I want Donald Trump to be successful. I support his efforts to shake up Washington, to enact tax reform and tax cuts, to reduce the regulatory quagmire, improve healthcare, to achieve energy independent, and produce jobs and economic growth.
I believe most of the liberal national media have been unfair to Trump. They hate him. They are vicious. They are obsessed with destroying him, nitpicking and blowing things out of proportion.
But, holy cow, when will Trump stop making unforced errors, stop being so inconsistent, exercise some discipline, stop diverting attention from his priorities, stop making life almost impossible for his staff and congressional supporters?
Trump was by no means my favorite Republican candidate in last year’s election. I initially thought he was a joke. But as I saw him defy gravity and exceed expectations over and over again, I started to think that his confident, bombastic style, his unpredictability, his deal making, might be what is needed to end dysfunction and gridlock on Washington. I thought he might even be a transformational president, ending business-as-usual and finally addressing the country’s major problems.
Instead, Trump has lurched from one crisis to another, most of them his own making. He has embarrassed his staff and supporters and has been undisciplined and unreasonable.
There’s nothing wrong with being headstrong and direct. Nothing wrong with tweeting to his gazillion followers. Nothing wrong with being a little unpredictable and keeping opponents off guard. Nothing wrong with upending tradition and being less than politically correct.
But all of those things must be used strategically, with discipline, with an eye on furthering his priorities and policy objectives, without giving ammunition to opponents. Instead of using his impressive communications and leadership skills in carefully targeted rifle shots to get things done, Trump is wildly spraying shotgun blasts at everything around him.
He seems to have no ability to think about the consequences of his statements and actions. What comes next? What furor will this statement or action set off? What will Congress do? What will the courts do? What will be the impact on healthcare reform? Tax reform? The 2018 midterm elections?
Trump has some fine people around him. We keep thinking they will rein him in, keep him focused. Keep him from doing stupid things. But it doesn’t happen.
Trump has defied and surpassed my expectations many times. I hope he will again. But I’m not seeing the characteristics needed in a successful, transformational presidency, let alone a mediocre one.
The country will survive. We’re stronger than a dysfunctional presidency. But what a wasted opportunity.