[ Jan 28, 2017 — Well, I’d say that the counter has been sufficiently incremented. ]
When Obama took office in 2009 the GOP leadership got together in a room and agreed on one thing.
No matter what happens. No matter what Obama does—make absolutely sure he accomplishes nothing.
It doesn’t matter if it’s good for the country. It doesn’t matter if it used to be our idea. If it can help him in any way we oppose it.
And so they did.
For 8 years they opposed every single thing Obama did. The key ACA concept of a mandate was a GOP proposal from years before Obama, but they painted it as an Obama idea, said it was overreaching government, and fought against it.
And now the positions are reversed.
Trump is coming in and the liberals seem committed to try and convict him before he starts on Monday. Indeed it would be reciprocal, so there’s a pleasant symmetry in that. But thermonuclear war has a similar symmetry as well, and similar outcomes.
It’s clear that Trump deserves any opposition he receives. The tones of racism, sexism, and disregard for truth were consistent throughout his ascendancy. But as the holders of these pitchforks we have options, and we’d be well-served to evaluate them before the chants and fires begin.
Could we prosecute his previous offenses at every turn? Yes. Would we be justified in this? Probably. But those aren’t the right questions. The right questions center around what anyone gets out of the approach.
The counter for Trump’s previous infractions sits at 3,278. I kept track. And in some world the best thing to do would be to make him pay for every single one.
But we don’t live in that world. We gain nothing by emulating the GOP in a commitment to oppose his every move. At least not yet.
What I propose is very simple. We reset the counter. On Monday it drops to zero.
He said he wants to help the inner cities. He says he wants to replace the ACA with universal healthcare. He says he wants to build our infrastructure FDR style.
Fine. Your counter is at zero. Let’s see what you can do. We yield to you the benefit of a good-faith clean slate.
The alternative is to commit to outright opposition—persistent and undeniable. We start impeachment proceedings immediately. We sue. We shout down his every thought with the text of his previous mistakes.
Those are the options, and we have to pick one.
Lie on the railroad tracks. Disrupt and oppose. When he smiles at someone, you scream that he’s a sexist. When he praises Obama and calls him a great man, we remind him that he challenged his citizenship. No matter what he does, assume the worst, remind him that he was worse in the past, and tear him down.
Or, reset the counter and judge him on his actions as President.
This choice doesn’t just apply to liberals; the GOP hates him as much (and in many ways more) than the left. He did Unholy things to their establishment. He taunted them. Trolled them. Embarrassed them. And then he took them out back and tore them up in a fist fight.
So there are many in their ranks just waiting for a slip. A mistake. An opening. And as soon as they see it they’ll do the same as the left—attack, oppose, and destroy.
But just as with the liberals they ultimately get nothing from keeping the score running. Their best possible move is to get off the floor, dust off, and say,
Ok, that was an ass-whoopin’. He won, and it’s time to give him some good faith support.
In both cases—the left and the right—it doesn’t mean we ignore what he does as president. We don’t stop keeping score. And we don’t relax our standards for his behavior.
All we’re doing is starting back at zero.
If he can find a way to do the jujitsu on some of our problems the way he’s done with both the left and the right, maybe some good could come from it. I’m doubtful, but maybe.
We should clear the board not because he deserves it, but because it’s the only path to salvaging anything positive from what’s happened. It’s not for him—it’s for the country.
A stalemate helps no one.
- I could be wrong about this. It could be that he’s so far gone and that the only right thing to do is to oppose him directly, as described above. All I’m saying is we need to be sure of that before we do it, and that requires seeing him in office for a few weeks or months. We basically need to be sure we’re doing it because it’ll lead to the best outcome, and not because it feels good.