The “deficit hawks” as those opposed to Federal overspending and increasing the national debt are often referred to, seemed to have hung their hopes on a government controlled by the Republican Party over the last two years. Guess what? We have still accumulated national debt at an alarming rate with Republicans in charge of everything. For anyone thinking the answer is something other than making more and spending less — Surprise! — that is the only answer.
I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.
-Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
The quote originates from a United States Magazine and Democratic Review article published in 1837 and is often erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson, because it so closely aligns with his anti-Federalist philosophy (see The Washington Post and Politifact). My sincere belief is that the best Federal Government is one mired in gridlock. The Federal Government will never solve our problems but only create more and different ones of unknown breadth and depth in attempting to do so.
The midterm elections have bought us at least two years of relative gridlock. My fearless prediction is that for the next two years, Trump will be even more mercilessly harassed by the left. He will also be abandoned by most Republican members of Congress. The exodus of moderate and independent voters, especially in the suburbs, all but assures that.
I believe we have seen the nadir of the Republican Party. Unless they are willing to test a new low, Republican members of Congress will be forced to abandon Trump and work with House Democrats to promulgate legislation. My guess is that small compromises will be hard fought on both health care and immigration reform, so each can claim credit before the 2020 election.
No one near the middle will touch taxes. That will be a test for the next Congress and the next president. A few Republican members of the House, still beholden to their most base constituencies will stubbornly proclaim Trump a martyr, but for all practical purposes, he is a lame duck. He will rage against the left until the end, but with the writing on the wall, he’ll sign whatever is passed and claim some small final victory that only he will believe.
In two years we’ll have a president who isn’t an embarrassing and divisive buffoon. Hopefully, we’ll also still have at least one house of Congress controlled by each party. They’ll all continue to take money from lobbyists, trade votes for programs that benefit their contributors over their constituents, and assure us all along that they’re being useful in their own special ways. And maybe, just maybe, something good will eventually begin to emerge from that morass, even if by accident.