I am old enough to remember the 1969 NY Mets, I saw Buster Douglas knock out Mike Tyson, witnessed the Miracle On Ice, and read about Leicester City defying the 5,000 to 1 odds of winning the Premier Cup. Now, we have a Trump presidency, equally odds defying. OK, now what?
Trump goes into his new job with a resume unlike any other past president. Never elected to anything, never was a leader of men in an armed conflict, his credentials lie in the promise to drain the swamp and in his ability to deal, to get things done. There is no past precedent that either of these will translate into success at leading the country.
Possibly the greatest gift one man can have in being successful as president is the ability to persuade;
The power to persuade is perhaps the most important aspect of the presidency that Neustadt writes about. The power of the United States government is vastly dispersed; the president cannot simply command and receive. Its much more complicated than that. Other levels of government have different constituencies and different sources of power and interest. The president is one man and needs others to get things done. The president must bargain and persuade others that what he wants is in their best interest. President Truman once said of President Eisenhower upon his election, “He’ll sit there all day saying do this, do that, and nothing will happen. Poor Ike, it wont be a bit like the military. He’ll find it very frustrating.” Neustadt refers to the president in this respect, as a “clerk”, in which the president must balance differing interests. Just because the president wants something done does not mean that the others who also possess the power and authority will carry out his wishes. ” The presidents advantages are checked by the advantages of others. Relationships will pull in both directions. These are relationships of mutual dependence. The president depends upon the persons that he would persuade; he has to reckon with their need or fear of them (Neustadt 31).” The president must interpret to his colleagues how his policy will benefit them as well.
Trump will tell you that the power to persuade is right in his wheelhouse, hence the art of the deal, but if we assume that a General and a CEO can, by tint of authority, command action, a president has neither that ability or a servile public who by edict must obey. The art of the deal also involves priorities, compromises, and a changing of focus, getting the things done that are actually doable at the time.
Trump made a series of promises on the campaign trail, some of those promises you can see here.
The usual detractors here have already started on what they view as broken promises, promises mind you that he has no power as yet to either fulfill or abandon, but carping seems to be in vogue when a Republican wins, at anything.
Some of these promises I thought were pretty dopey when delivered so I am all for an “evolving” of position;
1) That Trump is going to bring back waterboarding ,”And a whole lot worse”, and that he has no problems with
murderingkilling terrorist families. First off, I get the appeal of getting tougher with terrorism given what the last guy brought us. Naturally we want someone who can actually say the words Radical Islamic Terrorism, and we want someone who knows the value of capturing these guys and extracting valuable intel as opposed to just sending a drone over to bomb them (and the innocent civilian casualties that go with this type of indiscriminate warfare), and someone that understands that since the terrorists want to come here to kill us, to secure the borders. I am all for using enhanced interrogation techniques, but no torture, no waterboarding, and no bombing of terrorist families, walk all that back.
2) The Muslim ban. Again, given the squishy inability for the current guy to understand the actual threat at hand, this might appeal to some segments. But we can’t do it. I really hate it when the left tries to lecture us with ,”This is not in keeping with our values, this is not who we are”, a blanket Muslim ban IS an anathema to our values. I read an article last week how hundreds of Afghans and their families are on the run because they helped us as interpreters but now we have abandoned them to their fate, not allowing visas to immigrate to America, that just ain’t right. Many students from Muslim nations come to America to attend our universities (still the best universities in the world). America leads the world in technology and medical innovation, many folks involved with this are immigrants, we should not deny (or discriminate) immigrants from Muslim nations who want to come here and prosper. But this does not involve a massive refuge influx, we do not want to end up like Europe.
3)Imposing tariffs or starting a trade war with China. Smoot-Hawley, bad then and bad now. American products can compete globally, we just want a level playing field. Now renegotiating trade deals in fine, and our trading partners are fine with that.
4)Taxes. Saying you want to cut taxes will always get you noticed, Republicans like it because they think we pay too much already, and Democrats rail against it because they think the rich don’t pay their fair share anyway, both POV can be short sighted. There is no doubt that lowering corporate tax rates can spur growth, bring in more tax revenue, hire more people and spread prosperity across a greater swath of our population. And I am all in favor of a one time tax cut to bring repatriated money now kept oversees back to America to invest back in the business. But I worry about the growing deficit and Trumps general tax plan will indeed blow out the deficit. A concerted push towards simplifying the tax code and providing tax relief for job creators, small business owners, this will lift all boats, get more people working and bring more tax revenue.
5) Repealing Obamacare. First off, Obamacare is failing anyway, too many health service companies pulling out of the state exchanges. And what is left is so unappealing, higher premiums, larger deductibles and narrower provider networks. Trump has already said he likes 2 provisions of Obamacare, the pre existing condition provision and allowing young adults to stay on their parents policy. As a dad of a 21 year old, I like this as well. But the way Obamacare was shoved down our throat, a straight party vote rammed through at the dead of night, and the lies behind it ,”If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan”, I say trash the whole thing and start over. It may be petty, but he was such an abject failure and had so little regard (actual contempt) for those not sycophants of his, that he deserves what he gets. He wants a legacy, how about this, killing American exceptionalism and making us just like everyone else.
There are other Trump promises that need to be re configured, like abandoning NATO, threatening to pull troops out of South Korea and Japan if they don’t pony up more cash for their defense, or pulling troops out of other areas of the world and replacing them with nukes as if this is a reasonable alternative.
I suspect governing Trump will be much different from running for president Trump, that may not be a bad thing.