Without power, principles are platitudes.
Consider this a favor to the Freedom Caucusers. Those folks can’t see past the end of their own principles.
Knowing the Freedom Caucus people pretty well, I know they’re very happy with Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. I know they’d be very miserable if Gorsuch were rejected and Trump had to nominate someone who could win a few Democrat votes.
It’s all about power.
Why Gorsuch’s Chances Just Dropped
And, thanks to Speaker Ryan and the Freedom Caucus, Neil Gorsuch’s chances of confirmation just dropped below 50-50. That’s because the Senate’s two squishiest Republicans just saw there’s no consequence to bucking the President. And those Republicans who considered the nuclear option just learned there’s no benefit in sticking your neck out for the President.
Add it all up, and Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus have, for the time being, made Trump a one-term President and made this Congress a lame duck. All in less than 80 days. Good work, boys.
Expect to hear Mitch McConnell tamp down talk of the nuclear option. And don’t be surprised if you hear Susan Collins (and one or two others) equivocate on their support for Gorsuch. It’ll probably happen during the Sunday talk shows. Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer has a new, heavy bludgeon to keep Democrat Senators from voting “aye” on Gorsuch. Expect 48 Democrats to vote “no.”
Power shifted on Friday. Big league.
The GOP Is Dangerously Weak
Right now, Donald Trump is very weak. Paul Ryan is even weaker. But the Freedom Caucus is also weak. The Freedom Caucus remains an obstructive faction composed of people who show little or no understanding of power. (If you want to learn about power, read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power. It’s a masterpiece.)
To get his power back, Trump needs to isolate, personalize, and destroy a member of the Freedom Caucus. This takedown needs to be obvious, transparent, and ruthless. Trump needs to show Republican Senators that bucking the White House on major issues is a career ender. And he needs to act with blinding speed.
Trump can borrow a tactic from the Tea Party. It was a tactic we borrowed from Saul Alinsky:
Rule 13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Once Trump’s team has destroyed a Freedom Caucuser, a House faction needs to do the same to Paul Ryan. Trump should not attack Ryan directly, though. The chances of taking down a Speaker are slim. If the President tries and fails to take down Ryan, his presidency is over. Besides, in retrospect, people will credit Trump with the takedown if it’s successful. People are conditioned to think it’s the kind of thing Trump would do.
Within the House of Representatives, it doesn’t matter who goes after Ryan. Just about any faction of the House Republican caucus has good cause to take down Ryan. Once they see the Alinsky method used successfully against one of their own, they’ll know what to do.
And once those Republican Senators see Trump carve up both a Freedom Caucus member and the establishment Speaker, they will fall in line.
People follow power.
America’s Survival Hangs in the Balance
Look, if you read my blog, you know I helped, in tiny ways, the Freedom Caucus to come about. Almost every member of the Freedom Caucus got to Congress thanks to the Tea Party.
My complicity in creating the Freedom Caucus doesn’t mean I support their actions blindly. It means I accept accountability for the Freedom Caucus’s actions. The way some Freedom Caucus members handled the healthcare bill was embarrassingly childish. As J. Marsolo writes on American Thinker:
But it came down to about fifteen Republicans, mostly from the conservative Freedom Caucus, who refused to vote for the Ryan plan, as modified by Trump. It is difficult to understand why the Republicans could not compromise with the fifteen Freedom Caucus members to pass the bill. It is also difficult to understand why these fifteen did not compromise and refused to vote.
The key is to repeal Obamacare. Now they have their principles, and we have Obamacare.
Right now, I firmly believe the Freedom Caucus and Paul Ryan have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Their stupidity and childishness have damaged their President, possibly beyond repair. They have made a Republican Congress useless. Absent a dramatic move, Democrats will take control of the House of Representives and possibly the Senate on January 3, 2019. And Corey Booker will become the 46th President on January 20, 2021.
If that’s what the Freedom Caucus wants, I’m out.
Only Trump can save Republicans from themselves. Saving the Republican Party requires culling the herd. It’s time to put the fear of Trump back into Republican hearts.
Without power, principles are platitudes.
And there’s hope. This morning, President Trump tweeted this:
Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2017
Great minds think alike.
Also published on Medium.