Is it time for Donald Trump to go?
Yes it is. That said, however, he will probably stay.
He may be despised on Capitol Hill – even by the leadership of his own party, and in many governor’s mansions across the land – but the Republicans will only act to bring down ‘one of their own’ if they feel that their re-election prospects are being terminally compromised. That time may be fast approaching at the present rate of decline in American governance.
Even then, there would remain the vexing question of how Trump’s downfall might be engineered without the ‘smoking gun’ that revealed that an impeachable offence had been committed. If such a weapon does exist, surely one or other of the many investigations now in progress will discover it? Perhaps. But investigations of this kind of necessity lumber along the highway at a stately pace, and even more slowly when those most likely to be exposed to criminal proceedings are busy blowing bridges and scattering nails across the road.
Richard Nixon clung to office for two wretched and interminable years from the date of the Watergate burglary to the day of his resignation. He might even then have survived if a junior senate factotum had not mentioned in passing that Oval Office meetings were taped.
President Donald Trump’s sins, if not his crimes, are manifest.
By any objective measures of judgement, his administration has contrived, after little more than one hundred days in office, to reduce the government of the United States government to chaos. The inmates of the asylum may not have taken over yet, but they seem to outnumber the guard by a dangerous margin.
That in itself must be counted as some kind of achievement, if only for historians forever on the prowl for unprecedented events. For this state of affairs most of the blame, perhaps all of it, must be laid at the door of the man himself. The door has been left wide open, letting hot air escape and cold air blow in. Even Ivanka didn’t think to close it. Some one should have.
If nothing else, it has exposed the man behind it. He has proved to be functionally incompetent, mentally unstable and dangerously vainglorious. He may yet prove to be dishonest. There is no evidence that he is, but even the more obvious defects – let alone others of which we may yet to be made aware – make him an ever-present menace – not only to the stability of the United States but to the rest of the world, enemies and friends alike. Russia may have no reason to fear America as a military threat, but it does from Washington’s leaking of uncomfortable secrets. The latter goes for Britain, Israel and assorted other allies.
Just as Trump can’t seem to keep his door closed, he can’t keep his trap shut either. Apparently, the man – make that man-child, as a New York Times columnist asserted yesterday – can’t help blurting out whatever comes into his head, regardless of the audience or the occasion. If that is not a mark of his stupidity, which would be bad enough, then it is a sign of his vanity, which is worse. Assuming the latter, we can only conclude that his ego convinces him, whatever the situation, that he is adroit enough to know what to say and when to say it on virtually any subject. He is not an emperor without clothes so much as a buffoon in expensive drag.
As offensive as I find him both as president and man, the disgrace is less his than that of a gullible American electorate, which, having plausibly found Hillary Clinton a candidate of less substance than it would liked her to be, implausibly turned instead to someone with no substance at all. Voters may have felt that they were offered Hobson’s Choice, but actually it fell short of that. ‘Anyone but Hillary’ could as easily have been ‘Anyone but Trump’.
Like most liberals, I can find nothing much to recommend a Pence presidency – except sanity. The Vice President may not be my cup of tea politically, or any otherwise, but at least he seems normal – and ‘normal’ is something that America could use right now. Start getting ready, Mike, you may be coming off the bench any day now.
How I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Republican kitchen for the next few weeks.