Friday, April 07, 2017

Unapologetic Ugliness

There are those who claim that Donald Trump is a new kind of Republican. Paul Krugman isn't so sure. When it comes to governing, Trump keeps repeating Republican boilerplate -- and getting nothing done -- because Republicans don't know how to generate policy:

Mr. Trump’s first great policy and political debacle — the ignominious collapse of the effort to kill Obamacare — owed almost nothing to executive dysfunction. Repeal-and-replace didn’t face-plant because of poor tactics; it failed because Republicans have been lying about health care for eight years. So when the time came to propose something real, all they could offer were various ways to package mass loss of coverage.

Similar considerations apply on other fronts. Tax reform looks like a bust, not because the Trump administration has no idea what it’s doing (although it doesn’t), but because nobody in the G.O.P. ever put in the hard work of figuring out what should change and how to sell those changes.

A push for a genuine trillion-dollar construction plan (as opposed to tax credits and privatization), which would need Democratic support given the predictable opposition from conservatives, would be a departure. But given what we heard in the interview — basically incoherent word salad mixed with random remarks about transportation in Queens — it’s clear that the administration has no actual infrastructure plan, and probably never will.

True, there are some places where Mr. Trump does seem likely to have a big impact — most notably, in crippling environmental policy. But that’s what any Republican would have done; climate change denialism and the belief that our air and water are too clean are mainstream positions in the modern G.O.P.

So has Trump's rise made any difference to the GOP? In one way, Krugman argues, it has. The clue is in Trump's defence of Bill O'Reilly: 

One way to think about Fox News in general, and Mr. O’Reilly in particular, is that they provide a safe space for people who want an affirmation that their uglier impulses are, in fact, justified and perfectly O.K. And one way to think about the Trump White House is that it’s attempting to expand that safe space to include the nation as a whole.

Trump and O'Reilly are Ugly Americans on steroids.They embody what Krugman calls "unapologetic ugliness."


the salamander said...

.. ah ... the Ugly Americans ..
its taken a while for that reality to roost, sit a spell, so t'say ..

Keep in mind now, Donald Trump was the cream o th crop
among the GOP and a sort of majority of the wise American electorate
The Cream Of The Crop .. Its bears repeating ..

Pandoras Box = Donald Trump & Steve Bannon ..
the rest of the idiots are just that. Idiots, many quite rich losers !
Buckle up.. its about to get real ugly ..

Owen Gray said...

Now that Trump has undergone a mercurial change on Syria -- and the cruise missiles are flying -- things could get very ugly, salamander. This is a man who doesn't think things through.

Lulymay said...

"A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country" (Texas Guinan).
Most Americans, Owen, believe the myth that their country is the greatest - I say, the greatest as Foghorn Leghorn would "trump-et" and the Donald has just pulled off one of those moves that will not only gather his flock to praise him, but take attention off all the mess he personally has created during his first few days as President.

Owen Gray said...

The best way to distract attention from your internal enemies is to find an external enemy, Lulymay. It's good to hear from you again.

Anonymous said...

He's wagging the dog. And the American World Massacre Tour rolls on. I've had it with the ignorant, selfish, Dunning-Krueger, war criminals- ruining the world for the other 8 billion of us. A nation built on false-hoods is built on sand. Doomed. And taking the rest of us down with them. Who gave them that right? Gaslighting imbeciles. Even if Texas secedes- frankly they can build all the walls they want- they're all Americans before they're R & D. Neo-kkklowns and Blackwater Princes and Grey Sites. Liberals who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Sheesh. Their off my lawn. The lot of them.

See you at Vimy, friends.

John B. said...

America needs Tony Robbins now more than ever.

Owen Gray said...

Certainly Mr. Trump won't seek his advice, John.

Owen Gray said...

So many Americans don't understand how the rest of the world sees them, loving it -- and they really don't care what other nations think of them.

It's a big and sombre weekend over there.

Anonymous said...

Time to care Owen. For every single last one of us. Or don't. Reap what you sow.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, loving it. It's an old lesson -- one that we continually have trouble learning.

Anonymous said...

We don't Owen- those of us who believe in Truth/science and facts. They do. Always been that way- always be that way.

Have a great day Sir.

Owen Gray said...

You too, lovingit.

Anonymous said...

America has become a cult.
The world should fear it and distance itself from it.
The time has come to isolate the USA.
Sadly the powers of finance will not permit it.


Owen Gray said...

I agree wholeheartedly, TB.