Texarkana, TX 73° View Live Radar Fri H 92° L 69° Sat H 92° L 71° Sun H 94° L 71° Weather Sponsored By:

Is President Trump really clever or just really lost?

Is President Trump really clever or just really lost?

April 21st, 2017 by McClatchy Newspapers in Opinion Columns

There seem to be a fair number of people these days loudly complaining that the unpredictable presidential candidate named Donald J. Trump has become the unpredictable president named Donald J. Trump. Imagine that.

Less than three months into their standard-bearer's presidency, Trump supporters openly fret that the man who made billions selling customers and investors everything from condos to casinos, from steaks to university degrees, is changing course on them. Just like a real pol.

Of course, the 70-year-old real estate baron isn't a real pol. Most pols have some kind of ideological tethering, political brand beliefs that generally guide their statements, actions and votes.

Trump, always remember, is a businessman. Successful businesspeople are tethered to one thing: success. Turtle soup may have been their beloved mother's favorite. But if it isn't selling, kill it and go back to chicken noodle. Perhaps you recall Trump's four business bankruptcies when he got in too deep and walked.

Trump hasn't been taken over by any establishment people, anti-establishment people, semi-establishment people. If he's so susceptible to others telling him what to do, how to explain his continued often-embarrassing tweets?

Trump is just looking for a W. His early flurry of executive orders was a win. He could draft, sign and impose them all by himself.

When the Obamacare repeal came out of the House of Representatives to replace the Affordable Care Act, it was like a half-aspirin for a migraine. But Trump loyally jumped right in like a team leader, pitched political woo with spoiled rogue Republicans, drank with them, listened to them, cajoled them. He even made a rare presidential political pilgrimage to their Hill.

What happened? Bupkis happened. The elected Washington political establishment, which never wanted Trump in the first place, let him down because they're more interested in being onstage professing principle than scoring any points in the larger game. 

It is easier to oppose than actually govern. 

And especially easy for Republicans to oppose each other.

Wily old Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who throws smiles around as though they're manhole covers, did come through, big time, with a historic Supreme Court confirmation. Trump gave him a justice candidate right out of central casting. And McConnell delivered his 52 votes plus three Dems to boot.

Trump scored his own points again with a well-planned, decisive, measured missile strike on Syria that was, most importantly, well-explained. Some in Congress whined over not being consulted. Seriously? Those people keep secrets like colanders hold water.

But now, what?

Trump the businessman-elected-president needs some big wins. His conservative consigliere Steve Bannon arrogantly played a key role torpedoing any hope of Freedom Caucus support for the Affordable Care Act repeal. That caucus, which cares about posturing, not governing, sure didn't cooperate. But Bannon's job is likely safe.

It seems to many that Republicans are falling into their familiar internal squabble mode, turning what could have been a historic success into a potential disaster in the 2018 midterms, just 81 weeks away.

Only Congress will be on that ballot ripe for plucking by energized Democrats if the GOP doesn't deliver obvious results after being awarded both houses of Congress and the big white one. "It's hard to win if you don't govern," Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel warns Congress.

An early test comes this month over a possible government shutdown that lockstep Democrats seem determined to force, comfortable in the knowledge Republicans will squabble over orthodoxy and incur blame.

So the government's chief executive is looking around for other advice. Enter family Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. Anyone who's ever worked in politics or the mob knows the danger (and stupidity) of getting crosswise with family members of the boss.

Their Manhattan Democrat background makes them suspect to puritans. But on Trump's renewed NATO support, he's said that for months and, it's true, allies are boosting defense spending. On not labeling China a currency manipulator after two years of doing so, we suspect that's part of a quiet deal for Beijing to pressure North Korea. Early signs are promising.

On support now for the Export-Import Bank, a favorite conservative target, Trump says he did not know how much it helps smaller businesses sell abroad. So the new president is admitting to learning? Given the recent jobs record of presidents who knew everything already, this is actually encouraging.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com