Two years ago, in the early-middle of the presidential primary campaign, I did a piece on this site that I would be delighted if you would read, before going forward today. Pour a cup of coffee; here is the link. A few days later, I followed up with this one, in case your coffee is still warm and you're a fast reader.
The first, more important for this column, dealt with the notion of then-primary candidate Donald Trump and the nature of his campaign. I used the term "disruptive" to describe his campaign, referencing the term "disruptive technologies" as those that make us all think and act differently from our previous norm (smart phones, single-cup coffee machines, Bluetooth, etc.).
I talked about his approach to campaigning and trying to decide whether anyone might actually take that tack again, or whether another total non-public servant might try to follow that path. Donald Trump was disrupting the campaign stereotypes then -- his Republican rivals and then Hillary Clinton never knew how to react -- and he is doing the same now.
I have trouble deciding how "disruptive" Donald Trump the president is. Maybe a tiny bit; maybe a whole lot.
For jollies, I went to YouTube this weekend and enjoyed watching clips from the Election Night coverage of the major networks and cable news. Except for Fox News, it was striking to see the media striking the mutual tone of astonishment (at the upset in the results) and fear -- the fear being that they simply didn't know what President Trump was going to do.
Yet all that fear turned out to be unfounded, if you can glean anything from the first year of the Trump Administration. The fear was of Trump the man, and Trump the president turned out to be an image of Trump the businessman. If anything, we might be astonished at the singular focus with which he is going about addressing the things he pledged to do in his campaign:
- Reduce excessive, business-choking regulations
- Project the USA as a strong leader of the world
- Build a strong border and wall and overhaul legal immigration
- Crush ISIS to the extent we had the military capability to do so
- Cut the corporate tax rate hugely and lower individual rates
- Repeal and replace Obamacare
- Reestablish friendships with our allies
- Pack the Federal judiciary with strong conservative judges
Except for Obamacare, whose individual mandate at least is repealed, and the wall and immigration, which are on their way, the rest are actually a "check."
So in a sense, Trump the president is actually disruptive (or perhaps Reaganesque) in doing what he said he was going to do, for the sake of getting done what he thinks the nation needs. Presidents don't often do that, after all. The businessman in Donald Trump rejects the typical "go along to get along" approach in the "swamp", in favor of actually doing what is needed, rolling up his sleeves and doing it.
Donald Trump the person can't abide the stupidity of people like Nancy Pelosi ("People will die!") in politics and "Jay-Z" in entertainment, and seems to revel in making fun of their over-the-top comments in tweets. Presidents don't usually do that ... will the next one operate that way?
Donald Trump the businessman assumes there is a deal to be made on any issue of contention, including the border wall/DACA/immigration reform issue. He is not the one out there leaking elements of the negotiations, which ultimately will embarrass the Dick Durbin, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner types who do, at least until they realize they can get some input into governance if they just cooperate. Will the next president be like that?
Donald Trump, the disruptive president, realizes that the media are almost totally against his success and committed to prevent it, even if his approaches would make the nation and people better. They control the airwaves, so he takes to Twitter to make sure the USA knows what he is thinking and what he is trying to accomplish -- because the media won't. He does not use an editor (though I'll take the job if it's open), and that's probably not a bad thing; the tweets sound reliably like him.
I'm not sure if I made a point here, but I do believe that, for completely different reasons, one could argue that President Trump is as much the disruptive individual as president as he was as a candidate. It might be because he is actually something we didn't expect.
A president committed to getting the job done.
Copyright 2018 by Robert Sutton
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