What's Going On?
If you believe the headlines, President Trump betrayed Republican leaders yesterday when he sided with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. This Washington Post headline says it all: "Trump Cuts Deal With Democrats, Confounding GOP Leaders."
What is going on behind the scenes is bigger than what you are seeing in the headlines.
The entire political establishment was shocked that Donald Trump "slayed" one Republican candidate after another last year to win the GOP nomination. He did so in no small measure because he was willing to take bold positions on issues including Islamic immigration, securing the borders and the globalist trade regime. Those positions helped Trump win states that John McCain and Mitt Romney did not win like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
The Republican leadership in Congress for the first time in eight years finally had a president willing to sign a repeal of Obamacare, willing to secure the border and eager to cut taxes and spending. But so far the GOP leadership has delivered absolutely nothing on any of those issues.
That is a big reason why Congress' approval rating is 16%. Of course, the left hates the Congress because it is run by Republicans. But Republicans are increasingly frustrated with Congress because it isn't doing anything.
In addition, there is still deep resistance within the GOP establishment to much of Donald Trump's agenda. I will leave it to your imagination to estimate how many members of the GOP establishment secretly wish that he were not president.
Having frequently interacted with the White House, I can tell you that the folks there are beyond frustrated with the failure of their "friends" on Capitol Hill to unite in support of a conservative agenda.
All that leads to yesterday's surprise compromise.
The GOP leadership wanted a long-term debt limit extension. They did not want Hurricane Harvey relief attached to it. They were hoping to extract some spending concessions in exchange for raising the debt limit.
Democrats wanted a much briefer debt limit extension, with the relief attached and, of course, no concessions on spending.
Congress is facing a number of urgent deadlines by the end of the month, and congressional leaders were offering all kinds of excuses for why they couldn't get to other important issues because there was so much on the calendar already.
No doubt the White House was not eager for a long, drawn-out fight in the middle of major natural disasters that would probably end with Ryan and McConnell cutting a deal anyway. (Talk about bad optics -- Washington partisan squabbling while people are suffering.)
So, President Trump shutdown the kabuki dance and accepted a 90-day deal with the Democrats.
I understand and sympathize with conservative groups unhappy about the deal. But I also know that Trump is trying to wake up the GOP leadership. If they had sent to his desk legislation repealing Obamacare, funding for border security and tax reform, it is unlikely Trump would have done this maneuver.
Congressional Republicans might not be happy now, but consider this: Donald Trump didn't come to Washington to continue business as usual. He's not playing partisan games. He ran to get things done. He just cleared the congressional calendar and bought them some time.
Time to plan a strategy for the next debt limit and government funding fight, as well as time to take up . . . tax reform and tax cuts!
The evidence is growing by leaps and bounds that the radical left is partnering with Muslim and Palestinian organizations on university campuses. In what can only be described as obscene, these groups are now smearing pro-Israel students with charges of fascism and white supremacy.
Of course, the foundation for this disgusting smear was established when the progressive left and the U.N. attempted to turn Israel into apartheid South Africa, in spite of the overwhelming evidence that Israel is among the most diverse and tolerant societies in the Middle East.
The latest example of this troubling and dangerous development comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organized a protest on campus this week. It was clear early on that the demonstration was going to take an ugly tone, so campus Jewish groups requested a larger police presence.
Prior to the event, SJP posted an incredibly bigoted statement on its Facebook page. Here is a brief excerpt:
"This opposition highlights the unholy union of American fascists, white supremacists, and Zionists which seeks to weaken and destroy intersectional movements for mass liberation. . . The police, at all levels, represent white supremacy and the preservation of a racist, classist, and sexist society. Increased levels of policing at events like this present a clear danger to black, brown, poor, and queer and trans members of our community. Such actions show that Zionist campus groups do not have a commitment to fighting for justice and have no problem siding with and introducing oppressive forces within radical spaces."
Incredibly, UIUC officials have been silent on this disgusting display of anti-Semitism and hatred toward law enforcement. Governor Bruce Rauner (R) and Senators Richard Durbin (D) and Tammy Duckworth (D) should denounce this extremism now!
A Good Man Goes Home
Last week, Michael Cromartie went home to be with the Lord. I have known Michael for over three decades. As a young man, he was a "progressive pacifist" and a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. But his views evolved over the years.
Eventually, Michael joined Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministry. In 1985, he went to the Ethics and Public Policy Center where, he became vice president. In 2004, he was a Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
During his entire life, Michael promoted civil discourse and the obligation of Christians to be engaged in public life. He will be deeply missed. Michael is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and three children, Ethan, Eric and Heather.