One of the arguments for Trump — the argument heard most often on talk radio and on the dopier of the cable-news programs — was this: Even where Republicans enjoy theoretical political superiority in Washington, they do not get very much done, because the Establishment, which is made up of moderates who are too eager to compromise with Democrats, subverts the actual conservatives in the Republican caucus. This was, we were told, the great sin of John Boehner and of Paul Ryan — but with a fire-breathing, Earth-shaking President Trump on the case, Republicans would rediscover their spines and arise to victory and splendor. What is falling into place in Washington right now is something close to the opposite of that.
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By refusing, over and over again, to back down from Trump’s original, farfetched charge, his administration has inflicted a lot of completely unnecessary damage upon itself, and even upon the so-called special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. This is what happens when the White House prioritizes winning the daily news cycle above all else. This is the natural result of an amazingly shortsighted approach to governing.