Monday, March 20, 2017

Republican Contradictions

The great challenge of Trump's presidency is quickly approaching. It is not building The Wall, or repealing Obamacare, or fighting the various establishment power blocks. It is navigating the debt ceiling. On one hand it shouldn't be a big deal. It was only an issue under Obama because Republicans in Congress fought him over it. Trump has both houses of Congress, so one would think that Republicans would be able to fund their own budget. To fail to do so seems extraordinarily self-defeating. But it is logical as it only exposes some core contradictions within the party.

Foremost, Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility, yet they don't tend to be very fiscally responsible, not in Washington at least. That's a pretty big contradiction, and a lack of integrity. A general distrust of Republican integrity is what allowed for the rise of Trump to begin with. Trump himself has railed against Obama's doubling of the national debt, yet is proposing big spending coupled with big tax cuts. He vows he can do those things and avoid a spiraling debt situation because his leadership will drive a resurgent economy. It not wise to outright dismiss Trump, the exemplar of achievement despite all odds, but it all does sound something like a fairy tale.

Another contradiction is that the Republicans have unified power in Washington, but are not that unified. Congressional leaders like McCain and Ryan have betrayed Trump at every opportunity it was politically expedient to do so. Others are not actually conservative, and won't vote to take away any federal benefit that might cause them political harm. So we have a Congress that says it's conservative and fiscally responsible, but isn't; who wants to fund it's own agenda but is afraid to lose face for not backing the claimed fiscal responsibility it doesn't really have; and who should do so any way to support the Republican president whom they also frequently betray. That's a lot of contradictions. And it makes it impossible to predict anything.

If the Republicans can overcome their own self-contradictions, and it turns out that Trump is an excellent president except that his policy program tends to push the federal government even closer to bankrupty, well then maybe that would make him a perfect president.

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