Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Defending your narrative

I had a sense before the inauguration - before the election, really - that Donald Trump was fairly incompetent.

His businesses had gone through bankruptcy - what was it? Four times? Six? - after he somehow managed to lose money running a casino. So much for the saying that, "The house always wins."

And he had that long record of stiffing contractors who'd worked for him, claiming they'd done inadequate work for him.

There was the use of language. Someone can use non-standard English and be hella smart. Trump's language is something different. It seems to betray a simple inability to think clearly.

So when he moved into the White House, I was expecting incompetence, along with fearing anti-democratic actions.

Still, I couldn't have imagined it would look like this.

In my defense, he does represent an unprecedented level of incompetence, so there's no benchmark for what it would look like if this incredibly complex role were being filled by an individual with pretty limited mental capacities, aided by charlatans and mountebanks.

It is tempting to turn to his supporters - the ones who thought he'd be great because he was a successful businessman and we need someone who can bring the fairy dust of the private sector to the government - and say, "Do you still think he's such a good executive?"

But I suspect it would be pointless, in most cases.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Open letter to John Faso

February 1, 2017

Dear Representative Faso,

Congratulations on your victory in last November’s election. You have the privilege of serving our country at an unprecedented time. And that means that you have a chance to play a much more meaningful role than the typical freshman member of Congress.

You won your election by a sizeable margin, so there can be no question that, among the people in our district who bothered to vote, a majority preferred that you represent us in Washington, rather than Zephyr Teachout.

And similarly, of those in our district who bothered to vote, a majority clearly preferred that Donald Trump be president rather than Hillary Clinton. It’s true that, nationally, Mr. Trump lost the popular vote by a historic margin for a person who won, but it’s also true that we don’t have a national popular vote and that Mr. Trump got the votes where they mattered and was duly elected under our system, and that he was the more popular choice in our district.

The question is, what did the people of our district mean to vote for when they filled in the bubble for Donald Trump, and for you.