Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not Being the Great Leader and Deal Maker He Claims to be, Trump Leads Us to Catastrophe

North Koreans including soldiers attend a rally 
in support of  leader Kim Jong- un's order 
to put its missile units on standby 
in preparation for a possible war 
against the U.S. and South Korea 
Reuters KCNA
In announcing his candidacy, President Donald Trump proclaimed that he is the master negotiator that President Barack Obama and other candidates are not.

"Our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now," Trump declared. "We need a leader that wrote 'The Art of the Deal.'"

Trump said that if you're satisfied knowing you can comfortably make a deal that doesn't require much effort, then you're not thinking big enough.

The President is demonstrably not a great leader. By Trump feeding into the strong rhetoric that is only escalating North Korea’s threats, he is not practicing what he preaches. He is not thinking big enough. Belligerency is the easy way out. Working out the complexities that are inherent in the North Korea problem is what makes a great leader, and is what takes a great deal of effort.   

The art of the deal? Spare us. More like the art of the con.

Mexico paying for a wall? A great healthcare bill with lower premiums and more coverage? So much winning we'd get tired of all the winning?

The Republican officials who lined up behind President Trump knew full well his failings of character. They could hear his misogynist braggadocio, witness his insecurities, see his cruelness. Even without all of that, he had no experience that suggested he was up for the job, and no history of service to any cause other than himself.

But the GOP made a cynical calculation. They would tolerate everything so that they could put their far-right agenda in place, and their far-right judges on the courts. It is true that they were rewarded for going against all of the norms of American history and now have a justice on the Supreme Court that shifts its balance likely for a generation. And they are busy filling the ranks of the lower courts. But on the legislative side, they have been revealed as a party of slogans and not ideas. They can whip up the base but have difficulty passing laws.

And now the full cost of their cynicism is coming into frightening focus. The Trump Administration is being buffeted by the most serious criminal investigation since Watergate, and in the end it has the potential to be even more serious and far reaching than that tawdry precedent.

Meanwhile, the norms of our civic life are under ruinous assault. We have a level of lying from a White House that is without parallel in our history. Our planet is warming, our infrastructure is crumbling, too many workers are being left behind, and we are bombarded with bombastic, intemperate tweets.

Now, perhaps most frightening of all, we have a genuine crisis in North Korea. To be fair to Mr. Trump, the roots of this crisis stretch back decades. He inherited a problem without any good solutions. But that is the job of being president is to keep horrible situations from becoming catastrophic. And beating your chest and escalating tensions through a war of words befitting schoolyard taunts and not adult diplomacy is the exact wrong approach.

Everyone knows all of this, or should - including all the people who made their bets that putting Mr. Trump in power was worth the risk.