Toward A Grand New Bargain: How Donald Trump Can Clear The Field And Realign American Politics
By David Stockman
It’s actually pretty easy. At an apt moment very soon, Trump should offer Governor Kasich the VP slot and Senator Cruz the vacant Supreme Court seat.
Such a grand bargain would not only clear the primary field and quash any backroom hijacking of the nomination by the Washington GOP establishment; it would also permit each man to play his highest and best role at this great inflection point in the nation’s history.
That is, Donald Trump’s job is to destroy the Republican/Neocon establishment and bring working class America back into a modern version of a McKinley-style Republican Party. Ted Cruz’ task is to spend a lifetime bringing strict constructionism back to the high court, thereby helping to restore constitutional restraints on a leviathan state that fundamentally threatens personal liberty and economic freedom and prosperity in America.
And, yes, there really isn’t much for a washed-out, me-too Republican pol like Kasich to do at all. Except to get out of the way and exercise his apparent talent for preacherly uplift as America’s eulogist-in-chief at foreign state funerals.
Beyond the rightness of it, there’s some pretty potent logic for the politics of the deal, too, There would be lots of winners all around—–most especially the long-suffering American people.
Mitch McConnell and his rudderless Senate wheels, for example, would not need even a ten-minute caucus to hand down to young Ted Cruz a life sentence to the Supreme Court.
At the same time and more importantly, however, the American public would score a twofer——a more faithful high court and one less warmonger on Capitol Hill.
As to the former, Ted Cruz is about as close to the next Antonin Scalia as exists in America today. It goes without saying that he could do far more for the cause of liberty as a Justice than as a gadfly Senator.
But there is an angle even more important. Cruz was a top student and debater at Princeton, a distinguished editor of the Harvard Law Review and a clerk on both the DC Court of Appeals and for the great Justice William Rehnquist on the Supreme Court. During the primary debates, his erudition on constitutional matters towered far above the pack.
He was also described as “off the charts brilliant” by no less an admirer of his own brilliance than Alan Dershowitz. With a prospective long lifetime of service on the high court, Ted Cruz could bring a level of scholarly narrative and intellectual passion and acumen that is sorely needed by the constitutionalist cause.
At the same time, the American people would be spared of another bellicose politician hell-bent on extending Washington’s imperial depredations. Cruz seems to have the Ronald Reagan disease. That is, his belief in small government does not extend to the Pentagon side of the Potomac; and his high regard for liberty does not appear to encompass innocent foreigners dwelling in the vicinity of desert sands he would cause to glow in the dark.
As for Kasich, it is hard to think of a more inapt messenger with a more wrong-headed message. America does not need another compromiser, reconciler and wizened Washington ranch hand who can split the difference.
It needs, instead, a force of nature who can rain shock and awe on the Imperial City. And, so doing, overturn its vast network of prosperous racketeers who feed off the military industrial complex, the health care cartel, the education monopolies, the Wall Street and banking mafias and the legions of other crony capitalist rackets.
Governor Kasich’s specious claim to be a fiscally prudent budget balancer is especially telling. One of the most outrageous Washington wastes is right under his nose. Namely, the Lima Ohio M-1 tank line that he and the Ohio politicians keep open despite 10,000 such lethal machines already in inventory——-and notwithstanding that no other nation has tanks of this advanced capability or, more dispositive, the means to land them on these shores.
Actually, M-1 tanks were originally designed to fight the Red Army on the central front——said the army and said front having disappeared from the pages of history 25 years ago.
Since then they have been used for neocon wars of invasion and occupation that did nothing for the safety and security of citizens in Dayton OH or Danbury CT except foster vengeful blowback in the cities and towns they turned into rubble. Even then, the Imperial City’s racketeers offered this folly as proof of the need for more iron and electronic monsters from Lima, while Kasich and his pols lip-synched the sales pitch.
In truth, Kasich is exactly the kind of political lifer that needs to occupy the Joe Biden chair of policy irrelevance during the monumental reckoning ahead. He has indulged in double talk for so many decades that he no longer even knows when his lips are synching or even moving.
His victory speech after the Ohio primary, for example, was laced with pious rhetoric about devolving government back to the states and localities.
C’mon. He took a 90% bribe from Obama to drastically expand Medicaid in Ohio at the expense of taxpayers in Idaho and Texas, whose faithful governors didn’t. Yet he has the nerve to call himself a champion of decentralization?
Kasich’s brand of phony Federalism goes back to Nelson Rockefeller, who wore thin the patience of New York taxpayers with his out-sized building, spending, and other appetites. So looking enviously at the untapped citizens of Nebraska and Oregon, Rocky then cooked up the idea of revenue sharing and sold it to Nixon. It was actually just a form of interstate larceny.
As a young Capitol Hill staffer at the time, I saw how the old-fashioned conservative and legendary ruler of the House Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, had it killed dead as a doornail. His was virtually the last voice of authority and power in Washington during the past half century who insisted that such tax money should never leave home in the first place; and that the round-trip through Washington was just an opportunity for sticky fingers to skim the pot and for disingenuous politicians to bring home the pork while pretending it was free money.
If they want to spend it, said Mills, let them tax it first. But sound Federalism was not to be. LBJ’s Great Society had broken the dam and soon Wilbur Mills stumbled into submission on the eve of 1972 Nixon landslide——perhaps in a foreshadowing of his final stumble two years later into the Tidal Basin with Fanne Foxe.
The rest, as they say, is history. With Mills’ iconic defense of the old order out of the way, the Nixon-Ford White House massively expanded the Federal grant-in-aid system. At length, a whole generation of GOP politicians became house-trained in Kasich-style fiscal doublespeak and hypocrisy.That is, in the art of decrying Washington’s fiscal profligacy on the rubber chicken circuit by night while devoting their day jobs to scrapping for hometown pork from Medicaid and thousands of like and similar Federal gravy trains.
I have no idea whether Donald Trump will see through Kasich-style fiscal hypocrisy or not. But I do believe him when he decries our $19 trillion national debt and when he says that he is going after Washington’s fiscal profligacy hammer and tong.
In this instance, and much else, Trump’s principal virtue is that his only acquaintanceship with the Imperial City is attendance at an occasional Kennedy Center gala. Accordingly, he is unschooled in the self-serving rationalizations that keep the rackets going, but endowed with such ample self-confidence that he is sure to go charging into the nation’s fiscal mess like a bull in a china shop.
And after years of a bipartisan conspiracy of silence and its perfidiously orchestrated regime of fiscal can-kicking——-well, broken furniture and bombastic challenges are exactly what the fiscal doctor ordered. Indeed, what President Trump could actually do is prove that the way to shut down Washington’s budgetary rackets is by means of an insurrectionist-in-chief inside the White House, not furtive threats to shut down the Washington Monument lobbed from Capitol Hill.
Say what you will about Trump’s controversial business history, the four bankruptcies, and the rest, it is absolutely certain that he knows, at least, this much: You don’t stop a flood of budgetary red ink with a 25-year plan to get to a balanced budget by 2038!
That’s Speaker Paul Ryan’s particular contribution to the GOP establishments’ noxious form of fiscal duplicity and doublespeak. Like in the movie “Dave”, The Donald is like to dive into the budget himself and then there will be fear and trembling all around the Imperial City.
Big Pharma and the health insurance cartel are already in Trump’s gun sights, but once he gets to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue he will quickly discover the target rich environment on the Pentagon side of the Potomac, too. The hideously expensive, technically plagued and completely unneeded trillion dollars F-35 fighter would be the ideal place for him to start.
And that goes to the larger point. All the swells in the mainstream media are furiously cackling about The Donald’s answer on morning TV about the identify of his top foreign policy advisors. Yet this is why the think tanks and neocon lobbies are in full frontal panic:
I’m speaking with myself No. 1 because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” he said in an interview on MSNBC. “I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are.”
Actually, there is more, and it has to do with one of the many character flaws that self-evidently afflict the man. We speak of his monumental capacity to carry a grudge and seek revenge upon those who personally offend him.
Here’s the thing. Mitt Romney’s vicious public attack on Trump is only the beard. It is merely the censored for-family-TV-version of what the entire neocon establishment and War Party is saying every day in the corridors of Imperial Washington.
Needless to say, the Donald is taking names and will not be reluctant to do far more than kick offending posteriors. He will make it his business to hound, denounce, denigrate and dispatch the entire passel of neocon power brokers who have declared war on his candidacy.
And, yes, an Imperial City purged of Bill Kristol and his gang of bloodthirsty provocateurs would already be on the road to redemption.
Indeed, if America’s foreign policy could be seized from the grasp of the Washington War Party and its AIPAC subsidiary, the fiscal equation would be instantly transformed. Over and again, Trump seems to grasp that the real security of the homeland has nothing to do with being the world’s policeman and defense sugar-daddy.
Not having been miseducated by globe-trotting plenipotentiaries like Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCann, Trump has had no trouble figuring out that the Ukraine, for example, was always part of the greater Russian sphere of influence and geographic propinquity. That it was the equivalent of a Gadsden Purchase which had been unwound by the break-up of the Soviet Union, and that the solution to the conflict between its Russian-speaking minority in the east and the rest of the country was a negotiated deal with Putin, not the demonization of the leader of a country that had no beef with America and a GDP the size of the NYC metropolitan area.
But redemption for the US economy and the nation wage and salary earning households.