Thursday, December 8, 2016

Trump's Politics and Policy

Donald Trump is a masterful politician, though that doesn't make him a good policy guy.  But he's already hit the ground running with some high-profile actions as President-elect.  He helped negotiate  a deal with the air conditioning company Carrier to keep jobs in the United States - specifically, Indiana, where incoming Vice President Mike Pence is the outgoing governor.  So what if Carrier got a sweetheart tax break and will still be allowed to send some jobs abroad?  As long as it looks like he saved some jobs in the United States - and he did, after all, just not as many as people think - that's all that matters.  
Then there's his decision to cancel a Boeing contract to build new Air Force One planes, citing a $4 billion price tag and choosing to try to save the government some money.  So what if the actual contract was $170 million and his misinformation destabilized Boeing stock?  So what indeed, if even Karl Rove thought it was irresponsible for Trump to go after Boeing the way he did?    "The impulse — that we want to save the taxpayers money — that’s admirable. But this was fire, ready, aim in my opinion," Rove said.  But as long as Trump looks like he's saving taxpayers even twenty-five cents, he looks like a hero.
I actually have to give credit to Trump for appointing retried general James Mattis Secretary of Defense.  Yes, he's known as a fighting man - they call him "Mad Dog" - but he's also against torture, he supports a two-state solution to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and he backs the Iran nuclear agreement despite having been opposed to its adoption because he believes it should not be reversed now.   In addition to being a serious scholar of military history, Mattis is known to have compassion for the rank-and-file service personnel. So, yes, I give Trump credit for that.
But his appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General fossil-fuel-industry stooge Scott Pruitt to head - wait for it - the Environmental Protection Agency (!!!) wipes out that credit.  :-(    

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