Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ross Douthat & Trump & the 25th Amendment

Donald Trump
Wednesday, conservative author Ross Douthat discusses the possibility of removing Trump from office via the 25th Amendment. That is premised on Trump's incapacity to serve as president. Douthat concludes:
Ross Douthat
The Trump situation is not exactly the sort that the amendment’s Cold War-era designers were envisioning. He has not endured an assassination attempt or suffered a stroke or fallen prey to Alzheimer’s. But his incapacity to really govern, to truly execute the serious duties that fall to him to carry out, is nevertheless testified to daily — not by his enemies or external critics, but by precisely the men and women whom the Constitution asks to stand in judgment on him, the men and women who serve around him in the White House and the cabinet.
Earlier in the piece Douthat defines the requirements for the holder of the office:
But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control.
I would add that the intellectual curiosity that Douthat calls for is the engine of critical thinking. To make sound decision one needs to want to know how things work. At the risk of being trite, the best managers (and that is what the president is) are those who feel compelled to watch the sausage being made.

And the deficiency:
Trump is seemingly deficient in them all. Some he perhaps never had, others have presumably atrophied with age. He certainly has political talent — charisma, a raw cunning, an instinct for the jugular, a form of the common touch, a certain creativity that normal politicians lack. He would not have been elected without these qualities. But they are not enough, they cannot fill the void where other, very normal human gifts should be.
Trump is not exactly a friend to the LGBT community. Compared to Mike Pence, though, Trump is Chad Griffin. However, Trump is seriously jeopardizing our national security. He could (and I am not exaggerating) blow us all to hell. Moreover, his decision making is aligned to his business interests in contrast to the economic interests of the United States.

Trump seems to believe that he is an economic genius. He is not. Nor am I. Nevertheless, we have an over-inflated equities market and an under-regulated financial sector. At the end of the fourth quarter the Federal Reserve was showing some startling trends in loan defaults. In a few weeks we will have the first quarter results. If those conditions continued through March, we are probably heading towards serious trouble.

At the National Review Charles C.W. Cooke considers Douthat's conclusion:
As always Douthat is worth reading. But I think that missing from his piece is a serious attempt to grapple with just how much of a psychic shock such a move would inflict upon this country – especially on those voters who backed and liked Donald Trump. David Frum wrote just a few minutes after the Comey firing that the president had staged “a coup.” Well, what would this — an actual coup – represent? And how would that look to the people who would believe that Trump had been removed by the very elites he had set out to vanquish?
Cooke is right but consider the turmoil that Trump has created in less that four months. It ain't gonna get better! Trump has the support of about one-third of the citizenry. The saner two-thirds of us are likely to experience greater psychic shock if this imbecile stays in office.

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