I’m confused. What part of the narrative surrounding Donald Trump (ultra-successful businessman, world-class negotiator, able to pick extremely competent assistants) led to the abysmal melt-down of the first 10 weeks of his presidency? How is it that he assured his cheering legions that he would demand a bill to repeal and replace “Obamacare” during his first week in office, then when a bill emerged to accomplish much of this, he was not able to close the deal, and chose to walk away rather than have an official defeat on the record? And the entire process from introduction to ignominious withdrawal took less than 3 weeks!
How is it that his choice for National Security Advisor was so compromised by his dealings with Russia that it forced his departure within weeks of taking office? How is it that his plan to shake up the National Security Council by adding Steve Bannon, has now been reversed with Bannon’s removal? How is it that his dealings with foreign leaders has reached such a point that a story about Donald Trump handing Angela Merkel an invoice for $375 billion was not only credible, but entirely in character?
How is it that his request for proposals to construct “THE WALL” is not expected to receive proposals from major construction firms that actually have the capabilities to do the work? Is it because his credibility is already suffering due to his performance to date?
How is it that someone who continually harped on the excessive expenses of his predecessor’s twice yearly vacations, spent as much in his first months in office visiting his Florida properties as his predecessor did in multiple years? Someone who complained about excessive golfing by his predecessor seems determined to outdo him with his own link adventures.
How is it that his approval rating is plunging faster than a luge sled on an icy track? Now it is only his core supporters who still swear he’s doing a good job, and all of the media attacks on him and his administration are mean spirited and represent false news. At present it appears that Donald Trump has two key constituencies. First, his true believers who clasp hands over their ears while singing LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA whenever anyone says a disparaging word about their anointed savior. Second, those who have prostituted themselves by seeking to benefit from their unexpected access to power by having a compliant President who would do their bidding.
I’m definitely confused, because Donald Trump assured me that we would end up winning so much, we would be tired of winning. I do have to say that so far, I’m not tired of winning. But then, if winning were to be defined as achieving the goals that he laid out in his campaign, maybe I’m glad that we haven’t seen any winning scripts so far.
BUT! We are still in the danger zone in so many ways. The first lasting achievement of the Trump presidency is only days away as his new Supreme Court nominee awaits confirmation. My only hope concerning Neil Gorsuch is that since he has been a member of a progressive Episcopalian church, some of that progressivity soaked into his psyche, and will emerge at opportune times in his decisions. Even this triumph comes with scorched earth, as the long tradition of bipartisanship in the Senate is torn asunder through the abandonment of the filibuster requirement for 60 votes for cloture for a Supreme Court justice.
We are in danger due to the extreme incompetence of the Trump foreign policy team and philosophy. That incompetence will be tested time and time again with the foreign conflicts that exist and will emerge over time. The leader of China is coming this week, and my prediction is that after he takes measure of Donald Trump, he will realize that there is no real cost to his ongoing militarization of the artificial islands in the South China Sea. Look for provocations to step up there, even as the intractable situation in the Korean peninsula continues to escalate in tension.
We are in danger due to the extreme belief that environmental protection is fundamentally incompatible with economic growth. Donald Trump is stuck in a 1970’s vision of the economy. Fossil fuel growth equals economic growth and security in the US. After all, we may have our foreign oil supply cut off from OPEC at any time! Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s severely limited view of economics seems to believe that he alone can resurrect the conditions the US enjoyed in the decades immediately after WWII. That is, we alone emerged among the major countries with our industrial base intact, and were able to not only supply burgeoning pent up demand in the US, but export our wares to the corners of the globe that were recovering from war damage. There is absolutely no recognition inside of his thought processing unit that the world has grown to be multi-polar, and much more economically interdependent than during America’s economic heyday.
We are in danger due to the lack of respect for, and proposed withdrawal of funding for scientific research. This is perhaps one of the most insidious dangers, since it’s effects won’t be felt for years to come. But there is zero doubt that the rest of the world is anxious to fill the void to keep humanity advancing through scientific progress, since they had seen how effective it was for the US pre-Trump.
It seems that during the campaign, many Americans were bewitched with their image of Donald Trump. They built him up into a Roman emperor who would captivate the Senate with his stirring eloquence (I’m giving myself a cheek hernia here). But judging from his falling approval ratings, I’m thinking that many are now bothered by his performance in office. Meanwhile, those of us who have always been bewildered by the appeal of an obvious charlatan, are awaiting his downfall, always hoping that he does not pull the rest of us into the quicksand of his own personal swamp as he sinks from view.