With Mad Emperor Trump in the Oval Office, the right-wingers in Washington have been having a field day as they ram their corporatist agenda down America’s collective throats – but for all their bluster, strutting, and lording it over the rest of us, how successful have they been so far?
The answer: not very much. And if things keep going the way they are, it’s a good bet that the latest GOP “Revolution” is going to eat its own.
True, they’ve been able to chip away at President Obama’s legacy through use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). During his first 100 days, Trump has invoked the CRA 11 times. Until now, it has been used only once since Clinton signed it into law in 1996.
So far, Trump’s great legislative achievements consist of the following:
- enabling Big Coal to continue its ongoing destruction of rivers, streams and mountaintops
- allowing Big Oil to secretly bribe foreign governments
- making it easier for mentally ill people to purchase firearms
- hamstringing the federal government’s ability to restrict use of public lands
- exempting defense contractors from labor laws
- removing accountability on the part of state public education
- eliminating rules for teacher training
- allowing states to more easily force drug testing on people filing unemployment claims
- legalizing the slaughter of hibernating bears and wolves in wildlife preserves
- watering down requirements for employers on reporting work-related injuries and illnesses
- turning over your private Internet history to Big Telecom for their own profit
That is the sum total of President Trump’s legislative accomplishments. And without a doubt, his enablers in the corrupt GOP-controlled Congress will continue to whittle away at those Obama-era protections that benefited the average American while reining in the oligarchy’s more egregious excesses.
But that may very well be all they are able to do. When it comes to the Big Stuff – repeal of the ACA, tax breaks for the top 1%, the Wall along the border and Trump’s so-called “infrastructure package,” they haven’t been doing so well.
Those failures are causing some major rifts in the GOP. They’ve maintained a cavalier attitude, believing that their reforms would somehow be easy. Now, in the wake of the spectacular failure of Obamacare repeal and their complete inability to come up with workable alternatives, finger pointing and accusations are escalating.
For example, just last week, one unnamed Republican Congress member spoke very harshly of Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, calling him a “pathological liar who isn’t interested in getting to yes.” Another House Republican told The Hill,
“I don’t see how you put a coalition together to deal with tax reform…unless we can bridge this divide and get a win on the board, I don’t know how we pull the other things together, all the other big things we gotta do.”
Another GOP member of the Freedom Caucus, Justin Amash of Michigan, expressed his own thoughts on House Speaker Paul Ryan to the media last week:
“We need either a change in direction from this speaker, or we need a new speaker.”
One can only hope.
During the Obama Administration, the GOP honed the art of obstructionism to a fine edged sword. Now, they’re discovering that sword cuts both ways. They’re also realizing that even in the absence of the filibuster (the elimination of which could still come back to bite them at some point), they’ll need some cooperation from Congressional Democrats – which is increasingly difficult to come by.
Between this and an increasingly demoralized GOP base, there is hope that these dinosaurs are finally heading for their richly-deserved extinction before they can do much more in the way of serious damage.