Yeah, but the Economy is Doing Great!
Meet the new all-purpose excuse for the madness.
Clearly, Chief of Staff John Kelly and President Trump knew that the former White House staff secretary Rob Porter could not get a security clearance due to his two former wives’ accusations of domestic violence. So while Porter was reading the most sensitive and secret memos for the president, he was subject to blackmail and manipulation (which is precisely why he could not get a clearance). But apparently, that had to be balanced against how useful he was to President Trump. It’s enough to prompt the question: What if Porter had been credibly accused of burglary, kidnapping, or arson, with photographs and contemporaneous reports? If the answer is that this would be different, what does this suggest about the Trump White House’s view of domestic violence?
As always, Trump sees everything solely as it relates to him; nothing else really matters. He supported Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Andrew Puzder, Roy Moore, and others accused of mistreatment of women because he fears the spotlight on his own misogynistic behavior. So now he is more concerned with Porter’s “due process” rights than his character. Let’s be clear — if Porter is charged with assault, he can then assert his due process rights in the criminal justice system, but he has no constitutional right to work in the White House or read top secret reports.
Today on CNN, Kellyanne Conway, champion of filibustering deflection, was asked about Kelly’s and Trump’s praise of Porter and their lack of response regarding Porter’s wives. After defending Trump’s tweet, she quickly pivoted to a speech about how Trump has been great for women, saying “this President is responsible for 800,000 women taking new jobs.”
This is wrong for two reasons: First, does this mean that as long as women are “taking new jobs,” they must overlook Trump’s views, policies, and self-admitted history of sexual assault? I’m sorry, but this sounds awfully similar to “yes, but he’s a good provider.” Should we not expect the president to at least acknowledge Porter’s wives while he was praising Porter’s good work? Battery is a crime. Why is it that this crime seems to more readily come with mitigating circumstances?
Second, a president, especially one who is only one year into his term, is not solely “responsible” for employment rates. Correlation is not causation. Yes, unemployment has continued its long eight-year decline during Trump’s first year, from 4.8% to 4.1%. Trump would be wise to stop bragging about unemployment rates because we are now in the territory that economists call “full employment,” which means it cannot continue to decline much further. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Of course, it’s easy (but not responsible) to make the economy sing by giving it a short term boost with huge tax cuts: cuts that drive up the deficit hugely and burden the future economy. The stock market is already in “correction” (going down) now, partly in recognition of the massive new borrowing.
Remember how the Republicans all said:
“Yes, we despise Obamacare. However, while Obama has been president, unemployment has fallen from nine or ten percent in his first year to less than five percent in his last year, and the deficit as a percentage of the economy has been cut by 9.8% to 3.1% ($1.4 trillion to $600 billion). Further, when Obama was elected, the Dow Jones industrial average was in free-fall, cratering at 6,627 just 45 days later (March 6, 2009), but by Trump’s inauguration, it had soared to 19,827. So, since this happened while Obama was president, we simply must credit his brilliant leadership overall.”
Yeah, I don’t remember that either, because it didn’t happen. Hmmm, what’s the difference?
James Carville famously advised the Bill Clinton campaign that “it’s the economy, stupid.” I’m afraid that this is the new talking points mantra for all of the Trump mockingbirds now: “Yeah, but the economy is doing great!” Therefore, we should all be happy.
Yes, he’s dangerously mentally unstable. Yes, he has authoritarian tendencies. Yes, he pathologically lies daily. Yes, he profits personally off of being president. Yes, he is a bigot. Yes, he has no moral integrity. Yes, he is completely narcissistic. Yes, he is fundamentally anti-intellectual. Yes, he speaks like a rude child. Yes, he is a national embarrassment. But hey, he is president at the same time that the economy is doing well — and that makes it all just fine.