Open Thread

The Open Thread for April 30, 2017

In an interview with Fox News, President Trump explained his inability to get things done in his first 100 days: “It’s a very rough system. It’s an archaic system… It’s really a bad thing for the country.”

Trump is an Authoritarian, and in his heart of hearts, he wants to be a dictator. If he could scrap Congress and the Constitution, he would do it.  He may still try (and that is when the violent Second Civil War begins).

President Trump proclaimed May 1 as “Loyalty Day” as a way to “recognize and reaffirm our allegiance to the principles” upon which America was built and express pride in those ideals, Fox News reports.

Said the proclamation: “The United States stands as the world’s leader in upholding the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice. Together, and with these fundamental concepts enshrined in our Constitution, our Nation perseveres in the face of those who would seek to harm it.”

It should be noted that other Presidents dating back to Eisenhower have issued similar proclamations regarding our democratic principles and freedom on May 1 so as to contrast with May Day, the Communist holiday honoring workers.   But it has never, to my knowledge, been referred to as “Loyalty Day” before.

Milo Yiannopoulos told Vanity Fair that he would be launching “a new media venture in the coming weeks with what he says is a $12 million investment from backers whose identities he is protecting.”

“The business, which will be called Milo Inc., will be even more focused on stoking the sort of ugly political conflict that’s closer to the surface than ever in these early months of the Trump administration. As Fox News remains busy with its latest scandal, Milo Inc. promises to be the latest incumbent in a growing far-right media sphere that is overwhelmingly populated with politically incorrect, and often jarring, provocations once considered verboten by conservatives.”

Dylan Matthews has three winners and four losers from the first 100 days of the Trump Presidency:

Winners: 1) Obamacare, 2) Big Business, 3) Jeff Sessions.
Losers: 1) Donald Trump, 2) Vladimir Putin, 3) Immigrants, 4) The Global Poor

This anecdote from Politico’s “The Education of Donald Trump” is terrifying:

As Trump is beginning to better understand the challenges—and the limits—of the presidency, his aides are understanding better how to manage perhaps the most improvisational and free-wheeling president in history. “If you’re an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins,” said one Trump confidante. “To talk him out of doing crazy things.”

One key development: White House aides have figured out that it’s best not to present Trump with too many competing options when it comes to matters of policy or strategy. Instead, the way to win Trump over, they say, is to present him a single preferred course of action and then walk him through what the outcome could be – and especially how it will play in the press.

“You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t consume information that way,” said one senior administration official. “You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.”

 

The Washington Post says most of Trump’s Executive Orders are toothless reviews:

“In the week ahead of Trump’s 100-day benchmark on Saturday, the White House has rushed to put more than half a dozen executive orders on the president’s desk, with the aim of bringing the total to 32.

Contrary to the administration’s assertions, that number is not a significant milestone for new presidents. What’s more, more than half of the 29 orders issued as of Thursday have merely called for reviews, have commissioned reports or established panels to issue recommendations. The documents lay out a dizzying schedule of 90-, 120- and 180-day increments for federal agencies to evaluate the feasibility of White House policy goals and report to the president.

They hardly represent the immediate action the president and his aides had heralded they would bring to Washington. But Trump has reveled in the symbolic speed and decisiveness they represent, even if his policy aims may not be realized for quite some time.”

 
Andrew Prokop:

““We’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” incoming White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told journalist Michael Wolff shortly after the election. “If we deliver, we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years.”

Nearly 100 days into Trump’s presidency, he hasn’t come anywhere close to fulfilling these grand ambitions.

“Presidents are most likely to leave their legacy in their first year or so. And so far, Trump hasn’t,” says George Edwards, a Texas A&M political scientist and an expert on the presidency. “He’s accomplished much less than I thought he would.”

Indeed, the Trump administration’s governing agenda currently lies in tatters, marked by two dramatic failures on his “Muslim ban” and health reform. Going forward, Republicans will face serious obstacles on any effort to enact tax reform, infrastructure, or Trump’s border wall, making it unclear whether Trump will win any major legislative accomplishments, particularly given his historic unpopularity for a new president.

That turned dark fast.  Still funny though.

Andrew Sullivan:

I keep thinking of how Obama kept predicting during his eight years of frustration that at some point the “fever would break” on the right. It never did. But history is an ironist. It turns out that the only way the fever could ever have broken is if the GOP actually got complete control of the government and … couldn’t do much of anything. The bluff has been extravagantly called. It’s one thing to rail against the “disaster” of Obamacare; it’s quite another, it turns out, to replace it.

All the right’s political power, we can now see, depended on being in permanent opposition, and never having to actually implement something. Their tax cuts for the very wealthy are tone-deaf; their resuscitation of the Laffer curve surreal. They’ve got nothing on health care but a return to the highly unpopular status quo ante. And they are caught between Trump’s desire to borrow even more to finance his tax cuts and the GOP’s resolute insistence throughout the Obama years that the debt was an existential threat. It’s quite amazing to watch this unfold and unravel in real time.

[…] we have a manifest and brutal exposure of the stark promises Trump made, and of the incoherence and shallowness of so much of the Republican agenda. I still would never have risked putting this menacing clown into the Oval Office. But in the long run, if catastrophe doesn’t strike, it might even be better for the future health of our politics that Clinton is not president. Maybe the American people are not so crazy after all.

Peter Dreier at The Nation:

The president shouldn’t be so defensive. He has indeed accomplished a lot in the 100 days since his inauguration. Here is just a partial list of all that Trump has already achieved:

  1.  Revitalized Alec Baldwin’s otherwise fading career and expanded Melissa McCarthy’s visibility due to their respective impersonations of Trump and press secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live.
  2.  Galvanized a massive resistance movement that included what was likely the largest protest (as many as 5 million people) in American history—the January 21 women’s marches and rallies in over 600 cities. […]
  3.  Set a record for the number (15!) of high-level appointees who withdrew (such as Andrew Puzder, his pick for labor secretary), quit (such as deputy White House chief of staff Katie Walsh), or were quickly fired (such as national-security adviser Michael Flynn) within a few weeks or months as a result of conflicts of interest, lousy vetting, ethics violations, negative media stories, and/or their inability to handle the White House’s chaos.

Former Obama and Clinton aide Ronald A. Klain analyzes the major failures of Trump’s presidency so far:

No president meets all of his ambitious promises for action in the first 100 days — but no president has done less to even try to deliver on his economic promises than Trump. […]

Trump has been stunningly blasé about staffing his administration. His victory was a surprise, so his transition was understandably less prepared. Republicans may be less easily enticed than Democrats into taking government jobs. But no president has done so little to staff so much of the government so far into his term as Trump.

This failure presents a long-term problem for Trump. Delays in filling higher-level jobs mean delays in filling mid-level jobs, and so on. Luckily for Trump, his administration has not had to face a major crisis. That string will break at some point. A hurricane will devastate a city, an offshore oil well will explode, an epidemic will threaten our shores. And a government without appointees in key posts will be woefully ill-equipped to cope. The inevitably inadequate response will have a lasting impact, not least for Trump.

 
Will Bunch says that despite not scoring up legislative wins, it will take years to undo the damage Trump has done to the presidency:

Yes, it’s true that Trump is nowhere close to delivering some of the cataclysmic policy changes that he promised during his campaign: The repeal of Obamacare, the “great wall” on the southern border, the Muslim ban, etc., etc. Don’t let those failures lull you into a false sense of security. Trump has already sledgehammered the basic trust between Americans and their government in ways that will take years to repair.

2 comments on “The Open Thread for April 30, 2017

  1. Interesting that the Republicans reject all comparisons to the Nazi’s and yet always seems to be wanting a thousand year Republican Reich, or in Steve Bannon’s case a mere 50 years in a rare moment of pragmatism. Also note Trump’s “Loyalty Day” proclamation, has a ring of McCarthyism about it, no doubt “Loyalty Tests” are waiting in the wings. As for “damage to the presidency” Trump has certainly ripped apart the illusion of the selfless leader that cares about all America’s people, he’s never made even the slightest mention of unity, coming together or being the president of all Americans. It’s because he thrives on controversy, fine for a sleazy wheeler dealer of real estate but dangerous for a vast and divided nation like America. Trump is a one man civil war starter kit, and the rest of the Republicans are the kids playing with it.

  2. delacrat

    DELAWARE DEM sez:

    “…Presidents dating back to Eisenhower have issued similar proclamations regarding our democratic principles and freedom on May 1 so as to contrast with May Day, the Communist holiday honoring workers. But it has never, to my knowledge, been referred to as “Loyalty Day” before.”

    “Loyalty Day” is a little known American fascist holiday first observed in 1921, as “Americanization Day” during the first Red Scare, to replace the May 1, International Workers Day, which was (and still is) seen by right-wingers as a “Communist holiday”. “Loyalty Day” was made an official recurring holiday in 1958 during the second Red Scare. “Loyalty Day” is apparently getting more notice as a consequence of the Russia-hacked-our-elections hysteria, the third Red Scare.

    A typical celebration of Loyalty Day often involves only handful of geezers from the VFW or American Legion parading down Main St. brandishing Old Glory, unaware of Loyalty Day’s labor movement origins, as their children’s jobs are off-shored or replaced by H1-B visas and former employers re-incorporate in foreign tax havens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: