Donald Trump And The Art Of The Bad Deal

Donald Trump made a deal with Democrats on spending and the debt ceiling, but it was an exceedingly bad one.

Donald Trump Chuck Schumer

President Trump bypassed the leadership of his party on Capitol Hill, as well as Republican groups such as the Freedom Caucus, to reach a short-term budget deal with Democrats yesterday:

WASHINGTON — President Trump struck a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday to increase the debt limit and finance the government until mid-December, blindsiding his own Republican allies as he reached across the aisle to resolve a major dispute for the first time since taking office.

The agreement would avert a fiscal showdown later this month without the bloody, partisan battle that many had anticipated by combining a debt ceiling increase and stopgap spending measure with relief aid to Texas and other areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. But without addressing the fundamental underlying issues, it set up the prospect for an even bigger clash at the end of the year.

In embracing the three-month deal, Mr. Trump accepted a Democratic proposal that had been rejected earlier in the day by Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin. Mr. Trump’s snap decision at a White House meeting caught Republican leaders off guard and reflected friction between the president and his party. After weeks of criticizing Republican leaders for failing to pass legislation, Mr. Trump signaled that he was willing to cross party lines to score some much-desired legislative victories.

The deal to keep the government open and paying its debts until Dec. 15 represented an extraordinary public turn for the president, who has for much of his term set himself up on the right flank of the Republican Party. But it remained unclear whether Mr. Trump’s collaboration with Democrats foreshadowed a more sustained shift in strategy by a president who has presented himself as a master dealmaker or amounted to just a one-time instinctual reaction of a mercurial leader momentarily eager to poke his estranged allies.

Mr. Trump not only accepted the spending-and-debt plan advanced by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leaders, but also aligned himself with them on immigration. A day after rescinding President Barack Obama’s program protecting younger illegal immigrants on the grounds that it went beyond a president’s authority, Mr. Trump said he wanted to work with Democrats to legalize the program.

“We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” Mr. Trump told reporters after the Oval Office session without mentioning that Mr. Ryan and other Republican leaders had also attended. Regarding the immigration program, Mr. Trump said, “Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I.”

Republican leaders looked grim but resigned afterward and attributed Mr. Trump’s fiscal deal to a need for unity after Harvey struck Texas and as Hurricane Irma barreled toward Florida. “Look, the president can speak for himself, but his feeling was that we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis, and that was the rationale,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

Democrats were grinning at their surprise victory and happy to rub it in. “It was a really good moment of some bipartisanship,” Mr. Schumer said. He added: “The bottom line is the president listened to the arguments. We think we made a very reasonable and strong argument. And to his credit, he went with the better argument.”



Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi pressed for a three-month deal to keep the government running and raise the debt ceiling along with the hurricane aid to give Democrats leverage later this year when other matters, including a longer-term government funding deal, could be negotiated between the two parties. By ensuring that all the pending issues converge at the end of the year, Democrats hope a longer-term agreement on fiscal matters could include immigration, health care and any number of other issues.

Assuming that he had the support of Mr. Trump, Mr. Ryan responded Wednesday morning by calling the Democrats’ proposal “ridiculous and disgraceful,” saying “it could put in jeopardy the kind of hurricane response we need to have.”

“To play politics with the debt ceiling, like Schumer and Pelosi apparently are doing, I don’t think is a good idea,” Mr. Ryan said

Not surprisingly, this is causing a lot of consternation on the right:

WASHINGTON — It is the scenario that President Trump’s most conservative followers considered their worst nightmare, and on Wednesday it seemed to come true: The dealmaking political novice, whose ideology and loyalty were always fungible, cut a deal with Democrats.

If Mr. Trump’s agreement with the two Democratic leaders, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi, to increase the debt limit and finance the government for three months did not yet represent the breaking point between the president and his core, hard-right base of support, it certainly put him closer than he has ever been to tipping his fragile political coalition into open revolt.

Stunned and irate, conservative leaders denounced news that Mr. Trump had agreed to rely on Democratic votes to win congressional approval for a temporary extension of the debt ceiling and funding of the government until mid-December.

“These are the moments that can derail President Trump’s presidency,” said David Bozell, the president of For America and a Trump supporter, who added that the president’s base would be watching the next few months very carefully. “He is not Teflon,” Mr. Bozell added. “Trump spent some of his own political capital today.”

Adam Brandon, the president of FreedomWorks, offered a searing judgment of the president: “Talk about burning bridges with the grass-roots.”

“Meet the Swamp,” read the headline on the Breitbart News site. Beneath it was a picture of Mr. Trump meeting at the White House with Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Schumer and Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader.

Mr. Trump’s move further destabilized a volatile situation for his party, which many Republicans now believe is headed toward a reckoning it can no longer avoid. The party has, for years, been a group of political tribes gathered under one banner. And while Mr. Trump’s victory and unified Republican control of Washington camouflaged longstanding differences within their ranks, it did not reconcile them.

Mr. Trump, who is more of a nominal custodian with his own set of plans than he is a devoted guardian of the party’s legacy and conservative principles, has so far failed to bring the warring factions together. The result has been to harden the same battle lines that formed at the time of the Tea Party uprising of 2009: a restless activist bloc of voters and interest groups who want to supplant the party leadership versus an establishment ruling class that has mostly clung to power.

Mr. Trump was supposed to shatter their hold on power.

That was why many activists and voters swallowed their own reservations about the sincerity of his commitment to their causes, and brushed aside concerns from many fellow Republicans that they were cutting a deal with a charlatan who would inevitably sell them out. Seeing no other alternative but Hillary Clinton as president, they bought into Mr. Trump’s “drain the swamp” promises to upend Washington and forged a bond over their mutual contempt with the Republican Party establishment.

But on Wednesday, prominent conservatives scoffed at the deal that Mr. Trump signed onto — announced first, no less, by congressional Democrats — as something straight from the swamp.

“I know for certain,” said Jenny Beth Martin, a founder of Tea Party Patriots, that grass-roots conservatives “did not work so hard last year to elect majorities in the House and the Senate and get Trump elected in the White House to enact liberal policy priorities.”

With his approval ratings languishing at historic lows, Mr. Trump can hardly afford to lose much more support. And the Republican Party, which was already anxious about losing control of the House in next year’s midterm elections, cannot remain competitive against Democrats if many of its most motivated and reliable voters stay home because they believe their president has betrayed them.

On some level, of course, this move by Trump doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The idea that he was ever actually committed to the conservative agenda that he adopted as a Republican candidate for President, which largely contradicted positions he had taken publicly as recently as just a few years ago, was always fanciful at best. Additionally, Trump has always made it clear that he’s most interested in “making deals” rather than adhering to a committed ideology of any kind, be it conservative, liberal, or something down the middle of American politics. Additionally, Trump has spent much of his time in office venting on Twitter and in speeches about the inability of Republicans to get anything done notwithstanding the fact that they control the House, Senate, and White House. This became most apparent during the effort to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act when both the House and the Senate found it much harder to accomplish a goal that Republicans had been aiming for over the better part of seven years, with the House succeeding in passing its bill by only a handful of votes and the Senate failing to pass it all thanks to a dramatic thumbs-down no vote from an ailing Senator John McCain. This failure, along with the fact that there are no other legislative successes that the President can point to as he approaches his eighth month in office, no doubt made him eager to strike at least some kind of deal.

It’s also no wonder that Republicans on Capitol Hill and conservatives outside of government are so miffed at the President right now. Essentially, he pulled the rug right out from under them by taking away their ability to reach an agreement on their own with their colleagues across the aisle at the same time that he basically contradicted everything that he and the Republican Party were running on in November. While this is likely not going to matter to Trump’s hard core supporters, it leaves the rest of the GOP holding the bag and still somehow trying to find a way to get the rest of their agenda, and the Presidents, through Congress notwithstanding the fact that they already have caucuses in both chambers that are deeply divided. The House Freedom Caucus, for example, is likely to become even more intransigent in the future and less interesting in making deals, and the divide between conservatives and moderates in the Senate is likely to deepen. Additionally, the President has likely empowered outlets such as Breitbart and other activist groups and websites, who will end up aiming their fire at Capitol Hill rather than the White House in defense of Trump. To the extent the situation in Congress was already bad, Trump has likely just made it worse.

More importantly, perhaps, Trump has shown that he can be suckered into a deal just for the sake of saying he’s gotten something off the table. On paper, this doesn’t really sound like a very good deal at all. Rather than reaching a long-term deal on spending, or passing a bill that covers the entire Fiscal Year that begins on October 1st, the President has agreed to a deal that basically kicks the can down the road for three months. The same goes for the even more crucial vote on extending the debt ceiling, which will have to be voted on again on or before December 15th to avoid a situation where the Federal Government runs out of borrowing authority and the ability to pay debts on time. The eighteen-month extension that Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin were calling for seems to me to have made much more sense from a long term point of view. By agreeing to this deal, the President has essentially handed Democrats a win that he didn’t need to since the votes that will be needed in December on both the spending bill and the debt ceiling that they can use as further leverage over Republicans on Capitol Hill and over Trump himself.

So, yes the President “made a deal,” but it was an exceedingly bad one from both a strategic and a tactical point of view regardless of what you think about the substance of the agreement. Kicking the can down the road three months will make it harder for Trump to get what he wants on issues such as tax reform, the potential codification of the DACA program, and a whole host of other issues, and it will make it harder for Republicans on Capitol Hill to accomplish anything this year. So much for Trump’s claim to be a master dealmaker. He got taken for a sucker with a short-term solution to a long term problem, and he handed a big win to the people who are most opposed to him on Capitol Hill. It’s no wonder that his companies ended up in bankruptcy so many times.

Photo via The New York Times

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Ryan can go *bleep* himself. Playing politics with policy is a bad idea, Paul? Where’s that Obamacare replacement legislation you had SEVEN F’CKING YEARS to work on?

  2. KM says:

    Please, let this kill the idea that government can be run like a business by an outsider businessman. Please, God, please.

    This is a win for my side and the country in general but I’m still appalled. If he can get snookered like this by the Dems, what the hell is going to happen when we need to deal with other countries? What’s he promising industry titans and billionaires out on the golf course? We are going to get rolled so goddamned bad. For the love of God, somebody assign him a 24/7 minder and tell him all “deals” need to be processed through some obscure bureaucratic database to buy time for review by somebody sane. Blame Obama if you have to, I’m sure he’ll be glad to take that hit if it stops future stupidity.

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    I love it when Trump shivs the Republicans.

  4. @KM:

    Kicking the can down the road three months is hardly a win for the country regardless of what you think about the substance of the deal itself. Governing on important issues by short-term measures is bad governance, bad for the economy, and stupid politics.

  5. CSK says:

    The Trumpkins consider this a major victory because Tump shanked Ryan and McConnell, whom they hate worse than they hate Schumer and Pelosi.


    God knows what Trump is promising anyone. It’s terrifying to contemplate.

  6. Lit3Bolt says:

    Doug, Martin Longman is thinking that the backstory here is that Ryan needed a way to neuter the House Freedom Caucus, and having Trump “make a deal” with the Democrats was the way to accomplish that at minimal political exposure for Republican leadership. Trump would get the blame, and the media would focus on the Democrats. However, the sticking point was Trump and the Democrats had to accept the 18 month plan to help Republicans in the 2018 elections.

    Instead, Trump eagerly accepted the 3 month plan, because he’s desperate for a “win” NOW and wanted to hurt Paul and MItch for betraying him on Obamacare.


  7. MBunge says:

    I’m not that bright but I fail to see how this is a bad deal for Trump. There is NO indication that the GOP-led Congress is prepared or capable of doing any of things Mataconis mentions and I fail to see the advantage to the country or its citizens in cutting a deal that “kicks the can down the road” until after the 2018 election. That’s what Mataconis and those conservatives are really mad about, that they’ll actually be held accountable tor their deluded and unpopular positions.


  8. cjdavis says:

    Kicking the can down the road three months will make it harder for Trump to get what he wants on issues such as tax reform, the potential codification of the DACA program, and a whole host of other issues, and it will make it harder for Republicans on Capitol Hill to accomplish anything this year.

    When will people actually understand that what Trump wants (in no particular order) is ratings, praise, and punishment for former supporters he thinks have betrayed him. That’s it. There is nothing more to him. He has no actual beliefs, positions, or intentions past those three things.

    Giving him any more credit than that is like anthropomorphizing a natural disaster. It doesn’t give a shit about you, or anybody or anything else.

  9. KM says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Agreed but that’s how the GOP rolls lately. They are not fond of doing the actual work their job requires and that leaves them open to nonsense like this. “Chuck and Nancy” could have probably gotten a longer timeline but were unsure how far to take the “deal” – they were probably in disbelief at what they were getting away with and didn’t want to push their luck.

    Good governance will return when politicians who’s goal in life is to “piss off libs” stop getting elected. As Kid Rock is currently getting con support to run for office, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. 3 months is a win because it gets us closer to 2018.

  10. CSK says:


    Other than to point out his obsession with his elder daughter, I agree with you. Expecting rationality from Trump is like expecting rationality from a tornado. He’s purely a creature of appetite.

  11. KM says:


    What did Trump, the GOP or conservatives in general gain on this deal? He couldn’t even wrangle a symbolic loss from the Dems to save face? He gave on every point with no concessions in return. In school yard parlance, Donald got his lunch money taken and a wedgie to go with it. His image as Awesome Dealmaker just took a hell of a hit even with his own fans.

    You are right in that delaying until after the elections is not the citizens’ advantage. Good for Trump that he doesn’t give a damn about his own party preserving power at the cost of our nation’s security. If I thought he did it on purpose, I’d send flowers to the White House as thanks. But you forget, he’s a real estate guy. He wants a quick close to his deals. Why negotiate for hours for 18 months and laborious details when they’re offering 3, what’s on the table and done now? He can always wheel and deal again, amirite? Donald wanted the win now, something to brag about. He thinks he can always “revisit” the deal like he mentions in his tweets. He doesn’t care who he burns in the short term because he thinks they have to work with him regardless.

    Tl;dr Trump’s treating this like a quickie business deal or series of short term agreements instead of trying to forge a lasting solution. Cons in Congress are pissed because, well, that’s their job and he’s making it last harder to force their agenda on the nation. Dems meanwhile are now mentally calculating how much they can fleece out of the President before he figures out the game.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Pelosi and Schumer didn’t need this deal. They had nothing to lose. You’re not going to win a negotiation where you, the buyer, want something badly and the seller doesn’t really even want to sell.

    Ryan and McConnell sold Trump a bill of goods, made promises they failed to carry out so Trump goes to the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling – which Democrats want – and the Democrats not only got the debt ceiling, they signed onto a CR that has Ryan and McConnell playing Grinch at Christmas.

    This was a necessary and inevitable betrayal of the GOP by Trump, but it was still a betrayal. The one thing you can count on with Trump is he will always betray you. He’s betrayed the GOP, and he’s betraying his voters though, like @MBunge, they’re too dumb to know it.

  13. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I agree with Bunge – I know, I can’t believe it either.

    But by going for a short term deal, the Dems and Trump have ensured that it’s still on the Republicans to come up with a “real solution” (as if) while they’re in charge (again – as if). And the Dems have shown they can make sh*t happen too.

    A win-win for 2 out of 3 players, I’m thinking.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    Preface: The notion that Trump is a great deal maker is one that is share by Trump himself and 62 million people. It is the result of 30 years of ceaseless self-promotion and branding. It’s as much a fabrication as it is a fact.

    More to the topic: For the time being Republicans have been somewhat preempted and deterred from their now regular attempts to leverage the Shut Down, the Debt Limit Ceiling, and the threat of a possible Default to get what they want. That’s for now.

  15. Facebones says:

    This is a big win for Schumer and Pelosi.

    By attaching Harvey relief to the CR, Democrats wouldn’t have been able to oppose it. (The ads write themselves. “Schumer let Houston drown as petty payback over Sandy!”)

    BUT by signing on to a three month CR, they now have leverage when the debt ceiling comes up again in December. Because the Tea Party nutjobs are dead set against raising it, Ryan will need Democrats to pass a CR. Now, with popular hurricane relief off the table, Democrats can demand a resolution to DACA and Dreamers and no money for the wall. Otherwise, there will be the spectacle of the Republican congress and the Republican white house shutting down the government at Christmas. Get the egg nog ready!

  16. Lit3Bolt says:


    But the Universe and the Milky Way and Planet Earth and the North American continent owe me something…

  17. Jen says:

    I think this is a test run to see if he can improve his image in his press clips. I just don’t see any other upside for him for cutting this deal. He’s made McConnell and Ryan angry, he’s backed them into a corner (again) when this all needs to be done again at the end of the year, and it’s not going to win him any permanent favors with the Democrats.

    I’m a bit baffled by all of it.

  18. Slugger says:

    1. Repeal and replace Obamacare
    2. Better Immigration laws
    3. Tax reform
    The above are slogans, advertising jingles, not policies. Policies require hard work and hard choices. Hard choices risk alienating some voters. It is better to beat the drum and make a big noise. This is the reason that after a hundred antiObamacare votes, there is no replacement plan. Tax reform? Hey, we are going to lower taxes for everyone by getting rid of loopholes; just don’t ask me any specifics.

  19. Facebones says:

    @Jen: You’re over thinking it.

    Trump was mad at McConnell and Paul. Trump showed them who’s boss by cutting a deal with Schumer and Pelosi, despite that deal being counter productive to long term Republican goals.

    The Democrats won because they got a debt ceiling increase but retain leverage in negotiations over the next CR and can use that leverage to get Republican concessions on DACA and wall funding.

    Trump “won” because he stuck it to the Republicans who are not loyal or worshipful enough.

    Master dealmaker indeed!

  20. Gustopher says:

    Doesn’t this deal assume that Ryan and McConnell will bring it up for a vote? And that it will get enough Republican votes to pass?

    These aren’t normal times, and I don’t think we should take it for granted that the Republicans in congress will fall in line.

    Assuming that it happens, I don’t think it’s an especially bad or good deal for anyone. It kicks the can down the road, and not for long. Harvey relief is off the table as a cudgel, but luckily — “luckily” — we have Irma about to make landfall and massive wildfires in the western half of the country, so plenty of must-pass relief bills.

    I really don’t think the Democrats should be providing the votes for raising the debt limit without getting a couple pounds of flesh — funding for the Obamacare subsidies, increases to CHIP, or something. Having the Republicans demanding concessions every time there is a Democratic President, and the Democrats doing nothing like that for Republican Presidents just means we get a lot of Republican policies passed. It’s bad game theory.

  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    I’m not that bright

    The longest journey starts with the first step.
    Congratulations. Now keep walking.

  22. Ben Wolf says:

    @MBunge: It’s a bad deal for Trump because it makes him look weak.

  23. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump had zero choice. He is desperate for any kind of win. And the Republican Caucus is so fractured that the only way he can cobble together a win is to work with Democrats. It’s been clear for years that the Republicans are incapable of governing. So if this is now the way that Trump is going to govern…and I do not believe for a minute that it is…then it might not turn out so bad.

  24. James Pearce says:

    Paul Begala: “Poor President Donald Trump was lucky he got out of the room with his hair.”


  25. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Remember that Schumer was screaming for Trump to work with the Democrats on Health Care. If Dumb Don works with the Dems and brings along the few moderate Republicans then a lot of stuff can get done. And Donnie doesn’t give a fvck about Republican ideology. All he cares about is making himself look good. Certainly his sycophants don’t care what he does…they just want to bask in the glow of his fake tan. And we have just seen that Turtle Face and Widows Peak are ready to kowtow.
    The down side is that deficits are going to skyrocket the way they always do under Republican Presidents. Thus the economy will actually accelerate, as opposed to the slow and steady growth we have had under Obama while Republicans worked to sabotage the economy. All of which means a second term for the Comb-over.
    But if government is actually working…instead of the dysfunction of the last 16 years under Republican tyranny…I don’t give a rats ass.
    Just imagine for a minute that Trump works with Democrats and puts together Tax Reform that actually benefits the middle class, like Trump campaigned on, instead of just being a massive tax cut for the rich……..

  26. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Ben Wolf: @James Pearce: Can Trump reverse himself at this point? All the crowing in the blogs I read and the way the press paints this as Trump being played like a fiddle by the Dems may p!ss him off so much he turns around and hugs Ryan and McConnell

  27. James Pearce says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    All the crowing in the blogs I read and the way the press paints this as Trump being played like a fiddle by the Dems may p!ss him off so much he turns around and hugs Ryan and McConnell

    Politico, this morning:

    But in calls with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning, Trump raved about the positive news coverage it had received, according to people familiar with the calls, and he seemed very pleased with his decision.

    Going back to something I’ve said before, a lot of Republicans supported him because they thought he couldn’t be bought.

    And yet, all you had to do was name your price.

    High five to Pelosi/Schumer, who finally recognized something about Trump the Republican party had already made peace with: His corruptibility.

  28. Kylopod says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Just imagine for a minute that Trump works with Democrats and puts together Tax Reform that actually benefits the middle class, like Trump campaigned on, instead of just being a massive tax cut for the rich……..

    Actually the tax plan that Trump ran on was just a standard GOP giveaway to the rich (it was actually very similar to the tax plan put forth by a certain low-energy candidate) with the usual supply-side hokum about how it would pay for itself. That didn’t stop Trump from claiming he’d actually be increasing taxes on the rich and cutting them for the middle class, just as he claimed he was going to provide cheaper health-care for everyone when the actual health-care plan outlined on his campaign’s website consisted simply of the usual GOP blather about health savings accounts, insurance across state lines, and so on.

    Just because he referred to a turd as a diamond doesn’t mean he was campaigning on the diamond.

  29. Mikey says:

    Here’s some big news–the debt ceiling may go away permanently:

    Trump, Schumer agree to pursue plan to repeal the debt ceiling

    President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have agreed to pursue a deal that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling, three people familiar with the decision said.

    Trump and Schumer discussed the idea Wednesday during an Oval Office meeting. The two, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), agreed to work together over the next several months to try to finalize a plan, which would need to be approved by Congress.

    Maybe the Democrats have, as @James Pearce said, discovered the secret to getting everything they want from Trump.

  30. Jen says:

    @James Pearce:

    Trump raved about the positive news coverage it had received

    This is precisely what I said in my above comment…how he is viewed is incredibly important to him.

  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Yes…that’s true.
    But I bet you he had no idea what was in the actual plan.
    Fvck…I’ve put myself in the position of defending this turd?!?!?

  32. @KM:

    It’s not just the GOP. Continuing Resolutions and delaying tactics have been the status quo on Capitol Hill for a long time now. Indeed one can see it in the short-term deal that Democrats demanded here, which had everything to do with enhancing their bargaining power when it comes to other pieces of legislation such as tax reform and a potential DREAM Act and little to do with actually governing.

  33. Matt Bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Kicking the can down the road three months is hardly a win for the country regardless of what you think about the substance of the deal itself.

    Without a doubt it isn’t.

    However, from the Democrat’s perspective, having a pissed off Republican Party (or at least conservative wing) go to war on the Debt Ceiling just before Christmas (and the rest of the holidays) is a huge tactical win (as Michael points out above). If the Freedom Caucus revolts at that time, then McConnell and Ryan will be asking for extra whiskey in their egg nog.

  34. Matt,

    I don’t consider that a win for the country.

  35. Ben Wolf says:

    @Mr. Prosser: I think Trump is listening to the mainstream press now rather than Breitbart loons. They’ll all pat him on the back.

  36. Argon says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Doug Mataconis: I don’t consider that a win for the country.

    Putting it off for three months, vs. six months, vs. one year, vs. 18 months… as if that difference actually matters. Groups will always fight with whatever leverage they can access.

    What’s remarkable is that a majority party with both branches of Congress and a President believes that threatening to shut down the government and slowing aid to disaster victims IN A SOLIDLY RED STATE and future hurricane (Irma) victims in yet another red state is actually leverage they possess.

    After all, Texas and Florida aren’t like the liberal, East Cost state of New Jersey. None of the turd blossoms in Congress who voted against Hurricane Sandy relief were ‘nay’ votes this time.

  37. Matt Bernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    In general I agree. And I wasn’t suggesting it was.

  38. flat earth luddite says:

    So many people seem so surprised that Herr Trump always acts (or reacts) with the same calm, well thought out reasoning that a single celled organism demonstrates. Silly, silly, people. And yes, keep shoveling that barn out — I promise there’s a pony in there… somewhere.

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t consider that a win for the country.

    That entirely depends on what the feasible alternatives were. You can’t always have a pony.

  40. Hal_10000 says:

    See, here’s the funny thing and an insight into how deranged parts of the conservative movement have gotten. Ryan and McConnell and them were dubbed “RINOs” and wimps for brokering deals with Obama on the budget, etc. These deals were WAY better for Republicans than the one Trump just made. And yet Trump is praised for it. We’re really looking at two Cults of Personality here: one focused on worship of Trump; the other focused on hatred of Obama.

  41. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I think you’re overly optimistic. Ultimately Democrats will find Trump as difficult to work with as Republicans do and are probably not anymore likely to develop responses to the needs of the nation than Republicans have been up to now. Rump governments usually don’t work well because the minority and the ostensible leader (in this case Trump) often can’t peel off enough support from the majority to prevail.