Throughout his campaign President Trump understood many of the problems that plague us, these often characterized by bloat and institutionalized corruption. Special interests result in a government stuck on an intractable autopilot, and the public be damned. This carries over from one administration to another and has done for decades. What is unclear is whether the Trump administration has solutions, and the ability to implement them.
In the past week, the political and media establishment has grown increasingly apoplectic about Trump’s lack of traditionally structured government, especially regarding foreign policy. They are also alarmed, they say, by his nominees for senior offices, claiming that they do not have the government experience needed to fulfill their duties. Maybe what the establishment cannot see, but that President Trump and many American voters do see, is that there is little to suggest that the career government types have had the successes that would qualify them for further employment.
Consider the record of the self-anointed “experts” in foreign policy. They began and carried out a war in Iraq that isolated us before the world, broke our treasury, and cost us the lives of 5000 Americans, put the blood of a hundred-thousand civilians on our hands, and achieved little beyond the recruitment of the next generation of terror. These are the same “experts” who overthrew the Libyan regime, empowering radical Wahhabi funded terrorists. Not satisfied with their successes in Iraq and Libya, the community of “experts” then decided to fund rebels whom they knew nothing about in Syria turning the Syrian conflict into a half-decade long bloody stalemate. Why should any of these people or their structures be trusted to offer a better result in the future?
Foreign policy might be the most prominent area where the career government types have erred, but it is not only the one. Consider the dismal state of public education in America. It is nowhere near to being competitive with that of other successful countries like Germany, Switzerland, and much of Northern Europe. In an ironic twist the Trump campaign appealed to the fears of the least educated. Perhaps his opponents who have long been in charge of education should ask themselves whether such appeals would be as successful had they done a better job.
All government functions have long been given over to a permanent government bureaucracy that it is more interested in continuing and expanding its employment than it is in serving the American taxpayer. President Trump has said as much and he is correct.
What is unclear is whether President Trump and his administration have the wherewithal to implement meaningful change or just be as dogs that are all bark and no bite. Trump has spent his first weeks in office ranting rather than governing. And even when governing he is ranting, a distraction from purpose and achievement. Maybe he wants it this way. He may believe that the noise is a necessary tactic to keep the establishment off balance, focused on it instead of the reforms that he will try to implement. The establishment will, no doubt, fight reform tooth and nail. But if diversion is Trump’s purpose his method seems misguided. Trump’s inability to comport himself more temperately will sow chaos and breed resistance to all he tries to do.
More importantly, Trump’s major actions to date, as his executive order temporarily curtailing immigration from certain countries, were ill thought and implemented. They demonstrate an incorrect analysis of the world dynamic that surrounds America, often viewed by the voices around him as a clash of civilizations. There is no evidence of this. However it could become the reality through ignorant acts. As for much of the rest of his agenda, which the country voted him into office to implement, the public has yet to see any substance. Key items are tax reform, deregulation so businesses of all sizes can compete, infrastructure renewal, and keeping America from counterproductive foreign entanglements.
To be sure, President Trump’s administration is still very new. But due to his unfortunate rhetoric before and now after the election his time to prove that he really does have solutions is short and growing shorter. The best thing that Trump could do at this time is to put down the Twitter machine, think and count to ten before speaking, and tone down the noise lest he lose himself in it. He will not do that. He is likely not capable of it. What is left is to focus on substantive solutions to the issues that Americans care about and to insure that his processes do not resemble his Twitter feed. Unconventional is fine, unworkable is not.