The American media attaches some sort of significance to the first 100 days of a new president’s term, going so far as to give one of their news-gossip shows such a moniker.
Newly crowned presidents generally assume office with some measure of political capital which they use to shove their signature policies through Congress. Thus far, Donald Trump is 0 for everything, getting no cooperation from the guys and gals on the Hill who just won’t comply with his dictates. That’s good or bad, depending on your views. The net result produced is our greatest friend: gridlock. Lovable, huggable gridlock.
Of course, legislative failures aside, presidents still wield a great deal of power, all with the stroke of a pen. With said pen, they can Executive Order their way around a great deal of the congressional congestion, thumbing their nose at the entire process. Again, that’s good or bad, depending upon your view of any given EO. The larger issue, of course, is EO’s run amok. Here an EO, there an EO, everywhere an EO. Old Man Donald had a pen…
Presidential campaigns are all about towering rhetoric, and the whipping of dutiful conservative or liberal adherents into enough of a voting frenzy to get them to sign on for one session of voting every four years. They generally leave the booth thinking, “THIS time it’s gonna work! Really! After all, he/she said ‘blah blah blah. And Make America Great Again.'”
(Pardon me, Mr. Voter. You left your MAGA hat in the booth.)
Within days of the inaugural speech, the seas of rhetoric are calmed, the promised legislation begins to stale in the hopper on the Hill, and little changes. For Trump fans who bought into the rhetoric about the repeal of Obamacare, lower taxes and a kinder, gentler foreign policy, the eyes begin to glaze over like those of a dude who just bought a car that looked a lot like a Cadillac, only to find it’s actually a Chevy Vega.
The real world matters very little to such voters, whose total investment in such things is no more than the aforementioned quadrennial trip to the polls. Otherwise, if BushClintonBushObamaTrump says we need to launch a few Patriots into Syria to take out the latest bogeyman, then hey, I guess that’s just what we need to do.
Or they assign blame to the opposition in Congress. Then again, the loyal conservative who pulled the chain for Donald John must be at least a tad bit disheveled when their savior skewers the few hardy souls in congress who actually are conservatives.
Conservatives. Remember them? They’re as rare as a photo of Maxine Waters at the annual Albert Einstein Appreciation Society Convention.
For the remaining time of Trump’s first term, all we’ll see is more of the same, this tinkering with the ornaments on the Christmas tree, while the water disappears from the stand holding it up. With very rare exception, nobody inside the Beltway possesses the cajones to address the real issues facing America: the stifling debt, the exaltation of the military and subsequent building of the empire at all costs, exorbitant taxation, and the concentration of power among a few elites, whose hallowed status has nothing to do with whether it’s an R or a D following their name.
The best assessment I can give Trump is that he is not her, she being the still-un-incarcerated she-bear of the Left. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.
The modern day glamour boy of American conservatives remains Ronald Reagan. Yet they are loathe to admit (if they even realize) that when Reagan left office, the government he presided over was way bigger than when he and his glorious rhetoric took office eight years prior.
And that’s the best we’ll get out of Trump. Rhetoric that makes some folks feel good about themselves and the vote they cast. Then in 2020, they’ll get fired up once again for the next shell game.
Trump is more of the same, the latest presidential rerun that represents the best we’re willing to do. Americans no longer vote Tafts or Clevelands into power.
It’s an absurd process, the ultimate dog-and-pony show, where really bad laws sometimes get passed (Obamacare) and nothing ever gets repealed. Then we bomb the latest -stan for whatever reason while we hoist Old Glory and thump our patriotic chests.
And as we wait for the next campaign season which will finally offer real change, those who called out Trump for proving to be exactly what they said he was before the election, cling to our greatest ally: gridlock.
© Copyright 2017 Tim Holcombe