Dick Morris reports… Donald Trump crossed the Republican leadership in Congress and negotiated a deal with the Democrats to keep the government open, extend emergency aid to Harvey victims in Houston, and raise the debt limit — all while really declaring the President’s independence from the GOP establishment.
After watching his own party’s leadership dither over Obamacare — and unable to cobble together even 50 Senate votes for a position each of their Senators had long advocated — President Trump was serving notice: “If you don’t get it done, I will reach out to the Democrats and get stuff done.”
In baseball, the pull hitter — the right handed batter who always hits to left field — is often an easy out when the defense stacks up players on that side of the diamond. But the hitter who can adjust and hit to all fields has a much better chance of success.
So it is with a president. If you rely only on your own party’s votes to pass legislation, you end up on bended knee while going to each last member of your caucus begging for their vote. Empowered by your weakness, they always demand more money for their favored project or patronage for one of their people.
But a president who looks to all 100 Senators for support can craft his majority out of any ideological part of the Senate.
So why don’t all president transcend party lines? Henry Kissinger said it best: “The strong grow weak through inhibition. The weak grow strong through effrontery.” When a president is inhibited in going across the aisle to get Democratic voters, he empowers every dissident in his own party to exact a pound of flesh in return for their votes.
Donald Trump is truly crafting a new force in our politics. He is empowering voters who have not been to college and looking out for them. He wants to hold down immigration so they don’t compete for American jobs. He insists on exporting more and importing less to preserve manufacturing in the U.S.
But, frequently, the leadership of the Republican Party is too tied in with special interests who oppose Trump’s agenda. That makes it difficult to govern with only Republican support.
So now Trump is casting off his shackles and governing in the name of the nation, not of a party. He is looking left, right, and center for support as he puts together his new tax reform proposals.
The Republican leaders had their chance at monopolizing the power of the White House, and they couldn’t deliver. Now Trump is looking elsewhere for support.
Trump won’t betray his principles or his supporters. He will not, however, be fenced in by an artificial loyalty to Republican leaders who are not loyal to him — and demonstrably cannot produce the votes he needs. So, happy Independence Day!