It has recently seemed to be going crazy, this White House crew of ours, although one creator of the problems, President Donald Trump, grew sufficiently wise to appoint Gen. John Kelly as his chief of staff.
This former secretary of Homeland Security quickly got rid of Anthony Scaramucci, a wild-eyed goofus who used his first days as communications director to communicate foul-mouthed claptrap.
The question is whether Kelly, a tough ex-Marine who is able, knowledgeable, smart and an exemplary manager, can also get rid of blustery tweets about such things as firing an attorney general. Can he assure focus on such mighty matters as North Korea, tax reform, spending, debt and a health care system that is currently falling apart? Will he somehow straighten things out and keep the left from obtaining enough power to practice ruination?
The recent past has been an awful past. First, there were Trump’s pointless tweet-screeches about getting rid of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an excellent public servant who was not fired. Scaramucci, financier to the point of riches, was chosen to head up PR operations and began with firing Sean Spicer, a press secretary actually not that bad in often defending the indefensible.
Scaramucci was incompetent enough to indulge in a curse-a-minute tirade about co-workers with a New Yorker reporter who would obviously print every outrageous word of it. The Mooch, as Scaramucci is called, made it clear he would toss out Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, an upright administrator perhaps not fitted to guiding a ship in a hurricane. Trump OK’d the firing but, as Senate Republicans were flubbing Obamacare fixes, turned to Kelly for a rescue that will only work if Trump lets it and that one hopes is not too late.
For all his problems of style, understanding and leadership, Trump has a saving grace. He is not Hillary Clinton. A Bloomberg poll not so long ago showed his approval ratings above hers, and for good reason — she is contemptuous of millions of Americans, she is in the spend-us-to-chaos camp, her integrity is a question mark in boldface and she has been closing in on Bernie Sanders-style socialism.
She’s an excellent representative of leftists who more and more worship big, incompetent government that does such things as redefine insurance so that it can only work when 1) people are forced by penalties to buy it, 2) it is subsidized and 3) it demands excruciating deductibles and premiums.
We’re talking about Obamacare, typical of leftist solutions that rely ever more on coercion, pseudo-intellectual reinventions of institutions and fiscal insanity that can maybe achieve some goals for a short while but then combusts.
The Trump administration has far-from-perfect answers for some problems but remains more cautious than the Democrats, does have good answers on a number of policies and has first-rate national security officials in place. On a number of fronts, the nation has made real progress under Trump.
A problem, however, is Trump himself messing up even a Boy Scouts address and tweeting sentiments you’d expect a confused adolescent to avoid. We then have too many news outlets, Democrats and felonious bureaucratic leakers outdoing him by treating everyday standards as nothing more than an obstruction to their goal of disposing of him.
At issue is whether our president will sufficiently empower Kelly and heed him. That does not mean Kelly should be the only voice, just that he affixes order and dignity to an administration otherwise in deep trouble.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.