Day 65 1,397 days left
I started writing this blog to let off some of my frustration and fears, but Trump’s ongoing lying is almost paralyzing. This week he was interviewed by Time on his tenuous relationship with the truth, and lied throughout the interview. Whatever the balance in his thinking and behavior between strategy and narcissism and ignorance, he can’t even understand the question as something to address in any way but lying. Yikes.
One of the things that I’ve been pondering lately is his complete unwillingness in taking responsibility for anything. Harry Truman’s slogan was “The Buck Stops Here” – Truman understood he was ultimately responsible. Trump, on the other hand, takes credit for everything he can – things he did, things someone else did, things that haven’t even happened, things that have failed that he declares as successful. But he dodges responsibility for anything he cannot spin as gold.
This is on full display right now with his and Paul Ryan’s inability to get their bizarre, illogical disaster of a health care bill passed in the House. There are the normal over the top political lies that Trump excels at but hardly invented, such as that he never said replacing Obamacare would happen right away if he was elected and that it would be easy – never mind the video! There is the bizarre blaming of Democrats for his and Ryan being unable to get dozens of Republicans to vote for the bill. Pretty funny for a great dealmaker, except that is more a reality TV version of Trump than what his business history suggests. What he is very good at is convincing people that putting his name on things will benefit them; in effect, the only skill he has shown in business is selling an image of himself as fabulous, which he transferred brilliantly to politics in getting elected. People like me who live in the reality-based world and know something about public policy didn’t get it as a realistic possibility because he was so clearly full of crap. Now his lack of basic understanding is showing, and reality just hit him and Ryan in the head.
He will dodge everything that goes badly – terrorist attack? He’ll say he warned us and point at others. Economy gets worse instead of better? Congress or someone else’s fault. People lose health care after he strangles Obamacare over the next few years? Obama’s fault. He bombs North Korea and it spins out of control? Everyone else’s fault, or a victory despite all the dead. People all around his campaign were working with Russia? Didn’t happen, or they weren’t important (Manafort). Trump really is the ultimate politician in the negative sense of the word – not only is it impossible to tell which of the things he says he actually means, but he will never take responsibility for his failures, whether it be the failure to do something he promised or a policy he does implement that fails to do what was promised. We are in for a long ride.