Friday, November 11, 2016

Well, that sure didn't take long

Donald Trump has been the president-elect for less than a week and he's already starting to reneg on some of his signature campaign promises. I'm shocked. Didn't we vote for Trump because he "tells it like it is"?  Next you'll be telling me he wasn't really the anti-establishment candidate.

I'd write more but I'm still having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that this is actually happening.  I mean, Ben Carson as secretary of education?  Seriously?  I guess it could have been worse.  It could have been Sarah Palin.  But, wait, Carson is a young-earth creationist.  AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!  I think my head is going to explode.


Don Geddis said...

This is one of the least surprising observations about the election. Trump was never a principled candidate. He wasn't even consistent in his own election promises! As Scott Adams (Dilbert) predicted from the beginning, it was clear that what Trump was doing, was persuasion / negotiation. Not policy arguments.

The danger was that, since we knew nothing he said in the campaign could be trusted, it's a huge unknown as to how he will act as President. And it's generally not a good idea to put an unpredictable man in charge of the nuclear codes.

But Trump was never about specific policies. You can be shocked by a lot of things in this election, but the idea that Trump isn't necessarily going to follow through on things he said during the campaign, is surely not one of them.

Ron said...

> Trump was never about specific policies

Of course he was. He said over and over, "We're going to build a wall." He was even specific about the motivation: if you don't have border security then you "don't have a country", and how it was going to be financed: Mexico would pay for it. He also said over and over, "We're going to repeal Obamacare [because] it's a disaster." And he often followed up with, "Believe me" as if to emphasize that he really was being serious.

Of course anyone with half a brain knew he wasn't and could not possibly be serious. I just thought it was remarkable how *fast* he dropped the facade. I thought he'd at least try to keep up appearances through inauguration day.

I think (hope? pray?) that many of the people who voted for Trump thought he was serious, and that many of them will start to get buyer's remorse when it becomes evident that he wasn't.

Don Geddis said...

I agree that, if you search, you might be able to plausibly find a few policies here and there. But you can't be serious that the Trump campaign was ever about "policy". Is he anti-abortion? He wasn't for 70 years, then was for the last 12 months. What happened to immigration? No Muslims? That wasn't even a stable promise for the duration of the campaign.

You seem to be pretending that Trump had clearly articulated lifelong views, and now he's suddenly abandoning them. That's not what we saw in the campaign. What we saw was a guy "negotiating". We saw him anchoring various extreme positions, in order to get media play, popularity, and to set a frame for the subsequent discussions. He always intended to compromise -- on everything! -- and wind up somewhere other than where his initial statements claimed. He has never been a guy -- for his whole life -- that had a fixed vision, who would fight for the last mile. He's the Art of the Deal guy, pushing in all directions, seeing what he can come away with by the end.

To criticize him now, for beginning to compromise on campaign promises, seems petty. Forget about making it through inauguration day. He didn't even make it through the campaign without claiming numerous severe policy contradictions. (What do you think his tax policy is? His immigration policy? He's apparently anti-trade ... but only in the "we need to negotiate a better deal". What does that actually mean? Can you turn his words into an actual policy?)

I really disagree with your claim that he's reneging. I think he was up front from the beginning, that he's a negotiator, looking to land the "best deal". On every subject. Everything is up for compromise. He never had any principles that were off limits for negotiation.

Ron said...

> You seem to be pretending that Trump had clearly articulated lifelong views

Lifelong? When did I say lifelong? Of course he wasn't articulating lifelong views. But what difference does that make? I actually admire a politician who can admit he made a mistake.

All that matters on questions of *policy*, is what he said *during the campaign*. (On questions of character, what he said before the campaign is fair game.) And during the campaign he consistently articulated at least these two policies: he would build a big, beautiful wall along the Mexican border and get Mexico to pay for it somehow, and he would repeal and replace Obamacare (with the implication that he would replace it with something completely different, otherwise it would be a rather vacuous promise). Whether I think it's fair to hold him to those promises is not what matters. What matters is whether the people who voted for him think it's fair to hold him to those promises. It's obvious to you and me that he never intended to build a wall. It's far from clear whether that was obvious to his supporters.

Publius said...

Is This Your Theory?

Prior to Nov. 8, 2016: "Washington Post" and other "reporters" were in cahoots with the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and biased against Donald Trump.

After Nov. 8, 2016: The press and reporters are now unbiased, as clean as wind-blown snow, and are unbiased against President-Elect Trump.

Unknown said...

I would have to agree that Trump did in fact articulate very specific policies (though with limited supporting details) and I would assert that in some cases, the absence of policy is also a policy (e.g., not clearly committing to continued, unconditional support to NATO obligations). Additionally, he has promised to immediately undue the executive actions taken by Obama: Dreamers act and carbon pollution actions for example, and he has vowed to kill TPP and the Iranian nuclear arms treaty. He also stated he would seek to renegotiate all trade agreements and even the national debt (otherwise known as defaulting on the debt). Perhaps more importantly, he promises to nominate / appoint only pro-life judges to the supreme court (thus an implied policy to overturn Roe v. Wade). As the "law and order" President, he also promises to ban (or extremely vet, if want to use his revised rhetoric) people based on religion and country of origin, and he implicitly believes in profiling and increased police action within "urban" communities; which he described as hell holes of crime and accused of being corrupt and untrustworthy with respect to conducting fair elections. Despite these numerous policy positions (all expressed during the campaign and none of which have been disavowed since the election), I don't think that explains the base of his support. However, I'm not sure most of his supporters are aware of or care about his specific policies; as long as he is sufficiently hostile toward groups of people and institutions that they hate.