NEW YORK, N.Y. Jan. 29, 2017 /Troy Media/ – It may be folly to try to characterize Donald Trump’s presidency after only a week but it’s clear it’s not business as usual in Washington. It’s been frenetic, confrontational, disruptive and oh so fun to watch. (I readily accept that some may substitute ‘agonizing’ for ‘fun.’)
By any traditional political standards, Trump has moved at lightning speed to put in motion his agenda. Anyone who predicted – dare I say hoped – that he would abandon his campaign promises once winning the White House has already been proven wrong in a huge way.
One aspect of Trump’s personality throughout his public life has been his need to insulate himself from blame when things go wrong. His rapid-fire issuing of executive orders shows a tactical brilliance I’m not entirely sure is intentional since brilliance is decidedly not one of the qualities he’s ever been accused of possessing.
Hubris, check. Ambition, check. Ego, check with an exclamation point. But brilliance? Neither in his business nor his political career has that charge ever been levelled against him. Although, to be fair, the man did win the presidency against what we thought were insurmountable odds, so maybe brilliance is not such a stretch after all.
Oh, c’mon, I said maybe.
But just think how his issuing of executive orders on ObamaCare, immigration, deportation, the infamous border wall with Mexico, favouring a made-in-America policy, the United Nations and resurrecting the Keystone XL Pipeline can be spun in the months and years to come.
Even if none of these are realized with the speed he so naively desires and even if the inevitable compromise leading to implementation waters down his intent, he can now turn around in four years’ time – or whenever he decides he’s bored with being president – and say he kept his promises and any failure is not his fault.
He can claim to have been faithful to almost each and every one of his campaign promises and his supporters will agree with him. If there’s any anger at the non-realization of his promises, it will be directed at Congress, courts, defiant governors or mayors – basically anyone not named Trump.
Everyone in the United States – including, I suspect, Trump – is about to get a lesson in American constitutional law and the difference between campaigning and governing. Federal courts are about to be slammed with an avalanche of litigation aimed at stopping many of his decrees – such as withholding federal funds to sanctuary cities refusing to co-operate with his deportation policy.
Environmentalists opposing Keystone in the handful of states it will traverse will likewise seek to delay its progress in court to try to prevent it from ever becoming shovel-ready. Whether any of these tactics are ultimately successful remains to be seen. What they will do is put a giant orange traffic cone in front of Trump’s desire to reshape the country according to his desires.
Even after a week, it’s plain to see that fragmentation in the country will continue to be the order of the day. Jerry Brown, the governor of California formerly known as Moonbeam for his far-left views, has already thrown down the gauntlet and promised to challenge Trump in every way possible to thwart his agenda.
To do this, California has even retained the services of former Obama attorney general Eric Holder to act as adviser and, one presumes, designated thorn-in-the-side to the Trump administration.
Even if the ambitious rollout of Trump’s first week would be a more than respectable first term for past presidents, there’s little chance of Americans spontaneously joining hands and singing Kumbaya any time soon. Guns N’ Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle is more likely to be on the playlist.
Expect continued and escalating opposition. To paraphrase Bette Davis in All About Eve, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy four years.
Troy Media columnist Gavin MacFadyen is a Canada-raised, U.S.-based writer and occasional lawyer. Blending insight and wit, he brings a unique perspective to the issues of the day. Gavin is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.
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