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Saturday, November 12, 2016

I'm Back

I'm not even sure where to start.  The election night was a real kick in the gut.  Its not that being for the losing candidate is such a shock.  I supported McCarthy, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry, etc over the years, and I knew by Election Day they were losing..  Gore's loss was a hard blow to take too, and he actually won!

I suppose it is partly than I never considered the winning candidates I didn't support "evil or "sick".  Nixon in 72 seemed at least experienced and competent, Reagan had been Governor of a large State, and Bush Sr had been in government and politics for decades.

My biggest disappointment before was Bush Jr winning but even that was only because I thought he was rather stupid, Cheney WAS evil, and I thought Gore got cheated.

And part of it is that I thought Trump was a bad joke from the start, "running" only to improve his business prospects, and he would fade away like Ben Carson or Herman Cain.  As the Republican Debates and Primaries went along, I kept expecting Trump to be eliminated.

He was obviously not qualified for high political office, and as more information about his personal and commercial actions came out, I was sure Republicans would turn away from him in favor of some more standard like Jeb Bush, Kasich, Ryan, etc.

Even when Trump captured the Republican nomination, I wasn't all that concerned.  I thought it meant a Democratic landslide, and the polls seemed to support it.  Right up to Election Eve, it seemed there was no way Clinton could lose.

1.  That the voters realized she had experience when Trump had none.  That as a Senator, Clinton had domestic experience and a reputation for working with both Republicans and Democrats.  As Sec of State, she had international experience and a good reputation abroad.

2.  That voters realized the Clinton' "scandals" were minor.  The email server thing has pretty much been shown to be a molehill instead of a mountain, and even the most angry House Republicans published their Ben Ghazi report without any specific blame on Clinton.  The suggestions of Clinton Foundation conflict of interest proved to be way more minor than Trump Foundation outright theft and deception.

3.  That Clinton's personal behavior was so far beyond reproach compared to Trump's that there was no comparison.

So I went into watching the election returns come in slowly.   I watched a science DVD...  Later I returned to TV just in time to hear "So we are calling the election from Donald Trump.  Other channels agreed.

I went into a sort of shock.  I felt like I had shifted universes like in some sort of science fiction movie.  But wherever I am now ;) I am there and Trump won.  I was so stunned I considered moving to Canada or Australia.  It's harder than you might think AND if I can't get myself to relocate within my own State, I'm hardly going to leave my country.  I realized I was acting like a child considering running away from home.

The past few days of watching political shows on TV (I generally watch MSNBC, PBS, and CNN) have given me some hope.

1.  They point out that Trump is not yet President and we don't know what he will actually DO once in office.

2.  They point out that some people elected President have been considered unqualified yet gone on to do well in office "the office makes the man" idea.  Lincoln is the best example.  He was considered to be a buffoon by most; and "accident' of  politics.

3.  They point out that close associates say that Trump is very different in private than in public.  That in private he is a listener, thoughtful, and a fast learner.  That he adopts public personas that suit his private goals and casts them aside when he has gotten what he wants.

4.  They point out that Trump has previously considered himself a Democrat and has given more money to Left and Centrist candidates than Conservation ones.

5.  They point out that Trump considered the Republican party more vulnerable to a takeover than the Democratic party because of Clinton's assumed victory there.

6.  They point out that Trump is extremely practical, holds no extreme political views, and is creative in negotiations.

7.  They point out that he is entirely willing to talk to people of extreme opnions, while not being swayed by them.

8.  They point out that Trump has a habit of sitting be himself in a private room and thinking carefully about what he will do.

9.  They point out that Trump has a habit of trying to beat his oppenints into the ground, but recognizes and admires opponents who make good arguments and fight hard.

So I have decided to wait and see.  I don't have much of a choice.  I have no allusions that Trump is a nice person.  His sexist, racist, nativism, anti-immigrant comments cannot be erased.  I suspect most of his comments reflect his true beliefs.

But I also have to think that the pressure of the US Presidency can change people.  Some people change greatly after sitting in the Oval Office.  Truman was pushed for VP as a result of the powerful Pendergast political machine out of Kansas City.   Truman was basically told to "go home and don't bother us" by Roosevelt after the 1944 election.  But Roosevelt died and Truman was President.  O won't say he was a Top 10 President, but he did pretty well.  He pushed down the Pendergast political machine, and acted on his own.

He forced the Japanese surrender in 1945,  he pushed the foundation of the United Nations, Issued the Truman Doctrine to contain Communism, passed the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, Supported and recognized the State of Israel, ordered the Berlin Airlift in 1948, helped create NATO, and helped save South Korea as a democratic nation.

Not bad for a former VP politico who was told to "just go away".    So I hope Trump can improve.

We will know a lot more when he announces appointments to executive agencies.  Does he have the slightest idea what HUD or the EPA does, or will he just trade those jobs to political supporters in return for political support?  Well he just put some gas company VP in charge of the Energy Dept so they can rip us all off and destroy renewal energy .  We don't know.  We will find out.

Will he govern from the middle, or from his party on the right.  Maybe not, Establishment and Conservative Republicans distrust him.  Democrats hate him.  Perhaps he will find middle ground, move left or right, or just fail.

We just don't know yet.

What I do know is that I have spent enough time angry about the election, and life goes on...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Welcome back, Mark. I found your list of points very interesting reading. Unfortunately, any positive feeling I had was rather destroyed by reports that Trump has his adult children participating in the transition planning and rumours are that they might all be given senior appointments. O. M. G. I thought he said that he was going to drain the Washington swamp - not populate it with tadpoles.

I do have some hope that he will be an effective negotiator on USA's behalf. I think his negotiating style is to be outrageous, not to play by the usual rules and, in effect, bully his audience into adopting his agenda while only making minor concessions of his own. Mind you, the Chinese, Japanese and Russians aren't bad negotiators themselves - should be interesting.

Sydney, Australia