P resident Trump does not like long games of anyone, including his close advisers, at White House rallies. He has a short attention span if he thinks he's being lectured.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has found a way to capture and hold Trump's attention. I'm told he'll start with this: "Mr. President, this is about your re-election. “With the 2020 elections, 14 months away, almost all issues touch on his re-election.
The two-year budget negotiated at the White House in August certainly did. The president was told he had three options to choose from: a government shutdown, a series of short-term continuing resolutions that would cause problems for the military, and a deal that included a costly increase in spending.
Mr. Trump knew how strongly Mr. McConnell countered government shutdowns. And the president himself is on guard to cause trouble for the military. That left one alternative, an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The media has not helped much explaining why so many House Republicans are retiring. There are some who are afraid of enduring a startling battle for re-election and then losing. But there may be more people who fear winning.
How could this be? In last year's midterm, Democrats captured the majority, 235-1
Being in the minority is painful for Republicans after selling themselves in the majority since 2010, when they won 63 seats. For eight years they ran the show – the committees, the house area, and occupied the largest and best offices. Now, Democrats have it all when they concentrate on finding reasons to impeach Trump.
Just for the record, the Senate is a paradise in comparison, even for the minority. The Senate is Republican 52-47. Still, the media is taking Senate Democrats seriously. They can credibly run for president. Not so, members of the house. Minority senators can filibuster Republican bills and sometimes block them. Think of all the politicians who were nobles in the House, who started with JFK and LBJ, but became famous as senators.
Poor presidential candidates are good at putting their campaigns in a favorable light. Kirsten Gillibrand from New York is an example of this phenomenon. "My campaign may well have been ahead of its time," she told the New York Times when she became the first of the six women running for the Democratic presidential nomination to drop.
That's not why she flopped. Gillibrand had too many shortcomings to be taken seriously as a potential president. First-time candidates often stumble when seeking the presidency, and she did. Joe Biden crashed in his first two presidential races.
Gillibrand's background was a problem. As a House member from Upstate New York, she formed a moderate Democrat, especially outside the Liberal camp on the gun issue. She received a high ranking from the National Rifle Association. This was not forgotten in the political community, even after she switched 180 degrees to become a gun control advocate.
It was one of many flip-flops. As presidential candidate, she joined the pack to try to make sure no candidates came to her left. But in two presidential debates, Gillibrand had trouble speaking reliably as an orthodox leftist. She swore to ban money entirely from politics and campaigns and boasted of being the only candidate to do so. But she couldn't understand how long-term she sounded. The Left has tried and failed for decades to keep private money out. The more realistic of them have now given up, and concluded that money will always play a role in politics.
A piece by Lisa Lerer in the New York Times said Gillibrand "attempted to separate her candidacy by offering the most outspoken feminist message about the field." But "several female candidates in a race can help voters see women as viable political leaders without campaigning for a gender equality campaign. "
As an outspoken feminist, Gillibrand was quite credible. But it did not give her the political promise she needed.
Republican strategists are concerned about the rankings of senators seeking re-election next year.
Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina, for example, polls in the low 20s.
Who are the strategists to blame for this? President Trump. He is dominating the news so thoroughly that Republicans who are calling for him in the Senate are just shut out. This also happened in 2018. But this year is worse.
Fred Barnes, a Washington Examiner senior columnist, was the founder and executive editor of the Weekly Standard.