Open Warfare in the Republican Camp

What many predicted might happen may be all too close to reality, President Trump and his own party are on the verge of all out civil war.

From the issue of the repeal of Obama Care to the President’s displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, establishment Republicans like John McCain (Rep – AZ) and even Trump supporters like Orrin G. Hatch (Rep-UT) appear more focused on their displeasure with the president than the work at hand.

The liberal mainstream media and Democrats have been more than cooperative in portraying disagreements within the Republican Party as proof President Trump is the failure they warned he would be last November.

So why the seeming disarray in the Grand Old Party? While there are many ideological differences within the party the answer may be far more personal than issue based. No one within the Republican establishment expected or for that matter wanted Donald Trump to win the nomination or the presidency.

Nate Silver’s article in the conservative leaning website, FiveThirtyEight, is a good example of this. As the primary process got under way, the title of Silver’s article reflected the attitude of the majority of Republican insiders. He wrote:

“So then: President Trump? Well, probably not. Trump (and Ben Carson) has a lot of problems other than lack of support from the Republican establishment. And even if the Republican Party is too weak to easily reach consensus on a candidate, it may nevertheless be strong enough to veto an unacceptable nominee from being chosen.”

Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania offered a simple explanation for why Republicans have proven unable to forge a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act. During a televised meeting with state Republicans, he said, “Look, I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win, I think most of my colleagues didn’t, so we didn’t expect to be in this situation,”

Paul Kane writes that Republicans agreed upon a “repeal and delay” strategy for dealing with Obamacare soon after the election:

“They had no real clue how to do anything else. But the lack of advance planning has also been evident in the inability of Republicans in the Executive and Legislative branches to reach any kind of agreement on how to proceed with other very basic agenda items — also achievable without Democratic votes — like “tax reform” and the federal budget. And the disarray extends beyond the legislative process.”

It is hard to overstate the difference for Republicans between the “Trump wins” and “Clinton wins” scenarios. After all, the GOP had been rehearsing the politics of obstruction and enjoying the innocent pleasures of passing consequences-free legislation for six long years after Republicans retook the House in 2010 (and then the Senate in 2014). The transition from gesturing to governing was especially tough for the anti-government party, and it did not help that the new GOP president was so unorthodox, unpredictable, and inexperienced a figure. Republicans did not, as Toomey said, “expect to be in this situation,” so they did not go through the difficult process of airing their differences and putting together pre-vetted consensus plans. On issue after issue, they are doing that now, on the fly, using — as Toomey puts it— “live ammo.”

To put it simply, Republicans lawmakers focused on obstructing Obama while they waited for whoever in their party to beat Hillary Clinton. What too many in the party didn’t anticipate was the will of the people having more power than their support of a chosen one like Jeb Bush.

The end result of this myopic lack of acceptance of Trump is the stalemate in Washington. Some good examples of this are how the president’s party has reacted to his initiatives.

Generally pro-Trump lawmakers have emerged as critics of the unexpected transgender ban. Sens. Joni Ernst (Rep-IA) and Orrin G. Hatch (Rep-UT) both said Trump overstepped himself in banning transgender service members. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Rep-WI) refused to back the ban, saying he would await a Defense Department review of the issue despite Trump’s clear wishes.

Senators who are used to protocol and civility are probably more annoyed with Trump’s pattern of bypassing the establishment and going straight to his base through his morning tweets.

Republicans had over two years in which they had the numbers to repeal Obamacare and fashion an acceptable replacement. With nothing to stand in their way of tax and healthcare reform, too many are focused on their displeasure with the president.

~ American Liberty Report


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