Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What will change with Trump

“Every country has the government it deserves" and "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve."   Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre 1811.
Now, like it or not, we are getting President Trump, thanks largely to the liberal media, that he excoriated, giving him free publicity.  There will not be as much change as people fear, or hope.  After the outrageous things he has said, almost anything else may look reasonable.
Previous Presidents have learned, changing the Government is like turning a battleship, with a canoe paddle.  Let me explain.
There are almost 22million government employees.  Almost all of them civil service; he can’t fire them, or stiff them like contractors.  For the most part they will do what they always do as covered by their job description, habit and long standing department policies and procedures.  Never forget the prime mission of a bureaucracy, like any organism, is its own continuation. Those with the power to make changes have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the President, and see that the laws be faithfully executed.  Hmmm, even the President swears to support and defend the Constitution.  He might have to have someone to read it to him. Most Civil Servants do not work for the Federal government but state and local government; they get their direction from governors, judges and local officials, who have sworn a similar oath.
So the President has a Cabinet plus a few thousand appointees at his beck and call, but they in turn have to work through 1.4 million Civil Service bureaucrats who, see above.  He has a similar number in the armed forces who also have policies and procedures that change as often as rivers flow backwards.  All the officers and enlistees have taken the oath.  While the grunts might not appreciate it, most of the officers take it very seriously.  They understand from Nuremberg what executing an illegal order can mean.
Trump likes to say he’s not a politician.  If I might paraphrase Mayor Kenoi, ‘If you run for office, you’re a politician.’  Politicians have a history of broken promises. Trump has a history of broken promises. Why would Politician Trump be any different?  If he could not keep a promise then, why should anyone think he can now?
"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." - H. L. Mencken. Trump has made these brash promises in a factual vacuum. Whether or not he was aware of that no longer matters. Now he will have to deal with reality where there are no simple answers, no quick fixes, no do overs.  You can’t manage an entire country the way you bankrupt a casino (or hotel). Everything about a country affects everything else, everything.  Even things you can’t imagine, because the whole world’s involved.  A decision to isolate Iran could precipitate another Pearl Harbor.  Every proposal will require the consent of someone, Congress, the Senate, the Joint Chiefs, Governors, NATO; all the people in the chain of command who, like Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky, can monkey wrench anything that goes against their principals. 
For example, to overturn Roe v Wade he would have to pack the Supreme Court. Unless another liberal Justice dies or retires that’s almost impossible.  Republicans decry activist courts, and some conservatives become liberal Justices, e.g. Earl Warren.  He will need someone to file a lawsuit claiming Roe v Wade has deprived them of their right to, to what, their right to not have abortion?  That will take some creative lawyering.  Then it goes through the system starting with a State Court that might just kill it, and get past Federal Judges including a Supreme Court reluctant to overturn previous decisions.  It could take 100 years, or 1000.
I hope, against evidence that he will do right.  If not we still have the ACLU, courts and a Congressional election in two years. 

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