John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Trump may be down, but he’s not out yet

Posted on October 16, 2019
Chairman Mao famously said, “it’s always darkest before it goes totally black.”

And for the Trump administration, you have to ask yourselves when does it go totally black?

The impeachment hounds are barking at his every move. The Deep State ferociously stabs with their steely knives, hoping to kill the beast of the president they have always hated. The Fourth Estate despises Trump more than they hated Nixon, which is hard to even imagine.

The non-Never Trumper Republican establishment is royally pissed at the president’s abandonment of the Kurds. The Never-Trumpers nod in unison, clucking in equal measure, “I told you so” while deeply intoning that the end is nigh.

And worse, the president’s top lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the one who used to hunt mobsters for a living, is hanging out with some mighty shady characters who could be the main characters in the next Robert De Niro movie.

How the hell is the president going to wiggle out of this one?

If it seems like a desperate situation, it is.

But don’t count the president out.

Here are a few reasons.

First, the economy stubbornly stumbles forward. Many warn of a recession, hoping upon hope that a failing economy will finally sink the Trump regime. But there is an awful lot of stimulus in the system, from low federal taxes do a budget deal that generously spreads the money around to all kinds of government spending programs to a Federal Reserve that seems to be turning the monetary spigot back on, slowly but surely.

Defeating an incumbent president during an economic expansion is awfully hard to do.

Second, it’s a binary choice and the Democrats are pathetic.

I mean that in the most positive way possible.

Joe Biden is the face of a political establishment that almost nobody outside of the Beltway is nostalgic for. Sure, he’s a nice guy, but will he excite millennial Democrats to come out and vote for him? Doubtful.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), on the other hand, offers the kind of economic prescriptions that might have worked at the height of Great Depression, but today, with historically low unemployment, rising wages, and a still-expanding economy, she is singing the wrong song from the wrong hymnal.

These are the best two choices that the Democrats have and they are not very good.

Third, despite all the impeachment chatter, Congress is poised to deliver some solid accomplishments for the president, despite the partisan acrimony.

There is universal agreement that a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada is likely to get done before Thanksgiving. A budget deal will eventually yield spending bills by the end of the year. A drug pricing bill is still a possibility. Other bipartisan health care bills, like surprise billing reform, are also possible.

There is a natural belief that because the House is focused so completely on impeachment that there is little chance of anything else getting done. But for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to keep her majority, she needs solid accomplishments for her most vulnerable members who all live in Trump-winning districts.

Finally, the president, despite his rocky relationship with the truth and his potty-mouth, has done one thing that binds him closely to his political base. He has done everything he can to keep faith with his campaign promises. He promised to change our trade relationship with China. He promised to clamp down on illegal immigration. He promised to pull our troops out of far-flung and dangerous places. He promised to smash the Washington status quo.

He hasn’t achieved everything he promised. He hasn’t built a wall and gotten Mexico to pay for it. He hasn’t repealed and replaced ObamaCare. He hasn’t gotten a final peace deal with the Taliban.

But he hasn’t given up on those promises and he hasn’t conveniently forgotten about them either, hoping that the voters have forgotten about them too.

Things look dark for the president and there are still some very stormy days in front of him. But it is always darkest before the dawn. He may be down, but he isn’t out yet.

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