It is here, it is upon us, it is the utterly, totally, completely impossible presidency of Donald Trump, and he has opportunities galore to rejuvenate the best in this country. Some of his ideas could get us there as he is also reversing the worst of President Barack Obama. Will it happen? Will he make America great again?
No. That, at least, is the judgment of maybe half the country, and some of those who fear him most outline a different trajectory if he is not stopped. What they talk about is economic ruin, a collapse of the Western alliance, trade wars, perhaps hot wars, civil rights catastrophe, media mangling and internal disruption, perhaps foreshadowing the crippling of America.
All of that and more is at least possible, not least of all the disruption, but right now it is mainly coming from the critics. Some seem willing to lower any standards they dubiously may have had to strike out at him.
We’re talking about hysterical, unruly protestors. About endless, hyper-efforts to delegitimize Trump’s constitutionally valid election. About Democratic members of Congress not so democratically boycotting the inauguration and thereby America’s tradition of transferring power peacefully. About the anti-Trump equivalent of the Obama birther story getting energetic circulation after a governmental boost. About bias ruling too much of the news.
To be fair, a sidekick in all of this is Trump and a wagging tongue way out ahead of thoughtful consideration. Especially disturbing — his tweets. These one-sentence kerpows do not bring us together. They are simplistic, they are arguments in the same way a nasty finger gesture is an argument and they indicate something scary. It is immaturity out of control, although this kind of direct communication with the people does have its pluses. What Trump needs is a tweet editor.
He also needs to heed what President Barack Obama did not, namely constitutional constraints. He needs to work with Congress, not least of all with House Speaker Paul Ryan, as exceptional a lawmaker as you will find in Washington these days. Trump’s Cabinet picks are mostly excellent, often counter-balancing him on issues where he goes most amiss, even if some of his other picks do not.
He needs to listen to his Cabinet, Ryan and others, not try dictating. Maybe then he will be wary of Russia. He will support NATO. He will avoid disastrous trade tariffs. He will not spend us into more debt that could spell crisis time. A Republican House and a Republican Senate, a genuine effort to negotiate with Democrats, could be the way to grand achievements, especially if he does not buy into doing too much too quickly, the “First 100 Days” trap.
One thing he can do in a hurry is get a tow truck to haul away the Obama executive orders evading the rule of law through unilateral action the Constitution does not allow. He should move quickly on repatriation of corporate money overseas that could do enormous good on these shores. Corporate tax reform? You bet. Nothing could do more to produce more jobs. Tackling Obamacare should be carefully, judiciously approached. Nothing could do more to liberate and energize the country than to get rid of the overload of regulations that, to the extent they are decipherable, sometimes conflict with each other and often mangle common sense.
He could help us whip the current crime rise and save lives all over the country. His Supreme Court appointments could well be supreme, saving us from a nine-person oligarchy.
The big, big thing is to trash the worst of the Obama legacy. It was about political incompetence in league with worship of the state and what it tried to do was carry us further to an America out of touch with its founding principles. Obama thought he would transform America. He got a start in all the wrong directions, and now we need a Trump rescue.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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