THE BIG IDEA: President Trump completed his hostile takeover of the Republican Party last July, and on Friday he completed his hostile, if temporary, takeover of Washington.Hohmann is one of those people who still thinks Trump is as much a Democrat as he is a Republican, and he found someone (unnamed) who agrees with him:
In some significant ways, Trump is more like a corporate raider of the 1980s, when he came of age, than a typical politician of 2017.
... the guy who ended the Bush dynasty and then vanquished the Clinton machine, in a period of 17 months, put “the establishment” of both parties on notice once more.
-- The last time a Republican was president, Trump was still a registered Democrat. His improbable success should be viewed mainly as the triumph of an independent populist who used the splintered GOP as a vehicle to win power.Really? The same Trump who called Mexicans rapists and said that every black person in America lives in a crime-infested hellhole? The same one who at one point called for criminal charges against women who have abortions, and who insulted women a hundred other ways?
A veteran Democratic operative told me recently that he believes, if Trump had decided in Sept. 2009 that he wanted to stay in their party and pandered accordingly with a similarly protectionist and isolationist us-versus-them message, he would have defeated Hillary for the nomination in 2016. This person, it should be noted, spent last year working on Clinton’s behalf.
I think the protectionism could have had considerable appeal to some Democratic voters. But Trump is still an ignorant hatemonger and buffoon, and that's what he would have been if he'd run as a Democrat. Remember, this isn't an untestable hypothetical: Democratic voters actually got to choose between Trump and Clinton in November, and only 8% voted for Trump.
This really misses the point: Trump is a creature of the right-wing media. He regularly watches Fox. He gets all his ideas from "the shows." "The shows" on Fox focus on pushing right-wingers' hot buttons, and Trump is one of those right-wingers. He may have been a Democrat a few years ago, but that's because he was New York-based businessman and the Democratic Party is the one you want to be able to influence if you're doing business in the state.
-- Just as Trump figured out a way to co-opt the conservative movement, Republicans in Washington (from K Street to the Capitol) are now trying to co-opt him and the Trumpist movement. In many cases, the Trump-GOP relationship can be symbiotic. But the inaugural address hinted pretty strongly at the fundamental divergence between the two sides over the virtue of free trade, the value of immigration, the size of government, the role the state should play in people’s personal lives and America’s place in the world.Obviously, there are differences between Trump and the GOP on trade. Immigration? When George W. Bush couldn't get immigration reform passed, what party does Hohmann think his opponents were in?
The size of government? Trump is at odds with the GOP on that? Did Hohmann read this story from a couple of days ago?
Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.The Heritage Foundation helped prepare this budget blueprint. The Heritage Foundation helped put together Trump's Supreme Court short list. The Heritage Foundation helped devise Trump's budget-busting plans for the military:
The changes they propose are dramatic.
The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.
Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.
The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.
Drawing heavily on a military spending blueprint created by Washington's right-wing Heritage Foundation, Trump called for tens of thousands of additional troops; a Navy of 350 ships (the current goal is 308); a significantly larger Air Force; an anti-missile, space-based Star Wars-style program of Reaganesque proportions; and an acceleration of the Pentagon's $1 trillion "modernization" program for the nuclear arsenal (now considered a three-decade-long project).Is the Heritage Foundation not Republican? Is it not part of the conservative movement? Did huge increases in military spending and huge cuts to domestic programs stop being top items on the Republican wish list when I wasn't looking?
Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimates that, if Trump faithfully follows the Heritage Foundation's proposal, he could add more than $900 billion to the Pentagon's budget over the next decade.
Which gets to another assertion Hohmann makes:
Trump explicitly wants America to scale backs its footprint overseas. His inaugural address constitutes a wholesale repudiation of the post-World War II, bipartisan Washington consensus that the U.S. has a duty to be engaged in the world.Well, yes and no. As Jessica Mathews writes in The New York Review of Books:
Like many realists, Trump thinks America does too much in the world and cares too much about others’ quarrels, suggesting that he will pull back its international engagements.... On the other hand, “Make America Great Again” suggests a highly engaged superpower with the clout and the will to dictate events. We’ll “take their oil,” build a wall and force Mexico to pay for it, and “take out” terrorists’ families regardless of international law. We’ll force China to accept changed terms of trade, and if that causes a trade war, “who the hell cares.” We should “greatly expand” our nuclear forces and welcome the resulting arms race because “we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”She also notes that Trump's top foreign policy adviser is not exactly an isolationist:
In The Field of Fight, coauthored with Michael Ledeen, [General Michael] Flynn asserts that the United States is facing an “international alliance of evil countries and movements that is working to destroy us.” This “working coalition,” centered on Iran, also includes North Korea, China, Russia, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Cooperation among these countries derives from the shared hatred of the United States, which “binds together jihadis, Communists, and garden-variety tyrants.” No evidence is offered in support of this bizarre fantasy.Wow, that's so at odds with conventional Republican thinking!
The United States must “energize every element of national power in a cohesive synchronized manner -- similar to the effort during World War II” to fight this new “global war.” ...
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Flynn writes, have been fought in a “half-assed” manner, with “token” forces and without the resolution “to crush our enemies.” To win we have to destroy all ISIS and al-Qaeda bases, conquer the terrorities they hold, return them to local control, and then, somehow, “insist on good governance.”
Trump is a Republican. Full stop. It's not complicated, James.