Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Trump: MAGA Without Congress

Don Surber just put up a very shrewd blog that can be distilled, basically, into one line. What he does is work off a John Solomon article, and then point out the one weird thing it all has in common. Here's the Solomon article:

Trump lays out six big promises for a second-term agenda
Ending the pandemic, restoring critical supply lines, and launching a manufacturing renaissance are keys to four more years, president says.

Here's the short version of how Surber presents Solomon's reporting, and that one weird trick behind it:

Just the News reported that the president unveiled a six-point plan last week on a campaign visit to Toledo's Whirlpool plant.
According to Just the News, [Trump's] six points are:
  1. Defeat the corona virus with vaccines and other treatment
  1. Reviving the economy from the pandemic slowdown
  1. Turning America into the premier medical and pharmaceutical hub in the world
  1. Creating new manufacturing jobs in the United States
  1. Using pressure to force jobs lost overseas to return to the United States
  1. Protect American workers from unfair outsourcing
All focus on the economy.
All can be done without Congress. In other words, these are executive actions. Presidential. There is no caveat of "I Will Work With Congress" because Congress is not needed.

And, think about it. What do we need the modern Congress for? To essentially rubber stamp spending bills--yes, that of course. But that's pretty much a given. To conduct oversight? Uh, ... The less said about that, perhaps, the better.

No, Congress' one crucial remaining role is confirming appointees--especially judges. That's for the Senate, of course. Mitch McConnell has been doing a pretty good job there and, as long as the Senate holds GOP, can be counted on to continue that work. Hopefully a second term Trump will have learned a few things and, with the strongest AG in recent memory by his side, will be positioned to redress critical balances of power in our constitutional order, in support of Trump's agenda.

Trump is a man with a plan. MAGA. The Dem plan? It's out there for all who have eyes to see and ears to here: Bring American down. The choice for voters--a 'transcendently important' choice, as commenter Cassander puts it--is plain.


  1. McConnell has been so so on getting appointees confirmed. I would give him a C+ Grade.

    41 or so Federal Judges awaiting confirmations.

    McConnell could start threatening longer work days, weekend sessions, etc., and he is not. He could also force the filibuster to require the person to actually be on the floor.

    And note, no recess appointments for Trump so far.

    1. This argues against the so-so characterization, at least re judges, and that's what I was talking about.

  2. I agree the Trump Judges that have been appointed have been a HUGE Improvement, they over Leftist Judges.

    What seems to be happening is McConnell is playing nice with the Democrats and allowing them to slow walk confirmations, judicial, and non judicial.

    1. Re recess appointments--an issue that, if memory serves me, you've brought up previously.

      McConnell is far from being solely responsible. This is a bi-partisan thing for the Senate as an institution. An example on the GOP side: Chuck Grassley was adamant on this because he didn't want Trump to fire and replace Sessions. You read that right.

      However, back in 2012 when the Dems still controlled the Senate, they stonewalled Obama when HE tried recess appointments.

      So it actually is bi-partisan. The Senate wants to guard their confirmation power because it's one of the few tools they have in bargaining with a president.

    2. Another example of how the Senate operates.

      McConnell doesn't control everything.

  3. "the Trump Judges that have been appointed"

    the link I provided--and there are lots more--shows that Trump judges are being confirmed at a very good rate, based on history. That wouldn't be happening without McConnell's help, including going to the mat for Kavanaugh right before an election.

    "McConnell is playing nice with the Democrats and allowing them to slow walk confirmations"

    I see no evidence of that but am open to evidence. Certainly judicial confirmations are not being slow walked by McConnell. McConnell has to work with the other senators. The idea that McConnell has the power to run the senate with an iron fist is not the reality of the senate.

  4. Trump has been very successful in sheer numbers, 200, of judges nominated and accepted by the Senate. That is all McConnell.

    Thing is out of those 200, 150 (155, 77.5%) have been due to cloture. Obama had a 3.3% cloture rate in his judicial appointments and the precedent set by Democrats in 2013 (nuclear option on filibuster) has come back to bite them hard and deep.


    The executive nominations have been far from as successful. Yes, Repub Grassley flat out told Trump he would not get another AG through if he fired Sessions and it happened, abetting the Mueller Inquisition and the “resistance.” The time from nomination to confirmation is substantially longer than for any recent president. Currently, it is double in time since Reagan and last year was a lot more than double.


    Ultimately, though, as the Brookings Institute, yes, the Brookings Institute, noted in 2001, this issue has been bubbling up for a long time and it is a Senate partisan issue exclusively.


    - The T Dude

    1. Slight correction... strike 150 ... I thought I already did before submission

  5. The Senate Democrats have been abusing cloture. The reforms made it a little bit better on the number of hours of debate required for confirmations.

    If you look at the Senate Schedule I don’t see the time required at the current pace to get the open judicial confirmations done.

    McConnell has power over the Senate schedule. He could use this to speed up the confirmation pace. Lots can be done by unanimous consent, and this seems to happen before holidays when the senators want to leave. If McConnell made the Senate start to work a full 40 hours, or even Saturdays, the Democrats May find it in their interest to speed confirmations up.

    I see the slow walking of Trump confirmations as being bipartisan.

    On recess appointments the Senate blocked them for the first two years, for they feared Trump would fire Sessions and recess appoint a successor. After that I’m not sure on the politics, but my gut feeling is it’s a way for eGOP Senator's to hurt Trump’s administration, just not openly.