WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH TRUMP?
IS HE JUST CRAZY? OR IS IT SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY?
We’ve all heard the “excuses:’ he’s a narcissist; he’s a hustler; he’s emotionally immature; he’s thin skinned; hotheaded; bullying; ignorant and God knows what else. Personally, I still can’t quite figure out what the hell is going on with him. One conclusion I have come to though, he lives in some parallel universe that I’m not aware of. I mean isn’t he the rich guy who was all down with the laid off West Virginia coal miners and unemployed Pennsylvania steel workers? I thought this is how he won the election by empathizing with the common man and the common, but gorgeous, woman. That he was gonna take care of all the lonely, disgruntled, left behind workers of America? Isn’t that what they’ve been promised? Wasn’t his whole campaign about “Making America Great Again” centered around this ideology?
In reality, however, it looks as if Trump is just being Trump. What’s changed, however, is his environment. No longer able to counter an unflattering news story in the New York City's Daily News by calling four or five newspaper editors and no longer able to assert his will over his entire domain demanding that his folks follow his orders, he’s floundering. His attacks on those who attack him? Pure Trump. His over-the-top Tweets? Pure Trump. His boisterous bullying? Pure Trump. There was no question ever in my mind that his Muslim Ban would be struck down. The Wall? It’s never going to get built. But what sent shockwaves through my system like a steel Louisville Slugger rammed up my ass was his budget proposal.
Where, I asked, after a three day period of rectal healing, were all the promises to help struggling Rust Belters and working class guys and white folks struggling to make ends meet? Sure, I get the EPA cuts. EPA is the right wing bête noire for all that ails industrial America and this is not the first time the agency has come under attack from conservative quarters. And forget about zeroing out funds for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Public Broadcasting System and Sesame Street three ultra left wing destroyers of America long in the bulls-eye of right wing Rush-ish outrage. Newt Gingrich informed all of us of these dire threat to American democracy back in the 1990’s. Obviously, it’s just gone on for far too long. So CUT!
What was so shocking to me about Trump’s budget was that it represented not a budget that reflected Trump’s ideology – saving Medicare and reconstructing our infrastructure, for example, – but, in its simplest characterization, an outright capitulation to the most conservative of the right wing’s long held desires to strip Americans of any and all protections and assistance that the Federal Government provides. Did Steve Bannon slip into his Darth Vader suit and hike himself off to the Martin Luther King, Jr. library here in D.C. late one night, pull out Rush Limbaugh’s list of liberal traitorisms and tap out the Trump Budget in half an hour in the fourth floor men’s bathroom? But, of course, it couldn't have been the fourth floor bathroom since Bannon would have been mistaken for one of the half a dozen homeless guys who basically live there full time.
If we assume that Trump voters represent a roiled up group of disgruntled, majority race “struggling Americans,” then, if adopted, his budget will basically make them even more vulnerable to more distress and quite possibly an even greater decline in their overall well being. The same can be said for the Trump health care replacement plan to render Obamacare an historical footnote. I can’t wait to see what the Trump Tax Reform plan proposes in the way of “assistance” for struggling Trump supporters.
His policy initiative failures are a result of his inability to understand his new environment and his total lack of experience in dealing with the nefarious, on again-off again, working and compromising with players outside of his control (the Federal bureaucracy) and not realizing that he can no longer change negative narratives about him and his performance by a couple of phone calls. He’s seventy years old. He’s not gonna change. He can’t.
As Trump the Campaigner, he sounded as if he believed he could just order the Mexican Wall to be built and it would be done. Same with the Muslim Travel Ban. Order it. Done! Muslim's Out of America Forever! Same with restoring coal miner’s jobs or stopping imports from Mexico and China. This, more than anything else, is what appealed to Trump’s voters. They well understood that Washington was “broken” and Trump was going to manfully break up the logjams and get things working again even if he had to shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue to do it. (Analogous to “draining the swap” but even this promise has been turned on its head. Turned totally upside down.) This is how he got elected. (Well, discounting Russia election rigging for the time being.) This was Trump's great promise even more than his promise to restore White Rust Belters to their former glory.
Sure, there’s the “distracting” issue of Russian interference in our elections and whether or not Trump Team members were actively or inadvertently assisting in rigging the 2016 Presidential Election. Trump and the entire Trump Team are fully engaged in deflecting – Obama did it! - our attention away from what could turn out to be the most serious threat to our entire democracy since World War II or the Civil War. But Trump and the Trump Administration is so far off the rails right now that it’s becoming very unclear how the Trump Train will be wrenched back on track. His proposed budget defies all logic. What it resembles is not “Making America Great Again” but the conservative, right wing, Freedom Caucus, Koch Brothers, Republican “vision” of America as wholly under the absolute control of big business, special interests and the shredding of every Federal Government program designed to assist ordinary Americans in need. It would appear that Trump has been co-opted. Maybe Trump wasn’t paying attention to the details, a criticism often noted by his biographers. Maybe he's gotten rotten advice from Darth The Destructor Vader Bannon. Maybe he's just in over his head. But there can be no greater evidence of the early betrayal by Trump of his promises to his ardent supporters. The “track” that the Trump Administration seems to be following, resembles nothing that Trump depicted for America as his goals for a certain segment of America while campaigning.