This week's White House report card finds President Trump standing tall after making good on his campaign promise to shake Washington up. His deal with the Democrats on the debt limit was a surprise, but he did author The Art of the Deal. Pollster John Zogby predicts reelection in a three-way race, certainly a possibility. But Jed Babbin sees Trump as an outsider who has been swallowed up by the "swamp."
Just a reminder to all that my grades are not based on personal agreement or disagreement with the president. My concern is how the president actually performed, especially vis-a-vis his promises. In that sense, this was a good week.
Mr. Trump promised 'the art of the deal' and said he would reach out to Democrats if he needed to. He did on streamlining money to Texas by joining Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who delivered a majority linking federal emergency funds to the debt limit. In the process he embarrassed congressional Republicans who promised only to delay.
Mr. Trump also promised during his campaign to not show all his cards in dealing with difficult regimes like Iran and North Korea. He is keeping his options open, not revealing what he will do, and is scaring the hell out of much of the rest of the world. But that is what he said he would do, no?
For this son of an undocumented alien who succeeded well as an American, Mr. Trump's elimination of his predecessor's order on DACA is personal repugnant -- but he has forced Congress, a body that has refused to vote on the Dream Act, something it has never done. And now the Mr. Trump has new buddies in the House and Senate. Remember? Now that Democratic leaders are working with the president, maybe we will see some action.
Just thinking ahead -- a president with a 39 percent (and growing) approval rating can certainly win re-election in a three-way or four-way race.
President Trump served divorce papers on congressional Republicans twice last week, trying to craft what he characterized as a "different" relationship with Congress. He succeeded in a way that immediately backfired and will continue to do so at least for the rest of this year.
The president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions tag teamed the announcement that Obama's executive order creating the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals -- DACA - was going to be revoked in six months' time. The Obama order was an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress' sole ability to legislate and Trump's failure to simply reverse it only continued the unconstitutional action.
But by indicating that Trump wanted to make DACA permanent, he gave Congressional Dems a huge political gift. Of course they too want DACA to be made permanent, but by telling them that he wanted it top, Trump guaranteed that the Dems would demand more from him -- on immigration or tax reform or anything else to which Trump wants to attach DACA -- further their agenda, not his, in order to get it.
Later in the week, Trump cut a deal with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on a continuing resolution until mid-December to avoid a government shutdown this in October. It included the first round of Hurricane Harvey relief funding and more spending than Republicans wanted. Trump's action pushed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan aside. Trump apparently chose that the two Republican leaders would lose all relevance in the CR process, but his actions will reach much farther. The Republicans have distinguished themselves only for their lack of accomplishment this year. But if Trump really wants Obamacare reform, tax reform and all the other things he campaigned on, it would be simply nuts for him to believe that Schumer and Pelosi are going to deliver them for him.
Trump's action set up a new clash in December -- just before Christmas -- that Trump will also have to concede to the Democrats to prevent a shutdown. The Dems will, again, extract more concessions from Trump on spending, refusing any cuts in government spending and may achieve increases in spending to continue their agenda.
Trump has even conceded that the government's borrowing limits should be increased automatically. If it is, conservatives will lose their final bit of leverage against growing government spending.
Trump promised to "drain the swamp" but is beginning to look like just another guy who came to D.C. with that purpose and decided it's not a swamp but a hot tub.
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is and author of We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com