Friday, September 15, 2017

Why is Trump working with Democrats?

We do live in interesting times. Trump got to be president partly by vilifying Demonic Democrats. Now the media is abuzz with news and comment on Trump’s DACA deal with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. What gives? Why is Trump now cozy with the Democratic leaders? And to the extent that he excludes Republican leaders from those meetings?

A word of caution is in order. AZBlueMeanie reminds us of the worth of Trump’s word - basically less than zero. A DACA deal with ‘Amnesty Don’? Don’t believe it until it actually happens.

The first thing you always have to keep in mind is that you literally cannot believe anything Donald Trump says. He is a pathological liar who will tell whomever he is speaking to whatever they want to hear, and minutes later deny he ever said it. He frequently contradicts himself, sometimes even in the same sentence. You really cannot negotiate with someone like this because his word is not his bond and there is no morality or sense of honor to hold him to a commitment he has given.

(You might want to read the rest of Blue Meanie’s post for the many reactions to Trump dealing with the person Republicans have been conditioned to hate - Nancy Pelosi.)

But back to my theme. Why is Trump dealing with Dems?

Perry Bacon Jr. At proposes 4 Theories To Explain Why Trump Is Suddenly Working With Democrats.

For the second week in a row, President Trump is working more closely with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer than his own party.

Last week, in a meeting with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, the president agreed to a Democratic proposal to extend government funding and raise the debt ceiling for three months, even though House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed that deal. On Wednesday night, Trump met with Pelosi, the House minority leader, and Schumer, the Senate minority leader, at the White House — without inviting McConnell and Ryan.

Pelosi and Schumer said that Trump agreed to legislation that would codify former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive action, which shields undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation and which Trump rescinded last week. In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Trump said no formal agreement was reached. He did, however, seem open to some kind of DACA law, praising the program’s recipients as “good, educated and accomplished young people.”

Even without a DACA deal, Trump meeting alone with the Democrats is unusual. What is he doing? The president largely shunned Democrats and governed solely with the GOP for the first eight months of his presidency. Here are four theories about what’s going on [with Scriber’s condensed versions]:

He is mad at McConnell and Ryan

That’s plausible. He was feuding with McConnell and we know that Trump can lash out at those he considers his enemies. Or, it may be that he has given up on McConnell and Ryan getting anything done.

He doesn’t care about caving to the Democrats on DACA or the debt ceiling

In spite of his campaign rhetoric, “he certainly isn’t acting as though killing DACA is a personal priority for him.” He let AG Sessions make the announcement rescinding DACA and then turned around and supported legislation to restore DACA. Republicans like to hold the country hostage over the debt ceiling, but maybe Trump does not care that much or even agrees that the debt ceiling should not be used that way.

Trump may be trying to focus his party and Congress on tax reform

“Are we watching Trump begin to behave more like a normal, modern president, setting a major legislative priority and trying to direct his staff, Congress and the public to focus singularly on that goal? Maybe, maybe not. After the meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump was tweeting about Hillary Clinton and her new book.”

That so-called reform may not be headed anywhere other than the legislative morgue. As Ali Velshi noted in his day-time show on MSNBC, dropping corporate rates from 35% to 15% would force drastic cuts elsewhere. The numbers do not add up.

Trump is now governing from the center

Is he “[1] looking to cut deals and govern in a bipartisan manner or at least [2] act in a way that will get him good press and approval from Washington elites”? In spite of the “radical” nature of this 4th theory, I favor [2] - the act version. Remember: the guy’s a narcissist who will behave in a way that gets him to look good and thereby feel good. And, as the author notes, if you add up all the regulatory actions and cabinet picks and tweets denigrating just about everyone, the evidence against this theory is enormous.

All this is quite muddled. It may be that some combination of these theories is correct - or that none of them are. Perhaps the explanation is just the chaos that perpetually surrounds Trump, sort of like the Li’l Abner character Joe Btfsplk who “had a perpetually dark rain cloud over his head.”

The 538 author concludes: “The Republicans, the Democrats, the media and even Trump’s own staff have been confused by the last two weeks, and no one can tell you where it’s all going.”

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