Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trump Creates Chaos!


I wonder if the chaos is the blow to the system more so than the promise-keeping itself, although the headline writer at USA Today isn't especially clear:

From Susan Page (who I like), "Analysis: Trump's start creates chaos by doing what he promised":

WASHINGTON — New presidents typically start with a flurry of actions designed to demonstrate to supporters and opponents alike that they will deliver on their campaign promises, and that there is a new guy in charge.

But never in modern times — a phrase that Donald Trump has made familiar in his opening 10 days in the White House — has there been a whirlwind of action that has so disrupted the political order. President Trump has opened a breach with Mexico over building a wall, created chaos at U.S. airports by blocking immigrants from Muslim countries, moved to undercut the Affordable Care Act even before Congress formally resumes debate over repealing it and more.

In other words, after a campaign that upended political assumptions, Trump has grabbed the headlines and prompted protests in the streets and the courts by doing precisely what he said he would do if elected.

"We've been in office now for about seven or eight days, and we've done an incredible amount," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation after deflecting questions on the orders to begin building a wall along the southern border and to temporarily block refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. "I think that one thing people can say about President Trump is that he's following through on his promises, and I don't think people should be surprised that he's doing it. I'm kind of surprised that people are surprised that he's actually conducting himself exactly the way he said he would."

It has been a surprise to those who assumed candidate Trump had more of a combative attitude than a specific policy plan. That gave rise to the observation, first credited to Saleno Zito of The Atlantic, that Trump's supporters took him seriously but not literally, while journalists took him literally but not seriously.

What's also surprised many is the speed with which Trump has moved, in some cases reportedly without the traditional consultation with members of his Cabinet, leaders of Congress or even the government lawyers who customarily would review the language and legal basis for the executive orders and presidential memorandums he has signed with fanfare.

Of course, presidents who have taken over at times of crisis have acted in the past with far-reaching actions and left it to the future for the courts and the critics to sort out. Franklin Roosevelt, taking over during the depths of the Great Depression, on the day after being inaugurated in 1933 declared a bank holiday and called Congress into special session. When he took office in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was dealing with a nation being split by Southern secession.

This time, though, Trump isn't taking over at a time of war or economic calamity. He has in effect created his own sense of crisis, a situation he seems to find useful when it comes to dominating the debate and conducting negotiations.

And while FDR coined the idea of the "first 100 days" as a measure for decisive action, Trump seems to be speeding up even that timetable — akin to his mode of unprecedented and instantaneous presidential communication via the burst of 140-character tweets...