Monday, 06 February 2017 09:59

Trump's two weeks as President: Wizardry in commotion

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trump compressedAt 1:00 P.M., Sunday, February 5, 2017, like millions of other Patriot’s fans, if just for a day, I turned on the Super Bowl pre-game show. You can imagine the shock at seeing Donald Trump’s head talking about himself. The president has already established that he’s insensitive, insecure, even boorish, by some accounts, but this is beyond all comprehension. It’s worse than advertising a PBS special about cannibalism on the Food Network’s Christmas show. Some things are inexcusable anywhere from Washington to Pyongyang. This was one of them.

It’s very early, for sure, to begin making assessments about the new president but Trump wanted to be seen as an action man right from the start. None can say he failed in achieving this goal. It, also, means he has only himself to blame for the heightened scrutiny of his presidency’s early moves.

Enough executive orders flew out of Washington in the first week of this presidency to end legal unemployment for the next four years. If only the “so-called judges,” as Trump calls them, would agree that whatever he does is legal we’d finally make some real progress in this country. That is--if progress is identified as the possession of powers far in excess of those granted by the Constitution.

Creating executive orders is hard work. You can’t just sign everything chief strategist Steve Bannon puts in front of your nose, no matter how fancy the folder. There’s research that goes into these things; consequences must be weighed carefully; and, consultations are customary before the new rules are promulgated. The process, already laborious, is made even tougher when done at breakneck speed.  This fact, alone, illustrates why the new president deserved his first vacation, after less than two weeks on the job. Ever Scotch thrifty, he rented a room from himself in Florida to ward off the fatigue.

While Trump relaxes at the beach everyone else can ponder the first two weeks in Trumplandia. It hasn’t been an auspicious start. The president is said to have threatened to invade Mexico, by force, if that country doesn’t get its criminal element under control. This is confusing to Mexico since it, probably, expected thanks for sending the notorious narco-criminal, El Chapo, to New York for us to deal with. It did prove, however, the Trump campaign’s assertion that Mexico was sending its worst people to the U.S.

Chicago is going to be invaded by Federal troops, too, which intimates a declaration of martial law, the president said, if they don’t fix their murder problem. It’s purely coincidental that Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, heads that City as mayor. There’s no escaping that Chicago’s murder rate is scandalous but the conundrum, here, is that firearms account for most murders and the new administration is avowedly pro-gun.

Showing decisive leadership, secret overseas prisons were back; then not, just as fast. What people, really, want to know is if these places are so secret why are we even talking about them at all? It’s like the old fifty-dollar bill granny kept in her bra. Everyone knew it was there, no matter how many times she denied it, but no one ever wanted to see it to prove her wrong.

The administration showed its spiritual side, too, at the National Prayer Breakfast last week where America’s religious goals for the coming year were articulated. The president exhorted the entire country to pray that Celebrity Apprentice TV ratings would improve. That’d be truly miraculous, but anything is possible with God because you have to believe Trump prayed he’d win the election.

Higher education has weighed in as well. U.C. Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, and icon of liberality was feeling left out of the fun, seemingly, after decades of quietude, and it erupted at the prospect of a Breitbart News editor giving a talk that, normally, a dozen people might have attended. Berkeley got its comeuppance, though, when the president threatened to cut off the school’s federal funding. Perhaps, instead, the federal government should consider foreclosing on the university and converting all those dorms and classrooms into condos.

Is there a method to this madness? Maybe. Trump’s outlandish stunts could be trickster craft designed to deflect attention from the activities taking place behind the curtain. Whatever is hidden with the most care is, generally, what’s most worth seeing.

It’s too early to tell, for sure, if this act is Trump’s by intelligent design or the product of whimsy. The tactic has worked well in the past. Even the great and wonderful Oz enjoyed it for a while. Donald Trump should be so lucky.


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