Two views of this afternoon’s announcement by POTUS, which calls for three weeks of government funding and no money for the wall. There’s the Ann view…
Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 25, 2019
…and there’s the Bill view:
IMAGINE THIS SCENARIO:
Trump agrees to re-open government for 3 weeks, then, during the SOTU after laying out his case in detail, with @SpeakerPelosi sitting behind him, declares a #NationalEmergency to fund the wall and explains exactly where the funds come from.
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) January 25, 2019
Which view is more widely shared among Trump’s base? CNN reporter Oliver Darcy noticed the angry headlines percolating in MAGA media after the deal was revealed and marveled that “Trump is getting massive blowback from his allies in right-wing media.” Mm. There’s a running joke among anti-Trumpers that any time he does something vaguely dignified some establishment pundit like David Gergen will pop up on cable news and proclaim “This is the moment Trump became president.” And then, five minutes later, he’ll tweet about Stormy Daniels being a “horseface” or whatever and it’s up in smoke. The anger at Trump today for reopening the government without wall money smells like the populist equivalent of that. Everyone’s mad now — but tomorrow there might be a new Supreme Court vacancy. Or Don Jr might get indicted and all-out populist messaging war on the “deep state” will be declared. Or some left-wing tool like Nathan Phillips will get in a kid’s face and the progressive commentariat will dutifully flog the kid for it, and Trump will ride to the kid’s defense on Twitter.
Give it five minutes. Let’s see how angry people are after another news cycle or two. Let’s see how angry they are next summer when Democratic nominee Kamala Harris is promising to have Trump imprisoned for obstruction of justice if she wins the presidency. Mitchell, in fact, is already laying the groundwork to declare victory if Trump doesn’t end up with any wall money from Congress three weeks from now. He can always declare a national emergency! And then, when he loses in court and still doesn’t have any wall money, the g-ddamned judges can be blamed instead of him.
Bill or Ann: Which way do Trump supporters go next November when they have umpteen tons of partisan pressure and media pressure weighing on them to be good soldiers for the president? I’d bet good money that if he loses in 2020, it won’t be because populists stay home. It’ll be a replay of 2018 — populists turn out en masse for Trump but there are just too many defections in the center, among independents and suburbanites, to prevent a Democratic takeover. If that’s true then his surrender today was the best thing he could have done for his chances. Most righties disgruntled about the wall will come home but some centrists disgruntled about a months-long shutdown and the prospect of a reprise somewhere down the line might not. They’re not wedded to Trump like MAGA Nation is.
And even if I’m wrong and there is some lingering annoyance at POTUS among Trump voters, that’s easily fixed:
Trump will just spend the next two years blaming democrats for no wall. It’s shifted to a reelection strategy now.
— neontaster (@neontaster) January 25, 2019
Yep. Most anti-Trumpers on social media are gloating about Trump giving up but I don’t want to beat on him for doing the sensible thing, however belatedly, before something terrible happened. I don’t understand why he didn’t just agree to re-open the government permanently, though, and declare a national emergency today instead of punting the decision for another three weeks. There’s zero chance that the new negotiations will include any wall money and there’s almost zero chance that Trump will let another shutdown begin in February after the pain of this one. The emergency decree is his only option except outright surrender. Postponing it will only cause another round of, ahem, “massive blowback” next month.
Anyway, don’t worry. We’ll get the wall someday when Republicans have total control of government. Which reminds me: What are we to make of the fact that most of the people responsible for the “massive blowback” this afternoon spent the past two years in 24/7 Bill Mitchell mode, cheerleading for Trump and celebrating his victories, instead of hounding him to fund the wall before Democrats had a shot at taking back Congress in the midterms? Coulter did hound him about it frequently on her Twitter account and on TV, in fairness. How much of the rest of the blowback is essentially just a populist form of virtue-signaling? Here’s the clip, via the Free Beacon.