Donald Trump is crazy like a fox. This is a favorite meme of the internet, where wisdom is seen as identifying something that isn't there, but you say it is, and you alone have returned alive to tell us all, and you shall tell us all.
Or something. Anyway, Howard Fineman tried to engage it recently at HuffPost (I won't even bother) and now Slate, where the ghost of Michael Kinsley still whispers in someone's ear once in a blue moon, has fallen hard for the fear, the fear! that Trump is not the fool you take him for.
In the span of a few days, Trump has dealt a major blow to Obamacare by cutting government subsidies to insurance companies.Which would be a really awful thing, if not for today's news, which is actually just context:
On Tuesday, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced a deal that would fund the cost-sharing reduction payments for two years, make it easier for states to waive some health care regulations, and restore some of the budget for open enrollment outreach Trump gutted earlier this fall.
This is what Trump's been talking about since he "gutted" the ACA (I've read stories since that subsidies will continue, but CSR's won't. Huh? Seems to be some confusion over how actually deadly this executive order he almost forgot to sign, was.). It seems Trump was relying on this bit of legislating to allow him to claim victory and seem relevant again. So, for the moment, he's out in front of the crowd and can claim to be leading the parade. I, for one, see no reason to help him in that endeavor by attributing to him qualities he clearly doesn't have.
He has gone further in attacking the media than ever before.
Well, yes, that's bad, especially since his racist attitudes seem to be encouraging racism on the margins more and more. But the upside is reporters are now doing their jobs and instead of tugging their forelocks at powerful people, they are challenging their blatant lies:
I asked POTUS today why he keeps saying "We're the highest taxed nation in the world" when it's objectively false. Here's how he answered: pic.twitter.com/2EHa0nbm5p— Mike Sacks (@MikeSacksEsq) October 17, 2017
He has rolled back key restrictions on coal plants. He has imperiled NAFTA. He has begun to unravel the Iran deal. And he has taken the United States out of UNESCO.
Coal plants are dead because coal is dead because natural gas is cheap. EOD. The market rules. Get over it, Pruitt. NAFTA isn't going anywhere because one of the major beneficiaries of NAFTA is the second most populous state in the Union. And that's as red as state as there is. He hasn't "begun to unravel the Iran deal," he's used a stupid law the GOP passed hoping to stick it to President Hillary that has now blown up in their face, and the easiest cure is to repeal the stupid law. It has nothing to do with the Iran deal, which everyone in the Administration, including Tillerson and Haley, have insisted is not going anywhere (even if we pulled out, what good would it do us, it's not a bilateral agreement.). And yes, pulling out of UNESCO is stupid, but you gotta expect minor stupid things under Trump.
But worst of all, apparently, is the ongoing football crusade:
This poll scared me more than just about any other I have seen in the past months. If Trump can turn his base against the NFL, then what can’t he get them to do? And if he can get his base to go along with just about anything he does, how can we be so sure that he won’t take more and more radical steps to overcome opposition to his agenda?Well, yeah, I guess that is scary. Until you remember Trump didn't win the popular vote, and his support in states he carried is down since the election. As for the NFL kerfuffle, the players aren't backing down, the owners don't know whether to shit or go blind (because they can't force the players to stand, or even take the field for the anthem), and Trump is not winning that fight among people who aren't his base, i.e, the majority of the country:
Asked to identify from a list the main reason the players are protesting, a 57 percent majority of Americans surveyed said it was in response to “police violence.” That’s up from 48 percent in a HuffPost/YouGov poll taken in late September. (Respondents were allowed to select multiple options.)It's a tempest in a teapot, but I actually see reason to feel confident there. Awareness of what the players are doing is rising. The players are pressuring the owners (described by the one Muslim among them as "85 year old guys who think they aren't racists") to do give money to social justice actions (NPR news tells me the NFL is setting up such an effort). Which part of this is nuts, again? Oh, yeah, the shrinking number of people who still think Trump can do no wrong.
The percentage of self-described football fans who say they believe the protests are meant to target police violence has risen to 66 percent, a 13-point increase.
Just 26 percent of the public now considers the protests to be in large part against President Donald Trump, down from 40 percent in the previous survey. As before, relatively few ― 14 percent in the latest poll and 12 percent in September ― agree with the Trump administration’s assertions that the protests are aimed at the American flag.
Yes, it's going to be a long four years; but there's no reason to make it worse than it already is; or not to see that most things Trump touches go the other way from what he intended. This, too, is reason to be confident in the future.