How’s this for being on the horns of a dilemma? (September 6, 2018) Either stay with a duly elected but “amoral” president who “continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic”, or go with an unelected cabal made up of “many of the senior officials in (the president’s) own administration (who) are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations”?
The blame, dear friends, lies not with the one called Trump, though he is the locus of the dilemma. No, he is who he is, as he has been for many, many decades. There are no surprises there. Nor can blame be apportioned to the swath of America who voted for him in November 2016.
They didn’t love him (OK, some did), they just hated you, the Washington establishment, for your mindless disregard that left them without a sense of their traditional homes, jobs, infrastructure, affordable education, etc. Trump wasn’t their guy so much as he just wasn’t yours. He was the cudgel you gave them to say NO with and they swung it enthusiastically.
No, this erratic, unfit executive belongs to the Republican Party and its leaders who cynically sought to ride the raging bull long enough to pass tax cuts, strip away regulations, and pack the judiciary before the beast would need to be put down.
“Why are we putting so many resources in South Korea?” he wonders.
“To avoid WW3!” says SecDef James Mattis in utter disbelief.
Amorality aside, he just doesn’t know any better. Studying was never his thing. Making stuff up on the fly is what got him this far in the family business. Do not expect him to change now because the responsibilities are exponentially greater.
Unfortunately for us, that leaves him particularly unprepared for the task at hand, like a TV actor after the writers have left. This is a president without Mark Burnett to produce the show.
But as Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told Brett Baier on Fox News, “In the last 100 years, the Republican party has held the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives in only 20 of those years. And we are not going to squander that opportunity.”
That’s the key understanding. “We are not going to have this very long, so let’s make the most of it.”
This is purely a transactional relationship. Regardless of his qualifications, ride this guy until he implodes, gambling that you can get what you want before the country gets what it deserves. In a binary world of Trump-Clinton where one choice will impact the Supreme Court for a generation in your favor, the choice is a no-brainer (just like their president). So hold your nose, say your prayers, and pull that voting lever.
Of course, in for a dime, in for a dollar. So when insiders lay open the sucking chest-wound of an administration led by a virtual child, McConnell has nothing to say about the scathing New York Times Op-Ed from a senior White House official talking about resistance within the administration to many of the dangerous inclinations of the amoral president. This is realpolitik in its purest form.
It is a marvel that it hasn’t happened before in our 240 years. But this U.S. of A has for many years now been unwittingly erecting the elaborate petard upon which it was bound to be eventually hoisted. Yes, inevitable that some day there would come blustering out of the darkness a national hero of insufficient intelligence, character, and grace, one fueled by an abundance of hubris and surfeit of knowledge who would successfully enact the desires of those who seek our downfall rather than wish our ascension.
Why would Vladimir Putin want Donald Trump in the White House over Hillary Clinton? Certainly, Putin had a personal animus toward Clinton who served as Secretary of State under Obama. But much more than that, Putin wanted the Mr. Trump in the Oval Office to do nothing more than what former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski suggested during the 2016 campaign, “let Trump be Trump”. Because from the Russian standpoint, Trump being Trump would be plenty good enough. They knew this guy. He’s got oligarch envy. Him we can use.
Remember after meeting with Putin in Helsinki how Trump was entertaining handing over former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul for questioning by the Russians? And then the 29-year-old Russian woman spy living with a 56-year-old American whose emails were found asking Moscow whether Trump’s cabinet picks were good with “our people”? Useful idiot hardly covers it.
Even better, with DJT in office, America would tear itself apart, split along the Trumpian divide. And now as the country is doing just that – anybody watching the Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh? – the president maintains his search for a means to hold off the tightening vise of justice as a lifetime of mendacity comes under review.
Perhaps most troubling, tbough, this internal division makes us vulnerable to an opportunistic adversary, somebody willing to call Trump’s bluff, as he is the prototypical backyard bully. Yes, som e nation is going to seize on our current fever dream. And know what, the world will applaud, at least initially, until they ask us to come back as our old, reliable, sober selves again.
LEAVE IT ALONE
If he had just left well enough alone, you know, kept his brand in the public eye, made his appearances on TMZ, and given his opinions on whichever administration was in power so that his followers could always see him as the What If Man. If only he had done just that. Then he could have lived out his life high atop his Manhattan skyscraper and been feted as an American icon of excess, and an occasionally charming one at that.
But he decided to throw his orange twirl into the ring instead and run for office. The spotlight was just too bright to ignore. And once there his narcissism found a reservoir of disgruntled citizens so upset with the status quo that they were willing to take him seriously, to accept his reality TV run on The Apprentice as a proper audition for the presidency.
Personally, I perceive the world from the outsiders view point. How does the world look on us now? Many may resent America’s power and strength, but almost all depend on it. What the world needs is a sober U.S. president not a clown show, entertaining as it maybe. But this is not even intelligent clowning, knowing, self-effacing. Instead it is empty-headed slapstick without any discernible intention beyond Look At Me!
Whether mocking the disabled New York Times journalist on the campaign trail, or pushing aside the Montenegrin Prime Minister at his first NATO conference, this is the arrogant, asshole strain of America that we accept as a normal though tiny sliver of our large, diverse society. But you don’t want to make that strain your masthead. Ugly American Asshole doesn’t travel well. It builds resentment when we should be looking for allies.
In an ever changing, increasingly competitive world, it is not hard to see it heading toward an Asian-centric focus in a matter of a few more years. For them, Trump is like the lottery coming in.
“Jesus, really? They actually picked that guy?! Thank the Lord and pass the ammunition.”
The man makes us vulnerable, because his is a shallow pomposity, and people know it, they see it, they’re gauging it. “Yes, let’s do have talks.”
Eventually somebody is going to call him out, knowing America will be off kilter without a true leader with the capacity to handle a crisis situation. And if and when that happens, you know damn well he will be one of those guys who will empty the arsenal. Total overreaction based on fear and folly.
When you’re out on the Bluster limb, folks, sometimes you tweet too far. Then,
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
and down will come Baby,
Cradle and all.
As Robert Redford said in the final line in the movie The Candidate, “now what?”