Saturday, May 20, 2017

Unstable, Unable

The president of the United States has produced a building crisis that is unprecedented in our history. The question, at bottom, is whether Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his first four months, that he is unfit for the presidency—wholly unsuited in terms of judgment, knowledge, mental capacity, personal stability.

  Peggy Noonan @ WSJ
But he was duly and legally elected by tens of millions of Americans who had legitimate reasons to support him, who knew they were throwing the long ball, and who, polls suggest, continue to support him. They believe the press is trying to kill him. “He’s new, not a politician, give him a chance.” What would it do to them, what would it say to them, to have him brusquely removed by his enemies after so little time? Would it tell them democracy is a con, the swamp always wins, you nobodies can make your little choices but we’re in control? What will that do to their faith in our institutions, in democracy itself?
Yes. They'll be livid. But he's a bigger threat to our national security than anything else at this point.
[I]f he has demonstrated already, so quickly, that he cannot competently perform the role, and that his drama will only get more dangerous and chaotic, how much time should pass to let him prove it?
It WILL only get worse. He's not capable of changing. He is who he is. He lives and loves drama.
The president spends his time tweeting his inane, bizarre messages—he’s the victim of a “witch hunt”—from his bed, with his iPad. And giving speeches, as he did this week at the Coast Guard Academy: “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Actually Lincoln got secession, civil war and a daily pounding from an abolitionist press that thought he didn’t go far enough and moderates who slammed his brutalist pursuit of victory. Then someone shot him in the head. So he had his challenges.


Stop leaking, tweeting, cheering. Democracy is not your plaything.
Don't stop leaking. In any currupt and incompetent administration, we need leaks. That's not playing at democracy. That's aiding it. An uninformed populace is incapable of participating meaningfully in democracy.
For months [Trump has] told friends he’s about to make big changes in his staffing], and doesn’t. Why? Maybe because talented people on the outside don’t want to enter a poisonous staff environment just for the joy of committing career suicide.
No. There are always plenty of people with a lot of ambition but without conscience who would kill to get a job in the Trump administration. The reason is simple, like Trump himself: he likes to keep people in suspense. It's a form of power, and it keeps him in the news. He loves seeing himself on TV.
A mystery: Why is the president never careful? He doesn’t act as if he’s picking his way through a minefield every day, which he is. He acts like he’s gamboling through safe terrain. Thus he indulges himself with strange claims, statements, tweets. He comports himself as if he has a buffer of deep support. He doesn’t. Nationally his approval numbers are in the mid to high 30s.

His position is not secure. And yet he gambols on, both paranoid and oblivious.


It would be good if top Hill Republicans went en masse to the president and said: “Stop it. Clean up your act. Shut your mouth. Do your job. Stop tweeting. Stop seething. Stop wasting time. You lost the thread and don’t even know what you were elected to do anymore. Get a grip. Grow up and look at the terrain, see it for what it is. We have limited time. Every day you undercut yourself, you undercut us. More important, you keep from happening the good policy things we could have done together. If you don’t grow up fast, you’ll wind up abandoned and alone. Act like a president or leave the presidency.”


The president needs to be told: Democracy is not your plaything.
He is who he is. Too self-absorbed to be self-aware. And he's skated all his life. Why would he think now is any different?

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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