Hart: Trump might lead to 'cafeteria politics'

Hart: Trump might lead to 'cafeteria politics'

October 20th, 2017 by Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

President Donald Trump answers questions as he speaks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., in the Rose Garden after their meeting at the White House, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Ron Hart

Ron Hart

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

You'd think Trump would be happy when his presumably favorite team, the Syracuse Orangemen, beat #1 Clemson last week. Instead, he picks a name-calling Twitter fight with our great Sen. Bob Corker as if he were Rosie O'Donnell.

Trump continues to isolate himself as a Party of One. He picks battles with the GOP about as much as Democrats do, alienating both. Then he laments that his legislation doesn't get passed.

What we like about Trump, his anti-Washington, "Drain the Swamp" crusade, has to be tempered with practical politics. Paraphrasing what Sen. Corker fired back, those in charge of the adult day care at the White House had best show up for work. Otherwise, they are going to put those of us who care about good policy in the nervous hospital.

Trump can't treat heads of state and senators like Bob Corker like he did Meatloaf on "The Apprentice." Corker is the accomplished chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Trump mispronounced the African country of Namibia as "Nambia." If Corker wants to trip him up, he should suggest Trump give a quick teleprompter speech on civil unrest in Niger and see how that comes out.

Trump is petulant, bullying, narcissistic and impulsive, and he is not going to change. We knew that. But that does not mean he is not right on the issues; he mostly is. I defy any Republican to tell me where the president has been broadly wrong on an issue. He has cut regulations, confirmed a great Supreme Court nominee, and tried to end Obamacare and lower taxes.

Today the left is way far left under leaders like Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren. For the kids out there, there once was a more subtle time in politics when you could call an opponent a "communist" and not really mean it — and it wouldn't be taken as a compliment. Today's hypocrisy has communist-leaning Democrats going after Trump for being too close to Russia.

Politics are clearly polarized now on issues, and everyone knows where they stand. You either want more government or less. More taxes or fewer. More freedoms or fewer. The issues are clear. Politics are so bifurcated these days that if you publicly state that you are "undecided" on an issue, you must be a lonely shut-in and just want to make your phone ring.

Nancy Pelosi, de facto Minority Party Whip (also the name of a bar in her San Francisco district), talks of "bipartisanship." Yet all of the Dems vote in lockstep as their leaders tell them to. They act like they are for "bi" everything, from -sexual to -curious, but never "bi"-partisanship.

Even the shooting at the GOP baseball practice couldn't bring them together. Pelosi instantly called for banning baseball. But they did stand together for a moment of silence at the actual baseball game the following day. It showed the American people how Congress can cooperate and accomplish something as long as it is just symbolic and meaningless.

The conservative issues, if well explained, will win the argument with voters. Getting the message around a "fake news" liberal media has been Trump's forte. Trump explains issues like he's talking to a group of union construction workers in their union hall. Ineloquent, yes, but effective.

Dems think bipartisanship is Obama taking $400,000 per speech from Wall Street firms he vilified. Republicans think bipartisanship is limiting wars to three at a time.

I am not sure we want both parties agreeing. The last time they did, we got the Iraq/Afghanistan worthless trillion-dollar wars that are about old enough to legally drink now, and the equally costly Patriot Act. The parties agreeing is like calling a psychic hotline. It costs us a dollar for the first minute and then $1 billion for every minute after that.

In theory, both parties working together gets results, sort of a cafeteria-style politics plan. Our biggest military success was killing bin Laden. Obama had the unexpected guts to send in Navy Seals. But hunting and shooting bin Laden in the face was certainly an extension of the Dick Cheney Doctrine.

Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.

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