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Palace intrigue – Shakeup or shakedown?

April 13, 2017

Amid media  rumors that this one or that one of President Trump’s early advisers and confidantes are either in or out, even his supporters are beginning to ask questions.

Right now, the conflict seems to be between ultra-Conservative Steve Bannon, and on-staff Democrats, primarily  self-described liberal son-in-law Jared Kushner and Gary Cohn.

That has people wondering where the President really fits, philosophically.

Trump supporters, who fall broadly into two camps, mostly understand that all brand-new presidents tend to reshuffle their closest contacts as the full impact of what they’ve gotten themselves into starts to hit home. Different tasks may need different talents.

Still, if there is any agreement between the blindly loyal Always Trump faction and the more skeptical Anybody But Hillary voters it is that they expect him to adhere at least broadly to his campaign promises.

One independent small business owner turned temporary Republican for 2016 states it flatly.

“We independents gave him the White House. We did not elect Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, Mrs. Kushner or Gary Cohn.  If he reneges on the broad outlines of issues like tax reform and protecting our borders, we can and will take it away.”

That said, at least as it relates to the things he has done that do not require Congressional action, both sides seem pretty satisfied with his performance to date.

Where they differ is on whether his strategy of having many so many opposing political viewpoints in his inner circle is a good or bad thing.

It’s not too hard to see that he has had trouble keeping his messaging consistent. That happens when you are trying to be all things to all people.

When his ambassador to the United Nations and his press secretary make diametrically opposite statements on the same day, it’s hard not to get confused.

Conversely, no one thinks that having nothing more than a group of fawning sycophants surrounding any president is a good thing, and being family is not a pass.

Early on in Barack Obama’s first term, Valerie Jarrett was roundly jeered for saying that he was probably bored because the job was just so easy for a man of his superior intellect.

Unfortunately for the rest of us, that worshipful attitude ran deep throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Avoiding that scenario was one of President Trump’s stump speech talking points, and the reason he gave for his inclusion of many disparate personalities.

That was supposed to give him a broad range of opinions which he could then use to fashion his decisions.

Unfortunately it has only seemed to result in a cacophony of chattering that may be more confusing than enlightening.

When even the conservative media reports that his Syrian strike was largely because daughter Ivanka Kushner, néeTrump advised him to go forward, it raised eyebrows even as most of his base and even some of his political foes were praising the execution and outcome.

No one, including Steve Bannon, should have been under any illusion that President Trump was or is a thoroughgoing Conservative.  He didn’t campaign that way, and his whole campaign history is that of a nominally Republican centrist.

Still, his base expects him to adhere to at least some semblance of the personality and convictions that he ran and won on.

The other obvious problem is the nonstop leaking of every little detail that goes on in the White House.

It’s a pretty good bet that all Presidents occasionally belch, but it doesn’t hit the airwaves within seconds of it happening the way it does in this administration.

Is that the result of each adviser jockeying for position?

The much ballyhooed first 100 days is first and foremost a shakedown cruise, the political sea trials for any presidency.

His supporters hope the result is a clear course for the future, and ultimately they wll be the final judges of whether Trump’s presidency sails on or sinks in a sea of discord.

From → op-ed

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