It is hard not to be a little morose when only phenomena of nature relieve the venomous atmosphere as political Washington prepares to return to the bitter tasks of government. The eclipse was a pleasant diversion, and Hurricane Harvey has filled the whole country with sympathy for the flooded Texans. There is also probably some unspoken relief that, unlike what happened in New Orleans twelve years ago, a quarter of Houston's police have not fled in stolen police cars, while the president breezily told the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency that he was "doing a heck of a job." (He wasn't, and neither was the president.)
The basic problem in Washington is that attrition has stalled the Trump revolution. He gained sufficient support last November to take over the administration, but he didn't run only against the Clintons, Bushes, and Obama. He debunked, with good reason, all factions of both parties, the D.C. media, Hollywood, Wall Street, and the lobbyists, and for all of them, the war goes on.
The Democrats never mentally accepted the results, pledged scorched-earth resistance, and on this point at least, they have delivered, their task made easier by the contemptible performance of the congressional Republicans, as well as by the president's penchant for bluster and gratuitous combativeness. Trump's own ostensible partisans in the Congress have been sitting on their hands. Almost none of them thought he would be nominated or elected and they are uncertain whether Trump can take hold as president and compel their adherence by his popularity and competence, or whether he will fail from political inexperience and temperamental instability.
More from National Review:
Trump haters, supporters, neither, and both
Mr. President, end DACA
How Corbyn revitalized the British Left
A game of chicken has ensued, as the president has pretty well held his following in the country against the frenzied assault of his massed media enemies, while three-quarters of Americans despise the Congress as tainted and ineffectual windbags wallowing in the public trough. Congress has become a useless appendage, a hopeless, stupid, talking shop that, apart from tax cuts after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Obamacare, has done nothing significant since welfare reform in 1996. The mutual antipathy between the president and all of the congressional leaders is obvious and unseemly. Trump shouldn't be tweeting about it, but it is nervy for McConnell and Ryan to criticize publicly almost everything the president does.
Nancy Pelosi, Democratic House leader, styles herself a "master legislator," but she is generally regarded as incompetent, tedious, and politically shopworn. The Democratic Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, must rank as one of the most irritating figures in a crowded field of boring legislative hypocrites. From weeping over the partial travel ban from six countries President Obama had similarly singled out (and claiming that the Statue of Liberty was weeping also), to claiming that Justice Gorsuch was unfit to be confirmed for unspecified reasons, he has been little more than a common or garden obstructionist, as he and Pelosi leg it to the left, following Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. (The good news is the people aren't there and aren't going there.)