Tag Archives: Donald Trump

When Even the Simple Stuff Is a Crisis

By Robert Schlesinger – What’s going on? If everyone agrees on these successful programs, why are they stuck in legislative purgatory?

The proximate cause is that the Republican majority got too distracted with its endless, fruitless attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act. That consumed their attention through the year and very specifically in the crunch time during which the final deals should have been cut on basically noncontroversial legislation like renewing funding for CHIP and community health centers. But that went by the boards when the GOP dropped everything to push the late, unlamented, half-baked Graham-Cassidy bill.

Uncertainty abounds. And again, we’re talking about noncontroversial stuff here, which speaks to a larger problem with the political system. The failure of this Congress to understand “the need to act responsibly, to reauthorize needed programs without catastrophic disruption … is simply striking,” says the American Enterprise Institute’s Norm Ornstein, who has written extensively on GOP dysfunction (most recently “One Nation After Trump,” with Thomas Mann and E.J. Dionne). more> https://goo.gl/1xQG84

Fanning the Flames of Chaos

President Trump’s cycle is clear: announce a goal, then back off to let others do the work.
By Kenneth T. Walsh – Trump isn’t a detail man. Throughout his careers in business and politics and during his presidency, he has floated above the landscape of specifics and set general directions. He attempts to sell his ideas to the country as a showman with a proclivity for hyperbole that borders on deception and sometimes crosses into falsehood. His goal, above all, is to score a personal victory and crush his opponents.

Now Trump’s it’s-all-about-me approach is being tested as never before as he copes with a new wave of crises, political battles and tragedies.

Trump’s pattern is clear. He dramatically announces a goal, dominating the news and becoming the center of attention, then backs off and leaves working out the details to others. He declares any success as his own achievement and portrays any failure or setback as someone else’s fault. In short, Trump fans the flames and then lets others fight the fire. He may be creating more chaos than he bargained for and fostering an out-of-control atmosphere which makes most Americans very nervous. more> https://goo.gl/y9XmRA

The Political Fabric Unravels: Diagnosing The Current Crisis

By Steve Denning – Perhaps not many expected to see the day when an American president would from the Oval Office be issuing a threat of nuclear war, advocating the commission of a war crime, thanking a chief adversary for expelling our diplomats, despising the international fight again climate change, delivering multiple false or misleading statements on a daily basis, systematically vilifying the media and demeaning the freedom of the press, fomenting gender discrimination, picking fights with the leadership of his own party, and defending as ‘fine people’ those who march with neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites.

What is striking to the mainstream media is that more than 70% of Republicans still support the president—despite everything he has said and done.

The continuing Republican support of the current president—despite everything—reflects a deeper and more pervasive level of personal desperation than the mainstream media generally recognizes. There is a lack of hope that things will ever get any better. Those negatively affected by economic setbacks become willing to go along with almost anything in order to get change.

As previously accepted norms and values are disregarded and undermined, the political fabric of the nation is at risk of unraveling. more> https://goo.gl/hcTZ3H

Trump Fails Logic

By Louis René Beres – Known formally as post hoc, ergo propter hoc, or simply post hoc, this reasoning error maintains simplistically that because one selected event just happens to be followed by another, the second event (here, economic and stock market growth) is a verifiably direct effect of the first (in this case, the 2016 election).

A post hoc argument is invariably fallacious because it discounts all other potentially relevant factors. More precisely, Trump’s claim of credit in this case is unwarranted because it falsely assumes that all other conceivably influential factors have somehow remained constant.

n sum, it is time for Americans to worry not only about this president’s increasingly stark moral and political transgressions, but also his distinctly related intellectual debilities. With particular regard to North Korea, Trump’s multiple and conspicuous manipulations of reasoning could bring us to the brink of a first ever nuclear war. Accordingly, it is high time for us to restore a sense of deep respect for “Logic 101” in the White House. more> https://goo.gl/S3Y5BG

Remaking the Presidency

By Joseph P. Williams – The willingness to buck convention, smash important precedents and use Twitter like a shotgun has historians and analysts considering whether the impulsive CEO president, unbound by political customs and arguably unaware of limits to his authority, has redefined the office for his successor while tailoring it for himself.

“Trump was elected to blow up the office,” says Jeremi Suri, a historian and scholar at The University of Texas-Austin. Mission accomplished, Suri says – but at a price, for the Republican Party, the president’s own legacy and perhaps American democracy.

“You’re going to see something about presidential reforms coming out of this horrible period we’re in right now,” Suri says. Trump, he says, has destroyed “the myth of a true government outsider” running the country, and likely has paved the way for an experienced outsider, like a governor or low-profile congress member, to take his place.

In the next election cycle, “we’re likely to see a full sweep – a new Congress intent on curbing presidential power and recalibrating the checks and balances.”

“The Trump style of the presidency has only resonated with about 30 to 35 percent of the public,” says Jonathan Turley, who notes that a president’s public-approval rating is directly proportional to his or her leverage with Congress. That means Trump is operating at a power deficit, he adds, and therefore “I’m not sure that future presidents would view this administration as a model to replicate.” more> https://goo.gl/Dv7Dwn

Why Is Donald Trump Still So Horribly Witless About the World?

By Robin Wright – “The President has little understanding of the context”—of what’s happening in the world—“and even less interest in hearing the people who want to deliver it,” Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general and former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, told me.

“He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.)

Trump’s policy mistakes, large and small, are taking a toll. “American leadership in the world—how do I phrase this, it’s so obvious, but apparently not to him—is critical to our success, and it depends eighty per cent on the credibility of the President’s word,” John McLaughlin, who worked at the C.I.A. under seven Presidents, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, and ended up as the intelligence agency’s acting director, told me.

“Trump thinks having a piece of chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago bought him a relationship with Xi Jinping. He came in as the least prepared President we’ve had on foreign policy,” McLaughlin added. “Our leadership in the world is slipping away. It’s slipping through our hands.” more> https://goo.gl/Nza7eC

The Fall of the Deal-Maker

By Kenneth T. Walsh – America’s polarization and political dysfunction have become structural, built into the system as never before. President Donald Trump didn’t create the situation in which the country finds itself, increasingly divided into irreconcilable camps, but Trump is intensifying the hard feelings all around. And things are getting worse.

Trump has suffered a huge blow to his reputation as a deal-maker.

The billionaire real-estate developer pledged during the campaign to use his deal-making skills to outsmart and overpower the power structure in Washington and force the elites bend to his will. It isn’t happening. And he has little of consequence to show legislatively for his first six months in office, aside from winning Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

One of Trump’s problems is that he can’t keep from tripping over himself. When things seem to be going his way, he unleashes angry and off-message comments on Twitter, and he appears to be a bully, an undisciplined braggart and a nasty politician who strikes many as unlikable.

Washington insiders generally say he would be better off staying on message – talking about his steps to improve the economy, cut regulations, stimulate the business sector, reduce the size and cost of government, and attack the status quo in Washington. more> https://goo.gl/njA1P1

Who’s Afraid of Donald Trump?

BOOK REVIEW

On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit, Author: George C. Edwards III.

By Susan Milligan – He talks tough, and tweets tougher. He makes demands on Congress and state governments, needles foreign nations and launches broad attacks on the press.

The president wooed crowds and wowed political observers during his campaign, when the insults and veiled threats he lobbed against primary foes, journalists and protesters at his rallies turned out to be successful. Far from disqualifying him for the presidency, as Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton asserted, Trump’s bombastic approach mirrored the anger of much of the American electorate, who sent him to the White House.

But as a governing tool, Trump’s tough-guy strategy is meeting with resistance, and not just the kind Democrats and their allies are organizing this summer. That, experts say, weakens the president.

“Trump’s orientation is to bully – ‘I’m going to run somebody against you. I’m going to hurt you.’ That’s not where you lead from,” says Texas A&M University political science professor George C. Edwards III.

But bullying does not translate into an effective bully pulpit once someone is in the Oval Office.

“Presidents rarely move public opinion in their direction. That’s fundamental,” Edwards says. “You cannot govern based on the premise of expanding your coalition, but not everything presidents do lack public support. Turns out many things this president does lack public support.” more> https://goo.gl/xSQQVa

Related>

A Dangerous Choice

By Kenneth T. Walsh – President Donald Trump’s decision to give the Pentagon the authority to make policy in Afghanistan is one of his most important, far-reaching and dangerous choices as commander in chief so far.

In the near term, it will almost certainly mean an escalation of the conflict with the addition of thousands of U.S. troops to the war zone. The fighting in Afghanistan has already lasted for 16 years and is America’s longest sustained war, extending over the tenure of three presidents of both major parties – George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Only the U.S. commitment to Vietnam came close to this mark, and it was a very polarizing, detested venture and ended in a defeat that Americans want to avoid repeating.

Over the long term, it means more U.S. entanglements in a region that few Americans understand, that U.S. policy makers often misjudge, and that has been the graveyard for potential occupiers and conquerors such as Alexander the Great, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. more> https://goo.gl/pmjecw

A Dangerous Game

By Kenneth T. Walsh – President Donald Trump is playing a dangerous game. He is adding a very disruptive ingredient to his governing approach – potentially alienating and confusing his own staff and the lawyers who are trying to defend him in his legal battle to crack down on terrorism and illegal immigration. In the process, Trump is giving everyone a window into his mind, and the view is filled with anger and an eagerness for combat, not unity or conciliation.

Overall, Trump typically wraps his Twitter rants in an angry and dismissive tone, and his diatribes frequently go far afield from the issues that Trump says are his top priorities, such as creating jobs, cutting taxes and overhauling the healthcare system. He even got into a public feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan over how to respond to terrorism in the wake of the lethal attacks in London a week ago. more> https://goo.gl/aYN2iY