The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
Not since George W. Bush’s 100 day losing war with Iraq based on bad intel has America suffered such days of grief as the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
For those who are too young to remember or who somehow rode out the Bush years in relative comfort with jobs and health care, the first 100 days of Trump must seem like Armageddon, the end of the world as we know it.
At least the Trump presidency is spawning widespread resistance, with all kinds of people taking to the streets to fight for science, health care, the environment and better government. We have needed that for a long time, so we can thank Mr. Trump for that one accomplishment.
Oh, and for the other two things he’s actually done: Getting a right-wing conservative confirmed on the U.S. Supreme Court and bombing a remote air base in Syria, which probably did nothing to stop the use of chemical weapons, but certainly changed the subject in the mainstream media away from Russian hacking and spying and meddling in the U.S. election. We are now focused on what we should be focused on, according to the talking heads on TeeVee and the freaking New York Times, bringing back the Cold War against Russia and attacking the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.
Are you psychologically prepared for World War III yet? Get ready. Here we come.
There are many reports out there on Trump’s first 100 days. I’ve shared some of them with my fans on Facebook.
I won’t recap them all here, but there are a few key quotes that need to be dealt with. While Trump snubbed the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington on Saturday and made an appearance in Harrisburg Pennsylvania to bash the media instead, he has been granting interviews to some of these same reporters all week making dueling statements about the importance or lack of importance of his first 100 days in office.
While at the same time he is promoting his first 100 days in office and saying in his weekly radio address and on Twitter that, “I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history,” in every interview he also downplays the event as an “artificial” thing and a “ridiculous standard.”
This is a reality show president who thinks he can have it both ways, and according to public opinion polls of his fans and voters, he is getting away with it. When will the talking heads start talking about Trump as the “Teflon” president, where no criticism sticks? That’s what they said about Reagan, and they are already letting Trump off the hook by comparing him to “The Gipper,” who was also an actor who did not know much about policy.
Trump is banking on the fact that he will be considered just as great a president by the faithful conservative masses when he is done. You don’t have to be smart to be president, unless you are a Democrat. Just ask Barack Obama, who had an IQ over 160.
Trump is already getting away with pointing out how hard it is to be president, just like George W. Bush.
“I never realized how big it was,” Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press. “Every decision is much harder than you’d normally make.”
“This is more work than in my previous life,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters. “I thought it would be easier.”
But this is reported as a “good sign” by the press, and many commentators, including those on public television, are more than willing to kiss up to Trump by declaring that he is “learning in office” and “making necessary corrections” and could make a fine president yet, to paraphrase the New York Times‘ David Brooks.
Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had a more critical take down in Sunday’s paper under the headline: Lessons From 100 Days of President Trump
He says “Trump has had the worst beginning of any president since, oh, perhaps William Henry Harrison (who died a month after his inauguration).”
He points out that Trump has had no legislative triumphs, and holds “by far the lowest public approval of any new president in polling history. Large majorities say he is not honest, does not keep promises and does not care about ordinary people.”
Yet therein lies another contradiction. Trump remains popular with his voting base. Only 2 percent of Trump voters say they regret their choice in November, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll. Not only is Trump not on his way to impeachment, in spite of obvious business and ethical lapses, he could be cruising toward a second term. Are the activists ready to keep fighting for eight long years? Or will they lose momentum as often happens in Amerca?
Many news outfits document Trump’s failures, including the travel ban debacle, the failure of the Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, to pass a tax reform package or a major infrastructure spending bill.
Many criticize him for spending more time on vacation in Florida in his first 100 days than Obama spent in the average year, something Trump criticized Mr. Obama for on the campaign trail. Never mind the truth. Trump’s supporters love him because he is white and stands up to “the establishment.”
While Trump brags about talking on the phone to many foreign leaders, he has so far made no trips abroad. By this time in his first term, Barack Obama had visited nine countries. Trump has still not filled many of the senior jobs in his administration, half as many as Obama in the same time frame.
But then Trump and his Republican cohorts don’t believe in government anyway, so that is no big deal to them. Many of Trump’s appointments are there to gut the agencies they are supposed to be running anyway, especially at the EPA, the Department of Education and the Interior, where science information is being deleted and the way is be paved for more oil and gas drilling on public land.
While all presidents are said to “grow on the job,” at least Kristof says “Trump remains a bully and a charlatan.”
“In my career, I’ve never known a national politician as mendacious, ill informed, bombastic and dangerous as Trump,” Kristof says. “His tweets are as immature as ever…”
The Washington Post calculates that he has issued 452 false or misleading claims since assuming office.
Not that it matters to them, but clearly Trump is cynically abandoning many of the campaign promises that drove the voter turnout to get him elected in the first place.
While he talked about “draining the swamp” in Washington and fed the working-class anger at elites during the campaign, most of the key people in his administration come from the same Goldman Sachs triangle as Hillary Clinton would have hired had she won the election. Rather than designing policies to help the people who got him elected, Trump he is proposing huge tax cuts for the rich to be financed by cutting health care for the needy. His so-called “deregulation” would allow chemical companies, oil companies and power companies to pollute the air, water and land more than ever, which will have disproportionate effects on poor people and minorities.
But the biggest threat of a Trump presidency at the moment appears to be his hankering for starting World War III. Trump remembers what Karl Rove told George W. Bush about “great American presidents” becoming known not for successful domestic policies, but for fighting big wars.
Trump is exploring his options in Korea, Iran and Syria and floated the biggest trial balloon since Hiroshima by dropping a 21,600 pound, $16 million Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb in Afghanistan, apparently just for shits and giggles and to try to scare North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Kristof doesn’t think attacking Korea is “likely,” but he admits it “would be cataclysmic.”
By saying over and over again that China should intervene with its crazy neighbor “or I will take care of the problem,” Trump has threatened war with another crazy dictator who even over the weekend tried to launch another missile that could reach the United States with a nuclear warhead. The launch tests keep failing. But if Trump were to order a unilateral strike on North Korea, most experts agree that Kim Jong-un would not hesitate to retaliate, and he has enough fire power and a large enough army to obliterate and roll over Seoul, South Korea.
Everybody could be drawn into that conflagration, including Russia, China and all of Europe.
So look. I know the Trump presidency is helping get more activists involved in public affairs. It is helping the mainstream media get back on the Facebook news feed. Comics are having a field day.
But like I warned before this election, there is nothing really good that will come out of this. We are facing at least four years and maybe eight of destructive policies that set the world back decades in trying to save the planet from the effects of climate change due to global warming from the burning of fossil fuels. It is setting us back from building a better democracy and making a more educated and healthy country and world.
I don’t know if we can make it through eight years of this. I’m not sure I can. But we have no choice but to try. I’m going back to Washington to see what I can do.
Order your Watchdog Press products here at CafePress.com.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.