Thursday, November 17, 2016

Maybe We're Best Off Letting Trump Be Trump (Within Reason)

Well, what to say about this whole mess apart from assessing it for what it is: a catastrophe. It’s a catastrophe for the world and it’s a catastrophe for the United States. We have elected tyrants and we have elected fools in this country, but never have we elected a psychopath. Nixon was close, but with Trump, we have installed into the White House a deranged and uniquely unqualified amateur whose capacity for damage is worth worrying about.

The presidency of course has checks and balances, and on issues of consequence a stubborn minority opposition can present dramatic obstacles as we observed throughout the Obama administration. On the other hand as the Iraq War attests, a president can lead the charge into great damage. It is hard to imagine that Trump won’t wish to fiddle with this new thing, the presidency, with much the energy a child might express toward a new toy, and it’s even harder to imagine his caprices succeeding, but it’s easy to imagine them courting disaster. How big a disaster depends on how big the idea is and as we all know, Trump thinks big league.

Trump is not firm in his ideology and has swayed dramatically over the years on key issues, always tilting toward whatever was most expedient financially or for brand enhancement. It is my belief that he doesn’t subscribe personally to a lot of the racial and religious antipathy that buoyed his candidacy. However, he now has to follow through and present some cardboard replica at least of the grander idiocies he promised his base. Not that railcars teeming with weeping families and disrupted international travel over some clumsy implementation of the Muslim ban would incur any cognitive dissonance that would effect a crisis of the presidency on Trump’s part. As I’ve suggested before, his ideology is a moving target, his moral compass a weathervane, his personal ethics a vast wasteland.  

All of this though, makes him a real target for pernicious forces that are not nearly so circumspect about their antipathy toward the rest of the world and elements of American society deemed less worthy. I nudge of course to the neocon crypt that opens up once every four years and looses its ghouls to see if it’s possible to throw more American kids into the meat grinder in devil’s trade for the Halliburton and Bechtel bottom line. The great question as I see it is whether Trump has enough energy left after this bruising campaign to be himself, the obstinate rule breaker, the one who steers his own course against all advice good and bad, or whether he will be captured by the cabal of neocons that have been wringing their hands and salivating, hopeful for another manageable president in the tradition of George W Bush.

It’s anybody’s guess. I am hoping for four years of what we might want to think of as a casino presidency; a kleptocracy where the house always wins and so do a few customers, but where most people more or less have a good time and the bouncers keep the broken noses to a minimum. The other option is for him to fall captive to the neocons, and we’ve already seen what they can do.

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