Friday, February 10, 2017

What isn't happening in the first 100 days

OK, we really shouldn't focus on "the first 100 days" of a presidency.  It is a completely arbitrary marker.  We happen to use a base-10 number system, and 100 is a nice wound number (eh, Biggus?).  Still, we are focusing on the immigration ban and the 9th Circuit, while gawking at Trump's war of words with his own Supreme Court nominee, Kellyanne Conway going directly from making up the "Bowling Green Massacre" to breaking ethics rules by promoting Trump's daughter's clothing line, Trump's ongoing SNL obsession, and similar nonsense.

What aren't we talking about?

Serious legislation.  Congressional Republicans are paralyzed over healthcare, tax reform (they'll pass tax cuts, but have no clue what to do about the overall structure of the tax code) and other major policy goals.

Reference time!  Richard Fenno's Learning to Govern.  After four decades out of the majority, Republicans finally took over the House of Representatives in the 1994 election.  And nobody had a clue what they were doing, least of all Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was often charitably described as a stupid person's impression of a smart person.  A big part of it was lack of experience.  Nobody there had ever really governed.  It had been four decades since the Republicans had a majority!

Of course, Republicans had unified control of government as recently as 2006, right before the midterm that handed control of Congress to Democrats.  There are people around who remember.  Trump, of course, is fucking moron who had to pause a call with Putin to ask his aides what the START treaty was, so looking to him for guidance on how to govern is a fool's errand.  Ryan?  He was a young'un when Democrats took over in 2006.  He was first elected in 1998.  Most of his leadership experience has been as an opposition leader.  The only one with any real governing experience at the top of the party?  McConnell.  And there are a hell of a lot of young'uns who just don't have a clue how things work.  Why?  They have never had to govern.

Chaos.  And no real policymaking.

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