The Omnibus bill Trump signed today is a crap sandwich.

Sure, with over a trillion dollars in spending there are some individual items that could be praised, but as a totality it’s a monstrosity, a POS, a sellout to the worst of D.C. big spending.

It would be easy to become apocalyptic about what this means for the Trump presidency, as Rush Limbaugh was on radio today. I’m not so sure this will be the break that separates Trump voters from Trump, but it certainly smells like a sellout. And it has the potential to exacerbate the Democrat turnout and motivation advantage. The Omnibus bill is blood in the water for #TheResistance.

The failure to achieve important immigration objectives was particularly galling, a case of one step forward and two steps backward. At least there is a second shot at immigration at such point as a DACA deal is negotiated, so Trump may be able to salvage something on immigration and the Wall.

Regardless of some minor victories and a second chance on immigration, the Omnibus bill appears to be a case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Republicans may have majorities in the House and Senate, but Chuck and Nancy seem to be in control.

Trump barely tried to justify the Omnibus bill during his press conference, except in one respect: A dramatic increase in military spending including funding for cutting edge weapons systems. The increase in military spending was the only significant justification Trump gave for why he was not vetoing the bill.

How to understand this?

It might be just a moment of weakness or a reflection that there is not a lot of real spending difference between Trump and the Democrats. Those are the simplest explanations. But as I thought about this some more, I wonder if there are other things going on.

Why the need for government funding for at least 6 months? That could have waited for another short term funding bill, some more muddling through, perhaps even muddling through until the November elections.

What was the rush to sign a bill with increases in authorized military spending NOW?

While Trump ran as someone who wasn’t looking at foreign policy as his reason for election, his presidency and attention increasingly are turning to foreign potential conflicts. In the next couple of months Trump will be dealing with two major potential conflict areas: North Korea and Iran.

As to North Korea, Trump is gearing up for talks with “Little Rocket Man.” As to Iran, Trump is facing fights both with the Europeans and the Iranians as to whether Obama’s Iran Nuclear deal survives. Trump already has made moves to strengthen the U.S. posture. Adding John Bolton as National Security Advisor sends a get-tough signal, a message that Trump will not repeat the appeasement mistakes of Obama-Kerry.

As Trump approaches potential conflict with North Korea and Iran, he could spend the prior months rolling through one “shutdown” after another, one-month spending bills, an inadequate military budget held hostage by Democrats, and the prospect of months more such turmoil at least through the midterm elections.

Alternatively, Trump could approach the North Koreans and Iranians with government funding in place including substantial increases for the military.

Do you think the North Koreans and Iranians care about the domestic spending fights that now occupy media coverage? I doubt it. I do think they care about a Trump focused on rebuilding the military and a U.S. military which has just been given additional resources. Trump wants to be the strong horse, a dramatic change from the Obama administration posture. Add to this increased military aggressiveness by Russia and China.

In light of upcoming battles, Trump might very well view an increase in authorized military spending as worth the price of all the other crap in the Omnibus sandwich.


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