The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

‘We’re Losing on the Central Promise of Trump’s Campaign.’

‘We’re Losing on the Central Promise of Trump’s Campaign.’

Sigh. Those relentless critics of Trump are at it again.

Apparently, Trump’s fine with no wall — and everything else in a bill straight out of George Soros’ dream journal — if only the Democrats hadn’t been so rude as to tell the public about it. When your main complaint is that the other side is gloating too much, maybe you’re not that great a negotiator.

Yeah, sure, it’s only 100 days in, it’s an artificial deadline, the media is dying to say Trump has failed and so on.

Except: Planning for the wall should have begun on Nov. 9, and a spade should have been put into the earth to begin building it the day after Trump’s inauguration. Now, it’s 100 days later, and we still don’t have the whisper of a prospect of a wall.

Moreover, this isn’t one random bill funding Planned Parenthood (which this bill does). This is the budget deal. There won’t be another one like it until next October.

That’s a spectacular failure. Democrats have got to be pinching themselves, thinking, Am I dreaming this?

… It’s theoretically possible that Trump could still build a wall, but he’s just massively lengthened the odds of ever prevailing. Sure, you can let the other team build a 20-point lead in first half and still come back to beat them, but it’s a lot easier if you don’t go into halftime 20 points down.

… Remember? There would be so much winning, we were going to get “sick and tired of winning,” and beg him, “Please, please, we can’t win anymore. … It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else.”

We’re not winning. We’re losing, and we’re losing on the central promise of Trump’s campaign.

Gripe, gripe, gripe, complain, complain, complain. This is so predictable coming from a relentless Trump critic like… er, wait a minute, that’s Ann Coulter.

Ann, you told us to trust him.

While Ann Coulter was calling us a bunch of wimps and cowards for not having faith in Donald Trump’s ability to snap his fingers and transform Washington, some of us were writing this:

[Even if] the Mexican government eventually relented and wrote a check, President Trump would need Congress to appropriate that money for constructing the wall. Even if Republicans keep control of the Senate in November, Democrats would almost certainly filibuster and use every procedural and parliamentary maneuver in the book to prevent funding the wall. It is likely that the vote for funding construction of a border wall would be the biggest, most consequential, and hardest-fought since the passage of Obamacare. Wall supporters could expect accusations of hateful xenophobia to reach a fever pitch.

… Building the wall would be much more difficult than candidate Trump pretends. Voters who are fed up with being promised the moon only to wake up to the same rotten status quo are a big part of Trump’s success. How angry would they be to find out their savior was no more capable of bending reality to his will than the men he replaced?

But would you listen? Nooooo.

Loosen Those Muscles, Virginia, Gubernatorial Primary Season Is Heating Up!

In a little more than month, Virginia holds its gubernatorial primaries. One the Democratic side, there’s the oddity of watching two guys who were once fairly centrist within their party both trying to prove they’re the real liberal in the race.

Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam voted for George W. Bush twice and Republicans tried to get him to switch parties in 2009. Former congressman Tom Perriello wanted to bar insurance coverage of abortion and was endorsed by the National Rifle Association. This year, both are renouncing all their past non-liberal stances and now pledge that they’re as progressive as Bernie Sanders. It’s the kind of shameless political flip-flop that would make even Charlie Crist blush… and turn that kind of Crayola red-orange hue.

Meanwhile, this morning the GOP frontrunner, Ed Gillespie, is unveiling his first TV ad:

Narrator: The first income tax rate cut in 45 years, 53,000 new jobs. Ed Gillespie’s conservative plan.

Reporter 1: He’s talking major tax cuts at the kitchen table.

Reporter 2: Gillespie called for a 10 percent cut to income taxes.

Reporter 3: Ed Gillespie is one of the top candidates for governor, and he wants to put around $1,300 in the pockets of average families.

Reporter 2: It would create 50,000 full time private sector jobs.

Narrator: Ed Gillespie, a governor for ALL Virginians.

The Gillespie tax-cut proposal can be found here.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Has 430 Vacant Buildings?!?

The jury’s still out on new Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin — it is, after all, barely more than 100 days into the new administration — but there’s a good sign that he’s not afraid to propose big structural changes. I mean literally, changing the structures that the VA operates:

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says his department is seeking to close perhaps more than 1,100 VA facilities nationwide as it develops plans to allow more veterans to receive medical care in the private sector.

At a House hearing Wednesday, Shulkin said the VA had identified more than 430 vacant buildings and 735 that he described as underutilized, costing the federal government $25 million a year. He said the VA would work with Congress in prioritizing buildings for closure and was considering whether to follow a process the Pentagon had used in recent decades to decide which of its underused military bases to shutter, known as Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC.

“Whether BRAC is a model that we should take a look, we’re beginning that discussion with members of Congress,” Shulkin told a House appropriations subcommittee. “We want to stop supporting our use of maintenance of buildings we don’t need, and we want to reinvest that in buildings we know have capital needs.”

In an internal agency document obtained by The Associated Press, the VA pointed to aging buildings it was reviewing for possible closure that would cost millions of dollars to replace. It noted that about 57 percent of all VA facilities were more than 50 years old. Of the 431 VA buildings it said were vacant, most were built 90 or more years ago, according to agency data. The VA document did not specify the locations.

As usual, the devil is in the details, but at first glance, this sounds like a common sense move.

ADDENDA: Happy Star Wars Day, a.k.a., “May the Fourth be with you!” Somehow I missed that the crew of the U.S.S. Eisenhower did a brilliant parody of the trailer for The Force Awakens. God bless them and all the ships at sea.