Governing by shock doctrine: 'We're going to go to the edge on everything' with Trump
An unnamed senior government official was bitching to Axios’ Jonathan Swan, as they do, about the last several weeks of government shutdown and brinksmanship on the part of the administration. “We’re going to go to the edge on everything,” the official said on Friday, apparently worried about the funding fights, including on the debt ceiling, still to come.
That government official and who they work for is unclear, whether it’s in one of the agencies or for Congress, but clearly they’re worried. The White House, however, is unconcerned. Or at least the unnamed senior White House official Swan then contacted—identified as a “he”—isn’t. The prolonged shutdown was great for Trump, he said. “I think it’s absolutely been effective, because the president is winning the message on border security.”
He clarified that “winning” by saying that Trump “was able to use that 35-day period to highlight that issue and all the polling data that we’ve got seems to indicate that while we did get blamed for a shutdown, the numbers moved dramatically in our favor on the issue of border security.” Secret internal polling, apparently, that no one else has seen, because public polling does not reflect that at all. “And that never would’ve happened if we’d signed the bill back in December.”
What about that governing on “the edge on everything” concern? “If you get the impression that it’s going to be intentional, I think that’s unfair,” the official said. “If you think that’s the practical outcome, that’s probably accurate.” Yes, that dispels any concerns about a chaotic White House trying to deal with an unstable and toddleresque chief executive. But it’s not Trump’s fault, he says. “If we know one thing about Congress, it waits to the very last minute to do everything anyway.”
The buck doesn’t stop anywhere near this Oval Office. With that attitude, and with Mitch McConnell clearly willing to give the whole farm away to Trump, the crises are far from over. Next up, the debt ceiling, where it’s just the global economy at stake.