The Corner

Politics & Policy

But Gorsuch … and Other Excellent Judicial Picks … and a Tax Cut … and Major Deregulatory Actions … and Immigration Enforcement … and the End of the Individual Mandate … and a Roll Back of the HHS Mandate …

 . . . and the reversal of the insane Title IX policy on campus . . . and an exit from the Paris Accords . . . and the avoidance of whatever Hillary would have wrought.

There is a meme used by anti-Trump conservatives on Twitter. Whenever Trump steps in it, they tweet the words “But Gorsuch.” It is meant to mock Trump loyalists who hold out Gorsuch’s nomination as a Trump accomplishment that overshadows any of his failings. The meme can be quite amusing — one version has a road sign emblazoned with the words “But Gorsuch” close to disappearing in a flood.

But I’ve never quite understood why anti-Trump conservatives would be so slighting about Gorsuch. He will presumably be a bulwark of the Constitution long after Trump has departed the White House three or seven years from now and is tweeting as a private citizen again. Bushies used to count George W. Bush’s two Supreme Court nominees as a central part of his domestic legacy, understandably (and Bush completely blew one of his nominations before getting it right). Trump is half-way there, with lots of time on the clock.

Also, it’s simply not true that all we have to show from the Trump administration is Gorsuch. The legislative agenda has been limited by the fact that Republicans have only 52 votes in the Senate. This is what pushed the GOP toward doing two big health and tax bills through reconciliation. When the health-care bill failed (Trump contributed to this failure, but there were lots of other factors, too), it seemed they could get nothing this year. Now, it appears very likely that they will get the tax bill, which includes a rifle-shot elimination of the individual mandate. And the administration has been steadily reversing the executive aggrandizements of the Obama administration.

Trump has governed so far as more of a Republican and conservative than I expected. Outside a brief flirtation with Chuck and Nancy and some unserious talks with Democrats over the tax bill, he’s had no interest in working with Democrats (in fact, has spent time insulting them). Remember: One of Bush’s big first-year accomplishments was partnering with Teddy Kennedy on wholly ill-considered federal education legislation, No Child Left Behind. There has been nothing like that during Trump’s first year.

None of this is to deny Trump’s pitfalls. There is going to a political price for the first two years of his administration, 1) because there is always a cost for unified control of the federal government; 2) Trump is doing everything he can to increase that cost, for no good reason. I doubt next year is going to look as conservative as this one. We may see a push for welfare reform, but there will probably also be an infrastructure bill and some sort of trade action against China that could become a very big deal. Still, it’s probably time to retire the “But Gorsuch” meme.

Most Popular

Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

System over Policy, Nation over Faction

One of the more insidious things about President Trump is the way he acts as a kind of gravitational distortion in our political-moral space. His combination of self-serving unscrupulousness and weaponized charisma adds ethical weight to the decisions of more ordinary politicians and pundits. Political ... Read More
Elections

System over Policy, Nation over Faction

One of the more insidious things about President Trump is the way he acts as a kind of gravitational distortion in our political-moral space. His combination of self-serving unscrupulousness and weaponized charisma adds ethical weight to the decisions of more ordinary politicians and pundits. Political ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘The Dumbest Coup’

Noah Rothman’s excellent piece in Commentary, “The Dumbest of Coups,” deserves to be widely read. I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories for a while now — QAnon, the Flat-Earth gang, etc. — and one of the things you quickly learn about conspiracy theories is that every conspiracy theory is, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘The Dumbest Coup’

Noah Rothman’s excellent piece in Commentary, “The Dumbest of Coups,” deserves to be widely read. I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories for a while now — QAnon, the Flat-Earth gang, etc. — and one of the things you quickly learn about conspiracy theories is that every conspiracy theory is, ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More