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Assault on America, Day 105: GOP establishment remains Trump’s most visible 2020 opponent

Mitch McConnell
Is the honeymoon over… or did it ever actually start?

Speaking of the ever-tenuous relationship between President Donald Trump and the Republican establishment. We’re steadily approaching the four-year anniversary of the lifelong real estate developer and celebrity’s fateful journey down the escalator at Trump Tower, shortly after which he announced his cause -- to Make America Great Again -- and the political world’s never been the same since.

From the outset the media described Trump as a “bull in a China shop” for his willingness to throw his weight around and fearlessly challenge the DC swamp. His blunt language, penchant for punching back (via Twitter and otherwise) and utter disdain for the niceties and formalities of American politics was repulsive to the political ninnies’ delicate sensibilities. Trump didn’t care -- and neither did the tens of millions who backed him in the 2016 election, which he won despite fierce ruling class resistance.

Now there are signs the establishment’s had it with Trump’s in-your-face and impulsive leadership style; you might even say they’re plotting revenge. Alexander Bolton reported at The Hill, “Senate Republicans are getting tired of being caught off-guard by President Trump on key issues like health care and controversial nominees like Herman Cain, and say there needs to be more consultation from the White House.

“Trump’s allies say they often find out about the president’s plans on Twitter or through media reports, making it almost impossible to offer the White House any advice before major decisions are announced...

“McConnell on Thursday said the administration should check in with Senate Republicans to see if nominees who are likely to be controversial will be able to muster enough GOP votes before floating their names. ‘There are two things the administration ought to consider before nominating someone. First, obviously, background check. And second, likelihood of confirmation,’ he said. ‘Generally better to check that out in advance before you send a nomination up.’”

Hmpf. In essence the epicenter of the Republican establishment -- the stodgy McConnell-led upper chamber -- is up in arms because Trump didn’t beg their permission to appoint individuals who he believed would carry out his wishes and get the job done without worrying about bowing and kissing all the proper rings. Maybe if Trump first required his prospective nominees to change their last names to “Bush” or “Romney” they’d have a better shot at a warm welcome. Make no mistake, if Trump picked from the cream of the elites there’d be no such complaints about a lack of consultation prior to acting.

Eternally wary of political battles, McConnell and cohorts avoid confrontations -- especially those within the caucus. Why aren’t the “moderates” ever taken to task? Why is it always the same list of three or four RINO senators causing all the distress?

Bolton’s article indicated the knock against Herman Cain stems from residual paranoia over unsubstantiated sexual harassment allegations from the 2008 GOP primary campaign (multiple former female employees accused him of inappropriate advances). It was well before the #MeToo craze, but Cain did withdraw from the race (after briefly leading in the polls) because of it; the claims weren’t fully litigated in the public eye. The successful self-made pizza titan and business tycoon would appear to be a good choice for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board, the mysterious quasi-governmental body that few truly comprehend.

The establishment doesn’t understand Trump either; why, they must wonder, would a president purposely nominate people who drum up controversy? Why choose a difficult path when it’s easy to find a guy or gal with the “background” and resume that checks all the right boxes -- you know, Ivy League education, legacy membership in the party hierarchy and firsthand knowledge of all the best watering holes in DC?

That isn’t Trump’s modus operandi. If anything, he’s repelled by the rubber-stamps and conformists. The ruling elites never took Trump seriously and soon learned the folly of their ways.

Plus, he has the voters on his side. Fed up from over a quarter-century of feckless and directionless “leadership” from the GOP ruling class, the party’s conservative grassroots hankered for an outsider who spoke truth-to-power and promised to break the elites’ stranglehold on decision-making.

It’s only natural the DC establishment looks with heavy suspicion at anyone who upsets the applecart, especially on the Republican side. Republican presidents don’t make waves… unless your name is Reagan. And if the Federal Reserve somehow shifted its questionable monetary policy it might expose the dubious dealings of the swamp all those years, making it impossible for the creatures to maintain the status quo.

Meanwhile, well-regarded economist Stephen Moore’s alleged rap concerns unpaid tax liabilities and penalties. Funny how none of these “problems” ever surface until the ruling class objects to a proven conservative pushed forward by Trump, a man they can’t control and clearly don’t want to contend with. The president certainly must’ve figured the outspoken anti-tax hike supply-sider Moore would be the last person who’d go along to get along with the pencil-necked numbers crunchers at the Fed, a very dangerous quality for the ultra-unadventurous institution.

Further, Moore’s strong ties to the anti-establishment Club for Growth isn’t helping his cause, since the Club is renowned for its primary challenges against establishment lawmakers in both chambers. If you’re a wishy-washy McConnell acolyte and served long enough in the Senate, chances are you’ve faced primary opponents backed by the Club. Moore might’ve even personally campaigned against you at some point. No wonder the establishmentarians are sore about not being informed in advance he’d be nominated.

Trump’s brand of politics isn’t well regarded by McConnell, either. The turtle-like Kentucky establishmentarian’s even instructed his followers to avoid talking about Trump next year. Stephen Dinan and Alex Swayer of The Washington Times reported, “Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican senators running for re-election next year should not couple their messaging to President Trump but rather run ‘independent’ campaigns built around how they’ve helped their states.

“The Kentucky Republican, who is himself up for reelection, said senators’ races are big enough that they can escape the gravity of the presidential race and establish themselves on their own.

“Mr. McConnell also said Republicans must — and can — reverse disastrous losses in the suburbs that cost them their House majority in November’s elections. ‘There’s no good reason for your typical suburban resident to be frightened by this Republican Senate,’ he told reporters in a briefing on policy and politics as the 100-day mark of the new Congress approaches.”

Sure, Mitch, tell your incumbents to run on “independent” issues when Trump’s zeroed-in on everything voters care about. How about shoring up the mushy-moderate center by bragging about all the spending you’ve allowed the past few years, or how many times you’ve invited Chuck Schumer to dinner only to be stood up?

Trump will be out front in all the battleground states emphasizing the need to fight harder for the MAGA agenda and McConnell thinks his senators should stay completely away from it? Talk about counterintuitive. It’s true, Trump’s national approval rate will likely be around 50 percent -- or less -- but he’s still popular enough in those swing states that will decide the election (and where a group of the senators are running).

Further, nothing Trump champions now is overly controversial. Trump’s nominated excellent conservative judges, fought for repealing and replacing Obamacare, advocated for a border wall and reasonable changes to the broken immigration system, and, unlike his predecessors, conducted a realistic foreign policy that’s kept the military out of impossible and unwinnable conflicts.

And needless to say there’s the strong economy to talk about too. As a candidate, can you independently take credit for Trump’s robust deregulatory policies? What about the country’s great advances in energy production? Or Trump’s advocacy for the pro-life cause?

Instead of joining President Trump in his relentless drive to steer American government back towards its constitutional limits, the Republican establishment is taking the opposite approach. It just goes to show, it’ll take much longer than four years to change the rotten culture in Washington.

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