Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Both sides see it clearly now:  Trump is just a feckless empty vessel, a dangerously incurious and unprincipled gameshow host.

Here are two succinct summations of recent events, both of which essentially draw the same conclusion.  The first is by Steve Benen, a liberal writer for the Maddow Blog.  The next is by David Frum, a neo-con Republican, Atlantic editor and former speechwriter for Dubya:

On health care, it was Paul Ryan who effectively told Trump, “Never mind what your instincts tell you; my plan is the way to go.” On Syria, it was his national security team that did the same thing, effectively telling the president, “Never mind what your instincts tell you; this is an issue 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles can make better.”

It’s a safe bet Trump’s entire presidency will continue to unfold this way. It’s not that he’s determined to deliberately do the opposite of what he promised voters; it’s that he doesn’t seem to take any of those commitments especially seriously. Someone he knows and trusts – Paul Ryan, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster, et al – comes into the Oval Office, presents him with an idea, tells him it’s the smart thing to do, and Trump says, “Sounds good.”

He didn’t necessarily change his mind about his vision; Trump never really made up his mind in the first place.

Not even 100 days into his presidency, Trump has done exactly what he attacked Hillary Clinton for contemplating.
Some have described this reverse as “hypocritical.” This description is not accurate. A hypocrite says one thing while inwardly believing another. The situation with Donald Trump is much more alarming. On October 26, 2016, he surely meant what he said. It’s just that what he meant and said that day was no guide to what he would mean or say on October 27, 2016—much less April 6, 2017.
Voters and citizens can expect literally zero advance warning of what Donald Trump will do or won’t do. Campaign promises, solemn pledges—none are even slightly binding. If he can reverse himself on Syria, he can reverse himself on anything. If you feel betrayed by any of these reversals, you have no right to complain…
Every decision presents risks and costs, and any responsible decision maker insists on a detailed itemization of those risks and those costs. That cannot have happened here. Trump has walked into a military confrontation that implicates regional and global security with only the haziest notion of what might go wrong. One friend of mine has warned: If it were good foreign policy, Trump wouldn’t be doing it. Foreign policy is hard, and even the best process does not guarantee good outcomes. Sometimes you get lucky, and can escape the consequences of a bad process. But the odds are the odds. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, bad processes lead to ugly results.

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