Can GOP’s Shot­gun Mar­riage Be Saved?

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - Pa­trick Buchanan

Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Nov. 9, 2016, Repub­li­cans awoke to learn they had won the lottery. Don­ald Trump had won the pres­i­dency by car­ry­ing Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan and Penn­syl­va­nia. All three states had gone Demo­cratic in the last six pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

The GOP had won both houses of Congress. Party con­trol of gov­er­nor­ships and state leg­is­la­tures ri­valed the hal­cyon years of the 1920s.

But not ev­ery­one was ju­bi­lant. Neo­cons and Never-Trumpers were ap­palled, and as mo­rose as they had been since the pri­maries pro­duced a pop­ulist slaugh­ter of what GOP est class of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates in mem­ory.

And there was this sober­ing fact: Hil­lary Clin­ton won the popular vote. Her mar­gin would rise to near 3 mil­lion, mak­ing this the sixth in seven pres­i­den­tial elec­tions that the GOP lost the popular vote. Trump cracked the “blue wall,” but a shift of 70,000 votes would have meant a third­straight GOP de­feat.

Seven months in, the promise of a new Repub­li­can era has re­ceded. It is not be­cause Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have proven to be for­mi­da­ble ad­ver­saries, but be­cause the GOP coali­tion has gone to bat- tle sta­tions — against it­self.

Trump has taken to dis­parag­ing Se­nate Leader Mitch McCon­nell for fail­ing to pass health care re­form, though the de­ci­sive vote to kill the bill came from John McCain, who, for his own mo­tives and to me­dia cheers, tor­pe­doed McCon­nell and hu­mil­i­ated his party.

And as Al­lan Ryskind writes in The Wash­ing­ton Times, McCon­nell is re­spon­si­ble for Neil Gor­such be­ing on the Supreme Court. Had Mitch not kept his troops in line to block a Se­nate vote on Judge Mer­rick Gar­land, there would have been no va­cancy for Trump to fill with Gor­such.

McCon­nell is also in­dis­pens­able to the Trump-GOP ef­fort to re­pop­u­late fed­eral ap­pel­late courts with dis­ci­ples of An­tonin Scalia.

What pur­pose is served by the coach trash­ing his quar­ter­back — in mid­sea­son?

Un­de­ni­ably, Congress, which the vot­ers em­pow­ered to re­peal Oba­macare, re­duce tax rates and re­build Amer­ica’s in­fra­struc­ture, has thus far failed. And if Congress fails to pro­duce on tax re­form, the GOP will have some se­ri­ous ex­plain­ing to do in 2018.

As for Trump, while pub­lic ap­proval of his per­for­mance is at record lows for a pres­i­dent com­mit­ments and had some achieve­ments.

He put Gor­such on the court. He pulled out of the Trans-Pa- Cli­mate Ac­cord. He per­suaded NATO al­lies to put up more for de­fense. He ap­proved the Key­stone XL and Dakota Ac­cess pipe­lines.

Bor­der se­cu­rity is bet­ter. The eco­nomic news has been ex­cel­lent: Record runups in the stock mar­ket, near-full em­ploy­ment, growth ap­proach­ing the 3 per­cent he promised. The coal in­dus­try has been lib­er­ated, and the Trump folks are rene­go­ti­at­ing NAFTA.

Yet the di­vi­sions over pol­icy and the per­sona of the pres­i­dent are widen­ing. Trump is dis­liked and dis­re­spected by many in his own party on Capi­tol Hill, and much of the

Neil Gor­such’s pres­ence on the Supreme Court is one of Trump’s tri­umphs.

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