Thursday, January 25, 2018

Art of the Deal

Léon Bakst, costume design for the wicked fairy Carabosse in a production of Sleeping Beauty, 1921. Via Wikimedia Commons. If you get her at your christening party, your kid might get a bad deal.

Sometime last week Senator Chuck Schumer bumped into President Donald Trump at a Capitol Hill function (honoring old Bob Dole), and remarked, we're told by Politico,
that there will be no deal on Dreamers if hard-line conservative GOP Sen. Tom Cotton is involved, according to several congressional sources.
Schumer also told the president that he was not being well-served by White House staffers during negotiations over the fate of 700,000 young immigrants who face potential deportation if no deal is reached to protect them.
Trump "grew defensive", and Politico asked Senator Cotton for comment:
In a brief interview, Cotton said Schumer did not want him in the room for the Dreamers' talks, "probably because I would get a good deal, and he wants a bad deal."
Cotton may just be really stupid, but I think he shows there a remarkable mastery of the strangeness of Trumpian language, in the fairy-tale sweep of that: Schumer desires the bad. Schumer rejects Cotton because Cotton is "probably" going to defeat evil. What else were you expecting?

Trump regards himself as the good arbiter of what is good and what is bad. But in Cotton's metaphysic, Trump is neither good nor evil: he simply is the deal, which will be good or bad depending on who else is in the room. Of course Schumer sees it the same way, without the metaphysics, when he says negotiating with Trump is like negotiating with Jello.

I can't get over my fascination with Trump's relation to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which he seems to genuinely feel some compunction about, at least a persistent, if flickery, memory of what it is ("those kids are incredible!"), even as he uses it to tease the Democrats into surrendering. He canceled it in September only because of the Republican theory that its institution in an Obama executive order was unconstitutional, although no court has agreed with this in five years of intensive litigation, but he wants Congress to reinstate it in a "bill of love", except when he doesn't, which is every time the deal is on the point of being made; last night, on the way to the World Economic Forum, he brought it up again, upping the ante with suggestions of a "pathway to citizenship" equalling what Republicans usually call "amnesty".

Cotton, billing himself as the president's champion against the president ("@realDonaldTrump and I"), came out quickly to say that didn't mean what you thought it meant:

But who knows? Maybe Cotton's the wicked fairy.

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