Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Glimmers of Hope

President Obama will leave office with a high approval rating, a low unemployment rate, incomes that are rising, and a record-low healthcare uninsured rate.  Unfortunately, presidential approval is likely to collapse after Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20.  

Hopefully, congressional Republicans will preserve a semblance of order, competence, and ethics by insisting that several Republican senators fill senior ranks of Trump’s administration.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told the Washington Post, that he’s inclined to oppose confirming Rudy Giuliani and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton.  Arizona Senator John McCain warned Trump that abrupt efforts to thaw relations with Russia are “unacceptable.”

Both McCain and Paul have just been re-elected to six-year terms, so they can use leverage over the Trump administration without worrying about near-term political costs. 

When Trump and his entourage first met with Obama and the current White House staff, it became apparent how unprepared they were for the enormity of the tasks ahead of them.  They were unaware that the West Wing was not permanently staffed, and that Trump would have to hire thousands of people to manage day to day functions of the White House and cabinet departments within two months.  The incoming administration needs to enlist experienced people to run things.  The door is closed to many of them, or they’re reluctant to knock.

Eliot Cohen encouraged foreign policy experts, who had worked with Condoleezza Rice to consider offering assistance to the incoming Trump administration.  Five days after reaching out to Trump’s transition team, Cohen suggested: “Stay away.  They're angry, arrogant, and it will be ugly.”

Trump’s Republican foes might choose between a strategy of hoping his government collapses rapidly, or praying, that people with experience will somehow worm their way into high-level jobs and prevent a catastrophic executive branch failure.

P.S. Hillary Clinton was ahead in the popular vote by 2,332,814 at the end of this day.


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