Maybe, or not

The normal tactic in closely-fought factional politics, whether democratic or no, is to capture the opponent’s outliers. Conversely, we try to prevent them from capturing ours. We look to the opposition benches, and try to pick off those closest to our position, to clinch a vote; they might pick off ours to confound us (in Senate, or wherever). If there is one little flaw in the tactics of Mr Trump, who insults people so that they remember, it is his tendency to ignore such old-fashioned methods. Perhaps that is just because he’s new. He might be trying to adjust them. I am curious, for the length of today’s Idlepost, not about the “substance” of Mr Trump’s agenda — no part of which I find terribly objectionable — but about its chances.

Now, I am a Canadian, so it follows I must begin with a sleepy constitutional lecture. What I’ve said above applies fairly constantly to arrangements in the Natted States; only occasionally in the Westminster system, which was not actually designed to be dysfunctional. Were Mr Trump prime minister with a majority in the House of Commons and a few charmless whips, he could ram his agenda home in an afternoon. This would of course require a big nasty omnibus bill, and the invocation of closure, but it’s then four years to the next election, and one may spend the whole time kissing babies. True, they might try to send your bill back from the (unelected) Upper House, rather than along for Royal Assent; but there are threats even Lords can be made to understand.

South of the border it is more complicated. There are at least three competing sovereignties (four now, counting the administrative Deep State, five if you believe the Mass Media), and all these tedious “checks and balances.” (To make the story more complete, I should perhaps mention that, partly by emulation of the Natted Statists, we now have both Deep Partisan State and heavily politicized courts in Canada, … Australia, Britain, India, &c).

Mr Trump would have made a fine prime minister, to my mind, had the Continental Congress only accepted the “dominion status” Mama Britannia was offering back in 1776. But alas, it was not to be. He is big and aggressive and can think on his feet; he comes out well in a verbalized streetfight. Insulated from the rough and tumble on the Commons floor (where traditionally no one got to read speeches), Yankee Presidents have come across too slow and thoughtful. Better (if you ask me) for the seasoned pols to have it out in the alley, while the Queen vaguely smiles.

All this aside, it will be interesting to see how Mr Trump addresses the Congress tomorrow night. If he has any intention of welcoming some cooperation from the “honourable members” on the other side, we will see it. If he has no such plans, we will also see it. Whenupon, I should think, there must be chaos.

Gentle reader will recall that I was against Mr Trump, before I was for him. I was against him through the Republican primaries, and indifferent through the presidential campaign. Since, it has taken the combined efforts of the Democrat party and the world’s liberal media to convince me that he’s the bee’s knees. And, beloved Steve Bannon, who put the situation so crisply to CPAC last week:

“If you think they are going to give you your country back without a fight,” he said, “you are sadly mistaken.”

So look at it from the other side. The opposition to Mr Trump has been almost as strident as the opposition to Mr Reagan, nine electoral cycles ago, so that the poor gentleman had to be shot by Mr Hinckley before “they” would tone it down. In these days of Internet, however, I am not sure anyone can manage the volume controls.