GOP establishment purists already surrendered April budget fight

· March 29, 2017  
    Font Size A A A
Rob Bayer | Shutterstock

In elementary school, my classmates used to tell “you’re so dumb” jokes, such as, “you’re so dumb you got hit by a parked car.” Watching Republicans today, I was reminded of my juvenile days because we have a party that is so dumb they are preemptively surrendering the entire budget to Democrats, even though Democrats control a minority of one branch of government. Then again, Republicans aren’t really dumb; they just don’t share our values.

The progressive purists who run this party are so pure in their desire to say no to any conservative idea that they will give Democrats everything they want on the entire budget — both in terms of spending levels and policies. Senate Republicans have essentially telegraphed the message to Democrats that they are so scared of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) winning a government shutdown fight from the minority of one branch that they are willing to give surrender on spending levels, funding for Planned Parenthood, and keep out any conservative policy riders, such as codifying Trump’s executive order by defunding refugee resettlement. Worse, they are scuttling funding for the border wall, Trump’s the most foundational campaign promise.

Thus far, it is shocking how a party with control of all branches of government has accomplished absolutely nothing in its first two months. It is unprecedented for a party with full control to squander its most potent and immediate political capital. Democrats had already enacted major fiscal and social policies by this time in 2009. Yet, the budget bill due in April was the last great hope to salvage some policy victories for the first 100 days. Now that is dashed by this Republican Party, which has shown itself to be nothing more than an affirmative action version of the Democrat Party for dumb people.

As The Hill’s Alex Bolton reports, Senate Republicans have not only guaranteed Democrats they will give them all the policies and spending levels in the bill, but they will also jettison the president’s request for a supplemental spending bill for construction of the border wall, along with spending offsets.

Folks, there are no words in the English language to describe the level of betrayal and perfidy transpiring among Republicans. For the past six years, we were told that we must give President Obama everything he wanted in the budget, even though Republicans controlled the House and then the Senate. We were told that one could never win a budget brinkmanship with the specter of a government shutdown when Democrats controlled the bully pulpit of the presidency.

As such, Democrats knew that they could merely threaten a shutdown and Republicans would frenetically give them anything they wanted. In fact, after Republicans took over both the House and Senate in 2015 and caved on everything in the omnibus bill, Chuck Schumer expressed shock at how swiftly Republicans caved. “If you would have told me this year that we’d be standing here celebrating the passage of an omnibus bill,” Schumer boasted. “I wouldn’t have believed it, but here we are.”

But that was then. Now we have the bully pulpit of the White House and Republicans are so scared about Democrats shutting down the government from a minority of one branch that they are preemptively giving them EVERYTHING. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is using his typical warped logic to keep Planned Parenthood funding in the budget. It has become clear that even with control of all branches of government, if there is one Democrat left in the Senate Democrats will control the budget process.

Which brings us to the obvious question: Where is the president?

We all knew Republicans would never change. But this is why voters elected Trump. They wanted bold reforms. They wanted to drain the swamp. Why is he not demanding that his immigration agenda and spending priorities be codified into the budget? Why is he not working with the Freedom Caucus and shaming GOP moderates and appropriators into following his conservative promises the same way he is shaming conservatives for upholding their integrity on Obamacare?

When the president’s party controls Congress, he sets the agenda. Why is Trump allowing Ryan, McConnell and the appropriators to operate as if nothing has changed in the White House?

What is evident here is that, much like with the Obamacare promises, nothing seems to change with the budget when Republicans control the White House in addition to Congress. The fact that Republicans are acting as perfidious as ever despite controlling all three branches is the final proof that there was never a disagreement over strategy all along; it was a disagreement over values. As evidenced by Rep. Steve Stivers’s (R-Ohio) statement about working with radical Democrats instead of conservatives, these people fundamentally don’t share our values:

As chairman of the NRCC, Stivers is responsible for recruiting new GOP candidates and yet he feels closer to the most radical Democrat Party in history than to conservatives. If this is not a page out of Orwell, I’m not sure what is.

The big question for the president is whether he’ll allow liberal Republicans to denude him of the one opportunity to fight back against the courts and fulfill his most sacred promises on immigration and the border wall. Maybe he can start tweeting about the ‘capitulation caucus.’

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.