I’ll probably never be able to make up my mind fully about President Trump, and I am sure a number of our commenters will pounce on this opening. But just about every time I think he’s blundered or shown himself not up to the job, something changes my mind as the dust settles.
First, as Scott and Paul noted, his speech to the UN this week was terrific. Geez—you’d think from the reaction Trump called the Soviet Union an evil empire or something. Even more satisfying is how Trump continually confounds the efforts of the DC Swamp Monsters to make him conform to the “normal” rules and procedures of Washington. These two front page headlines from the Washington Post this week tell the story:
“Pragmatic” is DC codespeak for “moved to the left.” But apparently Trump and his speechwriters didn’t read the Post, because:
And about his two recent semi-deals with Chuck and Nancy that I dumped all over a few days ago. Today those deals look rather different in their impact going forward. First, on the debt ceiling, it appears that this postponement of a showdown has opened the door to the 11th hour prospect of repealing and replacing Obamacare after all. I can’t explain the arcane details of why (budget process and all that), but it casts the quick deal in a rather different light. And for whatever reason, the repeal/replace drama this time—perhaps because it is a sequel?—is not drawing the sturm und drang of the earlier efforts. (Though never underestimate the vanity of John McCain to stop it again.)
Second, the DACA deal, which seems to threaten Trump’s relations with his base, may portend an odd twist. Being media-savvy, Trump grasped quickly that expelling the “dreamers,” portrayed (sometimes accurately) as people brought here as small children and therefore morally blameless for breaking the law, is not a popular move with a majority of Americans. If nothing else, many of the “dreamers” speak English well and are halfway to assimilation. They’re the kind of immigrants we want.
But as Paul and John noted, moving for a compromise to allow “dreamers” to stay has created a huge rift on the left, as the protest at Nancy Pelosi’s presser on the dreamers demonstrates. The left wants full amnesty and a path to citizenship for all 11 million or more illegals in the country. Trump has offered amnesty to the 800,000 or so dreamers. If this becomes the baseline for an eventual deal (in other words, no amnesty for the other 10 million), watch the left scream with outrage about how they were outmaneuvered. It might even be worth giving up the wall. It is possible that in hindsight, Obama made a huge blunder in using the dreamers as his wedge for executive overreach on immigration. In which case, when it comes to who the dumb guy is, Trump will smile all the more.