The Oaf in the Oval Office

What sort of game changer will it take to sort out the Oaf in the Oval Office?

It has been an eventful week in US politics. The inability of Donald Trump and Republicans to progress major legislation was highlighted by the failure of a watered down (‘skinny’) health repeal bill failing to overturn ‘Obamacare’.

WSJ:  The Republican ObamaCare Crack Up

After promising Americans for seven years that it would fix the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party failed. This is a historic debacle that will echo politically for years.

A divided GOP Senate could not muster a majority even for a simple bill repealing the individual and employer mandates they had long opposed. Nor were they able to repeal the medical-device tax that some 70 Senators had gone on record wanting to repeal in previous Congresses.

The so-called skinny bill that failed in the Senate would have gone to a conference with the House, which had signaled its willingness to work out a compromise. That arduous process is the way the American legislative system works. A strong majority of the GOP caucuses on both chambers supported the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but that was undone by an intransigent and petulant minority

The sacking of Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus was done in a public and ugly way, but it may do something to sort out the chaos in the White House. May. Trump seems to be a significant cause of the chaos and may not be controllable.

Trump had campaigned he would ‘drain the swamp’, an attack on the mess that Washington politics has become and something that was a popular aim. If he cleaned up US politics he would deserve a lot of credit. But the jury is still not even out yet to decide whether trump is making Washington murkier, with his apparent inability to separate business interests from politics.

Trump’s declaration by tweet that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the US military seems to have been a decision on personal whim that blindsided just about everyone, including the military and his own staff.

I think of greater concern is Trump’s concerted effort over a week to publicly undermine his attorney general Jeff Sessions.The legal balance and checking of political power and abuse of power is a fundamental cornerstone of US democracy. Trump seems to be prepared to drain judicial independence, which is alarming.

Andrew Sullivan sums up A Week of Reckoning

We have become, at this point, inured to having an irrational president in an increasingly post-rational America. We’ve also come to tell ourselves that somehow

(a) this isn’t really happening,

(b) by some miracle, it will be over soon, or

(c) at some point the Republican Party will have to acknowledge what they are abetting, and cut their losses.

And yet with each particular breach of decency, stability, and constitutionality, no breaking point seems to have arrived, even as the tribalism has deepened, the president’s madness has metastasized, and the norms of liberal democracy are hanging on by a thread.

But surely this week must mark some kind of moment in this vertiginous descent, some point at which the manifest unfitness of this president to continue in office becomes impossible to deny.

Compare it with any other week in modern political history. Day after day, the president has publicly savaged his own attorney general for doing the only thing possible with an investigation into a political campaign he was a key part of: recusing himself. And the point of the president’s fulminations was that the recusal prevented Sessions from obstructing that very investigation.

The president, in other words, has been openly attacking his own attorney general for not subverting the rule of law.

After the last few days, someone in the GOP leadership somewhere is surely going to have to take responsibility for running this country since we have a president who cannot.

Sullivan sees some hope that the system will hold out on a reckless president.

The Congress as a whole has effectively torpedoed any intention the president might have of lifting sanctions against Russia, by passing a bill by massive margins to prevent it.

And on the related matter of the investigation into Russian interference in the last election, Senator Chuck Grassley made it clear this week that, if the president were to fire Sessions, his Judiciary Committee would not hold any hearings on a successor.

That’s a checkmate for Trump for the time being, because it would leave the Justice Department under the control of Rod Rosenstein, who hired Robert Mueller in the first place. Put all these developments together and you have an inkling of how the Constitution can still protect us from the worst of this presidency — if the Senate wants to play the role it is designed to play.

Shunting Sessions sideways would look as bad as firing him.

Finding someone willing to replace him given Trump’s public displeasure at not being able to subvert justice may not be easy, especially if it is not a candidate who is widely considered to be credible and able to be act independently of the White House.

As new chief of staff John Kelly may be able to sort out most of the White House, but it must be doubtful he can straighten out the crucial part – the Oval Office, more particularly the Oaf in Office.

36 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  July 30, 2017

    If they gave out annual awards for eye-magnet blog headlines, The Oaf In The Oval Office would certainly be one of the contenders, I reckon PG.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 30, 2017

      Oafal Office, you mean. (larfs at own wit)

      • Gezza

         /  July 30, 2017

        (larfs at own wit)
        Winston Peters does that all the time. It kills it for me. Ya gotta keep a straight face or look innocent to pull off a joke properly in most cases, I’ve noticed.

        • Gezza

           /  July 30, 2017

          🌸 😐

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  July 30, 2017

          Winnie needs to laugh. His followers need a lot of guidance.

  2. Corky

     /  July 30, 2017

    Trumpy will pull through. Greatness is his destiny.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  July 30, 2017

      Great as in Great War and Great Depression…..

  3. Brown

     /  July 30, 2017

    The name calling is amusing. You can call him an oaf but he’s the US president and you live in Dunedin and have a stalled political career. He’s gradually weeding out career leakers and troughers so is making progress. I don’t like all his style but he’s already accomplished more that I expected and I’d be more concerned if the left wasn’t frothing at the mouth.

    • I think that many people see Trump as an oaf.

      I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve taking a swipe at me. Where I live is irrelevant. And my ‘political career’ is continuing much as it started, except that it is more successful now than ever, albeit on a very modest scale. If it had stalled you wouldn’t have the privilege of commenting here.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  July 30, 2017

        Curiosity got the better of me so i googled Pete George in order to learn what he is currently doing with his political career. I didn’t unearth much to be honest. However i did learn he has a fan in someone called Bradbury. I concluded he must have been talking about someone else

        “Pete George, runs a small blog out of Dunedin when he isn’t boring the crap out of people with meaningless babble and useless advice in the comments at kiwiblog and other sites”

        • Gezza

           /  July 30, 2017

          Who is this Bradbury character & what is his political prediction track record like?

          • Conspiratoor

             /  July 30, 2017

            I’ll do some more research and let you know. He does seem to be a fairly earthy character with a colourful turn of phrase. Im guessing but im not sure we are looking towards the conservative end here

          • Gezza

             /  July 30, 2017

            Found him! I think … 🤔 😳

        • That sounds quite out of date. I have hardly commented at Kiwiblog for years. Surely you could come up with a better diss than that.

          Sure this is a small blog, it it seems to get up the noses of several larger blogs – which are also fairly small in the whole scheme of things, most people know little or nothing about any political blogs – and as one of my aims has to be to hold other political commentators and media to account I count this as a success.

          • Corky

             /  July 30, 2017

            I see you` have taken Conspiratoor the correct way, Pete- with a grain of salt.
            An inconsistent poster, when he’s not talking in riddles to Gezza, he’s calling me bro.

            I see the standard lithium medication used in New Zealand is currently being replaced with a generic.

          • Gezza

             /  July 30, 2017

            The buggers are always doing that. It’s probably cheaper. Let us know how it is?

        • That’s from over 4 years ago.
          https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/02/28/pete-george-an-example-of-right-wing-blogging-falsehoods/

          Bloggers have tended to attack the messenger when they don’t like the message.

          Same thing seems to be happening here. It’s all a bit lame, and obviously ineffective, the messenger is still going strong – attacks tend to encourage me to keep going.

          Some go as far as legal threats to shut this site up, there were more of these recently, but they failed miserably again.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  July 30, 2017

            I’m not sure I would label you a right wing blogger. Incidentally there were two other reviews grouped with Bradbury’s … one from a now defunct blog and the other from a blog that gets good coverage here

            • Bradbury considers anyone to the right of him a right winger

            • Which is 99% of people.

              Regulars at The Standard also call anyone not in their 5% of far left a right winger.

            • Gezza

               /  July 30, 2017

              Bradbury would probably consider a hobo who owned his own raincoat a right winger.

    • duperez

       /  July 30, 2017

      I suppose a reasonable question is whether someone living in Dunedin (or Detroit) with a stalled political career is more or less likely to be a threat to the people of the world than an over-achieving (according to some), frothing at the mouth non-politician politician whose career hasn’t stalled.

    • No the name calling is boring

      • duperez

         /  July 30, 2017

        Is calling the President an “oaf” name calling or a description?

        • Yeah Dupe what ever if you can’t see it whatever…… its tedious monotonous invective from a side still sore at losing an unlosable election.

          Its all based Huffpo, Wapo, NYT, New Yorker “anonymous” sources, casual advisors, embittered pollies who are being called for what they are. And they have not a lot to go on so its name calling……

          If it was just on his policies…. might take it seriously but the hysterical and theatrical reaction to Hillary losing means this is all just stupid invective…

          • duperez

             /  July 30, 2017

            Some might see it as tedious monotonous invective from a side still sore at losing an unlosable election.

            Some might say it’s all based on Huffpo, Wapo, NYT, New Yorker “anonymous” sources, casual advisors, and embittered pollies.

            It mightn’t be based just on his policies …. there might be hysterical and theatrical reaction to Hillary losing.

            But why can’t he be described as an oaf purely and simply on the grounds he is an oaf? Surely he’s entitled to that right. Surely people can read what he actually says and does, absolutely factual accounts, straight from tweets and on camera, and think he’s an idiot?

            • Go your life Dupe….. I just it doesn’t help shift the mindset of his support base by throwing names – it just reinforces that losers whine….

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 30, 2017

          Offensive to oafs, Duperez.

          It must be an all-time low when he needed to give that overtly political speech to the Scouts-neither the time nor the place for this. The people who invited him must have wished him anywhere and been kicking themselves for not seeing this coming.

  4. David

     /  July 30, 2017

    Gridlock continues and the GOP look terrible especially McCain who now has cancer cover for any critiscm for his romantic notion of some long ago ideal of bipartisanship to progress good legislation for the benefit of the voters. Utter bollocks as partisanship has become entrenched, electoral boundries gerrymandered and special interest lobbying winning, who knows what the solution is but saint Obama had exactly the same unresolvable issues.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 30, 2017

    A political witch hunt is not justice and terminating it is not an obstruction of justice. In fact killing it and,forcing publication of any evidence it has uncovered would serve justice much better. If the Senate then refused to do its job it should be annulled and fresh elections called.

  6. Except that the Attorney General has a priority of upholding the law, not promoting the President’s agenda.

  7. “Shunting Sessions sideways would look as bad as firing him”. Putting Sessions into Homeland Security is a win/win. It would guarantee he could continue agenda, save face, placating him and some Reps. Bringing in a new AG who had no “Russia” recusal issues would see Comey’s best mate Mueller and Hillary’s donator team that form the investigative team down the road.

  8. I guess, given the information my contacts have reported today, that eventually the truth will be out. And there will be a lot of egg on the faces of those who called my assessments as either “fake news” or supporting a misinterpretation of reality. Read the news in the next week!!

    • Gezza

       /  July 30, 2017

      Evening Colonel. Nice to see you. Sounds good. Looking foward to seeing the news in the next week. 👍🏼