The Option Play

What just happened? President Trump cut a deal with Democrats to pay for hurricane damage relief and raise the debt ceiling without getting anything in return, except the temporary avoidance of a government shutdown. How to describe this? Was it a sellout, or a pragmatic act?

It’s football season again, so let’s call this deal the “option play.” It isn’t used much by today’s professional players, but the play is designed to give a quarterback the option of running the ball, or, if he sees he can’t make it through the defensive line, toss it to a player trailing behind him in an effort to gain yards.

President Trump might consider these options in an effort to push through his agenda.

Apparently having grown tired of Republican ineptitude for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare, or do much else with their majorities in the House and Senate, other than to think up new excuses for their failures, the debt ceiling deal might give the president wiggle room to demand concessions from Democrats. The danger is that Democrats may not feel the need to compromise if they believe they can win concessions from a president who does not have an ideological core.

The second option might be to embarrass Republicans sufficiently to force them to unify and pass a true Republican agenda. That used to include lower taxes, smaller government and reducing the debt through less spending and economic growth. I’m not betting on this option.

Option three would be to…