Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Bummer

Interpreting the words of Donald Trump has become a game. A way to pass the time and perhaps amuse oneself as the Summer days pass by and his administration continues to struggle.

We’re pretty much forced to do it. We can’t help but listen to whatever the president says. Then we try to guess what will happen next. Is Donald really being serious or not? Will the administration try this crazy thing, maybe? Could it actually happen?

This would be second guessing. It’s an understandable tic. Because the odds of Donald Trump delivering on anything he’s so far promised are not very good. The candidate made more assurances on the campaign trail than any other politician in modern memory. As president, meanwhile, he’s accomplished less in his first 100 days, or in his first six months, than any other in history.

Here are the highlights of his year one: There’s no big beautiful wall. There’s no Trumpcare to replace Obamacare. There’s no Musselman ban, travel wise or other, to protect us from the horde. And the tax code overhaul? The massive cuts for the rich, part of a promised series for both wealthy individuals and corporations, were first defeated with the Trumpcare debacle. The promised wholesale reform has no current outline, no calendar, and Congress neither knows any of its details nor expects to know any soon.

And why is that? Because Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about anything, really. Certainly not anything about the tax code. The nuts and bolts of first understanding difficult things and then later managing to get something done? That’s not Donald. Like his efforts on government healthcare and immigration law, he’s averse to what he calls ‘politics.’

Let’s not forget, there are plenty of money-types in New York who swear that the businessman doesn’t really know anything about ‘business’ either. He’s failed at far more ventures than he’s succeeded, everybody knows that. The truth about the President might not be much more than he was born rich, and he’s still rich, and so what?

Then, if that’s the case, what does Donald Trump do? I think the one thing we can all agree upon is that Trump talks. A lot.

President Donald Trump will spend the next several weeks leading a public campaign in support of a tax overhaul while the White House leaves Republican lawmakers to hash out details of the plan, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said in an interview with the Financial Times.

That’s the one thing he can do. Though he can’t explain to anyone what tax reform is, what it looks like, or what the consequences of it could be, he can talk about how great it is. Gary Cohn:

“At the end of the day, tax legislation has to happen in Congress and the House,” Cohn said in the interview, which was published Friday. “The Ways and Means Committee will be drafting legislation and we will be on the road and holding meetings in Washington and elsewhere explaining why it is so important to have tax reform in America.”

Translation: We don’t know anything about this. All that stuff about ‘legislation’ has to do with Congress – not us. That’s what they do. We’re Team Trump, okay?

Cohn said he believes the legislation can be written and pass both houses of Congress by the end of the year.

“They have been holding hearings for years,” he said. “It’s not like they are just starting the process now.”

I’m sure either McConnell or Ryan has a thousand-page bill burning a hole on his desk. If this sounds bizarre, that’s because it is. The amount of work done by the Obama administration in drawing up and passing the Affordable Care Act, for example, was ridiculous. It took many months and hundreds of people to manage. And by the time it was passed the President himself had become a formidable expert on our health system, American insurance companies, and how to create a vital government program for the benefit of millions – a program, incidentally, that grows in popularity and esteem every day.

The Trump administration?

Trump will kick off the campaign next week with a visit to Missouri, according to an administration official familiar with the plans. His trip Wednesday to the state’s southwestern city of Springfield is expected to be the first of several stops around the country in the coming weeks, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the details were still under review.

Donald Trump et. al. will hold some campaign rallies. Where, between bashing in the heads of everyone Donald hates, which is now an even longer list – he’s our president now – Trump will tell his throngs that America…Needs A Tax Cut. And there you go, that’s it. That will be the entire Trump administration effort at reforming the leviathan U.S. tax code. The Leader will go out amongst his many assembled fans and he’ll…talk.

If this seems stupid, that’s because it is. For a president to promise his voters, and America in general, successes over virtually every difficult problem the country faces? But then never lift a finger to accomplish any of it himself? It’s supremely lazy. And arrogant, too. More than that, there’s something deeply troubling about it; it’s suicidal.

A president would have to have a strange and supreme belief in both Congress’ power and loyalty to try this. Leaving your goals wholly in the hands of other people is always a bad strategy. And in the absence of overwhelming evidence, it’s risky to assume they can even manage to get it done.

The GOP may have majorities in both house, but that guarantees nothing. The first two years of Obama’s tenure he had majorities too, and the GOP obstructed every thing he did, usually to great success. Nonetheless Trump has decided this will be the best way to run his administration – have it step back and demand that Congress do all the work.

Which is a bit startling, don’t you think? No previous president has demanded so much of and offered so little to Congress. Though they’re the people who will make or break his presidency, what is Trump giving them? What should they be looking forward to? What are they going to get in return?

Other than grief?

With every unlikely win, they’ll only see him take the credit. With every predictable loss, they’ll only see themselves become targets of his disappointment. He’s created a lose/lose dynamic and forced it upon our national politics. It’s a recipe for dysfunction.

It’s also unlike anything we’ve seen before. It was once easy to assume that the Trump administration would ultimately fail because of its corruption, because that’s the way other administrations failed. Richard Nixon, another dark presence, was driven from office by his penchant for lawbreaking and lying.

But he understood government. He knew how Congress worked, and who those people were. Nixon knew what they ultimately wanted, and so he used that to his ends, which is a big reason why he lasted as long as he did.

Trump is totally clueless about such things. He’s actually proud of his stupidity – he thinks it’s a great achievement on his part to know nothing of politics and to refuse to learn. It’s an extraordinary development in the history of the presidency, I think.

Ultimately it’s dangerous. Narcissist or otherwise, anyone who believes Congress’ proper role is to be subservient to the president of the United States will ultimately fail. People like McConnell and Ryan, pretty fair narcissists themselves, won’t long tolerate a lazy asshole Twitter-shaming them for failing to do his own work. President Trump risks becoming a barely relevant fact, like a Capitol monument. He could soon find himself relegated to being a fixture on the scene.

Undaunted, Donald has already started the war.

…President Trump trotted out the usual enemies, the malefactors in the “very dishonest media” and the “anarchists” of the left to whom that very same media had paid too little attention. But this time he gave equal billing to his fellow Republicans in Congress — the people he will surely need if he hopes to deliver on infrastructure or anything else of value to the working-class Americans who elected him.

Among these were Arizona’s two senators — John McCain, who cast the decisive vote in the Senate to dash Mr. Trump’s effort to repeal Obamacare, and Jeff Flake…Mr. McCain was sarcastically referred to as “one vote.” As for Mr. Flake, “Nobody knows who the hell he is.”

This will be a disaster. As the legislative side of the government further fails, so will his polling numbers. Donald will counter by scheduling even more rallies to unleash his bitterness on the House and Senate, and the whole thing will auger in. The do-nothing president will become Congress’ biggest critic, and Congress will return the favor by sitting on its hands. Donald Trump’s presidency will paralyze itself in this manner, even before the likely indictments come in. He’ll probably be dead long before anybody in the Department of Justice can kill him.

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