July 13, 2017

"Democrat obstruction" rings hollow when GOP controls all of government

As everybody is growing more frustrated once again with the GOP, we're hearing deflection about how the lack of progress is due to the obstructionism of the Democrats. Trump himself says this repeatedly (probably after arm-twisting by the GOP Establishment), and so did Kellyanne Conway and RNC head Ronna McDaniel on Lou Dobbs the other night, when he pressed them to explain why Congress isn't delivering the goods on the President's agenda.

Since election night, there has been tremendous gloating about how shut-out the Democrats have become -- losing the White House, Senate, House, governorships, and state legislatures during Obama's terms. That means they cannot be to blame: they don't control anything anymore.

That's what really spooks the worthless do-nothing Republican Party -- now that they control everything, they cannot possibly place the blame on the other party.

During the GOP primaries, Trump often said that the Republicans were more of a let-down than the Democrats, especially since they actually had control over the Congress and were in a position to do something. See this interview with Hannity from November 2015 at 9:40.

Agreeing with Hannity, Trump says:

I'm a Republican, I'm a conservative. Nothing's happened since we took the Senate. Now we have the House, we have the Senate. Nothing's happened. It's the same exact story.

In fact, in a certain way, with all of his executive orders, Obama is doing better. We take the Senate, we have majorities, nothing happens. I'm almost more disappointed -- I'll take the word "almost" out -- I'm more disappointed in the Republicans than the Democrats. Because at least the Democrats, we know where they're coming from. The Republicans have done nothing. Look at the budget they just passed. They've done nothing.

He must feel even more disappointed now, since they really have no excuse, with their party in control of the White House on top of everywhere else.

Why isn't Congress tackling the main themes of the presidential campaign, like immigration, re-industrialization, nationalist rather than globalist foreign policy, and draining the Swamp? Not because Democrats are obstructing -- because the Republican Party is dead set against the Trump agenda.

The "b-b-but 60 votes" excuse for the Senate is BS because the majority party can change the Senate rules however it wants, as long as it isn't against the Constitution (where some actions do call for a 2/3 majority vote). The threshold of 60 only dates back to the 1970s -- they would not even be getting rid of some ancient tradition.

The Republicans don't want to go by simple majority because then they would have no plausible deniability for obstructing President Trump. Then they would have to drop the act, come right out, and say, "We just don't feel like working on what the President got elected to pursue".

Well, what about going the route of signing executive orders all day? On the campaign trail, Trump said he'd try to get deals made through Congress, but if not, he'd make like Obama and break open an entire case of pens to sign executive orders.

Earlier I pointed out that when the Establishment hijacked the Trump presidency in the beginning of April, the steady stream of Trumpian executive orders slowed to a trickle, and then shut off completely. The only exception is on trade and manufacturing, where the GOP has decided to allow him some freedom, in order to keep the Rust Belt voters on board.

In the six weeks since that report, nothing has changed. Almost no actions in June or so far in July. The only new executive order has been to re-establish the Space Council -- nice, I guess, but not part of the Trump agenda. It is likely designed to create more manufacturing jobs, rather than actually set about colonizing Mars or whatever people are imagining. He also amended one of Obama's orders on expedited visas, to say that it was no longer a priority to process 80% of applicants within 3 weeks -- giving us more time to thoroughly vet them.

The Democrats are not preventing him from signing executive orders all day long, whether original ones or counter-signing ones from Obama's terms. If he wants to undo Obama's legacy, he needs to counter-sign 10 executive orders a day. It is the Republican Establishment who has held Trump hostage to their agenda, in order to pay off his political debt, so they are to blame for shutting down his executive order machine that was running like crazy during his first couple months.

The same goes for the agencies in the Executive branch, a point that even Jason Chaffetz made responding to Trump on Twitter. Sessions is the one who recused himself from the witch hunt, leaving the President and his supporters totally vulnerable. And Sessions is the one who is neglecting Trumpian priorities in favor of fighting the drug war (something that Trump and his supporters are not against in theory, but that is not a priority).

Since Sessions is loyal to Trump personally and ideologically, that means the GOP Establishment, the Deep State, or whoever, has given The Talk to Sessions and has held him hostage as well. At least he didn't get shoved out entirely like Mike Flynn.

"Obama holdovers" are another non-explanation, since Trump theoretically controls the Executive and can fire whoever he wants. "Slow-walking" by the Democrats of appointees to replace them is the same non-excuse as it is for Senate gridlock in general. If the majority party wants to change the Senate rules to prevent the Democrats from holding up the nomination process, they can do so at any time. Like ending the practice of letting a single "hold" derail the process.

But the Republicans are opposed to the Trump agenda, so they are allowing the Democrats to jam up the flow of nominees. It is nothing more than good cop / bad cop.

We know the GOP obstruction is specifically directed against the Trump agenda, since they were perfectly fine with changing Senate rules in order to get the Supreme Court nominee onto the bench. That is a major election turn-out and fundraising theme of theirs -- getting conservatives into the courts. So, convention con-schmention.

But when it comes to changing Senate rules to advance a goal of Trump's, rather than of the GOP, they leave the status quo in place.

Does anybody really believe that if Jeb Bush had become President, with GOP control over both houses of Congress, they would allow such gridlock in the nomination process? Or that the Party would prevent the President from signing executive orders? Or allow the President to be totally exposed to a partisan witch hunt, by side-lining his Attorney General? Or be bitching and moaning every day about the President's views and goals?

This disproves the common gripe that the Republicans are just wimpy and hidebound, rather than outright against the American people's wishes. They supposedly aren't confrontational fighters -- until Trump showed up, and then they threatened a contested convention, stole delegates, released a severely damaging oppo research tape right before the election, and then came out in force to disavow him and suggest Pence take his place on the ticket.

They are also just as hawkish about the Russia non-issue as the Democrats, allowing the hearings in both houses to go on indefinitely against Trump's campaign, but not even touching the Clinton campaign. That's not Democrat self-protection, that's the GOP going to bat for Hillary Clinton in order to weaken the unwanted President Trump.

The American people have heard enough of these excuses about "Democrats obstructing". We know who is in control of all branches and all levels of government, and it is the Republicans. They deserve all of the blame for the disappointing lack of progress on the themes of the Trump campaign, and for hijacking the presidential victory for their own deeply unpopular themes -- restoring corporate rape to the healthcare sector, tax cuts for the rich, sinking more blood and treasure into failed wars, and promoting Establishment hacks rather than loyalists to the President.

Now that the jig is up, Trump supporters are going to turn against the GOP Establishment, the Deep State, and the rest. If they had only let Trump get his way, they would have remained invisible and left alive to fight another day in 2020 or 2024. But by so nakedly blocking the agenda of "their own" party's leader, they have exposed themselves to the people. A year ago, nobody was talking about Deep State, and suddenly it's common to hear it on normie-friendly Fox News.

These angry Trump supporters can only rely on democratic means vis-a-vis Congress, by trying to primary the GOP obstructionists, or by vindictively voting for a Democrat to replace them. But what about those Republicans who are blocking Trump from signing executive orders all day? Or from "getting along with Russia"? Or from letting Attorney General Sessions do his thing at the DoJ? We cannot primary them out of their station of influence.

Once the frustration reaches that level, things could really get ugly. We thought they'd be conciliatory after the rude awakening on November 8th, but instead the Republican Party is hell-bent on over-turning the results of the election, albeit in favor of an imaginary President Pence rather than President Clinton.


  1. If the Dems are smart (ha ha), they will take the opportunity provided by the whole Russian affair to appeal to the heartland with constant nationalistic rhetoric about "fah-run agents infiltratin' the guv'ment" that has traditionally been the GOP's territory. Instead, their attitude appears to have been, "Double down on the tumblr to stick it to the 4chan. " In other words, the same Neo-Victorian attitudes towards foreign policy and social values that delivered them an epic fail last November.


  2. Between this and solid Dem states nakedly "failing" on Single Payer, populists and centrists need to get wise and make common cause. The neolibs/neocons sure have and are stronger than us for it. The situation, the realignment, is like a huge, hulking, creaky barge were trying to turn around.

  3. BTW, good post, Ag. Nodded in strong agreement about the neocon right finding it's fighting spirit when it really wants something. They did this with social issues as well, though to a lesser extent.

    A watershed moment occurred on Tucker Carlson; I believe this marks the first time that the realist foreign policy priors debuted in a vociferous way when Carlson took on Max Boot. Watch the whole thing, please:


    Max Blumenthal's other comments alluding to this being unusual, a first:

    What does it say about the state of modern liberalism that the long overdue dressing down of Iraq war neocons takes place only on Tucker?

    .@TuckerCarlson told Boot what should be said to every chickenhawk neocon: Get another job & disappear. Sadly, the Democrats said, Join us!

  4. I saw it live last night, that guy had no response but deranged sputtering.

    Even more hilarious when juxtaposed against his attempt to convey a nonchalant attitude through clothing choices, with his tie knot yanked all the way to one side, and his Twitter avatar having its hat falling off the side of his head (somewhere he once read about a "rakish angle").

    Rather than devil-may-care, he looked disheveled -- sartorially and psychologically. What an utter putz.

    The best retort Tucker had was when that guy said You too supported the Iraq War, and Tucker said Yeah, well you try and learn from your mistakes, and not support going into Libya, Yemen, Syria, and wherever else they're planning to invade next year.

    It took the argument out of the frame of "who is the most ideologically pure?" or "who has the greatest track record?" and made it into "who has learned and adapted the most from their earlier mistakes?"

    Most Americans supported the Iraq War in one way or another. But as long as they're changing their views toward these things, that's what matters. We'd like those with the best track records to be in charge, but if everyone has a bad record on Iraq, let's at least get those who have changed their attitude in the wake of its failure.

    Humility, redemption -- themes that could not possibly resonate with the stereotypical neo-cons.

  5. Here's a good interview between Michael Tracey and Max Blumenthal, in which they cover the shift of the criticism of empire to the right-leaning people, including Tucker. Tracey says Yeah I went on Tucker and wasn't forced to say anything or refrain from saying anything, and isn't it too bad we could never be invited onto MSNBC?


    Even in their qualifications about "I don't agree with him on ____," they didn't stoop to the slander that their counterparts would have a decade ago. "Well, he's a racist sexist homophobe, but at least he's against failed imperialism, which I guess is nice."

    Their tone was more like being pleasantly surprised by all the different types of people who are against trying to prop up our failing foreign ambitions. It's like a Breakfast Club for anti-imperialists.

    1. Yeah, exactly. I can't help but recall the Nader-Buchanan chats in the early 2000s due to their common opposition to imperialism and elements of globalization.

      It has been pointed out that one of the reasons why the right has been so much more successful than the left over the past 40 years is that the right looks for allies to attract whereas the left looks for heretics to destroy. Due to the constant need to confirm to a battery of tests for ideological purity (mostly based on the intersectionality of special interests), one does not get a mass movement but a group of seven or eight people in a room glaring at each other suspiciously for any sign of deviant thinking.

    2. "Here's a good interview between Michael Tracey and Max Blumenthal, in which they cover the shift of the criticism of empire to the right-leaning people, including Tucker."

      Ha ha! I'm currently watching it, got to about the 20 minute mark, and said to myself, "Gotta share this with Ag!"
      I think Blumenthal is dead-on, beginning around the 19 minute mark or so when he discusses it is the gentrifier-type in DC, and upper middle-class elsewhere who see Trump as an existential threat *and because they have nothing to offer all the working people they whip up fear*. Importantly, he says the Yeltsin-oligarch-mafia did just this in the 90s and is currently being done in Venezuela and Syria. He says this class fears "civil unrest" so it causes civil unrest.

      Before I get back to finishing it, the campaign to ostracize any Bernie-Jill Stein folk who try to make common cause is continuing: they're maligning Caitlin Johnstone. Nevermind that these people team up with the Frums, McMullins, and people who promise us more war to advance the neoliberal agenda. That's just being smart!

      Trump looks so far to have legitimate success in bringing Syria to a close *and they can't stand it*.

  6. That same liberal Democrat judge in Hawaii re-blocked the Muslim ban again, by re-writing the White House's definition of who counts as having a "bona fide" relationship to an American.

    Another example of Republicans refusing to implement Trump's policies. They should have stripped the district courts of jurisdiction over national-level matters like immigration -- we're now six MONTHS into the Muslim ban's non-life, and there has been zero action or even discussion from the GOP, who proves itself once again to be against Americans controlling their own borders and population.

  7. Tucker on Laura Ingraham's show, making the same points as before but more candidly:


    If that level of skepticism regarding Pentagon orthodoxy is taking root among conservative talk radio audiences, the warmongers had better pack it up already.

    Not even the military-minded voters are screaming for regime change in Syria, Iran, or Russia. And it's quickly going to get out there that the Shia do not wage jihad, which in reality comes from Sunni extremist states like our #1 ally Saudi Arabia.

  8. "Not even the military-minded voters are screaming for regime change in Syria, Iran, or Russia."
    Now that you say this... So true! They're content with a bunch of "I told you so's", like with Romney vs Obama on Russia, but they're not renting garments. Depressed? Yes.


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