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Mark Meadows And The Ticking Clock

December 10, 2018

So you’re 37, extremely ambitious, and you have been offered one of the most powerful jobs in the country working directly with the President of the United States. What an honor. What an opportunity.

But, it seems people are not exactly lining up for the chance to try to organize Donald Trump’s impulsive and unpredictable White House operation.

A hunt for a new White House Chief of Staff has turned into another messy situation.  This position would be coveted in most administrations as it carries much power and prestige.  But after having watched Reince Priebus and John Kelly get ripped apart and thrown out the door by Donald Trump the desire to be treated the same is not something most people are seeking.   The drift-less, erratic, chaotic, and bombastic White House under Trump can only cause a person’s reputation to be sullied and their name trashed.

That is a mighty sad thing to think about.

But now comes some noise about North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows perhaps being willing to toss aside good sense and take the job.  His reputation as a hardliner at first blush seems to make him the wrong person for the job.  It is assumed that a person who can have any moderating influences on Trump, even at the margins, is better than someone who is rigid and unbending in thought.

With that in mind I was truly caught up in this paragraph today from Politico.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but Meadows is the force in the Freedom Caucus that’s always pushing for deals. Jim Jordan, on the other hand, is the element pushing for ideological purity. If one assumes Trump is going to need to cut deals over the next two years, Meadows would be an interesting partner. Meadows also understands the politics of the Capitol and, when not having to balance the various wants and desires of his Freedom Caucus members, is seen by his colleagues as having sound strategic thinking.

I am under no illusions that anything of grand substance will actually be done in the coming session of Congress.  The investigation of Trump will sap up much of the attention of the nation.  But Democrats, who take over the House, will need to show some ability to pass legislation that gets signed into law to underscore the reason voters put them in power.  Trump will want to have something passed to show he is not a potted plant.  To achieve both aims will require old-fashioned deal making of the kind that has always made the political gears run in this nation.  The very kind of politicking that has been in short supply for the past two years.

So while we know the long-term future for Meadows–should he be named to the position–will not be pretty there might be a slight degree of optimism that some policy moves from the Democratic House can be negotiated for passage into law.   And with the House as a check and balance to the harsh views of Trump, perhaps as a deal maker, Meadows can place Republican ideas into law, too.

There is only a small window for such action as Trump remains unstable.  And once Meadows is named to the office the clock starts ticking.

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