In the wake of a $1.16 trillion spending bill that provided precious little “winning” for the Trump administration, conservatives are beginning to express growing anger about the failure of the Republican Party to stand up to hostile Democrats.
“GOP control of Congress. Democrat control of Congress. What difference, at this point, does it make?” asked columnist Michelle Malkin on Twitter.
Her irritation was reflected by frequent CNN contributor Amanda Carpenter, who tweeted, “Why does it feel like everything is imploding? GOP should be having the time of our lives. Full control. And no one is having any fun.”
Carpenter went further, saying the spending bill was only one aspect of a larger mess in American conservatism. “WH in chaos,” she said. “Congress not passing bills. Fox News imploding. Heritage in shatters. Are we having fun yet? When does it get good??”
To say that the spending bill, which was forged to avoid a government shutdown and keep Washington running through the end of September, is a disaster might be overstating the problem, but there is indeed little to cheer about. And for anyone who thought that Trump’s election would bring about extraordinary, overnight change to the country, it was a reminder that the D.C. swamp is still quite deep and quite murky.
Included in the bill: Another five months of federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Continuing grants for sanctuary cities. More money to resettle refugees in communities that don’t want them. A bailout for Puerto Rico. Etc., etc.
Not included in the bill: A single dollar for Donald Trump’s signature campaign proposal, a wall across the Mexican border.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended the bill on Monday, saying the president has secured more victories than the conservative press was crediting him for. “I think the president got a lot out of this bill,” he said. “Most specifically, $21 billion to help rebuild the military. I think that was something that he was very proud to campaign on.”
Spicer said that some conservatives were making a mistake by taking the short view. “We’re talking about 2017 funding, right?” he asked. “So this is something that most presidents would walk into office and that would be done. Because the last Congress didn’t do this under President Obama, we have an opportunity to get some of the president’s priorities infused to the last five months of 2017. When the fiscal year starts at the end of September, we will have an opportunity to really infuse the president’s priorities.”
But that’s exactly the kind of argument that conservatives are getting tired of hearing. With Republicans, it’s always “next time.” We’ll go out there and win one for the Gipper next time. We’ll defund Planned Parenthood next time. We’ll get that wall funding next time.
Look, no question: We’re in a much better position than we would have been with President Hillary Clinton.
But a growing segment of Republican voters are beginning to wonder if “next time” is ever going to arrive.