At this point, the main difference between President Trump’s (shudder) relationship with Kim Jong-un and Mitch McConnell is that Trump has asked only McConnell to resign. Kim just gets the bluster treatment. Of the two, McConnell is in the biggest trouble.
Here in New Jersey, and only about 10 miles from the president’s retreat in Bedminster, there is calm. The area is primarily Republican, so most of the population either supports Trump or would never think of voting Democratic no matter who’s on the ballot. In fact, Bedminster, one of the horsiest places in the state, is fast becoming more Democratic due to the building of a huge condominium development, the Hills, back in the 1980s. Prior to that, the area was solidly GOP when the party was sensible. The Hills included the demon seed of New Jersey politics, affordable housing, which brought in moderate income people like me, and just like that, Democrats began being elected in the land of Malcolm Forbes.
There’s a reason that wealthy towns in New Jersey fight tooth and nail not to have to build affordable housing, or prefer to sell their housing credits to more, ahem, modest towns. Of course, you’ll never hear Trump talk about affordable housing or how the neighborhood surrounding his golf club is changing. That’s for losers. Not winners like him who’ve signed major legislation to…to…so sad!
It is in this context that our chief executive has taken to his Twitter account, threatening fiery death, destruction, ruin and an eternity in hell to…Mitch McConnell, whom the president blames for not getting a terrible, horrible, hellfire health care bill through Congress, a Congress that finally realized the political peril of throwing 22 million people off their healthcare. That’s not good enough for our once and future dear leader. He was absolutely no help in the process, mainly because he knows nothing about health care policy, and focused on threatening Senators who have stouter backbones than he does and who do not fear his empty suit.
Now Trump wants tax reform and infrastructure, but these will fail for the same reasons that repeal and replace failed; because the president does not know enough to lead on these issues and cannot speak in more than 140 character bursts. Tax reform is also looking more and more like reform to make wealthier people even more wealthy, while here in New Jersey we might lose the state tax deduction, which will result in the savaging of the middle class taxpayer.
Infrastructure will also go badly because the plan is for the government to spend $200 billion and private industry to spend $800 billion. But if there’s no profit, why would private concerns pony up that kind of money? It’s pretty obvious that we, the people, will end up paying more in fees and tolls to reimburse the private concerns, who might cut corners if their projects turn out to be too costly. Say what you will about public works projects; most of them last if you maintain them.
All this will be moot if we get into a nuclear war with North Korea, which we won’t. And without a coherent policy, or an actual diplomat in South Korea to carry our messages – which we don’t actually have – this will remain a war of words which we can’t win. And our allies and China should now be convinced that our man in the White House cannot be trusted to confer with them or to behave diplomatically. Trump figures he can yell at them like he did the plumbers and spackle guys in his towers when they didn’t do the job as he expected. Then he stiffed them.
What Trump did with North Korea is the diplomatic equivalent of stiffing a contractor. We, the people, unfortunately, will get stuck paying the invoice with our souls.