One of the frustrating things about being a typical American when it comes to politics, is that the system is ridiculously obfuscated. Even when I’m interested to learn how my government came to a decision I’m flummoxed either by the motivations of its players or the behind-the-scenes dealmaking one assumes is always present. In an era where everything is analyzed and illuminated, from sports events to smart phone releases, it is rare to hear detailed reporting from “the room where it happens.”
A beautiful thing about #45 is that he is incapable of hiding his intentions, desires, or feelings. I am cynical enough to believe that our politicians are at least as cynical as I. This president has unwittingly dragged the back-door-dealing of politics kicking and screaming into the public eye. I am only capable of mentally tracking political events back for a few weeks at best, so if you read this anytime after tomorrow, forgive the feeling that I’m talking about ancient history.
Politico featured an interview with Mitch McConnell where he specifically talks about explaining to Trump why ending filibusters will be bad for politicians. “I’ve told him repeatedly, the votes aren’t there to change it,” he said. He also describes himself explaining a very basic concept of government, “I remind the president occasionally…but for that [the filibuster] we would have socialized medicine [and] right-to-work would have been eliminated across the country.”
This strikes me as good news because every time someone has to explain why #45 is doing something ignorant, we the people stand a chance of being less ignorant about it. We also, as a country, come closer to agreement when a perceived party ally of the president can provide an explanation for why he is being unreasonable about an issue.
Another example of opening the doors to the secret room came out of the president at the G7 summit. Fox News described his contribution to the G7 as “contentions (sic),” saying that he “roiled his allies by first agreeing to a group statement on trade only to withdraw from it”. The article continues by explaining the Angela Merkel told German public television “that she found Trump’s tweet…’sobering’ and ‘a little depressing.’”
The beauty of this is that it is hard to imagine a recent president, Democrat or Republican, upending the expected norms of such a significant group. Can you imagine George H. W. Bush griping in public about Helmut Kohl? Or vice versa?
Some people fear that this president is destroying the respect other nations have for America while others are celebrating his apparent lack of kowtowing. Those who fear the destruction of respect are both underestimating the intelligence of other nationalities and overestimating the lasting damage one president can do. Those who celebrate are doing the opposite. I personally like to see through my rose-colored glasses and believe that the rest of the G7 (for example) understand that #45 is an anomaly in the progression of our country’s drive toward greater understanding and international compassion, and believe that, save for Supreme Court Justices, the president has little lasting effect on the nation. Whoever fills the roll of #46 will be able to undo most of what #45 does, as long as they continue to do it unilaterally.
In any event, my feeling is that in America, little of this political discussion really matters. On with the status quo.