Let’s Just Call It an Evidence-Based Intuition

agents provocateurs


Mulvaney says Trump didn’t lose shutdown battle: The acting chief of staff strived to put the best face on the situation, even as others doubled down on the notion that it was a setback for Trump and his policies.

To argue with a straight face—however much effort it may cost to straighten your face—that Trump didn’t lose the shutdown battle, you have to argue that he only agreed to a truce for negotiations, but that he will really, really shut the government down again if the negotiations don’t go his way. (Yeah, yeah. I know there’s the “state of emergency” gambit, but everyone knows that that rabbit in the hat is a paper tiger. The Federalist Society will not be amused.)

But taking that posture well and truly paints Trump into a corner. All he can do is veto any permanent or new temporary spending bill, and dare the Republicans to override his veto.

Result: Republican politicians are forced to rebel against Trump.

And What Does My Purported Evidence-Based Intuition Ascribe as Mulvaney’s Motive?

I think he’s, in essence, the agent of a plutocracy that has realized they have to get Trump off the stage, or risk the election of a liberal who will raise their taxes.

What’s It Worth to You?

I’m not betting the mortgage money on the agent provocateur thesis, but how about a nice steak dinner?