It's interesting that I'm reluctant to write about the book I'm currently reading, Max Boot's The Corrosion Of Conservatism, about his disillusionment with the GOP under Mr. Trump's Presidency.
I don't agree with many -- possibly even most -- of Mr. Boot's opinions, though I'm no fan of Mr. Trump; as an East Coast policy wonk, Max Boot seems to have no idea of how harshly Secretary Clinton was viewed here in the Rust Belt.
The true disconnect in American politics these days is that the skills needed to win a Presidential election are not well-related to the skills needed to be President. This may be a reflection of the extra baggage the office has taken on or found itself stuck with. Congress was supposed to do the heavy lifting on policy and law, while the Executive branch was supposed to, well, execute the day-to-day effort of making it run. Presidents were our guy to shake hands with kings and talk sense and strategy with generals -- after Congress had declared war.
The slow accretion of excessive power to the Executive seems to be an inherent problem with republics and we can only hope that in our republic, it carries its own cure. The trend in recent decades to stick incumbent Presidents with an uncooperative and sometimes hostile Congress does bid well for things to get worked out -- or break wide open.
Here I am, four paragraphs in, and yes, I'm still tapdancing around Mr. Trump. Max Boot thinks he's a dire and terrible danger. I think he's a graceless clod, who combines many of the worst characteristics of Jackson and Buchanan; but in the end he is, like all Presidents, a temporary hire. It's a short-term job, four years with an option of four more, and then you go write your memoirs, do charitable work and fade away.
I just wish I had more confidence that either of the big parties learned anything about candidate selection from the 2016 election. Instead they've focused on rah-rah rallies better suited to Constantinople in 532 AD, 1917 Russia -- or Rome in 1922. You want a Jefferson or a Coolidge in the White House? That's not how you get them.
4 months ago