A couple of initial data points on the question of whether Trump and Congress are headed towards state of Carter-like dysfunction:
- One the one hand, note little Marco folding like a K-Mart card table on the Tillerson nomination after some empty grandstanding. If the Senate was going to stand up to Trump you’d think a pro-Russian Secretary of State might be the trigger, but nah.
- On the other hand, see Trump immediately moving to reinstitute Reagan’s abortion global gag order. Does Trump have any long-standing commitment to opposing reproductive rights? No. Is there any chance Trump knew this policy existed before becoming president? No. Does it matter? No. Restricting abortions and upward wealth distribution is what Republicans are committed to, and that’s how Trump will govern. Cf. also Trump creating a bold new pro-working class paradigm by going after the EPA full-bore.
I wish that the relationship between Congress and the president would look like the late 70s. But all signs are that Congress will let Trump loot the treasury and pack the cabinet with comically unqualified cronies, and Trump will pack the judiciary with neoconfederates, gut the regulatory state, and sign whatever legislation Ryan and McConnell put on their desk. One hand scratches the other’s back with an ivory backscratcher. They know exactly what they’re doing.