Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trump's New Normal

The Washington Post puts it best here:

Washington veterans marvel at how much Trump has been able to get away with because he just doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks. The president-elect has disregarded the longstanding tradition that there should only be one president at a time. He talked to the leader of Taiwan in contravention of the One China policy; his national security adviser has been in contact with a senior Russian government official. He’s refused to fully divest his financial holdings, given his son-in-law a government job and ordered his aides to declare war on an independent ethics office that raised questions about these arrangements.

Just reading through that reminds us of how far the goalposts have moved.  This may be a failure of news reporting, although to be fair most outlets are busy trying to hold Trump accountable; there is just so much material that it's difficult to keep track.  Perhaps the big problem is the lack of obvious public discontent.  This is still the Trump who was on offer in the elections, and I guess if you thought he was suitable to be president then you are not likely to think anything he has done since is out of order.

By way of comparison, the Post referred to the case of Tom Daschle.  A former Senate Majority Leader tapped by the new President Obama to be Health and Human Services Secretary in 2009, Daschle eventually had to withdraw over an issue of unpaid taxes (which he later repaid on being nominated).  Unpaid taxes?? Donald Trump pretty well admitted he didn't pay taxes during the campaign and it's a fair bet that several of his billionaire cabinet appointees have found ways to avoid such a tedious task.  But there has been so little trasnparency from Trump and his appointees that virtually anything goes now.  The new normal is that ethics and openness are for the birds, and much of that is thanks to a Republican controlled legislature led by one of the most cynical men to adorn a democracy, which operates on an anything goes policy if it brings party advantage.

Welcome to the new normal.  Old standards no longer apply.

1 comment:

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