Unfortunately, President Trump is taking the defeat of Speaker Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill personally, lashing out, not only at the House Freedom Caucus, but at the Club For Growth and the Heritage Foundation (WP). I can’t imagine that this sits well with thousands of Heritage Action Sentinels who represent a powerful grassroots lobbying force. Attacking the Heritage Foundation is like putting up a giant neon sign over the White House declaring “Conservatives, Away With You!”
Trump’s tweets bashing conservatives for supporting Planned Parenthood wasn’t off the cuff, as his surrogates have been flocking to national cable media to drive that ridiculous narrative home. So, it is clear that conservatives won’t have a place in legislation under Ryan, McConnell, and Trump – which is what all the libertarians, constitutionalists, and conservatives were saying would happen if we nominated Donald Trump in the first place. Don’t expect things to improve.
However, this is far worse for Speaker Ryan than it is for Donald Trump. Every week we get more great news out of the White House as President Trump continues to wash away the stain of eight years of President Obama’s executive orders. He doesn’t need conservatives for that. However, Speaker Ryan (and President Trump to some extent) are going to want to get tax and regulatory reform through and that will require working with fiscal conservatives in the House and Senate.
McConnell and Ryan are going to have to work with the likes of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Mark Meadows, Dave Brat, and Tom Garrett if they want to get any legislation the conservative base supports to the President’s desk. These conservative, freedom-loving representatives aren’t just going to sign onto legislation that sounds conservative. They want to vote for legislation that actually is conservative. Congressman Brat has been sounding the alarm on our fiscal solvency for years now. Congress would be wise to listen to its only economist.
Yet, President Trump has complicated the issue by bullying the very people who supported much of what Trump ran on in the general election. Not smart, Donald. Not smart.
The only danger for conservatives is that getting completely shut out of the legislative process forces Speaker Ryan to look to the Democrat Party for help and the Democrats absolutely will not help unless they get more than they give. Trump could end up signing legislation that the Republican Base will hate him for in four years. Not good, Donald. Not good.
Where’s that wall? But I digress.
The truth is, President Trump isn’t going to be friendly to the conservatives or constitutionalists on the right, but if the Republican Leadership in Congress is able to put bills on the floor that the entire Republican Caucus can vote for, Trump will sign them – a Democrat President wouldn’t. So, we’ve still got far more opportunities than we’ve had in a long time. That’s a good thing.
The next four years might be rough for conservative Republicans, but it’ll be far better than it was the last eight years. We might only get 5% of what we hoped for with a Republican President, but that’s 5% more than we would have had otherwise. It’ll be easy to get angry with our President; holding politicians to their campaign rhetoric is always apt to cause red cheeks and clenched fists. However, we must simply accept this reality and soldier on, just as we did during the last eight years. Maybe there just aren’t enough conservatives in the House or Senate to govern conservatively. We’ll have to try and change that in the years to come.