The Corner

Politics & Policy

Our Current Presidential Era May Not Be ‘Normal,’ But It Is Predictable

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Tomorrow’s News Today

Am I the only one who’s finds the daily whirlwind of controversy, accusations, counter-accusations, allegations, breathless reporting from anonymous sources, non-answers, implausible excuses, implausible spin, angry protests and shameless behavior that makes up the Trump presidency increasingly… boring? Increasingly predictable?

This morning Mike Allen of Axios opens his newsletter by reemphasizing that everything we’ve seen from the president and his family in the past few weeks is “not normal.” No kidding. Normalcy departed around the time Scott Walker left the presidential race. Normalcy isn’t coming back until the Trump presidency ends, and only God knows whether that will occur seven years from now or sometime sooner.

But we’ve lived with the abnormality for so long now, it may not seem all that new or surprising anymore. Heck, it’s almost predictable.

At some point, either today or in the coming days, President Trump will tweet something out that will shock and appall his critics, delight his fan base, and get re-tweeted several thousand times. Trump will probably tweet out something is “sad!” or “FAKE NEWS” or “the lying media” or a particular media figure.  Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzeninski and their roundtable will shake their heads in consternation and stern disapproval. Scarborough will ask what happened to his party – er, his former party.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Sean Spicer will stand behind the lectern at the White House and repeat, over and over again, that she or he has not discussed that topic with the president yet. He or she will insist that the president’s tweet speaks for itself. White House correspondents will complain that they’re getting nothing useful or newsworthy out of these briefings. Then they will flip out at the suggestion that the briefings be ended or no longer on camera.

Vice President Mike Pence will do something far from the president, offering anti-controversy at whatever event he’s attending. He will ignore a shouted question about the latest controversial statement from the president and focus on his remarks thanking our veterans, our men and women in uniform our law enforcement, our teachers, our doctors, or whichever other group is hosting him that day.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will declare that the latest revelation is “deeply troubling”, “extremely important”, “very significant” and “profoundly disturbing” and that he will want that person – whoever is in the news – to testify before the committee.

There will be a rumor that Senate Republicans will be close to a deal on health care. And then there will be rumors that they don’t have the votes. And then there will be talk that with just a few more tweaks, they could reach 51 votes, and that it should be done before the shortened August recess. Or right after.

At some point, liberals will gather in large numbers to protest the president, the administration, Congressional Republicans, and the existence of the Right in general. They will give heated, angry speeches about how all of this must end. They will cheer and chant. And then they will go home, and someone else will pick up the litter they leave behind.

Some liberal pundit you’ve either never heard of or barely ever heard of before will write something that appears to endorse violence against Trump, his family, GOP congressional leaders, or conservatives in general. The liberal pundit will insist they never meant that, and that it was only a joke or only sarcasm. Conservatives will scream for that person’s firing; liberals will insist that a controversial political statement should not cost someone their job. Then a few weeks later, a conservative figure will do the same and most people will instantly reverse their positions.

Someone, somewhere, who has a long history of mental problems will steal a gun and attempt a mass shooting. Liberals will blame the NRA and gun owners. The NRA and gun owners will argue about the need for better mental health programs. Subsequent reporting will detail many red flags and warnings ignored. Voices in the mainstream media will insist it’s time for a “real national conversation” about guns, as if that real national conversation hasn’t been going on for years now.

Someone on a sports channel will insist that the reason former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by a new team is a reflection of political pressure, intolerance in the Trump era, censorship, or racial bigotry. Other people who actually watch football will point out that Kaepernick’s performance really slid last year and he appears to be on the downward slope of his career.

While all of this is going on, some other predictable things will be occurring outside the realm of politics, some good and some bad.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average will reach another new high. You’ll feel a little more relief when you get your quarterly statements for your 401(k). ISIS in the form of the aspiring nation-state will continue getting pulverized in Iraq and Syria. Almost entirely obscured by the national controversies, reforms will move forward at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and new Secretary David Shulkin will continue incremental improvement where it is needed. (Seriously, read my article on this, as reforming the VA may end up being one of the most significant accomplishments of the Trump administration’s first year.) Conservatives will continue to high-five every time they read a Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.

There will be more rumors that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is going to retire. And then there will be rumors that no, he’s going to hang on for one more year.

Some bad predictable things will continue. ISIS in the form of the Islamist terrorist movement will continue to inspire angry often mentally-troubled young Muslim men who have largely failed at life to attempt acts of mass murder. A lot of struggling, poorer communities will continue to feel disconnected and shut off from any national prosperity. The jobs numbers will be “eh, okay,” but nothing special compared to past economic booms. American politics at the grassroots will continue to be marked by a widespread seething contempt for the other side.


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