Who is Running It and What is the Show?

Who is Running It and What is the Show?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Optimists are saying they are confused that the Trump cabinet designees in their confirmation hearings and transition spokespersons appear to be articulating policy directions and initiatives that are totally at odds with what the President-elect has said. It appears to be a joke suggesting that it all will get sorted out eventually but governing is a far cry from being a reality show. No one seems overly concerned.  

Trump tweets to his heart’s content, his nominees were either not completely vetted or don’t care or both. The nominees are presenting policy directions and ideas which frequently appear to be totally different from those coming from other folks in the transition team and no one seems concerned. One hears ideas to eliminate the ACA, to provide health insurance to all, to increase taxes to pay for it, etc. and no one seems confused. Only yesterday U.N. Ambassador nominee Nikki Haley, suggested that Israeli expansion of settlements can “hinder the peace process” while the Trump message has been that Israel can proceed with expansion of settlements. The EPA Administrator nominee says there is something to global warming. Some designees suggest that NATO is an integral and vital component of U.S. defense policy and the President tweets away to the contrary. Approach to Russia are varied. Cabinet nominees are all over the place on future trade policy with China as well as NAFTA, and other trade agreements. Meanwhile, the tweets keep flowing.

One line policy ideas seem to be the extent of Trump’s thinking or interest; but behind all of this someone or some people—one would hope–must be putting together a game plan. If indeed it is the machinations of Steve Bannon and his alt-right followers, the country and the world may well be in for a very rough shift in direction.   

Republicans appeared to be totally cowered by Trump’s potential hostile tweeting and are really hoping for the best. They are giddy with all their power but have no real idea what will actually emanate from the Trump White House. Trump appears to have effectively frightened even his sycophants with his nasty attacks and the potential for more ad hominem assaults.

Democrats are totally marginalized and are not even sure for what they are hoping.  It seems as if they have no idea how or with whom to build alliances and/or how to constructively oppose Trump or even whom or what to challenge.  They are crying in their closets as the Obama days tick away and the future of the Republic looks bleak. There has yet to be even the slightest signal of rapprochement towards them coming forth from President-elect.

No one appears to have any idea what to expect from his inaugural address. He will speak to his base and his supporters but will he at all seek to bring the country together? Has he the capacity to demonstrate any humility or humbleness? Is there any modesty of goals or purpose forthcoming? It appears to be clear that the nation is entering into the deep unknown and has a right to be truly concerned. 

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