Trump is on the horns of a real dilemna—a tough enough one that even Codevilla can’t quite seem to work it all out in what, for him especially, is an uncharacteristically muddled column.
Trump’s bravura performance in El Paso on February 11 was a quintessential act of national leadership. His words and manners to a cheering audience—half of whom likely were once Democrats—were such as to energize a majority of Americans to reject every aspect of leftist dominance. Especially forceful and persuasive were his promises to fulfill the key promises on which he had been elected: building “the wall,” and ending at least the most horrific aspects of abortion. The ruling class’s increasingly brazen insistence on importing migrants, and on undisguised infanticide helped. First, “the wall.” Better late than never. Yes, he had signed that bill without funding. But the next one would include some, and he would get the rest by declaring a national emergency. Nothing would stop him. The political road forward seemed clear.
Reality is foggier. The bill Trump signed on Feb. 15 explicitly prohibits, procedurally, using any of the “wall” money before the end of the fiscal year. Explicitly, it increases legal pathways to illegal entry, and sets up legal challenges to the use of national emergency funds. It is one big poison pill. That makes clearer than ever the alternative between full use of the president’s powers and abdication. As the 2020 election gets closer, either “the wall” will exist, or it will not.
Trump slid into this bind as more than half his presidency slid by because he relied on the Republican Party’s establishment. This reliance was his choice. Nobody else’s. Recall that Trump won both the nomination and the presidency by running as much against the Republican part of the ruling class as against the Democrat part of the ruling class.
Since the Republican Party is part and parcel of the ruling class that is ruining America, relying on it to make America great again was doomed to be self-defeating.
All true enough, as far as it goes. BUT…Trump is a member of the Republican Party—was elected and now serves as a Republican president. I myself said back during the primary season that I’d love it if he withdrew from the despicable GOP and ran either as an independent or just started up a party of his own. Admittedly, that would most likely have doomed him to the fate of all third-party or independent candidates; the time and the electorate seem still not quite ripe for that sort of bold move, however disenchanted they may claim to be with the two parties as they now exist in other circumstances. Codevilla then gets down to it:
Our problem’s practical core is that we have a ruling class that controls one of our major parties absolutely and the other substantially, but do not have any party that opposes the ruling class. Donald Trump was elected with the expectation that he would work with anti-ruling class elements wherever they might be found to transcend both parties. Instead, he started and has stayed with Republican leaders whose primary interest is the Republican party’s cohesion. For Trump to blame Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell for being who they are is an attempt to pass the buck. Presidents don’t get to do that.
What is to be done with the Republican party is now the practical question, for Trump first, then for the voters. The Wall Street Journal’s Feb. 14 reaction to Trump’s announcement of the National Emergency was that it splits the Republican Party, implying that the sooner it fails, the better. Two days later, WSJ longtime columnist Peggy Noonan, though sympathizing with that earlier opinion, noted that the problem with the Republican Party is broader: “As the earnest, dimwitted governor of Virginia thoughtfully pointed out, [current U.S. laws] allow the full-term baby to be born, then make it comfortable as they debate whether it should be allowed to take its first breath or quietly expire on the table. A party that can’t stand up against that doesn’t deserve to exist.”
But the Republican Party has no wish or capacity to act against infanticide, or against any major ruling class trend. The voters had already figured that out. They voted for Trump because they wanted someone to lead a real anti ruling class party.
Wellll…uhh, maybe. Arguing against that, though, is the ugly fact that this is the self-same electorate that, unbelievably, just returned the Democrat Socialists—the fucking Democrat Socialists!—to power in the House. This advice I like and devoutly wish Trump would take, right to the very hilt. But honestly, I just can’t see it happening.
On the other hand, Trump really might carry through in deed the role he previewed in his El Paso rally. In that case, through Obamian-Bushite behavior toward existing law (selective enforcement, executive orders) and Jacksonian behavior toward the courts (“now let them enforce it!”) he would create pressure on the Republican establishment to bet their jobs on the outcome of the next election. For which outcome he would set the agenda.
Damned unlikely, largely because of his belief in, faith in, and reverence for the American system; Trump’s Achilles Heel, as I dubbed it the other day. In fact, I’d love to see him go even farther than that. Something like, say, this:
I really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we crossed the rubicon ages ago. Frankly, given the nature of who and what the Democrats are, as well as their stooges in the GOP establishment, if President Trump here and now declared martial law, dissolved Congress, took control of the legacy media, outlawed the Democrat and other leftist parties as well somehow rooted out ever anti-American element in society, I would cheer.
So would I, JJ, so would I. Such a radical move, alas, is unlikely in the extreme to even be on Trump’s radar, much less something he’d seriously consider doing. It also presents plenty of problems of its own, not least being the likelihood of its leading directly to unrest, violence, and even civil war. Whatever you might personally believe about those things being near-inevitable at this point anyway, I can’t see Trump being in any way eager to light the match to that powderkeg. Back to Codevilla for what is probably the biggest problem of all—not Trump’s, necessarily, but ours:
Regardless of what Donald Trump will do, we know that our ruling class has no way of moderating the course on which it has set itself, and that, hence the rest of Americans have no choice but to fight for their own freedom, whether under Trump’s leadership or whomever’s.
“Whomever’s”? And pray tell, just who might THAT be? Like it or not, Trump is, at least for now, all we have. As frustrated as some of us may have grown with him recently, he remains the only guy out there who is even TALKING about waging this war, let alone actually trying to do it. If you doubt that, go ahead and name me one other politician out there who is. Just ONE.
Another thing I droned endlessly on about right from the start was that Trump was never going to be able to win this war himself; that, try as he might, feisty as he no doubt is, the sorry state our country is in didn’t happen overnight. Nor was it the doing of any one man. To think, then, that it might all be undone in a four-year term, accomplished by a guy despised and actively undermined not just by the Democrat Socialists but by his own party as well, and by the Deep State apparatus entire, was no more than a fantasy, a delusion.
Despite any insipid mewling about his “divisiveness,” Trump has in fact been a uniter: he united the entire American political and bureaucratic establishment in opposition to him. Enough so, actually, that several of those same bureaucracies were willing to launch a barely-clandestine coup attempt against him and pursue it for years—an attempt that continues even now, after its real ambition has been brought to light. Many of his own appointees now openly admit to using their power and position to thwart him—the guy who gave them that power in the first damned place.
All of which adds to make Trump just about the loneliest man in Mordor On The Potomac these days…or ever, more like. I said after last fall’s Black Tuesday fiasco that the Trump presidency was officially finished, that he’d find it close to impossible to get anything further done, most particularly when it came to illegal immigration and the Wall. So yeah, be mad at Trump all you like; wash your hands of him, withdraw your support, declare him a disappointment, a failure, a phony, whatever. The fact remains: he was the last real chance for positive, lasting change in the right direction, the final hope for truly Making America Great Again without violent upheaval.
Last fall, the American people foolishly voted against all that in favor of…well, something else entirely, who the fuck even knows what. Now they’re gonna get it, good and hard. Apres Trump, le deluge. Trusting in his own party to act at last in accord with their lying rhetoric, well, that’s on Trump right enough. The rest of it, though? I’m afraid that’s all on us.
Achilles Heel update! More on Trump’s trust issue.
You are not a spectator viewing these troubling events from the outside. You are the president. So take action to address this problem. First step: fire Rod Rosenstein https://t.co/bRZ5wgEEZF
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) February 18, 2019
Tucker Carlson was making the same point just a minute ago, and I have myself alluded to it several times: These are Trump’s people. He hired them and/or kept them on. He can fire them if he wants to. Why doesn’t he?
And the same goes double for the NeverTrump troops and their new Great White Hope, now that the Mueller investigation seems to be sputtering on fumes: The Southern District of NY’s Federal attorner’s office.
All Presidents, upon taking office, are traditionally offered the resignations of all the federal attorneys held over from the previous administration. And most Presidents accept most of the resignations. BJ Clinton, for instance, turned over 93 federal attorneys when he took office.
All of these attorneys serve at the pleasure of the occupant of the White House.
So it is a legitimate question: Why does Trump permit his Deep State enemies continue to launch assaults on him from the comfort of offices that serve at the pleasure of the man they are trying to destroy?
Puzzling for sure, and I got no good answer handy myself. If I remember right, Rosenstein is scheduled to leave soon anyway, but Trump certainly did himself no favor by letting him stay on long after his sinister intent and skullduggery was plain to see.