“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
~ H. L. Mencken
Several people, primarily Trump supporters, think his lack of definable ideology is a good thing. He’s there to make good deals, I’m told. This is how he worked in heavily Democrat New York, they say. He is showing the GOP in Congress that if they won’t play ball, he’ll just go over and play with the other team. I’m certainly not in favor of Ryan or McConnell. While I must admit that Paul Ryan fooled me, I wanted to see Mitch defeated. Not a fan of either of them today – even if Ryan is nominally conservative, he is a terrible leader and has a weak team around him.
Let’s just think about this for a couple of minutes.
- On Obamacare, Trump wants it repealed but replaced “with something terrific.” Democrats are, of course, pushing single payer – something Trump once supported.
- On DACA, he rightfully sent it back to Congress but wants them to come back with something that can pass
constitutional muster. He has never stated exactly what he expects to see but says he has “a love for these people and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.” I doubt “helping them” includes deportation.
- On the burgeoning national debt, it’s just more of the same. The Trump/Pelosi/Schumer deal just kicks the can down the road a little more. Of the debt ceiling, President Trump says, “Always we’ll agree on debt ceiling, automatically because of the importance of it”, which means any limit isn’t important at all. McConnell and Ryan huffed and puffed a bit but the vote count was overwhelmingly favorable for the “deal” – in the Senate was 80-17 and in the House, it was 316 to 90. So, for all the bitching – it was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
In my opinion, these few things indicate the danger of having an ideologically asexual, deal-making president. During the Bush years while the progressive left freaked out about the “unitary executive”, the right had little problem with it. Then in 2008, the positions were reversed – the right started fretting about President Pen and Phone, and miraculously, the left now had no issues with the unitary executive during the entire 8 years of the Obama administration.
The old saying goes that there is only one party in Washington, the party of government – and to a large extent, that is true – but we have the same process in government as we do in American jurisprudence – adversarial representation. We go to court and have a prosecutor and a plaintiff or a complainant and a respondent and the judge is there merely to make sure the rules are followed and the jury gets a chance to make an objective judgement. That’s the way it should be with elective politics – two parties opposed in ideology and philosophy with rules designed to give the American voters a chance to make an informed decision.
It is the Universal Unitarianism of American politics. Universalists believe that each person is free to search for their own personal truth on issues, such as the existence, nature, and meaning of life, deities, creation, and afterlife and so is true with Trump – each person can find their own truth but we are all together in our mutual confusion and delusion.
Trump’s lack of ideology furthermore empowers the party of government because any “deal” that gets made in Washington will always favor Democrats and progressive Republicans and in turn will favor more yuge and bigly government. Remember Candidate Trump never promised you a smaller, less intrusive government, he promised a well-oiled, tremendous world beating Leviathan much better at giving you stuff than ever before and now that he was elected, you are going to get it.
And oh boy, are you going to get it – good and hard.