From Saturday Night Live:
By Steven R. Maher
Many Americans are terrified of what Donald Trump will do as President.
Fifty years ago, American anti-war protesters chanted “Give peace a chance.” Nowadays, the anti-Trump crowd might want to say “Give Trump a chance.”
Trump won the election under the constitutional order in place.
The majority of voters found Trump distasteful.
Trump won in three electoral states by 88,000 votes – after Russian meddling and FBI meddling (director Comey’s Clinton email bugaboo just 10 days before the election). The fact that Trump would be Tweeting “RIGGED ELECTION! NOT HAPPY!!!” if Hillary Clinton had won this way is irrelevant.
Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States. Democrats, liberals, lefties and progressives need to adjust to this reality. At this point, everyone needs to take a deep breath and calm down. I’ve noticed a tendency among Trump opponents to become unduly alarmed after reading dire Internet warnings about what Trump will do. This recalls what happened after 9/11, when Americans sat watching over and over reruns of the terrorists ramming jet aircraft into the Twin Towers. Millions of people became paranoid about what Al-Qaeda would do next. But it did not mean the end of the world. Nor does Trump’s election.
I had the same reaction when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. I was sure President Reagan was a war monger who would quagmire us into another Vietnam.
House Speaker Tip O’Neil recalls in his memoirs: “Alexander Haig hadn’t been Secretary of State more than three weeks when he told me over breakfast that we ought to be cleaning out Nicaragua.”
But when Haig tried to raise the issue of Soviet subversion in Central America he was told to leave it alone – the White House didn’t want to divert attention from the economy at that point.
Reagan, in fact, showed himself to be extraordinarily reluctant to get involved in long-term military conflicts. He pulled the Marines out of Lebanon after 241 Marines were murdered by Hezbollah. Reagan didn’t “clean out,” i.e. invade Nicaragua, which would have destabilized Central America the way George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq destabilized the Middle East. Instead, Reagan cleaned out Grenada, where he sent 16,000 American military personnel to beat the bejabbers out of 800 or so Cuban construction workers. Grenada was too small for a guerilla insurgency.
Trump has evidenced a similar reluctance to get involved in long-term military struggles. While he has talked loudly of attacking ISIS, he has also mentioned the expense of going to war, wants to bill America’s allies for the cost of defending their countries and has appointed Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, who lost a son to Bush’s Iraq disaster. Having experienced the agony of losing a child due to Bush’s stupidity, it is unlikely Kelly will be urging Trump to engage in Bush-style acts of imbecility.
Haig and Regan
Trump has appointed people to his cabinet with no experience in their new jobs. Foremost among these is Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor, Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator.
Many of Trump’s designees fall into two categories: former generals and wealthy entrepreneurs. Reagan did the same thing – and experienced public embarrassment when the political neophytes he appointed self-destructed.
Haig is a good example. When Reagan was wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt, Haig destroyed himself politically by going on the air and saying: “As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him.”
As Haig said this, he came across as anything but reassuring, and his political career was dead from that point on.
Likewise, Donald Regan as the White House Chief of Staff, proved disastrous. Regan was a brilliant Wall Street trader before becoming part of the Reagan administration. “This was one of the President’s [Reagan’s] worst mistakes: Don Regan may have been a financial genius, but he knew nothing about politics,” wrote O’Neil.
Trump not Reagan
Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan. As a President, Reagan hated firing people. Trump tried to copyright “You’re fired!” as his signature line!
Trump’s tolerance of the fools he has appointed to his cabinet will end the moment they start embarrassing him.
We are talking about a man who fired two campaign managers before settling on personnel best suited to his management style.
If Trump had appointed Rudolph Giuliani as attorney general and John Bolton as secretary of state, I’d be damn worried. But Trump seems to have kept the most severe political right-wing nuts out of his cabinet.
After Trump won, ICT published my election analysis, in which I wrote that Democrats underestimated Trump the same way they had underestimated Reagan. I quoted George Santana’s adage that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Trump is about to learn the same harsh lesson, repeating Ronald Reagan’s mistakes of appointing to his cabinet financial wizards whose private-sector acumen is not necessarily transferable to political office.
We can expect many firings during Trump’s Celebrity Presidency.