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Swing and a miss

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, January 05, 2017 08:35 am

There's that scene in "Back to the Future" when Marty tells Doc that Ronald Reagan is president, and Doc says, "Ronald Reagan, the actor? Then who's vice president, Jerry Lewis?" We're having a ":Back to the Future" moment right now just trying to get our heads around the idea of a realty TV show host being president. It's endlessly fascinating to speculate about what he might do and how he might do it. We've never had a commander in chief like him before, someone with no political or military experience whatsoever, and somebody whose bluster is so shameless that it's hard to fathom the real man underneath it. 

It's also grimly entertaining, in a wreck-on-the-highway sort of way, to watch the so-called experts still trying to figure Trump out and mostly not getting it. One thing that will be fun to see in the next four years is how they're react when they finally realize, if they ever do, they're still getting it all wrong.

I know this is getting monotonously repititious, but their big mistake is to keep trying to size him up from a political perspective. That's not him, but it's all they know.

That's why they write stuff like this: "Repealing Obamacare could be Trump's first lesson in the glacial pace of Congress."

Donald Trump promised voters an immediate repeal of Obamacare, but Republicans in Congress likely won’t have a bill ready for him on Day One. Or Day Two. Or perhaps even his first two weeks.

Republican leaders will start deploying fast-track procedures Wednesday to get the bill through the Senate, but that will require weeks of wrangling, if not longer.

It’ll be an early lesson for Trump in the sometimes-glacial pace of Congress. And it’s likely to get more difficult from here, as the incoming president moves on to other areas where Republicans aren’t in such lockstep, such as infrastructure spending, where he might need bipartisan support.

An "early lesson" for Trump? They all still think he needs schooled, when he's shown over and over again he's the one doing the schooling. He keeps doing things people say won't work, and no matter how many times, he makes trhem work they will say the next time that he can't possibly be thinking what he's thinking. The great big fat assumption here is that Trump will have to follow Congress' lead, do things in their time and in there way. Trump is all about getting others to do it his way. I have no idea how this will turn out, but neither does anybody else, and all the endless speculation about it is pompous and stupid.

Then there is this: "How to stop a Trump Supreme Court nominee" by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker:

On July 1, 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Court, and moments later Senator Edward Kennedy took to the Senate floor with a scathing denunciation of that choice. In perhaps the most notable floor speech Ted Kennedy gave during his long career in the Senate, he said, “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, school children could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government.” Bork . . . did get the chance to make his case at a confirmation hearing, but he never shed Kennedy’s portrayal of him as an extremist. The senator’s speech had mobilized a broad constituency against the nominee, and the Senate ultimately voted him down, by fifty-eight to forty-two.

[. . .]

Democrats will have to make a fast decision after Trump names his choice. (If they’re smart, they’re making up their minds about various candidates right now.) If they greet Trump’s nomination with politely stern vows of serious consideration and rigorous questioning at a hearing, confirmation will be nearly a certainty. If, instead, the senators break out the incendiary rhetoric of their late colleague from Massachusetts, then the new President may have a fight on his hands. In either case, we’ll know the outcome long before the confirmation votes are counted on the Senate floor.

That's downright goofy for a lot of reasons, including Ann Althouse's observations that "It just can't play out the same way again. And quite aside from the smartening up of the nominees to the game of their Senate antagonists and the lack of a Democratic majority in the Senate this time, the people have smartened up to politics. A fear-mongering speech like Kennedy's would not be received the same way today — even if there were a handsome Senator willing to say that kind of thing." It also assumes that Trump will behave exactly the same way other pesidents making nominations have. He will not. He will take his case to the public, often and without benefit of a press filter. 

 Which will, of course, drive the press bonkers. It is already: 

Several mainstream media reporters whined on Twitter Wednesday morning that President-elect Donald Trump is setting and controlling the news agenda everyday with his statements posted on his Twitter account. The whine-fest came one day after Trump forced the House GOP to reverse course on weakening an ethics panel as their first order of business 

[. . .]

Eric Lipton with the New York Times started the press’ Twitter tantrum, writing, “Trump sets agenda every morning with exaggerated/false/destabilizing Tweets, and then we all write about them, letting him own the day. Why?”

Yes, Trump is setting the agenda with Twitter. He's doing it without the filter of reporters deciding how to slant what they heard in the daily press briefing or the filter of a presidential speech writer prettying up the press releases. Members of the White House press corps have finally caught on that it's going to be a whole new deal for them for the next four years, but I'm not sure they really realize the magnitude of the shift yet.

We're all going to be on a hell of a ride. Better not blink, or you might miss something — or get hit by something.


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