Washington’s Charlie Brown Republicans

I addressed Mitch McConnell’s collapse yesterday, and Kevin Boyd offered a nice addition this morning, so this post won’t be a long recitation of all the maddening tactical idiocy which led to the GOP’s ignominious defeat in the Department of Homeland Security funding/executive amnesty fight.

We now know that President Obama is getting away with executive amnesty. Yes, he lost in federal district court in Texas and Judge Hanen’s ruling was a beacon of law on a rocky shore of tyranny. And yes, there is a possibility that the 5th Circuit will uphold Hanen’s ruling, and that the U.S. Supreme Court will do the same.

But Obama doesn’t care about any of that. He unmoored himself from the constitutional limits to his power when he proclaimed executive amnesty in the first place, and then decided to hook all his illegal alien pals up to the welfare state for good measure. And in the face of Hanen’s ruling Obama is full speed ahead in attempting to make his amnesty a reality. He’s actively disregarding a ruling from a federal judge.

And that’s the difference between Obama the Democrat and McConnell the Republican.

History will treat Obama poorly, of course, for the damage he’s doing to the constitution and the rule of law. Trey Gowdy’s admonition Wednesday on that score was certainly appropriate…

But history won’t treat McConnell well for having lost the battle to preserve limits on presidential power, either.

Instead, McConnell – and those with him – will come off, once again, as Charlie Brown, lying on his back contemplating his humiliation at having unsuccessfully attempted to kick a football yanked from its tee by Lucy yet again.

The Democrats – Obama, Harry Reid and others – are Lucy. And no matter how many electoral majorities they lose, they’re still Lucy. They still control the Washington game.

How to explain this? I will return to an explanation I’ve used before, as it remains appropriate and descriptive.

Which is that Republican politicians come from the business community. In business, you generally hold to the old poker maxim that you can shear a sheep a thousand times but skin him only once – or, put a different way, when you negotiate with someone to strike a bargain, your objective is usually to come up with a deal benefitting both parties – because the long term advantage to such a bargain arising from certainty and strategic relationships it can provide is greater than the short-term profit you can get out of taking the shlub for all he’s worth. Eventually the shlub is going to get wise to your deal and walk away, or he’ll go bankrupt, and when he does you’ve now got to come up with a whole new deal with a whole new second party in order to replace what you just lost.

Business people understand that’s a lousy, fly-by-night way to operate and therefore try not to do business that way.

And they bring that understanding to government when they run for office and get elected.

Which is a colossal mistake. Because Democrats don’t get their politicians from the business community. Democrats get their politicians from union bosses, trust fund babies, academics, race-hustlers, environmentalist loons and trial lawyers. And in none of those professions is win-win negotiation held in particularly high esteem – because in none of those professions is there negotiation on the basis of productivity. They don’t have anything much to offer, and therefore a negotiation with any of them involves how much of your money they will take in order to leave you alone.

That’s known as win-lose negotiation. It doesn’t make for productive relationships, but it can provide sustenance and even a healthy living for its practitioners so long as there is a victim to prey upon or a host upon which to act as a parasite. The win-lose negotiator couldn’t care less whether his partner is happy with the arrangement he’s made; he contents himself with the idea that the other guy is morally deficient and deserves his fate.

And the win-lose negotiator will wipe the floor with the win-win negotiator every time.

Thus McConnell and his caucus, minus a few despised gadflies like Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, are taken advantage of time and time again, and each attempt at using the power of the purse to limit Obama’s overreach has failed.

This will go on until the GOP finds some leadership which thinks like Democrats. When the GOP begins negotiating on a win-lose basis, the defeats will end.

Does that mean a government shutdown? Absolutely it does. A government shutdown isn’t such a terrible thing, by the way, and in fact a government shutdown hurts Democrat constituencies a lot more than Republican ones. Republicans ought to be laughing and joking about how shutting down the government would force Democrats to starve in the streets and revolt against their feckless leaders, etc., and how the rest of us wouldn’t notice a thing. Instead, the balance of fear inexplicably falls on McConnell and his pals.

They think this is a business negotiation over lunch at the country club, when in fact it’s really war by other means. And that’s how you end up on your back having missed that football, again.



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