Yes, I’m talking to those of you who came out to mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush and praise him for his bipartisan approach to the government and as soon as the services were over, went back to wearing blinders.
As we are about to hit the two-year mark of the Trump Administration, we literally are watching this country fall into near disaster.
Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned with a flourish, unlike a career soldier who normally would have more quietly walked into the sunset. But Mattis is a true patriot, pledged to the United States of America, not a two-bit faux-politician. If Mattis’ exit letter didn’t shock the Hill into a new behavior, what will?
President Trump is pulling out troops out of Syria. Now, whether that’s good policy or not can be debated. But what can’t be debated is the slap-dash way the decision was made. Trump was on the phone with the Turkish president who was making his standard case for getting American troops out of Syria and finally Trump said, basically, and this isn’t too far from what he’s reported to have said, “The hell with it, Syria is yours. We’re outta there.” And, getting nothing in return for it.
You may not agree with having our troops on the ground while the fight against ISIS is finished, or the various geopolitical reasons we were there beyond killing ISIS, but to leave and get nothing? To make the decision without consulting your advisors one more time, or the Senators and Congressmen who actually do understand the geopolitics, or our allies who are directly affected by our abandoning the fight? Reckless. Dangerous.
Why? Because there are other countries our troops we are in for similar reasons – not only to fight for the countries and people most directly affected by the bombings and killings and to protect basic human rights but because we fight them there, so they won’t come here – a strategy that’s worked pretty well, until now.
When you see Vladimir Putin praising a U.S. president for a foreign policy decision, you know the wrong decision was made. That’s not a throwaway line – that’s reality.
The President gives his word he will sign a budget agreement to avoid a partial shutdown and two days later, after being pummeled by, get this, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter – talk show entertainers – and some wackos on the Right. he goes back on his word to the Hill and holds out for money to build his silly wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. Plus, do you remember not long after he took office that he asked the then-president of Mexico to go along with the wall, but that it would never be built? I do. Plus an easy majority of Americans oppose the wall.
Trump’s base may love it when he upsets another apple cart but this week proved you need to think before you throw over the cart. The market is in free-fall. Since October, those of us with “portfolios” invested for retirement are down a significant percentage. Will it come back? Normally the market does, but these are not normal times. We have a President who now wants to fire the Federal Reserve chairman he appointed not that long ago because the independent Fed is making decisions Trump doesn’t agree with. That is dangerous.
He’s appointed a temporary Attorney General who thinks like he does except not when prosecutors make independent decisions that Trump sees as hurting him. Then what does he do? He calls the acting AG to complain about it. Wholly inappropriate. The Justice Department is investigating Trump and he calls them to “hint” it needs to be stopped? People, he complains too much about the Mueller investigator for there not to be something there.
There’s more but probably old news by the time you read this, so I won’t list everything going to hell in a hand basket right now.
Our country is facing an extremely dangerous time. And the danger doesn’t come from abroad, it comes from within the White House. Trump has two years under his belt and, while I think he was overwhelmed (as anyone would be) at first, now believes he knows more than anyone thus we are being governed by his gut. He trusts his gut, he says, but he doesn’t trust his foreign policy advisors who keep us safe. He won't read a briefing paper to even pretend he understands a policy before his gut changes it.
He either is the dumbest person to ever hold elected office or he truly is a puppet of the tyrants of the world – Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and others. With our international reputation at its lowest in, well, ever and our economy on the edge of tipping into recession with all of our savings at risk, we have a President who seems to love all the chaos he’s producing. In fact, it emboldens him.
We have a system of checks and balances – but only when those checks and balances are used. Impeachment? I don’t know and doubt this is the right time for that for a variety of reasons. But the Congress can do more – can do something – about checking the Executive’s “power.” Pressure alone would be one thing.
Example? A basic one. The House and Senate could have passed a “clean” bill on the budget – a temporary way to fund the government to punt debates until later – and let the President veto it. The Congress can override a veto – why didn’t they do that a couple of weeks ago when it would have mattered? Instead, the Republicans in Congress caved to the will of Trump, who knows absolutely nothing about appropriately governing this country. Does he have to be like every President before him? No, but there are some good lessons in our 200-plus years of existence. We didn't spring up over night.
I’m not expert of the laws of this country or the rules of the Senate or House, but we have experts in those areas. And we should be using them creatively to stop the madness.
It’s time. It's about to be past time.