Swamp Gas (Farting Contest)

#DrainTheSwamp | #WhatTheyVotedFor

The White House (Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Standing up for, well, someone, #NeverTrump consultant J. G. Collins tries an institutional twist:

The president should clarify the tone of U.S. trade policy and insist that his staff carry it out to ensure U.S. intentions and policies with respect to trade are clear to the world. Reports that Navarro’s influence is on the wane, should deeply trouble the Trump voters. It would mean that the nationalist “drain the swamp” “free but fair” trade rhetoric of the Trump campaign had become “just more of the same” trade policy in the Trump administration.

Let’s hope the latter is not true. It’s not what Americans voted for.

While there are plenty who will harrumph and remind that President Donald Trump is “not what Americans voted for”, that point is a distraction.

Peter Navarro, director of the newly-invoked National Trade Council, is somewhat institutional. An academic elitist, former Democrat, and Trump advisor “has been shunted aside”, Collins argues, “by Gary Cohn, the president’s chief economic advisor and former Goldman Sachs president”. And it is true: This would seem to be not what Mr. Trump’s minority actually voted for. In that context, of course, it is hard to figure the eighty-eight percent job approval among Republicans. Then again, in pretty much any context, it is hard to figure the eighty-six percent job approval among Republicans. For the time being, it seems that whatever Mr. Trump does, Republicans will at least pretend to support him.

Meanwhile, the unpalatability of attending conservatives in a dispute over a proverbial filthy scrap of sandwich probably does not dissipate as much as one might hope in the face of such questions; indeed the sickened feeling easily grows. The ongoing dispute ‘twixt President Trump and his GOP #NeverTrump opposition continues, and the greatest danger regardless of how well or poorly Republican institutionalists fare in this circumstance we should probably also give some consideration to Congress, where conservative conservative frustration grows because, for instance, Defense Secretary James Mattis, as we hear from Steve Benen, is “trying to govern in a mature, non-partisan, and responsible fashion, making decisions based more on merit and less on politics”.

It sounds like a compelling fight, but we also ought to bear in mind that nobody is quite certain what “mature” and “responsible” governance looks like in Republican performance. The spectacle itself is a loathsome reminder of the danger President Trump and Republicans present.

And as to #WhatTheyVotedFor? In the end, part of the nature of the #trumpswindle is that it doesn’t really matter. Antisocial is what they voted for.


Image note: Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Benen, Steve. “Mattis is proving to be far too responsible for some in the GOP”. msnbc. 22 March 2017.

Collins, J. G. “Don’t let ‘drain the swamp’ become ‘more of the same’ in trade policy”. The Hill. 22 March 2017.

Gallup. “Presidential Approval Ratings—Donald Trump”. Gallup.com. 22 March 2017.

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