Sometimes there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned American colloquialism to tell it like it is. Here are just a few for the president to ponder when considering his options regarding the current impasse with the Democratic leadership regarding funding for the border wall.
Hang tough. Don’t Blink. And of course, the most descriptive idiom of them all: Go balls to the wall. This colorful phrase is often thought of in relation to part of the male anatomy. But the truth is, the expression originated with fighter pilots. When it was time to go full speed ahead, the pilot had to push the throttle all the way to the “wall” of the cockpit – and the top of the throttle is shaped like a ball. Thus, the expression originally meant full speed ahead, throttle up, full power.
The origin of this saying seems to contain sound political advice for the president in these most difficult of times. Yes, there is a government shutdown but let’s face it, this is less than a minor inconvenience to most of America. And it pales in comparison to finally solving an issue that Americans very much care about – immigration.
It Takes Two to Tango
The left-wing legacy media likes to repeat the mantra that the government shutdown is a result of Mr. Trump’s intransigence. But the truth is that this political conundrum began many years ago when members of both parties refused to clean up an immigration fiasco that has vexed this country for decades. This brings us to the current crossroad which has become a crisis, whether the Democrats want to admit it or not.
President Trump has spent a lifetime negotiating and making deals so it is quite likely he intuitively understands the one fundamental that is not present in this political standoff: Both sides must want to make a deal for anything to be accomplished. You can’t solve a problem with someone who doesn’t aspire to an equitable resolution. Nothing can be achieved with those whose only mission is to keep on fighting. And this is the raison d’être of the Democrats.
Time for the Top Gun
Like it or not, Mr. Trump appears to be up to his neck in one of those epic times that try men’s souls. He’s in a dog fight at high altitudes and needs to maneuver his aircraft into an offensive position. He must fly faster and be willing to throttle up to where he can take aim and fire. This is not a time to acquiesce or lose one’s nerve. Yes, courage and moxie are what’s needed to go balls to the wall.
There have been many such critical presidential moments in the annals of American history: The Cuban Missile crisis starring Kennedy and Khrushchev was a classic, or Harry S. Truman dropping the big one – twice – on Japan was another. But there are other, lesser-known times when the commander-in-chief had his back to the wall and came out swinging. John Adams hung tough when France tried to bribe our young Republic. Instead of giving in, Adams raised a provisional army, commissioned U.S. Navy ships and got France to back down. Then there was James Monroe who essentially told Europeans to “back the hell up” with what’s now known as the Monroe Doctrine.
For those who won their battles, backing down was not an option. Thus, President Trump should carry this crucial bit of American history forward to this day, this time, this hour. He must plant his feet firmly in American soil and stand his ground. Not, as JFK once said, because it is easy, but because it is hard – not to mention that it is the right and noble thing to do.
…withdrawing from the fight is not an option.
There are many political moves still open to the president as this government shutdown over the Wall continues. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and others are calling for Trump to declare a national emergency. Freshman Democrats appear to be signaling that unlike the old guard, they are ready to make a deal. As well, he can keep working the back channels with Mexico.
When your back is against the wall as the president’s is now, withdrawing from the fight is not an option. It would be the quickest way for Mr. Trump to self-destruct. He will be sure to lose a second term in office, and as the senator from South Carolina so aptly said, it will signal the end of the Republican Party.
As commander-in-chief, 45’s only choice is to channel the spirit of a U.S. Marine: Do not become accustomed to defensive positions. Run toward the fire, not away from it. Stand your ground and fight like hell. Any way you cut it, President Trump’s only option is to make like a fighter pilot and throttle up – balls to the wall.