Opinion

GOP Snoozes And Loses

Another day, another surprise from President Donald Trump. Far different than the dull by comparison presidencies of his predecessors. Big media can’t seem to write or talk about much else, except for the occasional hurricane breaks. Even those are quickly dispatched. All attention is on Irma. Harvey who?

This week amidst the buildup to Hurricane Irma, another hurricane struck Washington, DC in the form of President Trump cozying up with his new BFFs, Chuck and Nancy. As in Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. More surprising than two major hurricanes in the space of a couple of weeks.

In an Oval Office meeting with the four Congressional leaders, Trump made a deal with Chuck and Nancy, not with Mitch and Paul. A hurricane relief package and a 3-month debt ceiling increase. As The Hill observed, “The White House has grown tired of Republican leaders rebuking or handcuffing the president instead of enacting his agenda.”

Who could blame Trump? Eight months into his presidency, his Congressional counterparts, in the majority, have accomplished nothing of substance. They snoozed and now they lose.

Obamacare, which virtually all Republicans promised to repeal, is still the law of the land. Taxes, which all Republicans perpetually promise to cut, are still high and a tax reform bill is floating somewhere in the DC swamp. The border wall is moving along, despite the absence of help from Congress. Trump’s travel ban received little support from Congressional Republicans.

The final straw appears to be Trump’s executive order rescinding Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program. Republican outrage throughout the ranks, from the leadership on down. Their dismay over Obama’s original executive order has been replaced by anger at Trump for daring to fix what they once thought was so terrible. Imagine that.

Remember back to 2010 when Republicans said, “We need the House” to repeal Obamacare and stop Obama’s liberal agenda. Delivered. Next, they said “We need the Senate too.” Also delivered. “But what about the presidential veto?” they said. That too was delivered, although not who the Republicans preferred. But definitely who their constituents wanted.

A once in a generation opportunity, similar to the once in a generation hurricane bearing down on Florida. What has the Republican Congress done? Nothing except constantly complain about and criticize their president. Squandering their once in a lifetime opportunity to lead, an opportunity to advance their agenda. To deliver the promises they make every two years during campaign season.

Snoozing rather than storming ahead. Imagine Trump as the eye wall, surrounded by a Republican Congressional majority not seen in close to a hundred years, the GOP could be a category 5 storm totally remaking the political landscape.

Repeal Obamacare and replace it with something sensible and responsible. Cut taxes and reform the tax code. Build the wall and fix the dysfunctional immigration laws. Create sensible and safe rules for refugee vetting and immigration. Create a plan to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure. Trim the bloated government bureaucracy. All promises of the President and most Republican members of Congress.

If enacted, Republicans would control Congress for a generation. And possibly the White House as well. But that requires leadership. And supporting Donald Trump. What if the GOP has no interest in either?

So they do nothing but snooze. Trump realizes that his only hope of getting anything done is to “reach across the aisle,” as John McCain constantly encourages. To find willing partners, even if that means Chuck and Nancy. Make no mistake, the Democrats and media will still hate Trump. But the GOP has been put on notice, particularly the leadership, that if they do nothing except obstruct their President, he will find others who will work with him. Voters in November 2018 may do the same.

Trump is not a partisan ideologue. Once a Democrat, he is now a Republican. His beliefs and agenda are far more aligned with Republicans than Democrats but ultimately, he is a deal maker and wants to get stuff done. Executive orders have their limits. Legislation is the only lasting solution. The GOP Congress is not delivering and Trump has had enough.

The GOP chooses to snooze. And as Mitch and Paul recently learned, they will lose. Along with the Republican Party.

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.