This is going to sound strange coming from someone at The Daily Banter, but so far at least there may be one good thing to come out of the chaotic presidency of Donald J. Trump. In some ways he may be slowing down Republican plans to finish the destruction of America's middle and working classes.
The Hill reports that congressional Republicans are getting frustrated by the repeated "Trump bumps"; the constant barrage of insanity that has been emanating from the White House since January 20. Typically, when a party controls both Congress and the White House, the president sets the tone and direction for the legislative branch. But in Trump's case Republican representatives have been left scratching their heads as they listen to their fearless leader weigh in on the size of his electoral victory and Ivanka's clothing line while saying little to nothing about the things they want to accomplish.
Two of the big ticket items on the GOP wishlist that have been slowed by the Trump sideshow are the Obamacare repeal and the long-lusted for tax reform. But other than providing some lip service to the issues, Trump and his team have given Congress no direction on either.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker offered his thoughts on the situation as he spoke to reporters following the departure of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
"It is a distraction," Corker said. "I mean every day you guys, you're not focused on tax reform right now... nor [are] the American people. It's taking away from other efforts."
And considering that those efforts involve 1) taking access to healthcare away from millions of people and 2) another "reverse Robin Hood" tax reform plan that will primarily benefit the very rich, the distractions provided by Trump are a good thing.
A competent executive -- even a George W. Bush -- would have provided congressional leaders with guidance on those and other legislative priorities, and Republicans would have been much farther along with their slash and burn plans. But Trump is so preoccupied with tweeting and whining about the "totally unfair" media coverage he hasn't filled many of the White House positions whose occupants would be tasked with communicating White House goals and priorities to Congress.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, looking ever more like the man who sits at his kitchen table, sipping coffee as everything burns down around him, isn't troubled by the lack of communication between the executive and the legislature. In fact, he insists everything is good.
Ryan was questioned by a Hill reporter about whether communication could be better. He replied, "Our House and Senate teams are in consultation with the White House constantly,” and added that there's “fantastic communication, better than I’ve ever seen before."
But Ryan's view isn't shared by all Republicans in Congress. Even some strong Trump supporters are frustrated by what is going on at the White House. An unnamed Republican congressman told The Hill,
"The danger is they become hunkered down over there in a bunker mentality, and you get more problems like the roll out of the immigration executive order. They are not reaching out to their allies here in the House and the Senate. The danger is they become more insular and it creates more problems.
“The solution is they need to be communicating to us more, reaching out more, coordinating more. There couldn’t be too much of that."
Of course the current Trump model of "government by insanity" isn't sustainable over the long term. But over the short haul it may serve to slow down Republican legislative plans enough to allow Democrats to organize public opposition. And as we have seen so far in the case of GOP votes against some of Trump's cabinet appointees as well as the roll back of the plan to scrap the independent ethics office, when the people are loud enough, at least some Republicans are willing to listen.
To be completely clear, Donald Trump has already proven to be a total disaster as a leader. But his insanity is slowing the wheels of GOP "progress" on any number of issues. For that, at least, we should thank him.