Get used to it

Candidate Donald Trump is President-Elect Donald Trump will be President Donald Trump.  The guy is clueless, corrupt, with horrible taste in people.  Here’s today’s news in national security via Chait:

The bad news on Donald Trump’s transition team is that Mike Rogers, one of the better informed and respected members of the Republican security establishment, has been booted off the transition team. The worse news is that, according to the Weekly Standard and a source who contacted the New York Times, Rogers was thrown off because of concerns about his handling of the Benghazi investigation. (Rogers found that, contrary to a popular right-wing conspiracy theory, the Obama administration did not order its security forces to “stand down.”) So Rogers’ willingness to follow evidence made him dangerous and unacceptable.

The even worse news is that the person who was fired for not being crazy was replaced by somebody who is famous for being crazy. Frank Gaffney has taken Rogers’ spot. Gaffney suffers from a variety of delusional beliefs concerning secret Islamic subversion of the government, a conspiracy that runs from such figures as Barack Obama (who Gaffney called “America’s first Muslims president”) to Chris Christie, who Gaffney has accused of “misprision of treason.” (Luckily Christie has also been sacked from the transition team, because otherwise it would have made for some awkward meetings.) Gaffney was banned from CPAC for being too crazy, which is like being thrown out of the Soprano family for lacking business ethics.

It might be okay, or possibly even good, if the political and economic wing of Trump’s administration melts down under its own incompetence. But the security jobs are necessary to protect lives, and the emerging cast of Trump’s administration creates an unnervingly high potential for absolute catastrophe.

You asked for it

Also loved this post-election take from Catherine Rampell:

Maybe the only way for Americans to really, truly understand how toxic, wrongheaded and futile Trump’s policies are is to let him provide proof of concept.

That is, to give us Trumpism, good and hard.

Maybe the only way to prove that Trump can’t bring back manufacturing jobs, or coal jobs, or other jobs displaced by technology and productivity gains, is to let him try to do so through his ill-advised tariffs.

Yes, this may spark a trade war. Yes, it may lead to the losses of millions of jobs. But maybe that’s what Americans require in order to believe such things would happen, since they clearly don’t trust experts’ projections on such matters.

Likewise, maybe the only way for Americans to recognize that immigrants inject our economy with vitality and innovation, and help keep Medicare solvent, is to let Trump wall them out, and then see what happens to our workforce and entitlements.

Speaking of walls, maybe the only way for Americans to realize how much magical thinking infuses Trump’s promises is to let him try and fail to persuade Mexico to pay for his big, beautiful wall.

And also to let him try and fail to keep sick Americans from “dying on the streets” and prevent health-care prices from spiraling out of control, while simultaneously shredding Obamacare’s coverage and cost provisions. Let him twist in the wind as he struggles to define the vague “something terrific” that will replace the Affordable Care Act.

And also watch him try and fail to close the deficit while simultaneously implementing a $7 trillion tax cutwithout any spending offsets.

With Republicans dominating both houses of Congress, Trump should have little trouble transforming his many harebrained, math-challenged policy schemes into law, assuming he’s ever able to commit them to paper. With time, his economically anxious followers will realize that even after the swamp is drained and the bums thrown out, tough-talking Trump is still unable to improve their economic standing.

Yep.  I think a big part of how this all plays out over the next four years is how smartly Democrats respond to the way Trump will inevitably deeply disappoint his supporters.  I don’t don’t that last part; I doubt how smartly Democrats can capitalize.

Stay Angry, my friends

This column from Leon Wieseltier may be my favorite post-election take yet.  You really should read all of it.  Or, at least the bit below:

But Trump’s victory, we are told, was owed mainly to the hatred of Washington, which is plainly dysfunctional. It is indeed hard to say a kind word about Congress, which could not even find a way to act against Zika when it mattered most. But this, too, is rich. Republicans contribute significantly to the breaking of the system, and then they thunder to the country that the system is broken. They refuse to govern, and then they denounce government. They seem to confuse governing with having their way. And more to the point, how does this vast alienation from Washington excuse this vast contempt for whole groups and races and genders? [emphasis mine] The same question must be asked of the anti-elitism upon which Trump based his campaign. Never mind the bad joke of the billionaire from Fifth Avenue and Palm Beach pretending to be an outsider, a man of the margins. The real issue is the relationship of social status to decency. There is no such relationship. It is not elitist to respect Muslims and Mexicans and African Americans and women and immigrants and Jews, and a blue collar is not a moral pass. A college education is not a requirement for, nor a guarantee of, a moral compass: There are educated members of the American elite who spectacularly lack one, such as the man who was elected president Tuesday. And there are “poorly educated” Americans who abundantly express kindness and solidarity for Americans unlike themselves. Neither the elites nor the masses have a monopoly on qualities of character. But Trump’s American vision despises people at the top and people at the bottom. It is an inclusive vision.

The demons that have haunted our society for decades and even centuries, the vile illiberalism that currently disgraces other governments in the West, will now inhabit the White House. Difficult times are giving way to dark times, and dark times require a special lucidity and a special vigilance and a special ferocity about principle. We must not lose our faith in moral progress and in social progress, but we must remember that moral progress and social progress are not linear and unimpeded and inevitable. There will always be reversals and setbacks, because change rattles the world that preceded it. If you demand justice, prepare for instability, and for the exploitation of instability by political reactionaries who weaken the wounded with nostalgia and fantasies of exclusiveness. The struggle for reform is often succeeded by the struggle to repeal reform. Trumpism, insofar as it is coherently anything, is a great promise of repeal. If Trump succeeds in his repeal, then the fight for the repeal of the repeal must begin. There is nothing Sisyphean or cynical about this. It is the abiding condition of a democracy comprising conflicting ideals. The fight is never over.

President Leprechaun riding a Unicorn

Seems about right to characterize Trump’s fanciful take on public policy.  So, I read this Vox piece about Trump on Roe v. Wade.  Trump has committed to appointing Justices who will overturn it.  In this same interview, he said that gay marriage is “settled law.”‘   Hmmm, do you think he knows that Roe v. Wade was 43 years ago and Obergefell was last year?  Also, find me a conservative judge willing to overturn Roe v. Wade, but who will nonetheless take a stand for gay rights.  Right.  Then find me a unicorn.

I listened to the rest of the interview via podcast yesterday and also got a kick out of his take on health care.  We’re going to repeal the affordable care act and replace it simultaneously with better, cheaper, health care.  And if you believe that, I’ve got a whole country’s worth of bridges to sell you.

Looking throughout the developed world, there is one approach proven to provide access for all citizens and better health outcomes for those citizens at a lower price.  That’s right– substantially greater government involvement than we have in the U.S.

Sure, all politicians stretch the truth.  But we’ll sooner see leprechauns riding unicorns to find their pots of gold than anything remotely like what Trump has said.

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