Friday, June 09, 2017

Every First-Time President Is "New to the Job"

One of the more interesting things to come out of the Great Comey Distraction (and yes, it is a distraction) is the growing theme regarding President Trump (many) political failings: he is an extreme novice who needs to be reminded of how a President is supposed to conduct themselves.

Let's not even dwell too much that this argument would never have worked as a defense for President Clinton or President Obama when Republicans were attacking them, or that it wasn't one of the many, many justifications for President Bush's goofs.

No, let's instead delve a bit into the implications here, and for the sake of argument assume that factors such as race, gender and political affiliation are not relevant (even if they are in real life).

During the GOP primary, it was apparent that the GOP establishment did not want Donald Trump to be the nominee. The reasons boiled down to three general categories:

  1. Those who saw him as a faux conservative;
  2. Those who saw him as a hindrance to the party's agenda;
  3. Those who did not like him.
In the end, none of those reasons were powerful enough to get the power players in the GOP to stymie trump's ascension (like say, what the Democrats did to Bernie Sanders in order to solidify Hillary Clinton's nomination). But once it was clear Trump was the nominee, the smart and professional thing to do would be to coalesce around the guy and make sure that he was polished enough to conduct himself properly. 

He did not have to be a player, but he needed to respect the game. 

Well, his First 100 Days showed the country otherwise. While many of his positions have been more in line with the GOP base, it's been his delivery that many have found to be unpalatable. Even Clinton, Bush and Obama had the wherefore-all to say, "This is for the American People" whenever they pushed for something that wasn't even in the Top Ten of "Things the American People Want."  By his actions, Trump is definitely leaning on the side of, "If you elected me, it was to make the decisions for you" and not, "You elected me to as a proxy and I will vote your way no matter what." 

My point here is that apparently at no time during all this -the travel ban, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the appointments of people woefully unqualified for the positions they were filling-  did the GOP establishment try to push hard to get Trump to at least smooth out his rough edges (presumably, that's the role for his wife and his daughter Ivanka). Up until the Comey testimony, they have been content with Trump running amok politically, settling for a compromise of contained chaos. 

But now? Now that a recently fired official from Trump's administration is in Congress saying, "Yo, dude was lying big time!" the defense is, "Well, you know Trump is still a rookie, right?" 

In other words, Republicans have been perfectly happy to have Trump stumble, bumble and fumble his way through his first term as long as it isn't being tied to the party.

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