Republicans have often been accused of losing and failing to fight in Congress. I’ve been thinking though, what would it look like if Republicans had the wherewithal, commitment and desire to fight the left as strongly and in the same manner as Trump has?
Let’s imagine a fairly typical case where Republicans fold: the budget. Rather than the Republican house, with the approval of the Senate, holding the power of the purse and funding the parts of government it sees fit to, we are stuck in a situation where Obama’s veto holds more weight than than everyone on Capitol Hill.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
(Big, stinking caveat. I presume a Republican Congress is actually committed to the small government principles it says it represents.)
The first step in the plan is, starting in January 2015, with its new majority in the Senate, the Republicans started passing lots of FY 16 budgeting bills. One for every agency within each department. This is easily within Congress’ rights. Pass several everyday. Pass different versions of the same budget and ask Obama to choose between them.
The President, of course, won’t sign any of these. Piecemeal funding is a fundamental threat to the leviathan of federal government. If there’s one thing Democrats don’t want, it is having to justify why the Department of Housing & Urban Development has an Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, and an Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity.
Republicans shouldn’t try and use this as an opportunity to cut much or make major changes to the government. Just let Obama veto dozens if not hundreds of different budget bills.
Eventually, the fiscal cliff will start to loom heavy in the distance. The media will start to call on Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill for the president to sign. Congress should respond with more small bills.
As things start to heat up, it’s time for Paul Ryan to go and do what Trump does best.
Say something the left will denounce as racist for attention.
All he has to do is say: “Maybe Obama doesn’t want to pass or respond to any of my spending bills because he’s lazy. He’s always off playing golf or on vacation.”
Insert liberal shrieking and thinkpieces here.
Instead of apologizing and denouncing, Republicans in the media respond with a resounding: “He’s just saying what we’re all thinking.” They stand their ground and own whatever epithets get thrown at them.
Then, Paul Ryan doubles down.
“We don’t need a deadbeat president who won’t put in the work to keep this country working.”
Wall-to-wall coverage in the media. Facebook’s ‘automatic’ algorithm picks it up for its trending topics. Millions go and read about it. Millions gloss over the shrieks of racism and find out that the impending fiscal crisis only exists because Obama won’t sign the bills Congress has passed and won’t counter-offer.
This causes the polls to start moving. Republicans start approving of Congress. Some Democrats stop supporting the president. It becomes a losing issue for him.
As polls start to spiral downwards, suddenly Obama negotiates with Congress and signs a collection of spending bills.
Republicans have regained the power of the purse, and all by embracing a few of Trump’s tactics.
Of course, this is pure fantasy. We all know Republicans don’t have the fortitude required, nor the desire to control spending that this would require.