Day Four of the Trump presidency already! So how is he doing? Never mind that "first 100 days" stuff. That's much too long to wait in the digital age.From what I can gather, most people think Donald Trump needs to stop being Donald Trump for his presidency to be a success. The New York Times sums up this point of view pretty well, in a piece quoting lots of people, including Newt Gingrich:
At first, at least, Mr. Trump seemed to be resisting the notion that he should adjust his approach now that he is in office. After all, his pugilistic style was a winning formula, one that got him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the first place. Many of his supporters cheer him taking on the establishment. And some allies said any blowback would not matter long anyway.
"Ultimately this is about governing," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has advised Mr. Trump. "There are two things he’s got to do between now and 2020: He has to keep America safe and create a lot of jobs. That’s what he promised in his speech. If he does those two things, everything else is noise."
I don't think I'm breaking any new ground when I say I doubt Trump will change too much. People have been telling him to change his approach since he got into the race, and he's been proving them wrong every step of the way. So he's not suddenly going to start listening to them now. It's worth noting that what gets presidents to the White House often contributes to the difficulties they have there. (Consider Richard Nixon's paranoia-driven ruthlessness.)
But nobody else is going to change, either. So far, I haven't seen anybody on a mission to fairly, honestly and thoroughly report on the Trump administration's actions. Looks mostly like everyone is just letting their existing opinion of Trump be the filter through which they see everything. I know that's always generally been the case with other presidents, but it's going to be much worse this time around.Here's Frank Rich in New York Magazine complaining about the "dark, ugly" stuff in Trump's inaugural address:
Trump ascends to the height of American power with a historically low approval rating from his fellow citizens and an administration largely staffed thus far — to the extent it has been staffed — by billionaires, strident ideologues, and incompetents. His kitchen cabinet is led by his son-in-law. He took the oath of office to a virtually monochromatic sea of white faces. His biggest political ally — and arguably the key clandestine player in his electoral victory — is a Russian strongman who could be found this week testifying that our new president did not avail himself of prostitutes when visiting Moscow but that if he had, he would have been serviced by women who "are undoubtedly the best in the world."
But you know all that. What stood out about Trump’s inaugural address was his one bedrock conviction, the one core belief he never reverses — that the country he will now try to lead is an unmitigated disaster. The great task before us is to stop him from taking down with him all that remains good about America, before his reign comes to its inevitable bad end.
You think that guy would ever look at Trump objectively and come to a conclusion that he had done something good, even if the evidence were overwhelming? By the way, it is pretty clueless of Rich to bemoan Trump's conviction that the country is a disaster. The fact that a lot of other people think that, too, is the reason Trump won.
And, then, on the other side, we have this guy, who tells the political right the lesson they need to learn from Trump's victory:
Trump does not give an inch to his critics, and neither should any other Republican. He defines the rules of engagement, and so should all on the Right.
Watching the confirmation hearings to date, we see many on the Left jabbing as if we are in a pre-Trump world. Their questions all hew to the same old narrative that if you are not a racist, sexist, or bigot, then you are an out-of-touch plutocrat or a shill for some special interest or other.
Like Trump, Republicans should challenge these charges head on. They should take issue with the Left’s premises from the start, showing that it is the Left who is projecting when it tries to discredit those who believe in capitalism, the power of the individual, and the sanctity of the individual’s rights, the rule of law, national sovereignty, federalism, and the Judeo-Christian morality on which the country is based.
"Never give an inch" is also someone who won't be able to look at Trump objectively. He will be forever ready to point out the good and ignore the bad, always blaming the other side for something every day.
So what has Trump actually done in his first three days? Basically, he signed three executive orders. One freezes federal spending, which I think is terrific. One backs out of the Trans-Pacific trade deal; guess I'll wait and see on that one — Trump says he can get us a better deal, so I'll suspend judgment. The third one reinstates the so-called Mexico City Policy requiring non-governmental agencies to pledge they'll have nothing to do with abortion as a condition of getting federal money. For 33 years, Republican presidents have been instating it and Democratic presidents have been uninstating it. It's mostly a symbolic gesture, so I don't much care about it.
Oh, and he got obsessed about crowd size, a little. I think the press was actually more obsessed about it than he was. When it wasn't gushing over the unhinged crowds of leftist women taking to the streets to protest . . . something. I remember when Angry White Men having a political influence was supposed to be a bad thing. Looks like we're supposed to believe Angry Women is a good thing.
Going to be an interesting four years.