Yep. That’s our President.
Vainglorious: Having or showing too much pride in one’s abilities or achievements.
Vacuous: Having or showing a lack of serious thought or substance.
While our readers know we didn’t support Donald Trump’s candidacy for President, we, nonetheless, accepted (and accept) the reality of his ascendancy to the highest office in the land. While we may oppose many, perhaps most, of his policies we do not “resist” his Presidency. Barring an impeachment, he is President of the United States of America until we elect his successor. It has, however, become all but impossible for us to even try to rationalize (although we have tried) that the Trump presidency might turn out well. It now appears that James Buchanan, our fifteenth president, has an auspicious rival for the low place he occupies in history.
Great praise has been heaped on Donald Trump; almost all of it by Trump himself, along with a sprinkling of family members, political wannabes and an unimpressive cast of sycophants. Fortunately, there are good people—real patriots who have agreed to serve and who, hopefully, will help steer a very wobbly ship of state. Millions of hard working Americans supported and continue to support Trump hoping he will, ultimately, transform the presidency into an office responsive to the concerns of a middle class that has largely been ignored by the Washington elite and left behind by globalization and technology that is evolving at warp speed.
Donald Trump had the luxury of running against a surprisingly easy-to-beat opponent in a year in which a largely ignored middle-working-class was primed to revolt. And revolt they did. And as has happened before in world history, voters who saw themselves as disenfranchised and ignored embraced an anti-establishment, anti-intellectual, uncredentialed and sadly unqualified candidate. As a leader, he is a pretender. To date, he has shown a surprising lack of basic leadership skills. To Donald Trump, it seems, leadership is synonymous with scaring people—pulling the rug out from under underlings. Goodbye James Comey, goodbye Jeff Sessions, goodbye Sean Spicer, goodbye Reince Priebus.
Or insulting them. On John McCain: “I like people who didn’t get captured.” On Jeff Sessions: “He’s very weak.” On Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “an incompetent judge.” On Bill Clinton: “doesn’t know much.” On Robert Gates: “dopey…knows nothing.” On Nikki Haley: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley.” On Hamilton (the show): “highly overrated.” On Charles Krauthammer: “highly overrated. ”On Frank Luntz: “a low-class slob.” On Mitt Romney: “a total joke and everyone knows it.” On Meryl Streep: “one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood.” On George Will: “one of the most over-rated political pundits.”
Bullies are never leaders. They are the antitheses of leadership. True leaders inspire followers. People who serve great leaders are inspired to please them far more than they are frightened of displeasing them. That’s why the so-called “skinny health care bill” failed in the Senate (as it deserved to fail). The White House had no ideas nor any capital with which to hold the Republican senators together. The so-called “skinny bill” remained the sow’s ear it had always been. Once again, John McCain showed that he was the hero, President Trump thought he wasn’t.
And speaking of the Health Care bill, seldom has the nation seen a greater lack of leadership. The Republican Party, with no lack of time to plan and prepare, planned nothing and prepared nothing. The President, for months, pontificated about the health care bill he would present to the Congress, or that the congress would present to the people. It was going to be something beautiful, something terrific. All blather from the campaign and, later from the White House. There was nothing.
The Republican Party was saved from disgrace, by the very man candidate Trump, himself, tried to disgrace, Senator John McCain. McCain, who a few days earlier, was being pilloried by liberal know nothings when he returned to Washington following brain surgery and simply voted to allow debate on the Republican health care bill. He then delivered the coup de grâce to this legislative masquerade by voting against this product of Republican ineptitude. John McCain, who Trump ridiculed for being shot down and captured in North Vietnam, is an American treasure, not because he is perfect, but because he is imperfect, yet extraordinarily honorable, uncommonly brave and remarkably selfless—qualities President Trump would be well advised to study. McCain suffered years of harsh imprisonment and torture and refused an offer of freedom until every American prisoner of war was free to return home.
The Trump White House, the very nucleolus of American decision-making, is in a state of extremis with in-fighting and name calling and raw animosities spilling out into public view, and on display for all the world to see and hear. This would never be happening in a White House where a decisive and respected leader showed up for work every day. Not only would a real leader not tolerate it, but neither the managers nor their staffs would tolerate it. They would know that such blatant turf fighting would ultimately hurt the President they were there to serve, and If they respected him, their first instinct would be to protect him from the certain ridicule to which such chronic dissension would subject him.
The lack of leadership, the very public and profane in-fighting within the inner circle, the ineptitude on daily display, and the remarkable disconnect between the Oval Office and the Congress is all eerily reminiscent of the depressing Nixon era.
And the world is watching. Russia is watching. China is watching. North Korea is watching. Iran is watching. The entire Middle East is watching. What an incredibly opportune time for mischief.
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I agree. What action plan do you suggest in support of your thoughts?
There is really only one “action plan” available to American voters. Vote! Get involved and support, in every way possible, those candidates for office at every level whose positions are consistent with what the voter believes. The passivity and poor participation by the electorate in our electoral process is dangerous. Forty percent of eligible voters failed to show up on election day.
Thank you for acknowledging exactly what exists.
Of course, it would be ridiculous to say you have solutions, but you point out wisely that our adversarial counterparts are noticing. Is it possible they are so stunned at what is going on that they will do nothing???
Must agree with all you expertly state. I think the Republican leadership should wake up and stand up for what they believe is their core values before the party goes down with the President.
I voted and still support Trump. Democrats have been pushing this Russian collusion theory for 6 months without proving a thing.
Democrats have forgotten that Obama sent operatives to destroy the re-election of Netanyahu in Israel and the liberal media has forgotten that disaster.
Trump must be allowed to continue his agenda of building the wall (as Israel did years go to keep out the suicide bombers), fix our infrastructure, tax reform, and immigration reform. This was his agenda last fall. Trump has to forego health care reform until he allows both parties to work out an equitable solution.
Right on the nose. What a tragedy. How said for our country.
Well stated, Stuart Goldfine. I agree.
Hal and Steve, thank you again for your thought provoking and expertly written weekly journals. I always look forward to them.
Thank you for your outstanding and insightful remarks about our
current presidential leadership. I can’t recall a more challenging time for our basic American values and principles since the World War ll era. The Trump base ‘s tone deafness is in- comprehensive and most alarming to me.
you always find an exemplary way to hit the nail on the head. you are right, everyone is watching. and what does our president do? he changes the subject and creates havoc in the transgender community serving in our military. existential!! huh? thank you, irv
why are you calling unspecified liberals “know nothings”? isn’t that what you decried trump for doing– calling names? helpful would be a solution to the problem.
John McCain was attacked merely because he voted to allow the so-called skinny health-care bill to come to the floor for a vote. It was a procedural issue. We believe he did the right thing by allowing debate even though he was, later, the deciding vote when he voted against the bill to amend H.R. 1628, The American Health Care Act. It seemed reasonable to us that those who were attacking McCain when he voted in favor of allowing debate assumed (knew) he was going to vote in favor of the Senate’s so-called skinny bill. In that respect, they “knew nothing.”