“The Sunday Political Brunch”—December 25, 2016
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Mark Curtis, GoLocalPDX Contributor
Merry Christmas, everyone! This Christmas I was thinking about what gifts we need to give to political folk after this crazy election season. I’m playing Santa Claus this year, so let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“Trump’s Tinsel” – For Donald Trump. we wish the gift of humility. He’s going to be President, so maybe he can temper some of his supreme confidence (that some think is pure arrogance). Trump would be wise to know where his expertise lies (business and economics) and where his weaknesses are (military and foreign affairs). Saying he does need the daily intelligence briefings is reckless and cavalier. Those generals and admirals will prove invaluable to him, so he needs to listen to them.
“Clinton’s Advent” – If Hillary Clinton is to have one more shot at the White House, she needs two things: an ineffective Trump, and her own good health. I don’t wish any President to fail - since if the leader fails, the nation falters – so we wish Mrs. Clinton good health should she wish to take another shot in 2020. This is not an endorsement, but rather an acknowledgment that I think she has one more chance, if the stars align. Still, convincing her own party to give her that chance will be tough.
“National Press Corps” – For my brethren in the press corps, I send the gift of free airline tickets anywhere outside of the beltway, just not on the campaign plane or bus. The problem with the traveling press corps (and I have many friends in it) is that they are kept inside the campaign bubble. Yes, they go to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania; but when the campaign stop is over they are back on the plane and gone. They rarely – if ever – get to speak with ordinary people and small business owners in American cities and towns. This is the main reason why so many pundits got this election wrong and never took Trump seriously. Go talk to average folks of all creeds and colors, and you’ll get the pulse of the nation!
“Biden’s Bidding” – Ditto from the Hillary Clinton gifts above. I am certain that Biden now wishes he had run in 2016. He has hinted he may run in 2020; but - as in the case of Clinton - he needs a Trump flop and for his own health to hold. Again, we wish Vice President Biden good health should he have the “fire-in-the-belly” to run one more time.
“Alec’s Antics” – For actor Alec Baldwin, we wish a four-year supply of hair spray. His Saturday Night Live impersonation of Donald Trump is a riot. (The woman who does Hillary Clinton is good, too, though I suspect that character will fade. Larry David as Bernie Sanders was the best of all.) I know Trump doesn’t like how Baldwin mimics him, but I hope the President-elect develops a better since of humor about it. Former President George H.W. Bush at first did not like impersonation that comedian Dana Carvey did of him, but later invited Carvey to the Bush White House to entertain the First Family. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
“Speaker’s Spoken” – For House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), we wish the Green Bay Packers will give him a football helmet. He’ll need it! Ryan is in a tough spot. He will be under pressure to run Trump’s agenda through the House, where a lot of Republican members owe Trump no favors (unlike the Senate, where GOP control was sustained by Trump’s coattails). Trump and Ryan have had a stormy relationship, although last week in Wisconsin at his thank-you rally with Ryan, Trump said of Ryan: “He’s like a fine wine. Every day I appreciate his genius more and more.” We’ll see.
“You Can’t Get There from Here” – For the Democratic Party, your gift is a Rand McNally Atlas, or maybe the more modern MapQuest, or Google Maps. The Democrats didn’t have a math problem this year (as they won the popular vote); but rather they had a map problem, because not enough of those votes were in the right places to win the Electoral College. It was almost assumed the Democrats would win Wisconsin and Michigan, so the Clinton-Caine campaign spent relatively little time there when compared to Trump-Pence. Speaking of which, Trump’s pick of a “rust belt” governor in Pence now looks brilliant, because he’s a guy that knows why voters in his region are so upset about the economy
“Kumbaya” – For the Republican Party, we send the gift of sheet music for the song “Kumbaya,” as they may need it. In 1976 and 1992, Democrats sent a new President to Washington to join a House and Senate where they already held strong majorities. In both cases, it was a disaster. Intraparty fighting over things such as foreign affairs and health care reform spelled disaster. Democrats formed a circular firing squad and mortally wounded their own party. In 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan crushed Jimmy Carter and also swept control of the Senate. In 1994, the GOP took control of both the House and Senate for the first time in forty years. Republicans may be gloating now, but if the White House and Congress don’t get along, watch out!
“Wishes for Success” – To both parties and especially to the new President and the new leaders in Congress, I send a sincere wish for success. The public is in a foul mood. People want their borders fixed, with organized and legal immigration. Voters want the economy to improve – and not just for those at the very top. In recent years, I’ve lived in two economically- depressed states: Rhode Island and West Virginia. Both have great colleges and universities, but few jobs. The most common complaint I hear from parents is that “Our biggest state export is our kids!” One is a solidly blue state, the other now rock-rib red. Let’s hope our lawmakers will work together to help all economically-depressed areas – such as Rhode Island, West Virginia, and others – prosper again.
What gifts would you give politicians this year? Just click the comment button at http://www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.