Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Style Over Substance?

All in all, I thought Trump's European vacation was pretty much a complete disaster. Other than his dressing down of the Germans for funding the Russian military with $21B of imported energy products, which desperately needed to be said in blunt terms, Trump seemed completely off the rails everywhere he went.

His snarking at Prime Minister May was unnecessary and the press conference with Putin was one unforced error after another. The guy hasn't changed a bit. He has no filter between his brain and his mouth. Or perhaps, that filter switches on and off at irregular intervals. Whatever it was, the whole trip could hardly have been worse.

My wife can't stand the guy for the same reasons I can't. He's a self-aggrandizing loudmouth. Every utterance is there to make him look big and everyone else look small. It dawned on me after a conversation with her about it the other day that I've pretty much tuned him out. I don't watch the news, I don't watch most of his speeches and I don't read most of the quotes. What's the point? Occasionally he's right on target, but a lot of the time, he's a bombastic nut.

Until you get to his performance.

I can't think of anyone, save perhaps Ted Cruz, who would be doing a better job as president. Everything you want to happen is happening, with the exception of the wall. His judicial picks have been out of this world, giving a free hand to the military has led to the obliteration of ISIS, the market and economy are going gangbusters and he's reigning in the out-of-control regulatory state. The Catholic Church and its schools are safe from cultural attack by the government, something I didn't feel under Obama.

Meanwhile, the left is going totally insane, screaming about impeachment and treason and racism and God knows what else. I can't watch them, either.

I've decided that the biggest difference between the sides was best put by my wife. "I love what he's doing, but what he says and the way he says it drives me crazy!" If his reelection was held today, I'd vote for him and it's a good bet she'd vote against him.

Does style outweigh substance? (Good Lord, how I wish we'd elected Ted Cruz.)

All in all, this was probably a fitting symbol for the trip.


tim Eisele said...

Something that occurs to me about the list you give of things that you think he is doing right: pretty much all of them are not so much active things he has done, as passive things he has allowed to happen. He is allowing the military to do their job. His judicial appointments appear to me mostly a case of conservatives giving him a list, and him going along with it. He's not so much reining in regulations, as allowing them to expire or not instructing anyone to enforce them. For the most part, during the time the economy has been improving fastest, he hadn't actually done anything specifically to address the economy (and right about the time he actually started talking about explicitly meddling in the economy is when the stock market went flat and jittery and inflation started trending up again).

Overall, I'm inclined to favor King Log over King Stork, and to the extent that Trump has been King Log[1] things are going fairly well. What concerns me is that he's evidently decided to be King Stork on trade and international relations, when he didn't need to be, and he's likely to screw up more things than he improves.

[1] Or Zaphod Beeblebrox

K T Cat said...

Your explanation of the list of improvements seem like astrology to me. Tax cuts and large reductions in regulations made a big difference to the economy. The military rules of engagement have been practically eliminated. Yes, he outsourced the selection of judges, but every president does that and the last one nominated one sneering, elitist tyrant after another. I don't see how those aren't the product of, if not his actions, the actions of his administration.

tim eisele said...

My point is, each of those improvements is not a result of a detailed plan on his part, but rather a decision to do nothing and/or let other people do what they think is necessary. And I am not saying this is bad. I am saying that his "active plans" are mostly crap, and his "direct involvement" is generally counterproductive, but when he (chooses to just get out of the way)/(lets himself get distracted by other things) so that situations can work themselves out, then it can end up OK.

As for the "Tax cuts and large reductions in regulations made a big difference to the economy", I don't think the data is available yet to say that one way or the other. I can't find anything more recent than first quarter of 2018, but everything I see shows the GDP growth rate to have been pretty much constant since the election, and not particularly different from the average growth rates for several years prior. Meanwhile, the White House just announced that the projected deficit for next year has doubled from previous estimates:


Foxfier said...

He put a freeze on poison pill regulations-- the stuff people wanted to put into motion, but NOT when they would have to deal with them.

That is...utterly brilliant.

He's also been doing a lot of roll-back of regulatory over-reach.

That does a LOT for the economy.


Yep, he's obnoxious, but I think it might be on purpose. He is correct that the DNC refusing to turn over the servers so we could HAVE evidence of Russian interference is a big issue.

IlĂ­on said...

"(Good Lord, how I wish we'd elected Ted Cruz.)"

Translation: how I wish we had violated the Constitution yet again.