President-elect Donald Trump calls ’em as he sees ’em, and he sees New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D) as the Head Clown. There may be some history involved between the two given that both are New York state residents, and, if there is, it was apparently not-so-good history from the sound of things. They have likely had some prior skirmishes somewhere along the line. Maybe it was something as small as a snub at a cocktail party. Or maybe Schumer has had a hand in making The Donald’s life more difficult in one or more dealings.
Sen. Schumer has been touting his and, by connection, Democrats’ in the Senate ability to hold up Supreme Court appointments one of which will certainly be offered up by President Trump likely very soon after the swearing in ceremony. This points to the one sure weapon that Democrats hold and that is the ability to obstruct.
The U.S. Supreme Court nominee is the key to the foreseeable future since Republicans expect to make the Court reliably conservative for years to come. This is among the really big plums that came along with the victory by Trump. Trump has produced a list of sitting judges whom he has deemed to be reliably conservative, and he plans to begin that process soon after his swearing in on January 20th.
The art of the deal is a prized skill within the U.S. Senate, and the Senate has some seemingly very archaic rules that can be invoked during debates. At best, these rules are oft used as delaying and negotiating tactics; at worst, these rules can become the weapon that derailed an appointment. From the perspective of you and me, these rules seem contrary to the simple understanding that the party with the most votes wins.
We have witnessed Sen. Schumer in prior Senate battles and we know he has been battle-hardened and is not an easy mark; he has to be taken seriously. By the same token, we know the reputation of the President-elect. There will likely be sparks flying before this is settled.
We have gotten a preview of the way things are probably going to go down in the District of Columbia on and after January 20, 2017. Nothing will come easily for the Republicans. The Democrats are so far down in numbers as to seemingly have nothing to lose by being the masters of obstruction. They have experience in this game and they can often emerge with a negotiated victory or at least a ‘saving of face’ outcome.
There is also the potential for some disgruntled Republicans to see these internecine battles as keys to the treasure from their own perspective. They may be able to twist their way into somehow ‘solving’ an issue by negotiating side deals with the Dems in a sort of scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back relationship. This is a world that differs from what you and I see and from how we operate in our own lives.
Sen. Schumer has made it very clear that he sees his role as the Democrats’ savior. What better way to demonstrate that than to obstruct a Supreme Court appointment just ’cause. He has no doubt told his colleagues that he’ll do this and he now has no choice but to go after it like a dog with a bunny in its mouth. This is the shining moment he has been awaiting, and he’ll not likely let it go to waste.
I suspect that the majority of us simple voting citizens are appalled that something like this can happen in our national government, but we will be able to watch as the saga unfolds. Those of the Democrat persuasion will be eager to see the dog shake the bunny and those of the Republican persuasion will be repulsed. We tend to forget that both sides handle such situations similarly and that we have been on both the winning end and losing end before.
This points out the absolute importance of the vote each of us has, and of the necessity of us casting our ballots at every opportunity. It points out the wisdom of the founding fathers who established the Electoral College in the manner they did to preclude population centers from being able to rule easily over those of us in the hinterlands. It points out that governance can, at times, be ugly to behold.
This situation will give us a much better feel for the President-elect and what we can expect from him over the next four years. He didn’t get himself in this position unknowingly. He knew he would be in a confrontation sooner rather than later and has apparently chosen his battle. I am coming to believe that Trump does not make flip judgments. I suspect he is that consummate chess player who is able to visualize several moves further in the ‘game’ as he decided what to do with this move.
He called out Sen. Schumer intentionally knowing exactly what he was going to get into, and he decided he wanted this to occur early in his Presidency probably to set an example for anyone that decides to go up against him whether domestically or internationally.
President-Elect Trump seems very comfortable in his own skin and that bespeaks of the potential for being among our better Presidents ever. These two men are East coast Pitbulls who have the scars to prove they’re not afraid of a fight. In fifteen days, the ‘elect’ part of his current title goes away and the sitting President begins his first term. This is not likely to be a serene non-event Presidency from all indications.