Eh, she doesn’t really want a ruthless businessman. She wants the wall and expects it’ll take a ruthless businessman to deliver that, but it won’t really. Schumer did a good job of using defense spending as leverage to get everything else he wanted in this week’s spending bill. He could use funding for the wall similarly in September, knowing that it was Trump’s signature campaign promise and is seen as crucially important by his diehard fans. (Actually, Trump’s promise was that we’d build a wall and Mexico would pay for it, not Congress, but neither Coulter nor any other populist seems to be sweating the fine print anymore.) What could Schumer get later this year, I wonder, in exchange for agreeing to free up some money for, say, 100 miles of the wall? Health-care concessions? Tax concessions? The left will be annoyed if Democrats let Trump “win” on one of his core priorities, but the more the overall bill is seen as a victory for their priorities and a humiliation for Trump and the GOP, as this week’s bill was, the more they’ll tolerate the bargain.
Would the “ruthless businessman” Trump sell out the GOP on nearly everything in return for one small thing he could point to and say, “That’s pretty good, no?” He just did, didn’t he? If he’d do it for defense spending, he’d certainly do it for the wall. And remember, it was Ann Coulter herself who memorably summarized that approach to policy early in Trump’s campaign, tweeting in ecstatic praise for his immigration platform, “I don’t care if [Trump] wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.” There’s no price that’s not worth paying in exchange for tighter borders. You don’t need a ruthless businessman to execute a strategy like that. On the contrary.
We knew Washington Republicans were useless. That’s why we elected such a comically improbable president as Donald J. Trump.
The deal was that we were getting the Hollywood version of a New York businessman: an uncouth, incurious rube — who would be ruthless in getting whatever he wanted.
In addition to being the only candidate for president in either party taking America’s side on trade, immigration, jobs and crime, what set Trump apart was his promise that we would finally win…
We’re not winning. We’re losing, and we’re losing on the central promise of Trump’s campaign.
How would Trump, the businessman, react if an underling charged with developing a new golf course could never break ground?
He’d do a series of interviews insisting that the golf course is coming and it’ll be the greatest golf course ever, believe me, and 98 percent of his fans would buy it. And then, over time, everyone would forget about it just like they’ve forgotten about the “Mexico will pay” promise because in the end this is Us versus Them and Trump is the leader of “Us.” Don’t frag your own champion by holding him to account for unkept promises. That’s how the left wins.
Case in point, via Cook Political Report:
Coulter is holding him to account, to her credit; not all right-wing commentators have been as willing to place blame with the White House, instead fobbing this bill off entirely on Ryan and the do-nothing Republican Congress. That’s how you can tell the principled nationalists, I assume, from the people who are simply looking to make sure they stay on the right side of their populist audience. But they’re still a cheap date. He’ll probably insist on getting something for the wall next time, even though most of the public either doesn’t care about it or actively opposes it. The question is how much he’ll give up to get it. And the more columns like this one pile up on him, the more “ruthless” Schumer’s ask will be.
Here’s Mark Levin, another commentator who’s unwilling to pass the buck from Trump to Congress on the spending bill, opening his show last night. Exit quotation: “Ladies and gentlemen, the tax cuts under Reagan were called the Reagan tax cuts. They were called the Reagan tax cuts because he drove the agenda. He drove the agenda. The president of the United States is not driving the agenda.”