I want to return this afternoon to the fate of Zombie Trumpcare. But before anymore time goes by I wanted to flag something pretty significant: For all the talk about Trump shutting down the government to get Wall money, holding Obamacare subsidies hostage or generally bending history or at least Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to his will, Trump got close to nothing in the funding bill meant to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. He ended up crying uncle or “no mas” on virtually all his demands.
Let’s go down the list.
The EPA was slated for massive cuts – roughly 31%. It will retain 99% of its funding.
Trump demanded funding for his border wall. He didn’t get any.
Trump wanted to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health. It’s getting $2 billion of additional funding.
Funding is included for the Obamacare subsidies Trump has threatened not to pay.
There’s no provision for “defunding Planned Parenthood.”
There’s no language to defund “sanctuary cities.”
There are obviously many other things included in the bill. And it’s not like Trump got nothing. But at least on most of the hot button issues he’s pushed as part of his agenda he folded like a cheap suit.
Yes, that’s a cliche. But he folded so bad, it’s really okay. Trump’s first mini-budget is largely a continuation of Obama’s last budget.
Domestic critics aren’t the only ones noticing.
Late last week, The New York Times published a story describing how Mexicans and the government of Mexico have shifted their opinion on Trump pretty substantially. Basically they’ve taken his measure and decided he’s all bark and little or no bite.
From the Times …
His threats to build a border wall and make Mexicans pay for it would ignite firestorms of patriotic fury and resentment. His promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants would send politicians off to draft contingency plans. His vows to re-engineer the North American Free Trade Agreement and bring Mexico to heel would shake the foundations of the state.
But on Wednesday, the suggestion from the White House that Mr. Trump was finalizing an executive order to begin the process of withdrawing the United States from Nafta revealed a different, more experienced Mexico: one learning to live with what it considers Mr. Trump’s bluster and stagecraft, and not inclined to react publicly too quickly.
“It seems like he’s sitting at a poker table bluffing rather than making serious decisions,” said Senator Armando Ríos Piter, a Mexican legislator. “In front of a bluffer, you always have to maintain a firm and dignified position.”
And then later …
Some [Mexicans] speculated that Mr. Trump was trying to look tough to appeal to his voting base, particularly considering his mixed record in achieving his goals as the 100-day mark of his term approaches.
“Clearly, in Mexico, this should be seen as a type of tantrum of a spoiled child who did not get the presents he expected for his birthday, for the 100 days,” said Rafael Fernández de Castro, an expert on United States-Mexico relations at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico in Mexico City.
Mexicans feel emboldened by the support they have received from prominent members of the American business community and elected officials, including Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have increasingly voiced their backing of Nafta and of the United States’ alliance with Mexico.
Far from the terror to the North he appeared to be, Mexicans are concluding that Trump is low energy.
Meanwhile Roll Call says Senators are learning to take Trump’s tweetstorms in stride.
From Roll Call …
A number of senators shrugged off President Donald Trump’s decision to express his views on the latest government funding debate on Twitter, suggesting that the social media platform might not be the best way for the president to convey his views to Congress.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they did not pay much attention to the president’s Twitter missives, as talks to avert a government shutdown continued.
“It doesn’t help, but I don’t know that it makes that much difference,” Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said of the president’s tweets. “I’m kind of used to it by now.”
None of this is terribly surprising. Trump presented himself as the consummate alpha-male ball buster, someone who speaks and embodies the ethos of domination his most ardent supporters instinctively crave and believe in. In practice, he’s repeatedly adopted what might be termed the preemptive fail, not only talking tough but failing to achieve his aims but actually jumping ahead of the process and unilaterally backing down or saying a metaphorical ‘nevermind’ before the supposed confrontation even arrives. As the Mexicans seem to have concluded Trump is less a threat than a bullshit artist who caves easily and is best either ignored or treated with a stern, disciplined and unafraid response.
In other words, SAD!, on so many levels.