Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The learning curve facing Trump

Try to imagine, if you can, what might be going through the head of Donald J. Trump as inauguration day is nigh.

One possibility might be that the days of bluster and bullshit may be coming to a close.

That is to say, the scrutiny of the president, his statements, misstatements, musings, boasts and fabrications is far more intense than it is for others.

So far, two days out from the inauguration, we have seen little of the norm from him however.

As the NY Times put it in a front page piece this morning:

“Where other presidents used the weeks before their inauguration to put the animosities of the campaign behind them and to try to knit the country together again, Mr. Trump has approached the interregnum as if he were a television wrestling star. He has taken on a civil rights icon, a Hollywood actress, intelligence agencies, defense contractors, European leaders and President Obama. The healing theme common at this stage in the four-year presidential cycle is absent.”

In addition, there’s the issue of exaggerating, to be polite.

On this very day, for instance, he tweeted – and frankly, is this any way for a president to communicate serious thoughts? – this:

"Totally biased @NBCNews went out of its way to say that the big announcement from Ford, G.M., Lockheed & others that jobs are coming back to the U.S., but had nothing to do with TRUMP, is more FAKE NEWS."

Let’s get serious. It’s true that the auto companies have announced plans for expansion in Michigan, at least a couple of them in the works way before Trump.

Even then, by memory, that amounts to a total of about 3,000 jobs.

Not that that is chicken scratch, but compare it to Obama’s record of some 17 million jobs created on his watch.

And an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.
Which gets to the question of whether Donald Trump is a serious man.

He seems to be most comfortable picking fights with people, tweeting, and more or less making up policy on the fly.

This is somewhat facetious, but I write a blog each day that takes me, on average, about three hours, when all of the components are considered.

You just know he doesn’t spend that kind of thought when he rips off a tweet about Meryl Streep, or whoever or whatever he is battling at the time.

Policy? What policy?

It rather fits with what seems to be ignorance of the fact that there are three branches of the federal government.

You reckon he might learn that when he tries to ram a new health care policy through Congress?

What we’re seeing here is a man about to climb a huge learning curve.

But he seems not to recognize that.

Dave's News Insider

/Environmental protest/



Wednesday's photo: Melania Trump

Yesterday, we featured the current first lady in this space.

Today, it’s Melania Trump’s turn.

That because of a TMZ story today that chronicles what her New York City-White House commute will look like each week.

Turns out, she’ll spend the weekends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but then she and son Barron will return to Manhattan during the week so he can continue in his New York school.

TMZ points out that rank has its privileges here – the new first lady and son can make that commute in 90 minutes, via motorcade, jet, and helicopter.

A hectic life for a dedicated mom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Update: 18 million could lose health insurance

Be careful what you wish for, you Obamacare haters.

The NY Times is reporting today that a report by the Congressional Budget Office estimates that a repeal of Obamacare would cost 18 million people their health insurance in the first year.

Over the course of a decade, some 32 million Americans would be uninsured and premiums on the rest could double.

Trump's rocky beginnings

The Reagans on inauguration day

Even before he is sworn in, these may be the worst of times for Trump fans.

That is an extraordinary circumstance. In other times, the arrival of a new president is widely greeted with hopes for new beginnings, and an optimistic wonderment about new ideas.

Alas, Mr. Trump is being met with the approximate glee of the arrival of, say, a letter from the IRS.

That reception is leading to an extraordinary defensiveness by the true believers, if social media and The Donald himself are any indicators.

It’s hardly, say, JFK saying the torch has been passed to a new generation, or Ronald Reagan describing his city on the hill, or Barack Obama telling us that yes we can.

Need some evidence of our collective reaction to the man who two months ago won the Electoral College vote? 

Here’s the headline on today’s Gallup web site:

“Trump's Pre-Inauguration Favorables Remain Historically Low”

In a nutshell, Gallup says this:

“President-elect Donald Trump approaches Inauguration Day with a significantly lower favorable rating than his three immediate predecessors received when they were presidents-elect. Trump's 40% favorable rating is roughly half of what Barack Obama enjoyed before his inauguration in 2009 (78%) and is much lower than the pre-inaugural ratings for George W. Bush (62%) and Bill Clinton (66%).”

A CNN poll is pretty much mirroring Gallup. Here’s the top of their story:

“Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40% according to a new CNN/ORC Poll,  the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president.”

That poll suggests that this is a hole that Trump has dug for himself.

“Trump's wobbly handling of the presidential transition has left most Americans with growing doubts that the President-elect will be able to handle the job,” the CNN piece says.

(Trump is, predictably, tweeting about the polls, saying they are rigged.)

This is not helped by Trump’s brawl with John Lewis. Slate, for instance, is reporting this today:

“The list keeps growing. Ever since President-elect Donald Trump harshly criticized civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia more Democrats have said they will not go to Friday’s inauguration. The latest to join his name to the skip list? Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is one of the top contenders to become the new head of the Democratic National Committee. ‘“I will not celebrate a man who preaches a politics of division and hate,” Ellison wrote on Twitter.”’

And even a name from the past, John Dean, Nixon’s former lawyer and a key witness in the Watergate hearings, is saying in The Atlantic that he has begun having nightmares about a Trump presidency. And he worked for Nixon!!

You’re no doubt aware too that many entertainers are declining the honor of being in Washington on Jan. 20 too.

You can Google it yourself, but there are many, from some of the Rockettes to Celine Dion to Elton John, to Andrea Bocelli, to Kiss, to Garth Brooks….

Still, he obviously has his fans, and they are outspoken in their hopes and dreams for a new administration.

The good news for them, and the new president, is that he can only go up from there.

We think.

Dave's News Insider

/FDR and friend/

  • In a line that harkens back to the Gerry Ford years and New York City, Politico today comes up with this headline – “Trump to Europe: Drop Dead.” The piece notes this in the lead – “It is, remarkably, no exaggeration to say that almost everyone in Europe awaits the presidency of Donald Trump with a sense of dread.” 

  • What do you know about Betsy DeVos, nominated by Donald Trump to be secretary of education? She’s a big advocate of charter schools, for one thing. She’s really really rich for another. The Nation tells you about the other things, as she prepares to face a confirmation hearing today.