn’t be voting at all. Sorry, not sorry.
Oh, and this also does NOT mean President Trump will be impeached. But that’s a topic for another time.
So don’t mistake my “it could have been a whole lot worse” as excusing or justifying the fact that it should have been a whole lot better. There is no good reason whatsoever why this should not have been the budget that conservatives have dreamed of since Reagan left office. It’s Congress’ fault. It’s President Trump’s fault. But it’s not doomsday. Stop freaking out like this means we’ve lost everything before we actually DO lose everything.
We go on.