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We expect our presidents to be effective leaders, able to articulate national goals and get most people to follow. Presidents vary in their ability to fulfill this expectation. The Present Occupant falls ludicrously short. Here are just some of the ways.

Trump Is Unfit

Trump is incoherent in both domestic and foreign policy. This is largely due to his extreme impulsiveness manifested by announcing policy shifts by tweet without prior consultation with his own staff. Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staff frequently learn about policy shifts in their bailiwicks by reading the day’s tweets. His attempts to negotiate with both North Korea and Iran have been repeatedly undercut by his own erratic tweets. A bipartisan deal on infrastructure funding was sunk when Trump unexpectedly threw in new demands.

Ten thousand lies and counting, that’s roughly ten a day for his tenure as president so far. This man lies when the truth would serve him better. It’s compulsive. How can he lead when we know he is lying?

Ten thousand lies and counting, that’s roughly ten a day for his tenure as president so far. This man lies when the truth would serve him better. It’s compulsive. How can he lead when we know he is lying?

He has succeeded in recruiting and mobilizing a devoted base, largely among less educated white men, by exploiting their grievances and appealing to their prejudices, even while pursuing policies that hurt them. Consider the great Tax Cut Scam, whose benefits accrue almost entirely to the top 1 percent. Or consider the trade war with China that is eviscerating American agriculture, even as rural Americans are Trump’s strongest supporters. He will leave his supporters worse off, and they will love him for it.

We are a society that has struggled since its inception with conflicts between the white Protestants who conquered and annihilated the original inhabitants of the land, and a succession of new arrivals starting with the Africans who were brought here as slaves, continuing with the Irish, Italian and East European immigrants of the 19th century, and the Asians, and now most recently Latinos. Rather than leading in incorporating the newest arrivals, Trump builds his base on crude racism and xenophobia, setting people against each other. Divide and demonize is his consistent tactic.

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He promised a lot on policy, ranging from health care to the environment, to infrastructure, to immigration, but even with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress in his first two years, he can’t point to any major legislative achievement. This is because he is astonishingly incompetent in the practice of everyday politics in Washington. He persists in trying to get the courts to declare the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) unconstitutional, even though he and Republicans in Congress have never produced an alternative proposal. Obama had to resort to executive orders to carry out many policies because he faced a Republican Congress; Trump has leaned on executive orders even when he had a Republican Congress.

Robert Mueller’s team could not reach the legal threshold to charge Trump or any member of his campaign with conspiracy in the matter of Russian intervention in the 2016 election, but it is very clear that he and they were most receptive and encouraging toward such intervention, knowing that it would be directed against Hillary Clinton. This is nationalism? Similarly, Mueller did not charge the president with obstruction of justice for his many attempts to block the inquiry, because Justice Department policy stipulates that a sitting president may not be indicted. In a less partisan environment than we are suffering now, the case for impeachment would be clear.

Then there is just the sheer, tawdry corruption. Even though Trump does not formally manage his many businesses, he still owns them, and still profits from them as Americans and foreigners alike seek to curry favor by staying in his hotels and playing on his golf courses. His bizarre affinity with Vladimir Putin seems to have a facet related to his long interest in building a Trump Tower in Moscow. That project is not currently active, but look for it to rise again like a phoenix after Trump leaves office (if he avoids indictment).

We now know that hundreds of years of population growth and industrialization threaten to catastrophically destabilize the global climate if fundamental corrective action is not promptly undertaken on a global basis. The scientific consensus on this approaches unanimity. The United States as the largest economy in the world is indispensable to such action, but Trump has staked out the position that the whole idea of human-caused global climate change is a hoax. He is single-handedly blocking effective action.

The survivors of future generations will hold him responsible, but he won’t care: he’ll be dead.

impeachment unavoidable

Après moi…

John Peeler

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