One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don't go into government.
Donald Trump, has been President for about 100 days. These days have been schizophrenic exercises of surrogates and sycophants walking back his tweets, and a series of lies, misinformation and Orwellian newspeak.
Trump has told so many lies, received so many Pinocchio awards his staff has constantly battled to shut down his Twitter feed, when he often wanders the residence of the White House in his bathrobe at 3am generating them. His television presidency starts off with Fox and Friends and ends with Sean Hannity.
But it seems, after a series of disasters, he has appointed some adults to supervise him and that is a good thing. At Defense, State and a new non-conspiracist National Security Adviser, replacing Michael Flynn, currently under congressional investigation for his Russian patrons and their alleged connection with his campaign. All of that will drip out of the faucet little by little as soon as the congressional Republicans learn that their constituents want to know. But perhaps not.
Trump was going to repeal Obamacare the first day he was in office. He was going to build a big “beautiful wall” along the Mexican border and the Mexicans were going to cough up the money to pay for it “one way or another, believe me.” He was going to do a “massive tax cut” for the rich in order that jobs were going to be created. The newly introduced corporate tax reduction from 38% to 15% will swell the deficit if the projected growth of 2% in GDP remains as economists predict at perhaps .08%.. Trickledown economics never worked, despite the recent emergence of Arthur Laffer. Voodoo economics remains in play.
Trump's magical thinking was going to restore coal industry jobs, never mind that there are now more jobs in solar, wind and hydroelectric that there are in an industry that is now being displaced by new 21st century technologies. Coal miners oozing gratitude could descend into the bowels of the earth, get black lung disease and earn a living. In fact, coal companies were already replacing those jobs with digging, blasting and drilling robots Natural gas is cheaper, cleaner and more efficient. The wall costing billions, running along the Texas border is questioned by Texan Republicans who fear the loss of net income from trans-border trade. Much of the wall area is owned by Native Americans, who already robbed of their land by a murderous Andrew Jackson whose portrait adorns the oval office as a populist Trump hero (Jackson is soon to be replaced on the $20 bill by Harriet Tubman). Placing the wall on our side of the Rio Grande would cede the entire river to Mexico! Maybe the President did not think of that during the campaign. And his move to stick the wall on the budget bill has been rethought as a non-starter in congress since the chance that Mexico will pay for the wall is about the same as the sun being replaced by a coal fired plant.
Trump, in these first 100 days, was going to slap a 35% tariff on Chinese goods, having labeled the Chinese as currency manipulators. Now that has changed. “Why would I want to label them manipulators when they are going to help us with North Korea," now becoming an existential threat to cities like Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles? Tariffed goods might become doubly priced at Wal Mart, where most of his gullible base shop. By the way folks, I am not making this up. The Chinese have had to revalue their currency upward to stop its decline. Trump originally asserted that they were keeping it artificially low so that they could sell their goods here more cheaply.
And what about the massive infrastructure spending Trump promised? That has not happened. Instead, the administration spends its time and capital trying again to repeal Obamacare, cut Medicaid, Education, deny climate change as a Chinese hoax, abolish the EPA, repeal the clean power act, and defend itself from congressional and FBI investigations. Ah, for the days of going bankrupt and stiffing workers at his casino.
He needs some wins, and another shot at repealing Obamacare will not pass the Freedom Caucus (formerly the tea party). And if he puts items in the bill that will pass muster, it will not pass the Senate or keep faith with Republican moderates.
The Republican Party is in unprecedented disarray. Trump faces more problems with them than the Democrats. It will be interesting to watch over the coming months,
Trump, they say, is learning how to be President of the United States, and he has hired some adults around him to guide him in issues for which he essentially remains clueless. That is true. He has competent generals running the Defense department and gave the insane conspiracy theorist Michael Flynn the boot in favor of H.R. McMaster, a sophisticated West Pointer, a highly decorated and dedicated patriot and author of a prescient history of the US involvement in Vietnam. Trump did very well in those choices, since he realized he knew less about international affairs than even George W. Bush. Eureka! NATO is no longer obsolete, said Trump recently.
Our President, adroitly tapping into the anger of his base, disaffected, unemployed and undereducated voters, never realized what he was getting into, but still has not been able to say he was wrong on anything, his narcissism overruling his sense of patriotism and concern for the American Public. He has still not released his tax returns and it is doubtful that he will, unless they are subpoenaed as part of a congressional investigation. But it is doubtful that the Republican congress will ask for them and so the Presidency has become a shamefully self-promoting business enterprise rife with conflicts of interest, and perhaps Russian monies. Vlady Putin thought he was getting a good deal by messing with Hillary’s election. Maybe he is not so sure now, with a possibly demented President in the White House, who fires tomahawk cruise missiles, in this instance, impulsively, but correctly. One wonders if he really thought it out. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and again.
I have Republican friends who are still drinking the Kool Aid. One told me that I would be happy with the Trump Presidency, however, I have not yet found a pleasant sensation, a warm and fuzzy feeling that everything will be all right. All I do feel is pain every time I turn on the news. Some argue, “you lost the election, get over it.” Trump now enjoys an over all approval rating of about 38%, the lowest of any President at this point in his term, in US history. Seems to me, that was what Scalia said in an interview after the Supreme Court stopped the recount in Florida, handing the election to George W. Bush. To Bush’s credit, when he left office, he returned to Crawford Texas to paint, perhaps fancying himself another Winston Churchill, who in his essay, “Painting as a Pastime, extolled the virtues of putting oil on canvass. At least W had an acceptable hero. T
The Republicans voted 62 times to repeal Obamacare before the Donald was elected (or got more electoral votes) in a distorted system created in the 18th century to protect slave states from being placed in a majority as new states entered the Union. This ossified system has allowed a person with the minority of the votes to be elected president 5 times in our history. We need direct popular election of the President.
In France, for example, a publicly financed election is over in 6 weeks. Spending is limited, and candidates do not have to raise billions to advertise in swing states until those of us who have the misfortune, or fortune to live in them want to stick pins in our eyeballs not to listen or watch the commercials. The system has been distorted by Citizens United, allowing corporations and billionaires to form super PACs with no spending limits as long as they do not coordinate with the candidates and they are “transparent.” This is almost like insider traders who illegally do not tell their friends to buy before companies beat earnings prognostications.
Trump’s new acolyte Supreme Court justice, only confirmed when the loathsome Mitch McConnell did away with the 60 vote majority needed to confirm him. This insured that a political partisan could be seated, further eroding the independence of the court. Trump counts this as his major accomplishment for the first 100 days. And it is true, he accomplished the goal of life tenure of a 49 year old that can make decisions for the next generation. His first vote was to put someone to death. Gorsuch refused to answer any questions before the senate committee on his positions, and defended his 10th circuit court of appeals decision to vote against a fired truck driver who almost froze to death and had to move his truck, resulting in his being fired. Gorsuch’s logic was that he applied the law. So did dictators, Nazis and other authoritarian leaders such as Erdogan who has now consolidated his power with new anti-democratic legislation. Gorsuch’s decision was reversed unanimously by the Supreme Court. Now he sits there himself, a young relic, threatening to civil liberties, the working class, and modern society, probably even to the right of the late Antonin Scalia and even Clarence Thomas. Trump lists this as his signal achievement of the first 100 days.
Cheer up folks, the horizon does have a bright sunrise. Bill O’Reilly, serial sexual harasser, has joined Roger Ailes in a richly deserved hinter world of opprobrium. Not that Rupert Murdoch has had an epiphany. He just saw 50 of his largest sponsors jump ship. President Trump said O'Reilly was a "good person."