Trump’s stunted presidency a politics of stunts
Now he’s done it, heaving one of his least popular, noisiest grenades from his campaign bag of tricks. After all, who keeps any presidency afloat by reversing and/or failing to enact nearly every bloated, unworkable pledge? The tragic spawn of our flawed Electoral College now menaces billions of earthlings living near a seashore, flood plain or river basin. Shilling for the fossil fuel gang, Trump’s climate deceptions further his politics of angry stunts –along with costing U.S. jobs, prestige, leadership, and fading moral stature.
Are we surprised? Did not Trump’s cynical, childishly simplistic politics of media stunts win the party nomination, even the presidency – arrogantly snubbing all the complexities he refused to understand? As with, “Everything’s a total mess, a disaster, entirely rigged – and America goes down without putting me, the world’s greatest mastermind, in charge.”
Well, Trump’s infamous Muslim ban has flopped twice and, even if enacted, would never stop enough “bad people” from causing mayhem, nor make America safer (likely, the opposite). The equally laughable Mexico wall is dead, unfundable without Congressional friends; plus, even were miles built, would that resolve huge undocumented populations or stop huge numbers of worldwide newcomers who overstay visas? Even the idea of the wall shreds our 250 year boast as the world’s great melting pot.
Next up, Trump rashly joins the GOP folly to obliterate Obamacare (a program DT willfully misreads). The Ryan-Trump farce was so ham-fisted, this flawed program is now more popular than ever. Anyone imagine any tamer Senate version would attract enough contentious House members mesmerized by fat cat tax giveaways? Trump’s and the newly-mashed GOP now own that fiasco, a blow both to their ability to govern and viable health care reforms. For about a day, Trump people mumbled about huge tax breaks for the least deserving (and paltry breaks for everyone else), but Wall St. thinks that payoff is dead for this year. That’s 0 for 3 in my book.
Yet Trump’s worst lie persists: that he had either the intention or know-how to clean out the entrenched Washington/Goldman-Sachs swamp. Au contraire: no president so rashly empowered more heartless, agency-hating, ideological alligators. The “best appointments,” not one positive program for Main St, define his sole “win.” More counterproductive gestures: axing the TPP without staying at the table to retrieve its few strengths; ditto, forcing a NAFTA rewrite with zero public input as to goals and methods. So much for Trump’s sham artifice of the deal.
Unforced AND catastrophic
And now all is crowned by Trump’s most bizarre wipe-out: withdrawing from a volunteer climate agreement by lying about lost jobs (only increased by our leaving) or foreigners stealing our wealth (right, hand over fist). Saving his worst campaign-derived folly for last, what’s less presidential than defying the rarest of earthy events: virtually unanimous, universal accord against our greatest collective problem? Stupido, in spades.
So where does this pretend president, running out of the failed politics of stunts, go from here? Concoct a batch of new outrages while blaming everyone else? Brace for whining, “I tried but too many evil, bad hombres killed all my great ideas.” Further, how does any besieged presidency, thick with scandals, investigations and impeachable crimes, stay afloat after revealing his defining void: Trump’s a marvel of demolition but a nothing-burger at building anything constructive, whether picking/ managing WH staff, legislative coalitions, gaining public support or winning over federal agency support. Still, he maniacally plays only to his base, oblivious to the need for public pressure to power bipartisan pushes on infrastructure and jobs.
Looking for fame in all the wrong places
Irony abounds: not only is this one-time “real estate developer” no facilitator of American greatness, his backward-looking stances are those of a moralistic destroyer, undermining good governance, options for pregnant women, voting rights, environmental protection, safety for minorities or common ground with allies abroad. Trump wins all early presidential contests for adding to what he exaggerated as U.S. “carnage.” Name one positive, enduring achievement for the average citizen from his neurotic arm waving and endless tweeting – as his demolition derby continues? Instead, he glories only in being a disruptive media sensation – as if world fame justifies his president run, as with, “Am I not already more famous than Putin or Obama or Clinton? Who basks in the world’s spotlight? What else matters?”
For me, the most revealing measure of his unequaled presidential disasters is the extent and depth of the legions he’s repulsed: 60% of the country, most of Washington, 90% of Democrats, most top experts, not to mention potent bureaucrats who run the country. What buffoon thrives after mocking the FBI, the CIA and intel experts, plus slamming “biased” federal justices and inept generals (who know less than Trump)? What gains accrue when this president undermines the IDEA of federal intervention to keep disorder at bay (bank and investment crimes, oil spills, bad drugs, air, water and soil pollution, let alone everyone’s health and safety)? Toss in belligerence towards NATO, the EU, and countless Europeans shaking with alarm? Plus, Mexico or China’s sneaky “currency” manipulators or world traders who daily victimize poor, weak America?
Trump’s national career began as a snarky, attention-grabbing performance art, exemplified by absurdly denying Obama’s birth place. He expanded Screw-You put-downs to crush the Republican party he hijacked to run for president. Running against “crooked Hillary,” a word already infinitely more fitting for his regime, Trump’s screw-everyone whoppers (including gullible fans) was apparent when falsely alleging everything was broken, corrupt and rigged. Bingo, now we see a presidency that fits his analysis but in reverse, a model of broken, corrupt and rigged government.
Screw-you goes global
Rejecting the Paris accord is the culmination of Trump’s (literally) scorched earth presidency: destroy the status quo willy nilly on the irrational assumption what comes next must be better. Did wonderfulness follow other calamities, like the Civil War or the great depression? The Russian revolution? Our war in Iraq? Or bombing Libya? When did mindless chaos make a wounded country whole? Let’s hope the Paris accord fiasco is the tipping point for Trumpery, with unintended consequences that expose his Destructive Personality Disorder (DPD) at work.
Yet by Trump’s insatiable standards, he is fulfilling his lifelong goal to be the most famous earthling. No matter his reign is opposite the heroic gianta like Gandhi, TR or FDR, Churchill or Martin Luther King. No Mt. Rushmore for this Trumpster dumpster, but a nightmare legacy in the hall of shame: this guy busts all world records for witlessly, often gratuitously giving the finger to more people in more places more quickly than anyone alive today.
When enough adults eventually take seriously the ticking global clock, where only the magnitude of the disaster is unknown, the art of impeachment will loom as a minor glitch set against epic, planetary impacts. Clearly, things cannot continue at this destructive pace, with or without lawlessly obstructing justice or profiting from his office, before a critical mass of voters forces officials to declare “enough is enough.” After we hit bottom, is there any other way to go than up?