It’s what every politician both wants and fears: A one-party government.
When a politician belongs to the party in power, the feeling is nothing short of ebullience. Ideological monopoly. For liberals, it means new laws guaranteeing health care to all, or at least more people. It means increased spending on scientific research and education, implementing assault weapons bans, and making equal rights and voting opportunities more accessible. For conservatives, unlimited power means expansion of religion in public institutions. It means tax cuts for millionaires, abortion bans, and unfettered “free” trade. Most of all, it means that either party can use the ultimate power of Big Government™ — the Budget — to get what they want.
So now that the Republicans hold complete power, why can’t they get what they want?
The short answer is, because they’re kind of clowns. When you think about it, it’s all the way down the line. They’ve got circus clowns, like Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy. They’ve got rodeo clowns like Louie Gohmert and Steve King. Ironically, the Clown-in-Chief is of the “hobo” variety, despite his obscene wealth: Necktie too long, comically bad hair, and seemingly drunk all the time.
Now the GOP is in a position to eschew negotiation and simply push through whatever they like.
They just don’t know what they like. In the latest three-ring budget show, they alternated between Trump and his sycophants in Congress demanding money for the Great Wall and threatening to withhold payments to insurers under the ACA. Their internecine conflict reached such a boiling point that it threatened to shut down the government. That’s unheard of during a time of one-party rule.
But behold! The Republicans have rediscovered negotiating, even if it’s mostly within their own party. The budget they passed Sunday to avert the looming shutstorm is being called bipartisan, but the GOP bargained away nearly everything Donald Trump wanted. He got some extra defense money — about half what he asked for. Money for the wall? Gone. Decreased funding for the National Institutes for Health? The opposite, actually. According to a late-night report from the New York Times, they’re even paying back local governments for the security nightmares induced by Trump’s frequent golf outings.
They must be exhausted from all this winning.
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