Is President Trump finally fulfilling his destiny as a northeastern Republican squish?

It’s true that notwithstanding his many heresies throughout the 2016 campaign and even into his presidency, Trump has governed like a down-the-line conservative Republican 99 percent of the time. Still, there is something to his surprising short-term budget deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that exposes something essential about Trump: Up until about five minutes ago before he discovered that birtherism was a handy tool for gaining notoriety — the political equivalent of tabloid schlock — Trump was a Republican squish.

Not a moderate, not an independent, not a centrist. These are terms of art, akin to empty “spiritual but not religious” phraseology, employed by elite media to describe themselves and their soi disant purple ideology. Squish, on the other hand, is a term anyone who worked on Capitol Hill in the 1990s, as either a staffer, a lobbyist, or a think-tanker, will remember well. After the ’94 Gingrich revolution, movement conservatives came to dominate the House of Representatives but not the Senate. Even in the House, for a time, there was a not inconsiderable lot of Republicans like Chris Shays of Connecticut, Jim Leach of Iowa, and Tom Campbell of California (the last GOPer to represent Silicon Valley) who would buck the Gingrich-DeLay regime.

They were not simply “fiscally conservative but socially moderate,” as today’s vogue would have it; they were squishy across the board, on fiscal and social issues alike. At the same time, the most ardently socially conservative members of the Gingrich wing were also the most fiscally conservative (think Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana) — a phenomenon I have attributed to the fecund subculture of “Christian economics,” which led to the Tea Party movement, with its …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics

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