Sunday, August 20, 2017

'til Tuesday

We seem to have a short reprieve as Trump plans for his Phoenix rally on Tuesday.  Republicans walked back some of their earlier harsh condemnations following last Tuesday's press briefing.  Kasich wouldn't answer a single question Jake Tapper put forward on Trump, preferring to "look ahead," as he put it, and using the "State of the Union" to plug his successes in Ohio.  In the end, Governor John said he wants Trump to succeed.

I suppose a lot of these Republicans looked at the most recent polls and decided it is best to ride this current tweet storm out.  Alarmingly, 6 of 10 conservatives say there is nothing that would change their opinion of Trump.  It looks like a pretty rough primary in store for Jeff Flake, who will be going up against a challenger some say Trump will endorse at his rally in Phoenix this week.  The President still appears to be sitting in the catbird's seat as far as Republican voters are concerned.  

For Democrats, this is a golden opportunity to launch a major assault on Congress.  Only problem is that they haven't been able to inspire many persons to ante up.  They trail far behind Republicans in fundraising efforts.  Once again, his immenseness is sucking up all the air in the political war room.

Most likely 2018 will be a referendum on Trump as it was on Obama in 2010.  What helped the GOP then was their "Pledge to America."  It was a last ditch effort to turn the electoral tide that year and surprisingly it worked.  It looks like the Democrats still have time to come up with a better pitch than the one they currently have.  So, maybe we shouldn't waste all our energy at this juncture of the campaign.  Let Trump continue to dig a hole for himself.  Let the Republicans keep trying to defend him or ignore him or whatever.  Save all that self-righteous indignation for the home stretch.  After all, elections are a horse race.  You have to pace yourself.

Trump currently seems to have no idea what he's doing.  His administration is engaged almost entirely in damage control. The attempt to roll out a new infrastructure plan on Tuesday went hurtling off the rails because of his inability to stay on message.  He chose instead to vent his anger and frustration over the way the press portrayed his Charlottesville comments.  This led to a mass exodus of the CEOs who were helping him to forge a business plan for the future.  All he has now is Steve Mnuchin, who hasn't exactly distinguished himself in this regard.  Trump's threadbare staff seems as confused as he does as to where to go next.  The only thing positive to come out of all this is that no one is talking about the ongoing Russian investigation.

The weight of his administration has fallen on John Kelly, a retired general who doesn't have a head for this sort of thing.  His job is to put the White House in order.  Part of that was showing Stephen Bannon the door on Friday.  One has to think Stephen Miller and Dr. Gorka will be getting their walking papers soon, as Kelly is determined to purge the White House of ultra-nationalists.  This is a good thing, but it doesn't address the over-sized elephant in the room, although it does appear Gen. Kelly cleaned up Trump's tweets yesterday.  The last tweet didn't look like it came from the president's tiny hands.

Even when his cabinet members offer him a plan of action, Trump doesn't stick to it.  Doesn't seem as though he even bothers to read it.  This is a man who likes to wing it, which makes this Tuesday very dangerous.  He's already hinted he might pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  He's also tweeted he has no time for flaky Jeff Flake.  Looks like he is planning to stir up another hornet's nest in front of his most devoted supporters.

If nothing else, Trump knows how to create anticipation.  This is what drives him and what keeps America tuned in.  The guy has managed to drag us all into his pathetic reality show whether we wanted to or not.  Unlike The Apprentice, you can't turn him off.  He's there 24/7 continually threatening to bring the whole country down, largely through twitter.

Some estimate that he has at the very least a 20% hold on the social networking company that caters to news on the side.  Obama may have more followers, but Trump generates far more attention.  Same goes for the mainstream media, which hangs on every word he tweets.

Tune in Tuesday to see which way the world turns.

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