Is Trump Becoming a ‘Normal’ President?

The Trump campaign was not a matter of conservative versus liberal.  Rather, from the point of view of Trump himself and his loyal supporters, it was a matter of being patriotic and being for the American people, on the one hand, and being for the sinister establishment on the other.  Trump painted complex issues in terms of that simplistic binary, and made all kinds of nonsensical promises (“I’m gonna build a wall and have Mexico pay for it,” “I’m gonna bring jobs back,” “I’m gonna put America first,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera).

After he won, he showed every sign of acting as president the same as he had on the campaign trail, and of surrounding himself with likeminded loyalists–Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn–who would reinforce his prejudices rather than teach him anything new.  Considering that the realities of the issues are very complicated, not at all a matter of “the will of the people” versus “the establishment,” one might actually say that the real binary was that of whether Trump’s policies were going to be shaped by advisers who know what they’re talking about or by narrow-minded ideologues who don’t.

Well, to make a long story short, it appears as if the advisers who know what they’re talking about may be getting Trump’s ear more.  Bannon, after all, has been removed from the National Security Council.  I’m willing to bet that this move happened because the National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster went to Trump and said “Mr. Preisdent, you’ve got to get Bannon out of there; he doesn’t know anything about national security policy, and he’s doing nothing but getting in the way, either get him out of my way or get me out of his way.” Similar things seem to be happening in other agencies too.

That brings us to the air strike against Syria last Thursday.  Air strikes are always messy, they always kill people, and they always leave some wishing they had gone farther, but whatever you think of this one, we could have gotten it no matter who the president was.  It could well have been Hillary Clinton.  And it’s the kind of thing that mainstream, establishment advisers would advocate, as evidenced by the fact that much of the political mainstream–in both parties–has supported it.

Here are a couple of related Politico articles.  April 10, 2017    April 6, 2017



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