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The Rushmore Report: Dem’s Worst Nightmare – Middle Class Is Doing Well

It’s a sad day when one of America’s two major political parties is rooting against the middle class. But that is the position staked out by the party that has built its reputation on being the champion of the middle class – the Democrats. Case in point – Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). One of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in 2018, McCaskill was left speechless when asked about the $1,000 bonuses given out by a Springfield-based bank, in response to the Republican-passed tax cuts.

McCaskill sang the same song as everyone else in her party. Every single House and Senate Democrat voted against the tax bill because they said it would only benefit the rich. But now that over 100 U.S. companies, including the one in Springfield, Missouri, have given their employees $1,000 bonuses, it’s hard to make this case with a straight face.

When asked if she was happy that middle-class citizens in Missouri were receiving these bonuses in direct response to the tax reform, McCaskill offered no comment. The bonuses went to 1,200 people. That is $1.2 million put directly into the pockets of the middle class. And that elicited no comment.

Even the Washington Post, considered among the most liberal of all media outlets, had to admit the latest jobs report was excellent. Under Trump’s watch, the Post noted, we just had our biggest year for job creation, stock market growth, and unemployment decline in history.

I remember the days when anything good for America was celebrated by both political parties. Those days are gone. To be fair, Republicans weren’t exactly leading the celebration when economic recovery took its footing under President Obama.

But you’d think we’d hear one leading Democrat – just one – celebrate something. But this is what we heard from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, when the following news broke . . .

  1. Record jobs numbers: silence
  2. Record stock market: silence
  3. Victory over ISIS: silence
  4. Record low unemployment for black Americans: silence
  5. $1,000 bonuses for middle-class Americans: silence
  6. Record drop in food stamps: silence
  7. Drop in illegal immigration: silence
  8. Highest consumer confidence in 17 years: silence

No one could expect Sen. McCaskill to call a press conference to praise the policies of President Trump. No one could expect Democrats to cave on their principles. But one would hope that when we are winning the war on terror, when tax breaks put thousands of dollars into the pockets of average Americans, when more Americans are working than at any point in our history . . . one would hope that we can all be Americans and celebrate the progress that has been made for the American people.

When the middle class does better, all Americans should rejoice, regardless of which political party is in charge. There was a day when we didn’t even have to say that.

In Sen. McCaskill’s world, the prosperity of the middle class is apparently a bad thing. That is a really sad world in which to live.

The Rushmore Report: Democrats’ Best Strategy – American Failure

The sprint to the left by the modern Democratic Party is well-documented. Any description of the party of Kennedy and Clinton (Bill) as moderate or mainstream was dashed by the anointing of self-described socialist Bernie Sanders (not even a registered Democrat) as their most popular leader, followed closely by the senior senator from the most liberal state in the union – Elizabeth Warren. But what is really sad is their strategy for future political gains – rooting for the failure of everything Republican leadership has put in place – and therefore of the American people.

The new tax legislation serves as a perfect example. Not a single Democrat voted for the plan that even the liberal Washington Post had to admit will bring tax cuts to at least 80 percent of middle-income Americans for the next eight years. So, leading up to the 2018 mid-terms, Democrats will hang their hopes on their ability to convince Americans that having more money ($1600 per year on average) in their pockets is bad for them. Of course, this is an argument no one can make successfully. Therefore, Democrats have only two choices – admit the tax plan does what is says (helps most Americans) or root for its failure.

The same Democrats who passed legislation that resulted in the doubling of the national debt in just eight years are already screaming bloody murder over a possible debt increase tied to the new tax law – that, worst case, will be only 15 percent ($1.5 trillion) the amount of the debt accrued under President Obama ($10 trillion).

The Democrats will pounce on the corporate tax reduction from the highest level in the free world (35 percent) to a more common level (21 percent). “This will only benefit big business,” they say.

Absent from Democratic talking points, or reporting by CNN and MSNBC, are the fact that Boeing is investing $100,000 in its workers, or the $1,000 bonuses being handed out by other corporate giants, in response to the new bill.

The Wall Street Journal has it right. “Democrats used to be the party of hope. Now they are the party of nope. They have become the party that hopes the tax cuts will fail and private investment won’t help workers.”

Meanwhile, outside the Democratic noise machine, the economy is growing at four percent, the Dow Jones had a 5,000-point surge in 2017 (its biggest year ever), consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, and unemployment is at a near two-decade low. The economy is booming. Even CNN had to admit that this bill would put some “damn good money” in the pockets of working class families.

But for Democrats, who have only doom and gloom to share, this is apparently bad news. Tax cuts for middle-class Americans, record employment, and a booming economy – not to mention victory over ISIS – are apocalyptic news for the Democrats.

You won’t find a single Democrat cheering the good news for the American people. You won’t find a single Democrat rooting for the tax cuts to work or for the continued success of Trump policies.

Void of any fresh ideas of their own, Democrats have retreated to the sidelines where they only cheer for the coach to be fired and for his team to fail. That way, perhaps they can be put back in charge. And sadly, for the Democratic Party, being back in charge is the new definition of success.

The Rushmore Report: The Real Democratic Platform for 2018 and Beyond

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Shumer (NY) has blasted the Republican-backed tax law. Nancy Pelosi calls it “the worst legislation in American history.” The fact is, the Democratic Party has never been more unified. Their platform is simple – if Trump is for it, they are against it. No leading Democratic voice has said a single positive thing about the plummeting unemployment rate, a record stock market, victories over ISIS, tax cuts for 80 percent of the American people, or the growing American economy. Because the party is rooted in what they are against – Trump – it’s easy to define their platform for 2018 and beyond.

Given their universal, undying opposition to everything Trump and the Republican-led Congress have done this past year, what is clear is that Democrats, once given the opportunity, will reverse every policy and undo every law that has been passed by the Republican majority.

So, based on the Democratic Party’s stated opposition to the actions taken on the other side of the aisle, we can glean their emerging platform. The new Democratic Party – in coming elections – will stand for ten bedrock principles.

1. Higher taxes

Not one Democrat in the Senate or the House voted for this week’s tax bill. They called it “the worst piece of legislation ever.” So we can expect the party, should they win majorities in the Senate and House in 2018, to pass higher taxes, to return the rates to the Obama years. So if your family earns $45,000 per year, Democrats will reverse the $2,000 tax break Republicans just passed. By returning rates to the Obama years, those making $49,000-$86,000 will see their taxes go up by $930. Those earning $86,000-$149,000 will see an $1,800 per year tax increase. The Democratic Party – given the chance – will hike taxes across the board, to the levels they maintained through the Obama years.

2. More illegal immigration

Democrats have criticized every Trump statement and action on illegal immigration, from the day he was inaugurated. Illegal immigration has dropped by 40 percent since Trump took office. Therefore, by definition of their opposition to Trump, Democrats will loosen border security in an effort to open the floodgates for a massive increase in illegal immigration – back to the levels they tolerated the past eight years.

3. Return the Dow to 18,000

We hear it all the time. Trump’s policies favor “Wall Street over Main Street.” This explains the jump in the stock market from 18,000 to nearly 25,000 in just one year. Never mind, this means trillions of more dollars in retirement accounts for over 120,000 million Americans. Trump’s pro-business posture led to this growth in the stock market, so it must be reversed. This means returning the market to its pre-Trump level of 18,000 which Democrats praised at the time. A growth in the stock market is good, but enough is enough. And for Democrats, 18,000 is enough.

4. Resurgence of ISIS

Under Trump’s policies – which again have been opposed universally by Democrats – ISIS has ceded 80,000 square miles to American forces. ISIS has relinquished control of such major cities as Raqqa, Falluja, Ramadi, Baquba, and Abu Ghraib. So, in support of pre-Trump foreign policy and its results, the Democratic platform will call for American troops to give land back to ISIS, along with these major cities. If Trump’s policies were wrong, so were the results of those policies.

5. More regulations

By some counts, President Trump has ended over 800 regulations in an effort to free up businesses to set the pace of a capitalistic society. This has led to economic growth of over three percent and record hirings. This will stop under Democratic leadership. Strangling regulations – most that were enacted under Obama – will come back.

6. Return of the corporate tax rate to the highest level in the world

While Democrats say the former rate of 35 percent – the highest in the industrialized world – was too high, they never introduced a single piece of legislation in the past 30 years to do anything about it. They were completely comfortable with a high corporate tax rate, resulting in record numbers of American businesses relocating overseas. So once they win elections in 2018 and 2020, Democrats will return the rate to the level they found acceptable for the last 30 years. American businesses should pay more in taxes than their competition anywhere else in the world.

7. Reduce growth from four percent back to one percent

The Obama recovery was the worst economic recovery in American history, averaging one percent growth per year. Yet, Democrats have universally condemned Trump’s economic policies, despite leading to a near-four percent annual growth rate in the economy. So, it stands to reason, Democrats will enact whatever policies are necessary to reduce the growth of the economy back to a more meager one percent.

8. Higher unemployment

When President Trump took office in January, the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. Today, at 4.1 percent, the rate is lower than it was at any point in the Obama Administration. This is unacceptable. The unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in 17 years; Democrats will reverse the trend. The only other option would be to admit what Trump is doing is actually working.

9. North Korean sanctions come down

From 2008 to 2016 the Democrats had the White House. And North Korea continued to grow as a nuclear threat. Still, the Obama Administration did not enact any of the sanctions Trump has put on the rogue regime in just one year. Again, since they oppose his foreign policy, it stands to reason, the Democratic Party will reverse these sanctions.

10. Move Israeli embassy back to Tel Aviv

Sure, President Obama – like Clinton and Bush before him – promised to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They never followed through on this promise. President Trump made the same promise, but actually followed through on his word. And for that he met universal condemnation from the Democratic Party. While this move was praised by Israel, the only democratic state and our strongest ally in the Middle East, Democrats ridiculed the action. So expect them to reverse this move if given the chance.

Will Democrats really take these ten actions? I’m simply taking them at their collective word. They opposed every action of the Trump Administration that has led to such things as the retreat of ISIS, lower unemployment, a record stock market, middle class tax cuts, and economic growth. So it stands to reason that the Democratic platform will be to reverse these gains to pre-Trump levels.

It only stands to reason that the Democratic Party will seek to undo what they opposed in the first place. So for those of you who want to pay more in taxes, see companies move overseas, irritate Israel, increase the unemployment rate, and relinquish gains made against ISIS, you know what to do – vote Democrat.

The Rushmore Report: Sen. Al Franken Should Resign Immediately

Those popping sounds you hear aren’t light bulbs breaking as they hit the frozen surface of Lake Wobegon. Instead, that sound comes  from political heads exploding in the Democratic Media Complex. Because liberal Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota was exposed, completely, for what he really is by West Coast radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden. What does this mean for Franken’s future?

There’s that photo of Franken smiling and grabbing at her breasts as Tweeden, a former model, slept on the way home from a USO tour in 2006. Franken leered and posed, fingers spread on her, like some cartoon of a sex-crazed sixth grade boy.

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Tweeden wrote in an online post. “You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping, and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.”

And just like that, the Democratic strategy to politicize sexual abuse and use it to beat Republicans to death at the polls must undergo a drastic rewrite.

So what do they do? Do they demand that Franken resign?

Franken and Democratic and Republican leaders want to send all this to the Senate Ethics Committee for an investigation. But there it will be lost in dusty vaults away from public scrutiny.

We already know what happened. An ethics committee investigation won’t tell us what happened. The only question is: What are Democrats going to do about it?

Franken apologized, says he’s sorry, says he respects women. But if he truly means it, there’s one thing for him to do: Resign immediately, disappear out into the woods.

It’s exactly what I recommended for the repugnant Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore: Take a long walk in the woods and disappear.

Republican senators want Moore to drop out of the race. But will Democrats demand en masse that Franken resign? No. They’ll want to study this, and spin it somehow, and mitigate differences between Franken and Moore, the former a simple creep, the latter accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. But all that is just playing for time.

And what will the media half of the Democratic Media Complex do?

Years ago many of them, particularly liberal pundits in Washington and New York, defended President Bill Clinton’s alleged assaults on women and dismissed allegations that he raped Juanita Broaddrick.

Leading feminists and liberal men trashed Clinton’s female accusers, because Clinton was their guy and he promised them what they wanted.

And what did a few women from Arkansas matter to the elite feminists of Washington and New York and Chicago and L.A. who were willing to forgive Clinton in exchange for a prize?

After all, Clinton was president. He promised he’d protect abortion. And they got what they wanted.

In recent days, though, as many on the left and right peeled (and rightfully so) the skin off creepy Roy Moore, an amazing thing has happened.

Pundits on the left began to wring their hands and confess their guilt about what they did to Clinton’s accusers.

It all rings hollow, of course, but there’s a good reason that it rings hollow.

It is hollow.

But without the icy tears of calculated contrition, they couldn’t proceed on the Democratic action plan.

Now the Franken explosion complicates that strategy, which only a few days ago was quite clear: Hound Moore as a monster, cast Republicans as either abusers of women or supporters of sexual abuse, and shame them, shame them, shame them.

And forge all of it into another Year of the Woman campaign to be used ultimately against President Donald Trump, whose history with women is ugly and boorish at best.

But now, that strategy – smelting gender identity politics with the real pain women have suffered at the hands of men – has been undercut.

And anything less than Franken’s departure from the Senate will be seen as just more political hypocrisy.

Tweeden, now news anchor on “McIntyire in the Morning” on KABC-AM in Los Angeles, posted her account and then talked at length about it.

She detailed Franken’s behavior, his grabbing and groping and aggressive kiss – actually more than just a “kiss,” during a USO tour before he was elected to the Senate, before he was a champion of women.

“Franken came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and . . . [we won’t recount the exact words here],” Tweeden wrote. “I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible. I felt disgusted and violated.”

Other women might come forward, accusing both Republicans and Democrats. Let it all come out. All of it.

This is what happens when the levee breaks.

And Franken, a comedian by trade, must realize that with the photo out there, with another accuser, it just might be time for him to exit stage left.

I can see him walking alone along the frozen banks of Lake Wobegon, laughing at his own jokes.

About the Author

John Kass is a writer for the Chicago Tribune.

The Rushmore Report: The Democratic Party’s Inconvenient Truth

Question: Which political party brought an end to slavery? If you said “the Democratic Party,” you’d be wrong. Question: To which party did John Wilkes Booth belong? If you said “the Republican Party,” you’d be wrong. Question: Which party supported civil rights legislation? If you said “the Democratic Party,” you’d again be wrong. Let’s talk about it – the inconvenient truth for the Democratic Party.

The fact is, since its founding in 1829, the Democratic Party has opposed every major civil rights legislation, and has a long history of discrimination. The Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, opposed Reconstruction, founded the Ku Klux Klan, imposed segregation, and fought against the civil rights acts of the 1950s and 1960s.

In contrast, the Republican Party was founded as an anti-slavery party in 1854. Its mission was to stop the spread of slavery into the new western territories. They were dealt a blow with the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, in which the Supreme Court found that slaves weren’t citizens, but were property. The seven justices who ruled for slavery were all Democrats; the two in opposition were both Republicans.

John Wilkes Booth, a Democrat, assassinated President Lincoln. Then the Democratic Party opposed the 13th Amendment (abolishing slavery), the 14th Amendment (giving blacks citizenry), and the 15th Amendment (giving blacks the right to vote). All three amendments passed because of strong Republican support.

The Ku Klux Klan was founded by Democrat Nathan Bedford Forrest. Historian Eric Foner – himself a Democrat – wrote, “In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party.”

It was the Democrats who opposed civil rights legislation in 1964. Eighty percent of Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act, while less than 70 percent of Democrats did. Democratic senators filibustered the bill for 75 days, until Republicans mustered the votes to break the logjam.

Let’s carry this forward to 2017. Black unemployment is less under President Trump than it was at any point in President Obama’s eight years. The number of food stamp recipients is down, while black home ownership is up. Republicans support school choice, which would free inner city blacks from the failing schools in so many of their neighborhoods. Democrats oppose school choice.

Let’s review. It was Republicans who freed slaves, gave them citizenship, gave them the right to vote, and passed the Civil Rights Act – against Democratic opposition in each case. It is under Republican leadership that black unemployment has dropped and home ownership is up.

For the Democratic Party, none of this is convenient. But it’s still the truth.

The Rushmore Report: O’Reilly – Progressives Don’t Want White People ‘Calling the Shots’

Bill O’Reilly sat down with Sean Hannity to discuss the belief system of the far left in America. The former Fox News host said the “evil, far left agents” in America want to “destroy” the Constitution because slave owners were behind it – and that, he argued, is their goal.

“They want it all changed. Who forged it? Slave owners, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington. We can’t have a Constitution they made. We have to have a new one.” That’s the end game,” he said.

And there are many other institutions that are under fire, he added.

“They don’t want capitalism. They don’t want the electoral college. They don’t want white people, generally, calling the shots. So they have to mobilize minority Americans to be angry,” he said.

The progressive ideology is spreading so rapidly, O’Reilly argued, because “media and entertainers drive it.”

“There is no reason why it’s happening,” he said. “A year ago, you didn’t hear the words ‘white supremacist.’ It was ‘white privilege.’ In my neighborhood, eight miles away from Hillary’s home, I had guys in undershirts falling apart, going, ‘Where is your white privilege, right?’ That’s what you had a year ago. It’s morphed into white supremacists now and people who are buying it.”

About the Author

Leah Barkoukis writes for TownHall.

The Rushmore Report: Democrats’ Banal Deal

With little gusto and virtually no discernible enthusiasm, Democratic congressional leaders have proposed “The Better Deal,” a plan for America’s future. They should have called it “The Banal Deal.” One presumes that in naming this collection of thread-worn policies they were trying to play off President Trump’s “Art of the Deal.”

Or maybe they were trying to take us all back in time to The New Deal. In any case, the title was as trite as the initiatives that appeared beneath it.

The proposal was a collection of failed, unimaginative, “big government knows best” ideas. Its roots are the themes of anger and populist discontent most prominently articulated by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

It seems to escape the notice of the leadership of the Democratic Party that Sanders is not a Democrat. He is a socialist – as is Ms. Warren, although she does not have the integrity to claim that title.

Socialism is not a workable form of government, as was unquestionably proven by the Soviet Union in the last century and Venezuela and Cuba in this century.

It leads to a lower standard of living for all, justified in the name of attacking the few who have succeeded. It is envy politics.

But this inglorious history has not prevented socialism from being embraced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in their quest to find something to justify their party beyond opposition to Trump.

The modern Democratic Party is not the party of Harry Truman or John Kennedy, or even of Bill Clinton.

This is a tired group of people who have allowed themselves to be coopted by charlatans of the left with ideas that have failed miserably whenever they were tried.

To be guided by the purveyors of the radical left is to admit that, as a party, Democrats have abandoned those who believe in the American dream; people who want only to obtain a better life for themselves and their children.

The Better Deal is a self-inflicted wound, an admission that Democrats seem to have no one among them who sees the greater good of America.

This nation needs a Democratic Party that connects with people as they move forward; a party that expresses optimism in our nation’s uniqueness and does not weight it down with failed ideas from other cultures and times.

Right now, it does not have it.

About the Author

Judd Gregg is the former governor and three-time senator from New Hampshire, who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee.

The Rushmore Report: Three Democrats Who May Run for President in 2020 – Who You’ve Never Heard Of

With the 2016 election just 11 months old, the 2020 election is already making news. President Trump filed re-election paperwork on Inauguration Day. And now several Democrats are making noise about running, as well. With Trump’s approval ratings mired in the 30s, there will be almost no limit to the number of Democrats who will jump into the race. There will be the usual suspects: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and yes, Hillary Clinton. But let’s consider some others who may surprise. Here are three Democrats who may run for president – who you’ve probably never heard of.

1. John Delaney

At this point, Rep. John Delaney of Maryland is the only serious declared Democratic candidate for office. Elected to Congress in 2012, Delaney announced his intent to run for president in July. For most outside his district or immediate family, they had not heard of Mr. Delaney. His district stretches from the D.C. suburbs to western Maryland, which is a more conservative area of the state. In announcing his candidacy, Delaney said, “To do this work with the commitment it deserves, I will not be running for re-election to the House of Representatives. No games, no cat-and-mouse, no backup plan at the 11th hour if a focus group goes badly.”

2. Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is another contender whose name has been floated for both California governor and U.S. president. His term doesn’t end until 2022, but in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last week, he didn’t rule out the possibility of running for either. He said only that he is “committed to the people of Los Angeles.”

3. Seth Moulton

Just 38 years of age, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts would be the youngest Democratic candidate. He would be 41 on Inauguration Day of 2021. A former Marine Corps officer and graduate of Harvard Business School, Moulton serves on the House Budget Committee and is a ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Moulton has said he wants to see new Democratic leadership before the 2018 elections. While some insiders have already approached him about running, he says he probably won’t run. Which means he probably will run.

The Rushmore Report: Democratic Congressmen Site Problem with Party – Themselves

Last Friday, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to reiterate what his Michigan colleague, Debbie Dingell, has been saying, which is that the Democratic Party has to listen to voters again. The wounds of the 2016 campaign are being re-opened, thanks to Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened, in which the former First Lady offers her account of the election.

She also takes swipes at Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, the media, Barack Obama, James Comey, and sexism for torpedoing her presidential hopes. It’s something the Democrats don’t need right now, but alas – it happened. The divisions between the establishment and progressive wings of the party have been rehashed.

During the show, Moulton said that he feels the Democratic Party hasn’t learned anything from 2016, and that a true self-evaluation is still absent. He knows the game: The GOP controls the White House, Congress, two-thirds of the governorships, and 69/99 state legislatures. The party is in its worst shape since the 1920s. It’s not a national party. It’s not in a position to become a governing party. Moreover, he said that his party didn’t just lose 2016, but several elections before that.

“If we don’t realize that we are partly to blame for that; that we’ve lost touch with a lot of American voters; we’ve lost touch with a lot of voters who used to be on our side – then, we’re not going to be able to move forward,” he said.

Rep. Dingell has also said that to a certain degree, especially when it comes to the white working class bloc that killed Clinton in the general election. Dingell said that Michigan was in play – her party thought she was nuts. Trump would go on to win the state. She knows these workers and she saw how Trump resonated with them. They’re concerned about jobs, not Russia. She also lamented how identity politics has hijacked her party, which has widened the gap between the Democratic Party and everyone else. She also said she gets mad when people say that Trump supporters are racist. She knows better; they’re not.

Moulton and Dingell may have the right ideas on how to get their party back on track. The issue is whether the rest of the Democratic Party wants to follow because this involves reaching out to Trump voters and other slices of the white working class demographic. The people who feel left behind. The people who voted for Obama twice and then flipped for Trump. There’s the insufferable urban-based professional wing of the Democratic Party that hates these people, doesn’t care about them, and thinks they’re relics of an older world, and yes – racist. In reality, they’re just hard-working Americans looking for ways to provide for their families.

My guess is that the vast majority of liberals don’t think they’re out of touch; it’s just that the rest of us are wrong. That’s fine. They’ll keep losing. There’s also an empathy gap with Democrats. And yes, until they recognize it – and much else – they’ll remain constrained to their urban strongholds, which isn’t enough to win national elections.

About the Author

Matt Vespa writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report: Look Who the President Invited to Dinner

The President of the United States can pretty much pick anyone he wants to invite over to dinner. There aren’t a lot of us who would not be willing to rearrange our schedule to dine at the White House. Sure, there are some who stay away to make a political point. (If you are reading, Mr. President, I’m not one of them. I’m available for the next 3.3 years, maybe more.) So while most of us would come to dinner at the White House, we are still waiting for that elusive invitation. Except for five interesting citizens. Guess who’s coming to dinner at the White House these days? These five names may surprise you.

Tuesday night, Mr. Trump hosted a bipartisan group of senators for dinner. Yes, you read that correctly – “bipartisan.” The agenda was to discuss tax reform, but that’s not important. Well, it is important, but it’s really not that important. It was three specific senators on the RSVP list that make the dinner important, not the topic, nor the menu.

Then, Trump surprised the next day. Last night, he hosted two more politicians for dinner. Again, it was not the topic nor menu that mattered, but the names of his dinner guests.

Are you ready for the names? There were the five men and women who came to dinner the last two nights. And notice what they all have in common – a “D” after their name.

  1. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
  2. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
  3. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
  4. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  5. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Manchin, Heitkamp, and Donnelly were the only three Democratic senators who did not sign a letter to Trump that rejected any cooperation with him on a tax plan that included a cut for the top one percent. Schumer and Pelosi, as leaders of the minority, represent any chance of bipartisan – there’s that word again – cooperation with the White House.

Donnelly said, “I had another good conversation with President Trump about my proposal to address the outsourcing of American jobs.”

Heitkamp said, “Any chance to talk with the president about issues important to North Dakota is an opportunity I welcome. Tonight, we had a good conversation.”

This sudden foray into bipartisanship follows Trump’s agreement with Schumer and Pelosi from last week that secured a raise of the federal debt ceiling and funding of the government for the next three months, along with funding for Hurricane Harvey relief.

Republicans don’t quite know what to think of this. Some have criticized the bipartisan effort. Others, such as popular blogger Ben Shapiro, have redefined the president. Shapiro says, “Trump is our first independent president; he is not a Republican.”

So what are we to make of this new outreach to the other side of the aisle? I mean, we haven’t seen this kind of effort to work with the other side since way back in the days of President George W. Bush. Ah, remember the days when a different Clinton of a different era worked with the Speaker of the House from a different political party to balance the federal budget? And remember when President Reagan worked with a Democrat named Tip O’Neil, who was also House Speaker from the opposing party?

Those were the days, my friend. At the time, I thought they’d never end. But end they did. We have become accustomed to presidents passing laws with zero outreach to the other party. Both sides have been doing it.

So now, here comes that genteel man of all things reasonable and calm – President Donald J. Trump – to still the waters, unify the nation, and build bridges rather than walls.

What does this mean, exactly? Will the president be content to simply stick his toes into the pool of bipartisanship, or will he dive in all the way? And if he does dive in, will he even know how to swim in such unfamiliar waters? Where he now sees cute dolphins, he will find sharks. Where he now sees the inviting calm of still waters, he will find storms ahead. And the boat in which he seeks refuge may well have a leak.

But I say it’s worth the effort. What we’ve been doing for the past nine years hasn’t worked. Whether the president’s efforts turn out to be more than a couple of nice dinners is still to be seen. I gave up predicting his next move several moves back. But this could be the dawn of something new.

For now, we’ll just have to wait . . . and pray.