101 Trumpnations

One hundred and one. But who’s counting? The total is too daunting.

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Donald Trump in 100 days hasn’t done as much as we may have feared, and of course he’s done way less than he promised. Lots of commentary about this artificial hundred-day mark, about how Trump’s doing.

What about us? How are we doing?

Still shocked. Still disbelieving. I have friends and family who are watching and reading much less news. Thoreau said that, once you know trains can crash, you don’t need to know every time a train crashes. I’m reading and watching somewhat less. So little of what’s in the headlines and on the air is surprising: Trump guts environmental protections, Trump proposes tax breaks for the rich. We need to know he’s doing this, but I don’t need to punish myself with each detail.

My wife, Lisa, has said for some time that, politically, things have to get worse before they get better. She started saying this when W was “selected” as she says. I hoped eight years of W would be enough to start the “better.” But I guess we need more “worse.” I can’t quite fathom that we have fourteen times as many days of Trump left as we’ve had so far — if he doesn’t quit early, bored and tired of actual work, as I believe he will. At 66 years of age, keeping my head down for four years and hoping things get better doesn’t sound as easy as it might have in 1968, at the beginning of Nixon. Or even at the beginning of Reagan, when I was 30.

Several commentators, including Andrew Sullivan, have said it’s a good thing Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected, if Congress stayed Republican. Congress would have let her accomplish less than Obama, and the right would have gone more crazy, and the Democratic Party would have suffered more in the White House than in the Wilderness, Sullivan says. Maybe there’s a silver lining there.

The hope these writers have is that Trump will screw up enough that there will be a reaction against him in both the midterms and the next presidential election, and we’ll get back to … to what? Republicans and Democrats fractured within their parties, left and right (or right and far right)? Voters who don’t understand or want to understand people who voted for the other side? A country still divided, or splintered, but one with a Democrat in the White House? I guess that’s our hope, faint though it may be.

My hope is that people who voted for Trump will see his con. But they haven’t so far. Ninety-six percent of those who voted for him still support him, some polls say. Those numbers may not yet reflect reaction to his tax plan, which benefits him to the tune of hundreds of millions, and $1.2 billion in estate tax savings, if you believe his boasts about his own wealth. Maybe those numbers will wake up some Trump voters — but are the local media in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, or Anadarko, Texas, showing who benefits and who’s getting screwed in Trump’s plan? Fox News ain’t. What will make Trump voters understand that he ran as a populist and is already governing as a plutocrat?

Trump voters are getting the circus they wanted, but not the bread. Jason Miller, a Trump campaign adviser, told the New York Times today “The 2016 election wasn’t a delicate request to challenge exiting traditions; it was a demand that our next president do things different. And while the professional political class struggles to understand what has happened to their hold on power, supporters of President Trump — the forgotten men and women he referenced in his Inaugural Address — love the change they’re seeing.” So Trump shakes things up and doesn’t follow convention, and I understand how that’s appealing. Too many politicians are to human beings what a postcard is to a real sunset. So Trump is refreshing to people tired of both Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton poll-testing their every breath.

Trouble is, Donald Trump doesn’t give a rat’s ass about “the forgotten men and women he referenced in his Inaugural Address.” Never has. And is busily working, when he’s not golfing, at screwing them over. Will they see it, or will his flimflam bluster keep them entertained enough to not check their wallets?

Time will tell. But with an aging Supreme Court and the oceans rising … do we have 1,359 more days?

Me, I’m just glad baseball season started. Even reruns of West Wing (our fifth time through) aren’t cheering me up as much as an Evan Longoria homer or rope-line toss from deep at third.

How are you all doing?

— Bruce Benidt


21 thoughts on “101 Trumpnations

  1. Dennis Lang says:

    Hah! Twins at .500. If they sustain it a staggering twenty-two game turn-a-around from the nightmare of 2016 and only 59 wins.
    And yes, despite the spark of civic activism, marches, and town hall resistance to Republican policy I can’t help but feel a futility in all of it, that it can’t be sustained and worse can’t translate into votes–for whom? What does the opposition party even stand for these days? Other than “Not Trump”?
    Trump, I’m afraid will have to play it out. Russian investigations, emoluments clause violations, ethics transgressions, etc, etc,, all of it will roll off his back and nothing, not the grossest irrationality that purports to justify him, will dissuade his supporters.
    This grim mood is however subject to rapid fluctuations.

  2. pm1956 says:

    Yes, I am rather exhausted at times, and find that I need to force myself to take a break from news, etc. But I still go back to it, and try to catch up on all I missed!

    I don’t think that Trump voters care all that much about missing out on the bread. The circus is what they really want. Trump seems to me to be a resentment/revenge candidate. Trump supporters don’t really seem to care what he does as long as he messes things up for those who are better off.

    That said, I do have to admit that it is possible to read Trump many ways. Is the Kusher faction dominant? They are globalists, and, frankly, rather like Clinton–technocrats, internationalists, Goldman Sachs alums. Trump could morph into a rather mainstream Repulican with an emphasis on tax cuts and starving the state while talking up a good game on trade and immigration without really doing anything there. Will Bannon come back? Will the entire GOP shift into an America First position, looking more like Pat Robertson (paleo-conservatives) than Reagan? Either of those things could happen, and I don’t think that Trump supporters will care a whole lot– after all, they really don’t expect much out of government. I don’t think they believe Trump when he says he is going to reopen the closed factories, or bring back coal mining jobs. All of that just signals that he “is on their side”, what ever that is.

    So, yeah, baseball. But I don’t expect much from the Twins, and really don’t care. I just want to see the Cardinals beat the Cubs!

  3. Dennis Lang says:

    Agreed. The support is for messing things up. Well done Trump!
    Personally, I’m not too sure having the fate of America in the hands of Kushner, who appears to me as a total fraud, is preferable to Bannon. At least we know what drives Bannon. To say nothing of Ivanka who plays the “perception-of-reality-is-identical-to- truth” game with the skill of her old man.
    Cards in early trouble PM. But 142 games to go. The beauty of baseball!

  4. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well….where to begin. I voted for Trump. Let me make that clear. Shocker. I disagree with him on trade. The tariffs on Canadian lumber and protectionist talk are stupid (by the way, if any of you missed the nearly 20,000 Canadians belting out the Star Spangled Banner yesterday in Edmonton when the mic failed before the Oilers/Ducks hockey game, catch it on YouTube. The national anthem never sounded better).

    I also vehemently disagree with any talk or thought of changing libel laws (the media in this country trail Trump’s approval rating by about 10 percentage points and are doing a fine job of blowing themselves up without any help from tweets or proposed changes in laws). Besides, we have had enough of limiting free speech from misusing the IRS, FEC and FCC to impose by fiat what the courts refused to sanction ( Kimberley Strassel’s book “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech” should win the Pulitzer). Or wade into Floyd Abrams “The Soul of the First Amendment.” Liberals used to be for free speech….and many of you and other honest liberals are. But what the government did under Obama when it came to tax exempt groups and what that spawned is more frightful than anything Trump has done thus far. Don’t even get me started on the craziness on college campuses to limit speech and speakers.

    As you would surmise of a more libertarian view, I applaud less regulation (much of which has been vastly ineffective and costly), support tax cuts (paired with a restraint on spending), support stepped up bombing and targeting of ISIS and wholeheartedly support an administration that finally refuses to kiss North Korea’s ass as liberal and conservative administrations have done in the past.

    I obviously cheer his Supreme Court appointment (which makes Kagan’s lack of prior judicial experience and scholarship look all the more ridiculous).

    Yes, he isn’t studious, doesn’t measure his words to the point of droning on and saying nothing, is too think skinned and self centered, even more so than Obama which I didn’t think possible, and he seems to relish fighting with the media, a losing proposition. I tire of his self promotion. I am, however, encouraged by many of the people he picked to surround him.

    What you miss is that Trump is about as Republican as I am. He doesn’t have any set ideology, way less than Mr. Obama. You put too much emphasis on governing at the executive level. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama decimated your party. Dems lost the White House, Congress, (soon the Supreme Court) and control a minority of the country’s state legislatures and governorships.

    This wasn’t a few right wing crazies eking out of victory for Trump as much as a rejection of most of what the modern Dems represent. People really liked Mr. Obama personally but he had no influence, clout or popularity anywhere else (and his average approval ratings while in office were below 50 percent).

    Change was definitely what voters opted for….at every level. More of the same tired old liberal philosophy won’t win anything back. And Republicans who don’t offer any new ideas are just as vulnerable. Instead of delighting in each other’s political misfortune, all sides better start coming up with real solutions or no one gets to effectively govern…for long.

    1. Okay Mike. I’ve known you for more than 35 years. You’re whip smart, you have a good heart, you argue with logic from facts … and god knows you love to argue. I get that Trump gives you much of what you want … a conservative on the Supreme Court, regulations rolled back, pro-business policies and more. And I think only slightly better of Hillary than you do. We Democrats shot ourselves in the foot making her our nominee.

      Okay. I stipulate all that

      Now. Really. Do you think Donald Trump is qualified to be president? Yes he was born in America and is of constitutional age. So he meets those qualifications. But in the night when you put your head on your pillow do you think he’s fit to be president? I won’t list the whole bill of horribles. But thinking of these things … he lies far more than anyone since Joe McCarthy; he has the vocabulary of a junior-high kid, which I think would bother you and which I think is indicative of stunted intellectual development; he thinks his background as a dealmaker is all he needs to be president, that everything can be approached as a deal (as if a hockey goalie ran for president and said all he needs to know to be president is what he learned blocking hot shots on goal); he has frequently stiffed blue-collar contractors on his projects; he bragged about grabbing pussy; he talks without thinking and certainly without weighing the consequences of his words and without knowing how little he knows (steam naval catapults versus magnetic); he doesn’t read books, not even his own; he is astonishingly ignorant of the world beyond his gilded rooms and of history; he has no real beliefs that inform policy on issues from abortion to immigration; he’s no more a Republican than I am; he is ignoring — demeaning — the most damaging attack on America since 9/11 in the Russian intrusion into our election (leaving alone the question of collusion); he assumes a judge with an Hispanic name is a Mexican; he measures other people only by how much they like and praise him; he doesn’t seem to give a shit about anyone without money or power or fame; he has stupid hair; and he has the temperament and reactions of the most nauseating arrogant prick in your seventh-grade class … thinking of these things, don’t you tremble?

      Are you really okay with this guy? Do you really think we are safe with him in the White House? Do you really think his judgment, temperament and world view equip him to deal safely with the incredibly complex (who knew health care was so complicated?) issues and challenges and crises that will come at him? Are you okay with him?

  5. wdewey2017 says:

    I think that many people confuse Trump with the Republican party. There is, and always will be I suppose, a Republican party, basically those who accept the fallacy that if you are good God will prosper you so if you are prosperous you must be good and whatever prospers you is the right thing to do..

    I can live with those people, even in power. They share some human values, at least … sickness, war, and poverty are bad, peace and enough for all are good. They are not at heart (most of them) really classist (any miore than I am). and they are willing to share, as long as they get to keep theirs.
    But I don’t think that those people are the ones who elected Trump. I would wager that many of the Trump voters had not voted at all before, or were the kind Republicans I meant above, who voted (often reluctantly) for Trump because he was the Republican nominee. Then the most troglodytic members of Congress mounted up a bandwagon and recruted some of their most banal colleagues (Republican-labelled, all) to make it look like there was a coherent Trumpiam majority governing the country.

    But I don’t believe it, not when even the most liberal (and true Republican) representatives and senators are so roundly booed when they try to listen to their constituents. Their constsituents — the Republicans who elected them — aren’t happy. Our political system doesn’t apapt to a European parliamentary system that works very well with coalition governments, but that’s what we have now. I hope that Mike Pence will eventually develop the testicular fortitude to assert to the cabinet that the president is so unable to uphold the Constitution, as he swore to do, by virtue of his inability to comprehend it, and sieze command. I wouldn’t have voted for him as dog catcher, but at least he sane and responsible. Trump is neither.

    This is already too long, but I have to agree too that the same tired old liberal philosophy is done. Obama was the scintillating rookie of the year who never learned to hit a curve ball or lay off a slider. We’ll always love him, and wish for what we thought could have been, just as we did with Bil Clinton.

    The day after the election last fall I printed up a bumper sticker tha said “Warren 2020.” If we want a better country, we have to swing from the heels. We may stirke out a lot, but sometimes we’ll catch ther wind and knock it out of the park. and then we’ll have universal medical care, or guaranteed minimum income, or a guest worker program that makes sense, or some other victory that shows everybody that one for all and all for one means all for everyone, and then we will begin to have a better country. I hope I live to see the day.

    pm1956, I’d even see the Cards beat the Cubs, after they stole the best center firlder in baseball!

    1. pm1956 says:

      Almost a Dexter Fowler for Jason Heyward trade….not quite in the Lou Brock/Ernie Broglio category, but I’ll take it.

    2. I think Warren’s time has passed. So has Bernie’s. 2016 was the year of the insurgent and the Dems put up a quintessential insider. We need now a real human being. I’m thinking Amy Klobuchar. Not much sizzle but by 2020 I think people will be tired of hustlers.
      More important: should Schwarber still be hitting lead off?

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Fine point. Schwarber strikes out at a rate similar to (the pre-revival) Buxton.
        I’m thinking by 2020 Kamala Harris could be intriguing.
        Broglio for Brock! Now I’m tempted to look up who the Red Sox got for Babe Ruth.

  6. wdewey2017 says:

    Well, I still wouldn’t leave Warren alone with a roomful of Republicans and any loaded firearms. I’d call 2016 more the year of the crapshoots, and the Democrats crapped out,

    Maybe it’s time for more than a feeble-ass overhaul of the Democratic party. Maybe it’s time for something stronger than a coalition between the tree-huggers and the whalesavers that breaks up when the whales are saved and the trees hugged, or somebody’s boyfriend moves away. Maybe it’s time for a new, real permanent alliance of those of us who can clearly see that we MUST preserve our environment from rampant pollution and disastrous climatic alteration, from the ever-increasing disparity in access to the means of sustaining life and ambition for progress, and the terrible erosion of tolerance for divergent religious values and ALL choices of lifestyle, beyond affectional prefernces.
    There are plenty of voices to speak for these causes, mostly identified as Democrats because that’s the only alternative. What if a handful of them — Warren and Klobuchar and Harris, and there are some men too who’ve been too timid to speak out — bolted the Grand Old Lib-Lab Lobby before it turns 100 and formed a new caucus in the Congress. I think it’s time.

    I’d have Schwarber hitting third, ahead of Bryant and Rizzo. Pitch out of that, Wainwright!

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Not on all fronts. Sorry. Schwarber at .196. Ain’t no 3-hitter at the moment.
      Thanks for reminding me. The Sox traded the Babe for cash:$25 thousand. (Is that about 100 mil in 2017 dollars?)

  7. wdewey2017 says:

    It woulds have to be a lot more than that, Dennis — the Rangers committed a quarter of a BILLION dollars for A-rod, and he couldn’t pitch.

    If they’d sold out every home game he’d played for duration of his contract it would have added over ten dollars to the price of ever ticket!

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Right. Excellent point!!! Makes one wonder about the justification of these long-term contracts. I think the Dodgers for instance are still paying millions to players long gone from the team.
      Wait, were we talking about that mind-boggling healthcare act that the House rolled over on–or was that another post? This started with Broglio for Brock. That pm1956 is a rabble-rouser!

  8. Dennis Lang says:

    Does anyone think the Comey firing will have a significant impact on the Presidency–perhaps in a way public opinion and Congress shifted forcefully away from Nixon in 1973 (as I recall)?
    Or just another bloviation that rolls off Trump’s back and goes away?
    I wonder how public approval and trust ratings might reflect this move in the days to come.

  9. wdewey2017 says:

    Well, all this talk about “confidence in the DOJ” makes wonder how many people even know who the AG is or what it’s all about, but I hope that it will. If the MSNBC pundits can calm down enough to discuss it reasonably, maybe so. Nixon at least seemed to be aware that there was a Constitution which he had sworn to uphold and that he was committing crimes deserving of impeachment. Trump doesn’t.

    Schwarber will come around. Remember, he didn’t play at all last year. He’s another Kirby Puckett, IMHO.

  10. Dennis Lang says:

    Sounds like journalistic bias. That was hardly a “chew-up”. Rockies crushed 8 to 1 in the second game.
    What? Kirby Puckett was fast, athletic and defensive Picasso. Schwarber? Not even close.
    How’s that Russian investigation going??? What’s Comey up to tonight?
    Cocktail hour here on the prairie. Cheers!

  11. wdewey2017 says:

    Kirby looked like he was just recruited off the last stool in a 3.2 bar, and he played left field as though his life depended on, and so does Schwarber. Kirby was faster, maybe,but Schwarber hits the ball REALLY hard.

    I wish it were possible to poll the FBI staff and see if they’ve really lost confidence in Comey.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      True. The Kirbster did get a little plump as time went on. But good bone structure. And the infatuation with Schwarber? He’s hitting .196!

      BTW–What happened to the PR masters that authored this blog? Democracy is going down the drain by the minute. I can only assume what our diabolical Pres is doing to the republic is unlike anything pros Austin and Benidt have ever seen in their collective, professional, corporate communicator lives, leaving them speechless.

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