When Ronald Reagan became president, he had the presence of mind to admit, “I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know.”
Similarly, I have the presence of mind to admit I voted for Donald Trump.
I did so with the hope he would turn things upside down and usher in real change. However with approval ratings rivaling Richard Nixon’s during Watergate, he’s managed to live out the concerns I had going into his term.
First and foremost, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
“I’m going to build the wall and make MEXICO pay for it.”
“I’m going to repeal and replace Obama Care and it’s going to be so, so easy…”
“We will defeat ISIS in 30 days.”
Those claims already lie wasted on the floor alongside other election campaign promises embarrassing in number.
“So, so easy,” has been replaced, “Sorry, that’s not going to happen,” even though Republicans control absolutely everything.
Everything except a unifying spirit…and strategic negotiation skills.
So why are we seeing the above listed failures from a president who doesn’t fail?
Why is this happening to the king of deal making and negotiation?
Because running the government is not the same as running the Trump organization.
Congress doesn’t operate by barking orders and firing whoever doesn’t respond in the manner you wanted with the results you desired.
On top of which by choosing to come out of the gate with health care reform, Trump chose the most divisive issue possible.
Why didn’t Trump just pick an issue, say, infrastructure, that both sides could have gotten behind? Pick a topic that was universally unifying then spoon feed the more difficult issues when he had the entire team on your side?
The approval of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch – which should be a slam dunk – is even proving difficult. Of course, it will happen, but why is it the battle it is? On paper there couldn’t be an easier nomination.
The answer is needless the division by both parties.
Trump even has the conservative/libertarian Freedom Caucus turning on him.
Matthew Dowd on NPR hit the nail on the head:
“If Trump wants to know who the enemy is, all he needs to do is look in the mirror.”
Can the Donald turn things around?
Jimmy Carter stumbled for some time after coming into office and only went from bad to worse.
Bill Clinton had multiple missteps out of the gate and had to pull his nomination of Zoe Baird as AG, after claims surfaced involving her hiring an illegal as a nanny.
Those illegals – they just keep being an issue.
And Clinton didn’t do himself any favors by naming Hillary to head her soon to fail health care reform. However he gained ground in the fastest way possible way – by pandering.
After which, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” led him back into good graces.
And no one really cared about the bimbo eruptions since he never boasted about having grabbed any of them by their nether regions.
At this stage, Trump can ill afford many more setbacks.
Most of the ones so far could have been avoided, but he needs to learn one lesson too hard to swallow. Trump needs to set aside his ego and admit, even if only to himself, in the silence of his mind, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
Oh, and one other lesson he’s yet to learn;
There are clearly “politics” in business. But a political behemoth isn’t run the same way a business is.