Not my time to laff...
Published : Thursday, 4 June, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 353
Four years ago, many of us would have enjoyed a laugh when Donald Trump proudly claimed: 'I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue (NYC), and shoot somebody.....and I wouldn't lose a voter!'
Frankly, I'm not laughing at the anticlimax anymore. He hasn't shot anybody that I know of, but he has certainly shot himself in the foot-far more often than any national political figure in my memory. And it never makes a difference.
Forty percent of polled voters, give or take a couple of points over the past three years, have consistently had a favorable opinion of President Trump. So I don't expect to change any minds. But I still think it is worthwhile to take a look at the weirdest official kick-off of a re-election campaign I have ever seen.
My question therefore: Is it really possible he can get away with making the same promises he made in 2016 and utterly failed to deliver on? That's exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago at his big Orlando rally. "Build the Wall." "Drain the Swamp." Not sure? If you had been there, you might have wondered what year this is.
But there they were, nearly exactly the same two major promises that dominated his first campaign. I say "nearly" because, in 2016, it was "Build the Wall and Make Mexico pay for it." Every incumbent I have watched in my political career at least tries to run on what he or she has accomplished, ideally campaign promises kept. Trump's re-election strategy is a first.
The "Great Wall" is still a pipe dream and the swamp has reached heights that the most corrupt politicians in our history could only have dreamed of. "There are lots of ways in which one might measure D.C.'s swampiness," Philip Bump wrote in the Washington Post in March, "but few are more obvious than to track the movement of lobbyists�"
Data provided to The Post by the liberal organization American Bridge 21st Century identifies over 350 individuals who've worked as lobbyists who currently work in the administration, have worked in it or have been nominated to serve in Trump's administration."
Bump has continued : "Cumulatively, they've represented more than 2,800 companies at one point or another, according to lobbying registration documents. Nearly 200 of them now served or have been nominated to serve in divisions of government that they once lobbied." Just one example, although it is hard not to cite what has happened to agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump appointed a man he had actually referred to as "the Boeing guy" first as Deputy Secretary of Defense, and then as acting Secretary. Patrick Shanahan had worked for thirty years at Boeing. Boeing received approximately $50 billion in federal contracts over the past two years. When Shanahan had to withdraw from consideration as permanent secretary recently, Trump nominated Mark Esper for the position. Esper was the Aerospace Industries Association of America lobbyist to the Defense Department before he moved on to lobby for Raytheon.
"Already this week, Raytheon has won multiple government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars," said the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics when Esper was nominated. "While Esper may not have had sway over these types of deals as Secretary of the Army, as acting Secretary of Defense he will have potential influence over such deals, as well as over the controversial proposed merger of Raytheon and UTC to become the second largest defense company in the U.S.
His ethics agreement-and his ability to follow it-will be something we will be watching closely." I would be doing that, exactly-although watching closely, is nearly impossible when the same pattern of foxes guarding the chicken coops has been repeated in virtually every department and agency of the Trump administration.
As for the Wall, only this President could at the same time claim the Wall is being built, then blame Congress because it isn't being built, and also promise that he will build it when re-elected, and 4) keep insisting on $5 billion of taxpayer money to build what he promised Mexico would pay for. Will he be allowed to get away with all this? Perhaps, yes and maybe, no. Have some of us changed any minds? I doubt it.
But then, you have to hope that sooner or later- some in that forty percent are going to catch up with what would likely be the most audacious case of political fraud, in American history.
Time to wake up from your slumber, friends!
The writer is former educator
based in Chicago, USA