Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Business and Politics: A Match Made in Hell?

We have sometimes elected business people to legislative bodies, but not generally to the U.S. presidency. For that job, we have tended to go for politicians already holding elective office at the state or U.S. congressional level or else military leaders.

Donald Trump is the first president I can think of, at least since the twentieth century, of one elected to the office directly from a business career. Some of his supporters reasoned that a business person practices efficiency in order to make profit. Thus, Trump could drain the inefficient swamps of the U.S. government.

The problem is that a business leader is more like a dictator. Business experience does not necessarily prepare a person for heading a representative government.

As he took office, Trump appeared to think that members of the U.S. congress were his board of directors, beholden to him to carry out his wishes. In fact, they are not beholden to him; they owe their jobs to the people back home who elect them.

As a business leader, Trump could fire any underling who disagreed with him, free to make absolute loyalty to him a primary requirement. This appears to be his style as president.

Like the French king, Louis XIV, he has assumed the role of Sun King. He takes criticism personally, spewing unverifiable insults on anyone, even a supporter, who dares intimate that he isn’t the greatest president who ever held office.

Sad.

Wanted: Thick-Skinned Politicians

Barack Obama was named “Comedian in Chief” by news columnist Timothy Egan.

Obama joked a lot and never complained about cartoons emphasizing his big ears. Donald Trump will have to get used to the lampooning of his hair and physical characteristics.

Even more, Obama managed to respond with civility to outrageous insults. When Philippine President Rodrigo Duarte used a vulgar epithet for Obama, Obama responded that Duarte “was clearly a colorful guy.”

A politician’s family must cope with comments about him or her that go beyond mere humor. Trump’s ten-year-old son Barron will now face what Obama’s daughters have endured for eight years.

Michelle Obama taught her family: “When they go low, we go high.” Hopefully the Trump family will practice this as well.

Trump will need to take “Saturday Night Live” spoofs and political cartoons in his stride and laugh along with the public. Americans like politicians with a sense of humor.

I think it was the newscaster Harry Reasoner who said he wouldn’t trust any politician who lacked one.

The Power Passes Peacefully

“Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.”
    –Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, November 9, 2016

“I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night—about 3:30 in the morning, I think it was—to congratulate him on winning the election. And I had a chance to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.”
    –U.S. President Barack Obama, November 9, 2016

“U.S. President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump met on Thursday for the first time, setting aside the deep rancor that dominated the long campaign season to discuss the transition to the Republican’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Their 90-minute meeting in the White House Oval Office, with no aides present, took place just two days after Trump’s stunning election victory over Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state”
    –Reuters, November 10, 2016

The United States has endured a bitter election campaign, with unfounded hints of a “rigged” election. We can offer thanksgiving for a bit of redemption in this peaceful change of power, our tradition since John Adams took over from George Washington in 1797.

Who Do You Want With A Hand on the Nuclear Trigger?

Forget news headlines featuring the childish squabbles of our current presidential candidates. How do they differ on important issues? What do we know, for example, about how a candidate might handle the next world crisis? The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has listed on their website each U.S. presidential candidate’s views on the rest of the world.

Example: a few quotes on the Islamic State (ISIS):

Hilary Clinton: “Our strategy should have three main elements. One, defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and across the Middle East. Two, disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing, arms, and propaganda around the world. Three, harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats.”

Ted Cruz: Following the November 2015 attacks in Paris, Cruz said the United States should step up its fight against the Islamic State by supplying advanced weapons directly to Kurdish forces.

John Kasich, July 26, 2015: “We should have a coalition. We should be there, including boots on the ground. And we need to degrade and destroy ISIS.”

Bernie Sanders: At the Democratic presidential debate in October 2015, Sanders characterized the violence in Syria as “a quagmire in a quagmire,” and while he said he supports U.S. airstrikes in that country, he advised against an effort to establish a no-fly zone. “I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country.”

Donald Trump: After the November 2015 Paris attacks, Trump said he would intensify military attacks on the Islamic State and restrict the group’s ability to use the Internet as a recruiting tool.

These are snippets from detailed presentations. Try the website yourself.