Remember the old saw about the salesman who loses money on every sale, but thinks he can make up the shortfall by selling in volume?
That’s what comes to mind every time I hear people say that President Trump is being shrewd by pandering to his base.
Consider last week’s remarkable Oval Office meeting between Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Trump. There is photo evidence, but no audio, to suggest that Vice President Mike Pence was also in the room. What was supposed to be a brief photo-op turned into a dramatic confrontation when the president invited television cameras to stay for the conversation.
As always happens after one of these political reality show spectacles, the chattering classes set out to score the bout. According to conventional rules, Pelosi and Schumer came out the winners. They got Trump to admit that if there’s a government shutdown over border wall funding, it will be all his doing. Just before the meeting, congressional Republicans were pre-spinning a “Schumer shutdown.” Pelosi solidified her claim to the House leadership, while Trump made future bipartisan deals with the Democrats – something he reportedly wants – less likely.