On the Resistance, Building Campaigns, and Filibusters

In the synagogue business, the few rabbis who are unfortunate enough to practice at one of the few undesirable congregations with grumbling and carping congregants (probably no different from what some similarly unfortunate pastors encounter among those outlier church flocks pocked with sociologically pathological congregants) are told that nothing puts the grumbles to an end like a successful building campaign: Just get everyone absorbed with raising funds and building something—anything:  a wing, an annex, a revamp of the whole building, a re-furnishing of the sanctuary. . . just get them all busy on a project, building something, doing something. Keep them busy with something constructive, and they will stop grousing.

We call it the “Edifice Complex.”

No fair observer can doubt that President Trump is a victim of a merciless witch hunt, with no end in sight until he is back hosting “The Apprentice.” Remarkably, his approval ratings remain steady around 39 percent, the same as they were before “Comey-this” and “Flynn-that,” before head counts at Inaugurations and leaked phone calls to Australian and Mexican heads of government. All the witch-hunting has solidified his base, and it has moved mild supporters into his camp. Recently, Ann Coulter titled her weekly column “Every Time I Try to Be Mad at Trump, the Media Pull Me Back.”    

Amen.

During the president’s recent travels abroad to the respective centers of the world’s three most influential religions and to NATO world leaders, the media followed, seeking to portray him as a rube on foreign affairs, much as they have tried to depict him on domestic matters. There was little doubt that, by the time he returned, the Left- Democrat “Resistance” and their media stooges would be accusing Trump of having sown discord abroad, even as his supporters have exhaled with joy that, finally, a strong voice of American pride traveled overseas to assert American greatness.

align=”left” Clearly, the Democrats and the media now are on “Andrew Johnson Mode.” The Democrats have not been this angry since the Republicans took away their slaves. They aim to tie up the president with one nonsensical non-scandal after another.

The media loved the Obama model for world leadership. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, send John Kerry to France with James Taylor singing “You’ve Got a Friend.” Obama meeting with Russians, asking them to tell “Vladimir” that Obama will cut sucker deals that hurt America after he gets reelected. Obama going to England and shocking the British public by continuing to ramble into a microphone while the orchestra deferentially played “God Save the Queen” in Elizabeth’s presence. Obama going to Communist Cuba and dancing the salsa in front of Castro. And always, everywhere, apologizing for America and promising to cut America down to size so that we no longer tower over Europe and Asia and Africa and the Middle East.

I prefer a “rube” like Donald Trump who leads from the front, drops a MOAB explosive on an ISIS hide-out and terror base in Afghanistan, and who orders 59 cruise missiles launched into Syria to enforce a red line against poison weapons that he does not even have to warn about.

Now that he is home again, the president should turn his attention to the Edifice Complex. He has done well with Executive Orders and Cabinet-and-Court appointments he’s filled, but he is way behind on filling scores of open federal district judgeships and dozens of openings in the federal judicial appellate circuits. If he would only get those seats filled with the kinds of judges he wants, he and the Republicans actually would start winning more federal-case appeals, and justice would move back from the Obama imbalance.

But the time is now for some solid legislation, some real building. His Administration needs to get moving on some serious legislation. To start building that wing or annex or re-furnishing the sanctuary of his political program, he has to move into that next gear. It is time for legislative initiatives like tax reform. Once he and the GOP start getting some “building campaigns” going—healthcare something-or-other, real tax reform, some construction going on the border, infrastructure work—people will become engaged in that and see “stuff” happening. It works in churches; it works in synagogues. Get started on building some of that wall. There is nothing like a building campaign. Maybe even sell plaques for donors to put their names upon: “This brick is donated by Sadie and Izzy Feldstein.”

Clearly, the Democrats and the media now are on “Andrew Johnson Mode.” The Democrats have not been this angry since the Republicans took away their slaves. They aim to tie up the president with one nonsensical non-scandal after another. They allowed Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” to pass without a Special Prosecutor. No Special Prosecutor to investigate Lois Lerner and the IRS targeting of politically conservative associations. No special investigation of the Clinton Bathroom email server, the Huma Abedin emails of secure intelligence to her crazy husband, Carlos Danger, who not only lacked security-clearance to see those emails but was ripe to be extorted for all kinds of mischief. No Special Prosecutor to investigate connections between Bill Clinton’s million-dollar speaking engagements in the Putin universe and the concomitant conveyance of American uranium—the stuff of nuclear weapons—to the Russians. Yet the Democrats—call them the “Obstructocrats”—now repeat their stance towards Andrew Johnson 150 years ago:  impeach the president under any guise, for any reason, and just tie him up defending himself. I cannot recall any time in the Modern era, in any Western democracy, where the losing party declared itself “The Resistance” instead of the “Loyal Opposition.”

In the end, it may take two things to determine whether Mr. Trump ultimately is going to be the president he set out to be and for which we elected him: first, the midterm elections in 2018 and second, finally finishing what Harry Reid started and ending the filibuster rule completely, even as it applies to legislation.

Certainly, the party in power typically sustains midterm losses. If the GOP manages to hold the House with minimal bi-election losses, and gains some of those Democrat Senate seats in red states without losing more than one or two GOP Senate seats, then President Trump will emerge with enormous authority to move forward. It will mean that two years of concerted Democrat obstruction, which seems so successful to them and their media Echo Chamber in D.C., actually will not have advanced their interests. All the more so, the president’s strength will be enhanced if the GOP holds all but one or two of their Senate seats and sweeps a boatload of the red state Democrat Senate seats. It will be a definitive statement that, for all the garbage and “Resistance” and left-leaning op-eds and editorials, the voters outside the Beltway did not buy and are not buying any of the daily character assassinations.  

By contrast, if the Democrats do well in the mid-term House voting, even if they do not recapture the House but merely chart substantial gains, and if they hold most of their red state Senate seats and even scoop a few of the GOP Senate seats, then they will be emboldened to intensify “The Resistance” going into 2020, and the president will be stymied.

Today’s filibusters are not in the spirit of Mr. Smith.

Even so, and even then, it is one thing for voters to tell Quinnipiac and Rasmussen that they are disappointed in or do not approve of President Trump (especially when the survey questions are worded in a way to elicit that response). It’s quite another thing when the same voters are faced with the actual—not theoretical—alternatives: Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, other misfits and public nuisances of that ilk. One remembers back to Richard Nixon being reelected in 1972 by the biggest landslide ever because his opponent was Sen. George McGovern, who was not likable, not impressive, and quite radical by the day’s standards.

With or without “The Resistance,” if President Trump gets reelected in 2020 there will be hell to pay because this man takes down names. By then, he absolutely will be pressed to end the filibuster nonsense, assuming the GOP holds the Senate. There is some value to a filibuster rule when it is used sparingly and judiciously. Moreover, all sober-minded conservatives recognize that politics is cyclical, and one day the Democrats again will hold power. But we also know that the filibuster, which has no basis in the Constitution, never was meant to require that each-and-every bill muster at least a 60 percent super-majority. Rather, it was intended for the one or two moments in a term when a bill of Constitutional moment was on the line, and the rule required the filibustering Senator to hold the floor and speak with actual physical support from colleagues. It never was meant for a “Resistance” to prevent a majority party from getting anything done for eight years.

In the meantime, let’s get some donors to get the building fund rolling.

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About Rabbi Dov Fischer

Rav Dov Fischer, Esq., who has served two three-year terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America during the past seven years, is an adjunct professor of the law of Torts and of Civil Procedure at two major Southern California law schools and is rav of Young Israel of Orange County, California.

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3 responses to “On the Resistance, Building Campaigns, and Filibusters

  • The filibuster is a mistake of history that should have been removed long ago. It’s antithetical to how Madison and Hamilton described the Senate’s intended procedure in the Federalist Papers.

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