February 28, 2017
Happy Talk. Trump paints a more rosy picture for the future of America in his first address to Congress and makes a valiant effort to change his tone. The pundits and politicians, who have come to expect the worst, breathe a sigh of relief and praise Trump for his more presidential demeanor. Since when do we heap praise on a president for NOT attacking the press as the enemy of the people or finally remembering that he should condemn the violence against our Jewish community? Since when do we heap praise on the guy for not using the word “carnage”? The bar is so low it is hardly even there. My fantasy is that Steve Bannon got locked out of the oval office and Ivanka (finally settled into her Washington home) scurried over to the White House in the nick of time to help her Dad with his speech and presentation skills. She also grabbed away and hid his unsecured cell phone with the Twitter account and replaced it with a dummy. (Since when do we laud our leader for not tweeting mean, nasty things in the dead of the night?). People say Trump wants to be a winner and he was losing bigly in the polls. He needed help. He is competitive. He might really be trying to find a way to be the best president ever and that caused him to listen to some good advice for a change. The result was a more measured, presidential sounding read from the teleprompter. No doubt he will get a bump in his polls after this address. I listened to his address trying hard to maintain a totally open mind. I can see how he got elected. He promises lots of goodies. We are going to have the big rock candy mountain with cake and ice cream and candy- so much candy we are going to get sick of candy. I can see the appeal to Americans who are hurting and in need of a champion. The problem is that this pivot yesterday was largely tone not policies or logistics. He did not tell us how he will do what he promises. If he really wants to work with the Democrats and bring our country together in a kumbaya embrace, he will need to do more than change his tone. Governing requires the hard work of listening and relationship building, study and compromise, demanding the truth and facing criticism without tweeting back. Up until now Trump has been trying to lead like a boxer in the ring with a whole gang of enemies surrounding him and out to get him while he cries foul over and over. He leads like a paranoid person does because he is in fact a paranoid person, attacking almost everyone except Putin, making enemies of people who could have been friends and allies. Can he change his fundamental nature or was this merely window dressing last night? We will see. In the musical, “Hamilton”, George Washington tells Hamilton “Winning was easy…Governing’s harder.” That’s the truth.