Buyers' Remorse? Or Trumpy-the-Clown Can Do No Wrong?
Will Americans suddenly like obstructionism now that it's coming from the Democrats rather than from Republicans? Or will they agree that the collection of misfits and rogues Trump has been nominating for office are beyond the pale and really do need to be stopped? Or will Americans think the GOP needs to be taught a lesson for what they did to President Obama's nominations, particularly Merrick Garland? Or... is the plan to obstruct Trumps' nominees-- a plan that can only end in Trumpy-the-Clown victories-- going to further alienate the public from government and make them hate it more, something that always serves the long-term strategies of conservatives, who strive to make the public distrust and dislike government? You know the answer already-- in a deeply divided nation, all of the above will prove true, dividing the nation even more deeply.
Sure Democrats say it isn't just about revenge-- something Trump voters can at least understand-- but that some of Trump's "more controversial Cabinet picks-- such as Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary-- demand a thorough public airing." Who says Sessions is "controversial?" Not the people of Alabama. Not voters who elected Trump. Of course the Democrats should "demand a thorough public airing," but why announce it as some kind of strategy that re-focuses the argument away from Sessions? Sherrod Brown: "They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified? It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs."
The tit-for-tat between the parties looks like it's here to stay.Republicans are betting that "the public" doesn't care about the Democrats' complaints-- and, at this point, they're probably right. Only 11% of Trump voters wish the election could be a do over and they could not vote for him. 23% say they would have voted for Bernie Sanders if they had the chance. But when that 11% number turns into 50%, that's when the public won't be buying into lies promoted by Michael Flynn about Hillary child sex rings in the back of DC pizzerias and maybe buyers' remorseful be strong enough for the public to rally behind the flawed and unattractive Democratic Party alternative.
“I’m not into retribution. I really think public service should be more than that,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. “But they’ve set a pretty harsh standard.”
Now... as Darren Samuelsohn reported for Politico yesterday, too many Americans just don't even care that Trump has more conflicts of interest than every president before him combined. That's what McConnell and Ryan are counting on to push their their toxic agendas. Republicans, he wrote, are "dismissing Democratic threats of investigations and ethicists’ calls for divestment out of a belief that the political landscape has shifted. Voters rewarded Trump in part on the idea that success in business will equal success in government, and Republicans are therefore unwilling to encourage the president-elect to put distance between the Oval Office and Trump Tower, or between himself and the children who serve him as trusted advisers." Newt Gingrich suggest the Democrats "get over it."
[P]olitically, Trump and many Republicans sense he is insulated from the heat Democrats intend to bring. He said as much himself last month amid a wave of news accounts and Democratic congressional oversight requests demanding closer scrutiny of his finances. “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world. Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!” Trump posted on Twitter.And with a hack hyper-partisan Republican, Jason Chaffetz, chairing the House Oversight Committee, it's pretty clear that there will be no serious investigations into Trump's conflicts, like a concerted attempt it whitewash them. There's already a wikipedia page for this-- and Trump's conflicts of interest are already regular fodder for the late night comedy shows.
...Almost daily, Trump’s critics fire off letters demanding action or introducing resolutions with little chance of picking up speed. They’re circulating op-eds and news articles written by local and national news organizations that have seen their own power wane. They’re circulating petitions and videos on MoveOn.org and jamming congressional phone lines.
“It’s asinine,” Chris Wilson, a GOP strategist who ran the data and analytics shop for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, said of the Democratic attempts to confront Trump on his conflicts of interest.
“If there was a situation that came up in which later there was a true conflict of interest, that created a dangerous national security situation, the problem is now nobody would believe them... They’re just jumping into it so quickly and on such a stupid issue that it’s almost embarrassing to watch.”
Trump, of course, hasn’t been sworn in yet-- so much of what’s happening now lives very much in the realm of the hypothetical.
...At least for now, the early polling shows a divided county that’s still coming to grips with the complexities of the Trump conflicts. A CNN survey released last month found almost 60 percent of respondents saying they didn’t think Trump was going far enough with indications that he would hand over control of his company to his children. Another poll, taken before Thanksgiving by Politico/Morning Consult, had more than six in 10 respondents welcoming Trump’s children playing a large role in running their father’s company. But less than a third said they were willing to accept the idea that Trump’s family would be involved in his administration.
Democrats and a smattering of GOP voices are demanding Trump sell his whole business outright, moving his assets into a “blind trust,” like other recent presidents did, where he has no clear insight into his investments and therefore can’t direct policy in a way that would yield personal profit. What’s more, they insist Trump needs to remove his children from the White House and no longer include them in his transition planning and in meetings with foreign officials and other people who will be involved in his government decision making.
Trump’s supporters, however, see little reason to make such dramatic changes.
“You can’t take Trump as a name and a $10 billion system and hide it. It’s just stupid,” Gingrich said. He’s urging Trump to turn the company over to his children and establish a panel of three to five people who meet monthly and review the company’s activities “and make sure in no way it’s being used to the advantage of Trump.”
Republicans who fought Trump during the campaign saw the same signs among voters-- the conflict issue isn’t one they cared much about.
“His brand perception as a successful businessman was too strong,” said Tim Miller, a former Jeb Bush spokesman. “If we had a full year and put big money behind it, could we have changed that? Who knows? But during the small window we were working in, we saw no movement.”