The furtive romance at the White House

The Washington Times Daily - - COMMENTARY - BY WES­LEY PRU­DEN Wes­ley Pru­den is edi­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Times.

Sum­mer’s al­most gone, but romance is still in the air over Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue. Nancy Pelosi’s danc­ing the night away with the devil at the White House, and Chuck Schumer, the chap­er­one, is mak­ing him­self right at home on Don­ald Trump’s sofa. That’s Mitch McCon­nell sit­ting off to the side by him­self, try­ing to fig­ure out whether to look cha­grined or cheery. Or at least not as su­per­flu­ous as he feels.

Fresh from cut­ting a deal over DACA, which he says was not a deal be­fore he agreed that yes it was a deal, the pres­i­dent wants to move on to a tax-re­form deal, which, like

DACA, could be a deal be­fore it is not a deal.

No­body ever said the Don­ald is not flex­i­ble.

He may even one day be a Demo­crat again, and “Chuck and Nancy,” as the Don­ald calls them now, will have to take back a lot of nasty things they’ve said about him. Nancy might take the lead from a San Fran­cisco con­stituent, who told the Los An­ge­les Times, “if Democrats can work with him to ac­com­plish some­thing, they should, even though I think he’s an id­iot.”

Some Repub­li­cans who feel tri­fled with are not happy with the pres­i­dent’s warm­ing him­self at the en­emy’s fire. If flir­ta­tion blos­soms into a romance, who knows where it could go? Since there’s no one on the Demo­cratic hori­zon for 2020, could fu­sion beckon in the Don­ald’s imag­i­na­tion? Big fan­tasies, as we know, grow there.

What a kick in the pants that would be for ev­ery­one. The romance re­calls a con­ver­sa­tion Win­ston Churchill had with Joachim von Rib­bon­trop, the Nazi am­bas­sador to the Court of St. James as Europe was be­gin­ning to darken in the 1930s. “This time,” the Ger­man am­bas­sador said, “we’ll have the Ital­ians on our side.”

“That’s only fair,” Churchill replied. “We had them the last time.”

As un­likely as a Schumer-Pelosi-Trump menage might be, it’s not dif­fi­cult to see how at­trac­tive it could be to all three. Noth­ing the Democrats have thrown at the pres­i­dent has landed with ef­fect. Democrats still ar­gue that he’s un­fit to be pres­i­dent. With noth­ing to show for his cel­e­brated deal-mak­ing, he has not even a sin­gle piece of leg­is­la­tion ac­com­plished. His cam­paign was in ca­hoots with the Rus­sians, but Robert Mueller, the gun­slinger brought in from Cheyenne, seems to be in­quir­ing into ev­ery­thing but ca­hootery and is rang­ing as far afield as to ask ten­ants whether the plumb­ing works in his rental real es­tate. The Don­ald’s a Klans­man in his heart of hearts, hooked on the ghost of Robert E. Lee, and he lets his wife wear heels to a hur­ri­cane.

None of those spit­balls worked, and con­tempt for the pres­i­dent least of all. His ap­proval rat­ing is edg­ing up­ward, not by much but a lit­tle, and if there’s a land­slide build­ing for next year the side of the moun­tain should be trem­bling by now. The good­ies the party el­ders have held out to tempt the masses — free col­lege ed­u­ca­tions, a $15-an-hour min­i­mum wage, and now Medi­care for ev­ery­body — aren’t mov­ing any­one. Poll­sters are learn­ing, in fact, that there’s ex­haus­tion, and maybe a lit­tle bore­dom, with the in­ces­sant snip­ing at the pres­i­dent.

The poll­sters tell Politico they’ve been shocked by how many vot­ers are telling them that they’re fa­tigued by the chaos in the wake of the pur­suit of the pres­i­dent. Worse for the Democrats, the pres­i­dent is still shak­ing up the sys­tem, with the elites on the run, and vot­ers like that. The econ­omy is def­i­nitely im­prov­ing, the stock mar­ket is en­joy­ing ex­u­ber­ance, ex­ces­sive or not, and the pres­i­dent is get­ting credit for it, de­served or not. “Peo­ple do think he’s bring­ing about change,” says the Demo­cratic poll­ster Celinda Lake, who worked for Mr. Obama, “so it’s hard to say he hasn’t kept his prom­ises.”

An­son Kaye, a po­lit­i­cal strate­gist who worked for both Mr. Obama and Hil­lary Clin­ton, agrees. “What you’re see­ing is this thing the Democrats can­not seem to fig­ure out, this no­tion that some­how if we just put the words to­gether cor­rectly that will be the win­ning mes­sage. That is the op­po­site of how the vot­ers are be­hav­ing.”

For his part, the Don­ald just wants a lit­tle lov­ing from some­body who un­der­stands him, and some con­gres­sional suc­cess to prove it. If Mitch McCon­nell and Paul Ryan can’t come across, maybe Chuck and Nancy will. He’s con­fi­dent, as reck­less lovers al­ways are, that he can get a lit­tle ac­tion on the side and still be wel­come at home.

If his lat­est word about DACA is the truth, he gave up his bor­der wall and all he got for it is a dance with Nancy. He may pay more than a dime for it.


Nancy Pelosi

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