Ideas. Action. Results.

Trump’s constant chaos accomplishes nothing

Washington Post

Friday, February 3, 2017

Whatever elation Republicans experienced after an election that gave them majorities in both houses and won them the White House has morphed into anxiety, exhaustion and frustration. During the campaign, President Trump’s apologists and some in the mainstream media fostered the notion that Trump has cleverly, intentionally created one crisis after another to distract his opponents. We didn’t buy that then, and after two weeks in the White House, Trump should have disabused most onlookers of the notion that his chaos serves some strategic purpose. There is no purpose to be served by a public spat with Australia, a botched travel-ban rollout, a canceled trip by the Mexican president or a tragically flawed raid in Yemen.

These things do not further any policy aims. Moreover, they send House and Senate Republicans into a tailspin, upset multiple allies, launch a thousand leaks, prompt permanent civil service employees to set their hair on fire (and then rush to leak) and, in the case of the travel ban, raise a legal, diplomatic and political firestorm.

Likewise on tax reform, the White House and House have not agreed on a “border tax” — or anything else. As on Obamacare, no bill exists yet. Hatch, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, let on that “while Republicans agree on the ‘fundamental issues and principles’ for tax reform, there are questions about ‘detail and design’ that have to be worked through.” Tax reform is all about the details. Once again, they are nowhere to be found. The longer this drags on, the more opponents of this or that change will organize and the less likely passage of a substantial reform becomes. Trump’s infamously short attention span — along with his constant self-induced distractions — makes progress that much harder. “Hill veteran and budget expert Bill Hoagland of the Bipartisan Policy Center wouldn’t be surprised if lawmakers don’t get a bill to President Trump’s desk until 2018,” CNN reports. That may be a polite way of saying that tax reform isn’t happening soon — and maybe not at all.