It’s too soon to know what to make of the new Washington triumvirate of Trump, Schumer, and Pelosi. One has to hope the three of them have finally realized the country wants a pathway to agreements in instances where there is sufficient parity of interests on the part of the president and Democratic leaders.
The initial problem to be tackled is that of DACA (the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals “Dreamers” program). But there will be others. And questions remain, given the heretofore seemingly unbridgeable ideological divide, as to how many issues would actually lend themselves to the new approach.
It stands to reason that there are going to be some policy issues that defy compromise more than others – perhaps to the point of preclusion – even in a town ordinarily driven by last-minute compromises.
But there is another dimension to this, and it could be glimpsed in the cautionary words addressed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi in the wake of Washington’s suddenly more conciliatory tone.
In a radio interview the governor said, “I don’t like the starting point of this negotiation, and I think the Democrats have to exercise extreme caution because basically what the transaction is, is the president saying to the Democrats, ‘I’ll give you what you already have,’ which is DACA.’ ”
(It seems, according to Schumer-Pelosi, the president agreed to legislation that would protect Dreamers from deportation. The president denies there was any deal.)
At any rate, the governor went on: “Now the president says, ‘I want more money for border security, but I won’t build the wall. Now I guarantee you, where this winds up is [the president saying], ‘OK, I got more money for border security. We’re putting in sensors, we’re putting in an electric grid….’ Then the president will say, ‘I have a cyber wall. Better than the wall that we were talking about. Better than a fence. This is a new electronic highly sophisticated fence.’ That’s where its going to come out, guaranteed.”
So the governor is worried about the slippery slope, although we have never understood the Democrats’ objection to keeping out new illegals. Anyway, his remarks point to something that should concern the president as well. While he prides himself on his deal-making skills, Washington is very different from what he is used to – and, for that matter, what Washington itself used to be.
Indeed, the notion of a formal, no-holds-barred scorched earth “resistance” to a sitting president – a resistance that includes within its ranks a broad swath of the public as well as a number of elected officials – is something heretofore unknown in the nation’s capital. Despite all the “let’s work together” sentiments now being bandied about, the president must know his new friends could, and probably would, turn on him in a heartbeat. We doubt whether that crowd will ever give up its dream of driving the president from office.