As the new year begins, let me offer this sad news to my fellow members of the mainstream media:
As of Jan. 20, you won’t have Donald Trump to kick around anymore.
I allude, of course, to the remark Richard Nixon made to the press in 1962 after losing a run for governor of California.
“You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference,” he told the press corps in his concession speech.
I doubt The Donald will make any such proclamation. But once Trump is no longer the president he will be old news.
As for the new news, it will be about how President Biden handles his own party’s resistance to his policy positions, which so far have been solidly within the mainstream of inside-the-Beltway Democratic thought.
Consider the call by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others, to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau and tear down the wall on the Mexican border.
So far, Biden has said he would stop construction on new sections of border wall. But he hasn’t said what he’d do about enforcement of immigration law.
Imagine that tens of thousands of potential migrants, encouraged by the Ocasio-Cortez wing of the party, arrive at the border.
What would President Biden do? I can’t wait to see.
I can’t wait to see how he handles foreign policy either. On the Antiwar.com site, you can find a post foreshadowing that fight written by Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Marcy Winograd of the Progressive Democrats of America.
Those two are joining with other peace activists in opposing Biden’s nomination of Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence. They write that when Haines served as deputy CIA director on the Obama administration she was “the affable assassin who, according to Newsweek, would be summoned in the middle of the night to decide if a citizen of any country, including our own, should be incinerated in a U.S. drone strike in a distant land.” Haines also helped cover up torture, they allege.
Winograd was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2020 Democratic convention and her foreign-policy views reflected those of the Sanders wing of the party, which was strong enough to scare the mainstream Dems into uniting behind Biden despite his many flaws. (Here’s a good piece on why Biden should reject the interventionism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that made such a mess of Libya and Syria.)
The new president will have his work cut out for him on domestic policy as well. The Democrats blasted the Republicans under Trump for eliminating the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, often said to be the linchpin of Obamacare.
But do the Democrats really want to reimpose a penalty that “forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t?”
Barack Obama changed his mind after he said that in an ad during the 2008 campaign against Hillary Clinton. But he got it right the first time.
Then there’s the tax plan the Republicans enacted under Trump. It greatly limited the deductions for state and local taxes on the theory that residents of high-tax suburbs would take out their wrath on Democrats.
Instead they took out their wrath on Trump, who lost the election in those suburbs. But I doubt the Democrats would restore what amounts to a tax cut for the wealthier part of the population.
And then there’s the rest of Biden’s agenda.
Trump let Biden get through the campaign without having to elaborate on how his plans in areas like climate change and energy policy would affect average Americans. Instead, the Donald kept the spotlight on The Donald.
“If you let him talk, he will hurt himself,” Christie recalled telling Trump. “And he gave me a thumbs-up, and he walked out of the Oval Office. And he interrupted him 71 times in 90 minutes.”
The Donald was the author of his own demise. Unlike Nixon, he is woefully unprepared for a comeback.
Nixon was the consummate Washington insider, working the party apparatus to secure another run for president.
Trump is the consummate outsider. His attempt to go out with a bang is landing with a thud.
That’s the effort to get through Congress a $2,000 giveaway to 94 percent of potential voters.
Ten years ago, the tea parties organized around the need to bring down the deficit. Trump’s proposal – which was originally pushed by Congressional Democrats – would add $350 billion to the national debt.
It’s time for The Donald to get out of the way and let Biden make the headlines.
“Gentlemen, this is my last tweet,” has a nice ring to it.
ADD – WALL STREET JOURNAL SAYS TRUMP A(BA)NDONED CONSERVATISM
The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial last week arguing that by backing that $2,000 payment Trump abandoned any pretense of being a conservative:
“By all accounts Mr. Trump is angry about his election defeat, and he is lashing out at anyone who won’t indulge his hopeless campaign to overturn it. This includes Senate Republicans, who need to win in Georgia to retain their majority and block Mr. Biden’s ability to indulge the Democratic left.
It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment. These government giveaways are the sort of thing we heard a lot about in the Democratic presidential primaries. It looks like Trump just wrote himself out of the 2024 Republican primaries.