Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Collapse Of Norms And Competence

This story is both nothing and everything.  Trump wants his "employees" to sign non-disclosure agreements.  What he fundamentally fails to understand is that the federal government employees do not work for him.  They work for the Federal government.

Trump, like most civic illiterates, has no idea how the government really works and has no idea that the President is not an emperor.  He cannot expect the standards that he applied in the private sector will apply in the governmental sector.

The problem is that currently there is no branch of government willing to hold him accountable for violating laws and norms.  The GOP has long been "an insurgent outlier" - in the words of Norm Ornstein - when it comes to violating rules and norms.  So if we are expecting the House or Senate to rein him in, we are bound to be disappointed.

Obviously, the minority party has a role to play and theoretically journalism can expose issues.

Those are pretty weak reeds to lean on.

The Democrats have never been especially adept at opposition.  They fundamentally want to govern, not obstruct.  They have to learn to obstruct.

As for journalism, there is a growing consensus that much of Trump's victory was accomplished by a feckless, conflict-driven media that led to relentlessly negative coverage of Hillary Clinton, especially in the final weeks, with Comey's bullshit interference and the need to express "fairness and balance" by equating Clinton's run of the mill bureaucratic fouls with Trump's egregious behavior.

In some ways, I can see Trump not even running again in 2020, if we make him miserable enough.

Let's get to work.

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