Friday, December 29, 2017

Trump Fatigue

Trump as Sisyphus rolling a golf ball up a hill.

Roy Moore's last ditch challenge to the Alabama special election was rejected and Doug Jones declared the winner in the hotly contested Senate race.  Few imagined a Democrat could take a Deep South seat, but you combine a notoriously bad candidate with what appears to be fading support of Trump, who backed Moore, you get Trump Fatigue.  Many Americans, including those in the Deep South, have had their fill of our Reality Show President and his reality show politics.

Nevertheless, we see our president gloating over his many accomplishments on twitter while he used a cargo truck to disguise him playing golf for the 87th time this year.  He spent virtually one-quarter of his first year on the golf course.  The most of any president since Eisenhower, who averaged 100 rounds per year.  Trump might still catch Ike, as he has a month left in his first year with plenty of vacation time on his hands.

This from a President who said during his campaign that he would have no time to play golf, while chastising Pres. Obama for the numerous times he played golf  -- 306 to be exact over an eight year period.  At Donald's rate, he should surpass Barry's record early in his fourth year, assuming he lasts that long.

We can go through Trump's "3800 word screed" listing his "rookie year" accomplishments and find numerous false claims.  The one that jumps out is ballooning the $1.5 trillion tax cut package Congress approved into $5.5 trillion, and claiming that 60% will go to middle class families.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He also boasts of removing "Obamacare's burdensome individual mandate," which he credits for boosting GDP.  It doesn't matter that the greater portion of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" won't take effect until 2019, including the repeal of the health insurance mandate.  The screed goes onto list all the jobs created during his first year, $5 trillion in wealth added to the economy, and numerous other boasts that should more duly be ascribed to his predecessor, as the economy was booming before he stepped into office this past January.

This is quintessential Trumpian rhetoric.  He takes over a company and claims credit for its success without so much as having to lift a finger.  Fact of the matter is that many of the executive orders he signed and the tax cuts package he approved at the end of the year will have an adverse effect on the economy in the coming months, as it begins to weaken.  The boost in the housing market should be a warning sign, not a reason to gloat, as we went through this once before and it wasn't pretty.

Developers have a tendency to overbuild when times are good, flooding the housing market with new units only to have a hard time selling them.  Then come the too-good-to-be-true mortgage rates to try to sucker first-time home-buyers.  Donald should know this as he was involved in many shady real estate deals that left investors with little to hold onto when the dust settled.  Many of these projects never got off the ground, like this one in Tampa.  No matter for a wheeler-dealer like Trump, who had little invested in the project other than his name.

For whatever reason, voters ignored all these warning signs last November and flipped the switch for Trump anyway.  I suppose they thought the real estate developer and reality show star would become more humble once he understood the magnitude of the office, but obviously that hasn't happened.  Trump still revels in the same childish behavior that drew mean-spirited laughs during the campaign, but now only serves as a continual embarrassment as President.

At 71, it was wishful thinking to imagine him "growing up."  Trump is a man-child, or more appropriately a man-toddler.  His emotional and intellectual development appears to have peaked at 4 years old, judging by the way he has had his daily briefings reduced to bullet points to make it easier for him to glance over and usually dismiss out of hand.  Instead, he relies on Fox and Friends and other conservative news outlets to inform him on subjects, often retweeting the conservative talking points on his personal twitter account, without bothering to check their veracity.

Former General John Kelly has done a very poor job of reining Trump in, but the Chief of Staff claims it is not his job to watch over the President like a "church lady."  Instead, Mr. Kelly tries to limit those who come in contact with Donald, hoping this will allow the President to focus on his job.  He should be monitoring the President's internet usage.

As a result, we get this constant stream of tweets, with the news media pouring over virtually every one in turn.  Trump has managed to bemuse and anger just about everybody, becoming more surly as his approval ratings dip, in turn venting his rage on "fake news."  CNN seems to relish this ongoing battle with Trump, if for no other reason than its viewing audience has risen since the President made the cable news network the brunt of his attack.

Little wonder people are tired of Trump, whether they like him or not, and this certainly played out in Virginia and Alabama, whether the President is willing to admit it or not.  Republicans virtually lost control of the Virginia House of Delegates, with the House majority coming down to one seat.  As it is, the Democrats gained no less than 15 seats this year.

Whether politically motivated or not, the accusations against Roy Moore revealed a deeply flawed candidate, much like Trump himself, that most Alabamans weren't willing to accept.  Unlike the 2016 general election, there is no electoral college and Moore is being forced to accept the popular vote whether he likes it or not.

It still is worth noting that Trump was elected based on the electoral votes of three close Midwest states, which were seen as part of Hillary's "blue wall."  He lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million, but that's the way our system works.  A voter in California has far less electoral clout than one in Alaska or Wyoming, and so we ended up with Donald J. Trump.

I think many who voted for him were just as surprised by the results as was CNN, which appeared rather somber election night, rather than reveling in all the red states turning blue as John and Wolf had done in the mid term elections of 2010 and 2014.  John King almost seemed to be looking for a way for Hillary to win Pennsylvania as the Philadelphia vote was slow to roll in.

If it is any consolation, CNN will probably delight in all the red states turning blue in the 2018 midterm elections, as all signs point to a major turnover in Congress.  Trump will then find himself virtually alone in Washington, as he went out of his way to alienate "Chuck and Nancy,"  making him look more a fool than Congressional Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi, who chose not to attend his WH photo op, after he belittled them on twitter.

So, Mr. President, enjoy the White House while you can.  2018 promises to be a very rough year for you.  If nothing else, you can retreat to the golf course or one of your many properties to avoid the "fake news" of your diminishing political stature.  People are exhausted from you.  It was one thing to tune in to you from time to time on television, quite another to have to endure your petulant rants on a daily basis.  Not even Alabama wants you anymore, and I imagine the same is true of Kentucky.

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