It has become obvious that Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office, in which great things were supposed to happen, resemble a chess game heading by fits and starts toward stalemate. He has made some successful moves but the king has been checked too often for comfort. I have never doubted his good intentions or his negotiating capacities as one of America’s leading entrepreneurs. But that is not to say I didn’t harbor any doubts at all.
My main apprehension had to do with the vast chasm between the world of business and the world of politics. It was clear that Trump was adept, indeed triumphant, in the former, and that he had mastered the art of the deal, to cite the title of one of his books. However, what he wrote there about Trump Tower — “I was proposing to take a ten-story building in a state of disrepair and build in its place a multi-use sixty-eight story $200 million tower” — is, mutatis mutandis, what he intended to do for America. Unfortunately, the nature of such a proposal and its ensuing execution does not readily translate into the insolubly corrupt, intricately Byzantine domain of political activity. It was precisely this Velikovsky-like collision between two approaching planets that worried me most.
As Pamela Geller points out in an insightful article for American Thinker:
[T]hroughout his career until now, [Trump] has been negotiating not with politicians, but with businessmen. We know their motive: profit.
It’s not the same with politicians. Politics is a twisted world, in which power and re-election are the currency in which they trade.
And therein lies the problem. The dominion of political haggling and policy dispute with its entrenched interests and electoral calculations bears precious little similarity to the realm of entrepreneurial foresight and fiscal practicality in which a builder and dealmaker like Trump flourished. Politicians are not businessmen and government administrators are not industrialists.
Entrepreneurs plan and build; politicians and administrators tend to regulate and obstruct. Business impresarios are willing to take risks in furthering their ventures; public officials and bureaucrats are professionally averse to chance and unpredictability. While daring in their projects, entrepreneurs need to be prudent and efficient; so-called public servants are generally inefficient and unproductive, except insofar as they are expert in preserving their privileges and “building” their sinecures. In effect, the two worlds could not be more different. This is Trump’s dilemma.
I suspect that Trump was confident he could transfer his business model and negotiating skills from the world of commerce and industry into the political quagmire — to “drain the swamp” — and now finds himself largely baffled by the self-interested gridlock, cunningly engineered booby traps, media blitzkrieg, Congressional blockage and furtive guerrilla tactics of the opposition. He has entered a space, unlike the one he is familiar with, where things don’t get done, where ideology takes precedence over results and obstructionism eclipses performance.
Has Trump, then, met his match in an adversary so massive, imbricated and insidious that he is helpless before its machinations? The question is moot. Why, Geller asks, is the ineffective Paul Ryan still there, after failing miserably to corral the votes necessary to undo the Obamacare travesty? Why is the untrustworthy James Comey sill holding down his post as director of the FBI? Why is the pro-Muslim lackey Eric Treene, special counsel for the DOJ Civil Rights Division, still buying coffee for Muslim Brotherhood operatives?
No need to stop there. Why is George Soros still allowed to foment violent mischief in the public forum against the peace and order of the republic? Why are the Obama-appointed judges of the Ninth Circuit permitted to overrule executive orders issued in the national interest when they should be stripped of their gowns? Why is Hillary’s campaign chair John Podesta’s financial connection to Russia left to simmer unattended on the backburner? Why has the Clinton Foundation, awash with dirty money, escaped a formal inquiry? Why are the Obama moles indefatigably subverting Trump’s administration not swiftly and ruthlessly cleaned out dripping root by clinging branch? For that matter, why has Trump not issued an executive order unsealing Obama’s sequestered records, including the former president’s original birth certificate, which has never been made public? These issues relating to Obama have never been satisfactorily resolved and remain a festering wound on the body politic.
Whatever may be going on behind the scenes or on the proscenium, Trump is still president of the United States. He must use the full power of his office to deal summarily with the slanders, fake news, covert impediments and overt barriers against his declared agenda to ensure the nation’s benefit, just as Obama used his presidential authority to the disadvantage of the country. Of course, should Trump proceed to act with dispatch and clear the board, there would arise a clamorous outcry from the partisan press, the morally compromised academy, left-liberal myrmidons, Democrats and RINOs.
But if it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t, then you might as well do.
For better or worse, the second hundred days will be a game-changer. A reputation for success precedes Trump; a reputation for failure should not succeed him.