Monday, February 13, 2017

Don't impeach President Trump.


For the last several weeks, or months, or -- I don't know how long -- I've been genuinely flummoxed as to how any reasonable person could prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. Policy aside, one was clearly qualified to be president while the other was clearly not.

But I think I finally get it. You can't hold policy "aside"; in fact, it's crucial. If Hillary had been elected she would have continued President Obama's center/left legacy and appointed liberal justices who would have shaped the Supreme Court for a generation. And half the country doesn't want that. I get that now.

And that's why I prefer a President Trump to a President Mike Pence.

Before he was elected (which I thought was the longest of long shots), I comforted myself from time to time with the hope that if the Donald were actually elected president he might, just might, try to govern from the center. Who knows? A triangulating President Trump could have actually restored a functional Congress and gotten some good things done. Bring both sides of the aisle together to work on infrastructure spending? Tax reform? Even improving Obamacare? Could have happened. And what if the new president had said something like, "To restore normality (I hate the word "normalcy") I'm going to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. From now on, we're going to nominate justices without regard to partisan politics."

You can slap me now.

It's only been three weeks (feels like three years, doesn't it?), but Trump has shown so far he's going to, at least ostensibly, serve only his base of white working class voters. From all appearances, it seems that Steve Bannon, with his populist, nationalist ideology, has the president's ear.

Oh, sure, Trump's cabinet is Mike Pence's and Paul Ryan's wet dream: a Labor secretary who hates workers, an Education secretary who has no appreciation for public schools, a Health and Human Services secretary who wants to take away health insurance from people, an Energy secretary who wanted to abolish the department until he found out what it actually did, a Housing and Urban Development secretary who doesn't believe in helping people obtain housing, and an EPA secretary who doesn't much care for clean air and water.

Talk about a basket of deplorables!

But, really, do you think any of these people will actually get to do anything in a Trump administration? Do you really think, for example, that Trump has an opinion on education policy? The answer to both of those questions is "no" and "no." And the reason, I think, that none of these people will get to act out their wildest policy fantasies is that Trump will run his administration out of the White House (by whim, mostly). And, in any case, the new president is in so far over his head that nothing beyond tax "reform" and cuts to regulations will be accomplished in the next four or -- yikes! -- eight years. (Don't count this guy out for a second term; Republicans will always "come home.")

So not only is the Trump White House the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, but it isn't really all that interested in orthodox Republican policy anyway.

But a President Mike Pence, on the other hand, would be. In fact, he'd sign every bill Paul Ryan would send him. Heck, he and his staff would help the Speaker write them. And, unlike the Donald, a President Pence would actually have some clue as to how to run an administration and get things done.

So, do I prefer President Trump to a President Pence? Hell, yeah!

Whatever you do, America, keep Trump in the Oval Office and Mike Pence at arm's length.

P. S. What about Trump's temperament and the risk that he'll act inappropriately in a crisis? Well, I'll admit, you got me on that one.

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