We have now seen Mr Trump in action (or inaction) for almost 3 months. Since he came into office with no real life experience it would be unfair to expect him to know what he was doing. Few of us made that mistake. So we must look to his actions to discover what his philosophy of governance is.
Now, we could pause and wait for him to clearly articulate the “Trump Doctrine”. But I fear that waiting for a well-reasoned, organized and concise explanation of that particular set of priorities and actions may be well beyond the time frame allotted us in the current age of this universe. After all, there is a Black Hole at the center of the galaxy which will eventually devour us all. (Stupid scientists)
So, I will help.
The Trump Doctrine seems to be based on a few fundamental principles.
- DRAMA. Mr Trump must always be at the center of attention, whether positive or negative. This is consistent with the old adage that there is no such thing as “bad publicity”. PR is PR. Mr Trump must always be the focal point of any discussion of domestic, foreign, athletic, entertainment, government, or any other human , vegetable or animal related policies. As opposed to “No Drama Obama”, Mr Trump demands drama as the key element of his doctrine. Whenever the discussion veers from him personally he does a midnight tweet to bring himself back into the center of the public discussion. The more outrageous, the better the drama.
- CARPE DIEM. (For those of you deprived of a parochial school education, this means “Seize the Day”). No matter the original meaning of Horace, the term today refers to enjoying the present. Doing what feels good now. Latin scholars may disagree, but Horace is dead! The Trump Doctrine involves saying or doing anything in the short term without regard, or perhaps understanding, of long term consequences. Example: Tweet that Obama tapped my phone. It felt good to tweet that. No evidence. Who cares. I just accused the former president of a felony? Without evidence? Who cares. See principle #1. Drama. Another example: Bomb Assad. Feels good. I look presidential. Looks good on TV (See principle # 1). Tomorrow? Who cares.
- CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT. No matter what the Trump Doctrine is today, the good news is that it will definitely change tomorrow. No matter what the firm position on any topic is today, we can be sure that the alternate or in some cases opposite position will be held tomorrow. Example #1: Obamacare will be repealed and replaced on day one. Easy. OK. Now on day 35. Congress will act. I demand it. It will happen. OK, maybe we will do it later. Who knew healthcare could be hard? Example # 2: The wall will be built by Mexico. OK. Not Mexico. OK. Maybe not a “wall”. Maybe just better border security (Like Hillary said?). I never said a “wall”. Who said a wall? Not me. Example # 3: Do not get involved in Syria. Never. OK. Maybe bomb an airfield. Why? I saw a picture on TV (See principle # 1). The Syrian people can have Assad. He is their problem. We must take Assad out of power. Example #4: Flynn is fantastic. Great American. Flynn who ? Who hired this stranger? Never met him. … We can be certain of one thing. No matter what Trump says or does today we can rest assured that tomorrow will bring a reversal. Or denial.
- FAMILY BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE, ON WEEKDAYS. The Trump Doctrine puts the family business interests at the dead center of any decision making. He has never divested himself of his multiple business interests. Nor has his family. He funnels tax dollars his Mar Lago Resort and Trump Towers as he now has 3 residences. (Can you even IMAGINE the outcry had No Drama Obama done anything close to this?) His daughter and son-in-law, while running the Trump empire, are also now involved in public policy decisions. To those who claim they are not qualified by intellect or experience to be at the locus of political power I answer thus: They have the same qualifications as Mr Trump himself. They have no formal education in government, the hard sciences or the social sciences. They are deeply involved in selling stuff to unwitting buyers. They have never exhibited normal human curiosity about life outside the realm of accumulating wealth. (I use the term “accumulating wealth” so as not to insult the millions of honest Americans who actually work to “make money”). And they have achieved their great wealth the old-fashioned way… by inheritance. All three, Donald and his two offspring or offspring-in-law, are cut from the same Chinese imported silk. The fact that Donald golfs every weekend does not bother me. But he did say he would not golf if elected president (See Principle #2).
So, there we have my suggestion as to the principles of the Trump Doctrine.
Drama. Carpe Diem. Consistently Inconsistent. Family Business Before Pleasure, On Weekdays.
The warhawks, especially the chickenhawks, got all tingly in their nether regions this week when Trump bombed Assad. Oh Boy. Let’s go to war. Refer to the Trump Doctrine.
The Obama haters got all tingly with the idea that they could take away health care from 24,000,000 working class Americans. Refer to the Trump Doctrine.
The Mexican haters were flushed with joy at the idea of the “Big Wall” and massive deportations. Refer to the Trump Doctrine.
The Muslim haters were ecstatic that Mr Trump was going to ban those potential terrorists and their children from entering the US. Refer to the Trump Doctrine.
So, don’t look for any well articulated formal policy from this man or his family. Look to the Trump Doctrine for answers.