Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017--Trump's Band of Amateurs

Much of Donald Trump's appeal has been his swaggering claim that because of his experience as a successful businessman he is not some over-experienced, incompetent government type.

The latter, by definition, are incompetent. Look at the mess professional politicians have made. It's time to turn government, whatever small part of it we will leave intact, over to people who know how to get things done. Like build a casino. We'll take our business acumen and apply it to the simple matter of running the government.

Thus, all the generals and CEO types Trump has selected to join him in running USA, Inc.

But so far, just 10 days into his presidency, Trump has already demonstrated that his boys don't in fact know how to get the job done.

Case in point this past weekend is the roll out of the new ban on Muslims from seven Middle Eastern countries. Including Iraq where people who risked their lives to help us fight ISIS are being turned back as they try to come to America.

The Trump immigration roll out was as bungled as the mocked Obama launch of Obamacare.

In Trump's case the immigration-ban mess is a result of intentional choices--rather than recruit and hire a few key staffers who know how things work at the senior executive level he selected the under-experienced Steven Bannon (now frighteningly a member of the National Security Council) and Stephen Miller to be in charge of White House policy.

Together they hatched this plan, opted not to consult with anyone in the Pentagon or Department of Homeland Security, so that Trump could sign the executive order with a ceremonial flourish, believing that all that was required to successfully implement this xenophobic and likely illegal policy was a stroke of the presidential pen.

Trump ran against elites of all kinds but primarily those in the media and government. There is a lot to find fault with in both places, but a certain amount of experience and, more important, competency counts when you want to get big things done in a complex and contested political environment. The Oval Office is not the set for The Apprentice or the Trump Organization.

Even incoming presidents such as Ronald Reagan who famously proclaimed government not the solution to problems but rather the cause of them, stocked his cabinet and the White House with solid citizens who knew how things work when dealing with Congress and the press.

This time around we have Bannon and Miller, neither one of whom has a clue about how things are accomplished in Washington. They clearly do not know that Reagan needed Tip O'Neill as a partner. Or that Bill Clinton had Newt Gingrich.

And, so it appears, neither does Trump who is now bumbling his way through the mess he and his amateur staff devised, including late last night firing his acting attorney general, evocative of Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre

In fact, Trump's response has been so inept that he managed to make things worse. Now at least half the world hates us. All the product of a week's work.

As a result, he is quickly losing control of the agenda and has fewer and fewer Washington friends who he will need if he is to have a successful legislative agenda.

Which, in the end, may be a good things. The less of his agenda the better.

Stephen Miller (left) and Steven Bannon

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