Is Trump Irrelevant?

Those who had lauded the expansion of executive powers when Barack Obama was president perhaps now see the dangers of an imperial presidency with Donald Trump as president. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, because we all know what Lord Acton said about the corrupting influence of power.

In previous columns written during the presidential campaign, I observed that Trump is devoid of ideology. His appalling inauguration speech was loaded with vague objectives which he apparently thought he could achieve by edict. In his nomination acceptance speech, he recited a list of issues which he said, “… I alone can fix it.” That is some chutzpah and it is more revealing than Mr. Trump realizes.

I noted, “Trump follows a long line of populist leaders who use tired terms like ‘America first’ or the ‘Forgotten Man’ to incite their followers. They promise big and deliver little.” Populists sacrifice principles for power.

The chaos that is engulfing the Trump administration should be worrisome to all of us. Trump as president has revealed his true self and he is unlikely to change. Attempts to inject gravitas into President Trump have proven futile. Trump supporters enthusiastically welcomed General Kelly as Chief of Staff whom they thought would tame Trump and bring some order to the chaos that has been the hallmark of his administration. That has not been the case as we have seen in Trump’s Charlottesville tweets.

His supporters now similarly cheer the ouster of Steve Bannon, another agent of chaos, as a turning point in Trump’s administration. That would be wishful thinking. If we’ve learned nothing else from Trump, we know he is uncontrollable and will dig in and double down on his blunders.

One wonders why President Trump continues to sabotage himself. Any rational politician would wish to build a consensus of support in Congress to achieve his policy goals. Yet Trump seems pathologically incapable of doing that. The Charlottesville missteps have seen the Republican Congress backing away from him, afraid his noxiousness will rub off on them. Ditto with the business leaders on his advisory councils. Even worse, the press hate him and the long knives are out, digging for anything that would take him down. Why would a rational man keep doing this?

The answer is that he can’t help himself. You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to see the inherent flaws in his psyche. He either has seriously defective judgment or he has some mental issues that cause his compulsivity. Whatever it is, it is something beyond his arrogance, narcissism, and thin-skinned ego.

Which leads me to wonder if he is becoming irrelevant. He alone is sabotaging his presidency. He has alienated a Republican Congress, his key advisers are at odds with him, and he lacks an ideological vision of what really does makes America great. It is obvious that he will not be the agent of change that voters hoped for. This makes him irrelevant and it is likely that the result will be a do-nothing presidency.

Being irrelevant does not make him harmless. He has a penchant for lashing out without consulting his key advisers. One could argue that “lashing out” is just harmless rhetoric, but in the foreign policy realm it is not. His attempts to top Kim Jong Un’s empty commie-rants, his threat to bomb the s**t out of ISIS, his threats against China and Iran, and his cosseting of Putin present him as a potentially dangerous, unpredictable, and destabilizing force. We need friends, not enemies, in this world.

Other than blundering onto another war, the greatest danger he presents is his threat to disrupt free trade which demonstrates a shocking ignorance of economics. Withdrawal from TPP, trade sanctions against China, and his goal of destroying NAFTA will only serve to destabilize our economy and bring on recession and unemployment.

What can we expect of Trump’s legislative accomplishments? Apparently, nothing. He failed to articulate true healthcare reform and a divisive Republican Congress failed spectacularly to fill the breach. Perhaps they will do nothing and let Obamacare fail. Tax cuts are a possibility, but it appears that it will be driven by Congress not the Executive branch.

There is something to be said for legislative paralysis. The fewer the legislative “reforms”, the better the economy. Once businesses, the drivers of prosperity, believe there will be stability and predictability in government action, they can better plan and invest for the future. If they believe that the playing field will be changed (regime uncertainty), they are less willing to invest in future expansion.

That is not to say there are not significant problems that government needs to address, but there is no political will to solve them. No president nor any Congress, left or right, seem willing to sacrifice power for solutions.

As much as his detractors would wish it so, unless the press or Robert Mueller come up with a smoking gun, a dead body, and a cache of rubles, it is unlikely he will be impeached. We must assume the man will last for a full four-year term.

Trump risks becoming irrelevant because no one will take him seriously. He reminds me of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where, after warning King Arthur that, “None shall pass”, he keeps defiantly taunting Arthur even after the king chops off his arms and legs. Trump just had a leg chopped off; he might be limbless by 2020.


RedBaron616 Mon, 09/11/2017 - 18:21 Permalink

I was with you until you got on the wonderful benefits of so-called Free Trade. All Free Trade has done is endangered the Middle Class of America by making them compete head-to-head with the cheapest labor to be found on the planet. American factories that employed thousands of middle class Americans are now employing thousands of Chinese, Vietnamese, and the next group that will work for peanuts. Free Trade has destroyed the American Dream. Red China has become the nightmare it is because, guess what, the USA is FUNDING their MILITARY BUILDUP through the wonders of FREE TRADE. Econophile? No, EconoIdiot!

deepfriedbrain Mon, 09/11/2017 - 22:33 Permalink

Comeplete BS article from a complete BS person...Regarding Trump:media & ass clowns like this guy thinks people don't take Trump seriously....Ask the NAFTA negotiators.His base takes him seriously enough to put a bullet in anyone that thinks they can have him forcibly removed.Trump will be president until 2020 and then the globalist will take another 50 years to get back to this same point.

deepfriedbrain libertyanyday Tue, 10/17/2017 - 05:51 Permalink

nah....Trump will make being American mean something again...he fights and takes all the incoming while all his guys work to accomplish the goals he set out for them with out media outrage.  He starts all kinds of shit...Trump is probably the guy releasing all the fake infighting crap to the now they ask about he said/she said not the state dept budget is neutered or what's happening w/ISIS or the EPA...we are never going back to a constitutional republic but Trump has single handedly set back the globalist 50 years already and will set them back at least 80 if he's in two terms due to the make-up of the courts

In reply to by libertyanyday

Zero-Hegemon Mon, 09/11/2017 - 22:41 Permalink

The longer the system doesn't work for anyone, the sooner it all becomes irrelevant for everyone.Turn your gaze beyond the one man and behold an entire sea of irrelevance.

Nona Yobiznes Mon, 09/11/2017 - 23:02 Permalink

I don't see anything wrong with the way he reacted to Charlottesville. The only people who made it into a massive scandal were the media. Trump took a measured response, blamed violence on both sides, denounced white supremacy multiple times... and also had enough discernment to realize that the protests against monument removal were not only made up of white supremacists. This is a bullshit criticism.

SheHunter Mon, 09/11/2017 - 23:45 Permalink

I am much more'liberal' than many of the ZH crew and I voted for Trump because even if I do not agree with all the stances he took during the election I want someone, anyone in office who will rattle the cage.  And Trump is rattling the cage. I detest he fired Bannon and I fear he is becoming mired with the swamp.  But I will give him his full term and watch closely to try and get insight into if he is attemtping to work within the swamp confines to implement his agenda or if he has accepted the swamp.  right now I do not know which is happening.  What we all know is he got sobered by what he saw once he got into office.  I cannot imagine all he is juggling but it must be pretty damn huge and sobering.  I bet he looks forward to the rallies he holds.  Might be his realty check. 

TheFulishBastid Tue, 09/12/2017 - 00:38 Permalink

WAIT Wait wait! You mean to tell me a purveyor of shitty champagne, mail order steaks, crappy hotels, and money losing casinos might not be qualified to be the leader of America?You're saying, the WWE 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, host of a reality show who fired people from non-existent jobs ,  might  not be capable of handling matters of state involving nuclear powered states, former head of KGB heads of state, and ongoing natural disasters?HUH, who could've seen that coming?

joego1 Tue, 09/12/2017 - 01:27 Permalink

The way I look at it he is a successful New York sociopathic businessman which against a Politicizing free riding satanic psychopathic  grifting lawyer  is a no brainier. In my mind he is a transitional figure as we transform our society in so many ways. What will we be when it is over? I hope we are better. The answer to the question is very much yes.

Ross123 Tue, 09/12/2017 - 01:54 Permalink

I only got to the second paragraph when this came othis was said and then I gave up reading. What BS !!"His appalling inauguration speech was loaded with vague objectives which he apparently thought he could achieve by ..." 

DaveA Tue, 09/12/2017 - 02:49 Permalink

Trump's election was a fluke anyhow, because the Permanent Government almost always gets its way. The PG is treating Trump as your body treats an embedded foreign object: Try to expel it, and if that fails, build a cyst around it. So Trump ends up alone in the Oval Office with all the levers of power that aren't actually connected to anything.

If Trump is irrelevant, that means elections are irrelevant, it means that America is not a Democracy or a Republic and hasn't been for some time. It is a mega-state answerable to no one, existing solely for its own empowerment and enrichment, and its legitimacy is based entirely on its ability to fuck you over.

dogismycopilot Tue, 09/12/2017 - 03:34 Permalink

Roger Stone on fire on Alex Jones. Apparently Stone's sources are being frog marched out of the White House. Also, Trump's personal bodyguard has been driven out of the WH by Kelly. Bad shit in the woods is happening now. Trump might have lost the Korean War, but he's still my President!Roger Stone Talks Trump Poisoning/Schiller Resignation & More