1. It’s Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
2. It’s the birthday of Garry Moore, who was once among the biggest stars in television, and who now is little remembered.
He hosted the game show “I’ve Got a Secret,” but he got huge ratings with a variety series. I can’t remember if he had any particular talent – he wasn’t a famous comedian or singer. But his show was the launching pad for Carol Burnett, who people do remember.
Moore died in the 1990s – he had a lot of health issues over the years.
3. Americans probably could use a rest from the Trump years. Or at least it seems like years – this is only day 12.
It really does feel, as Paul Krugman tweets out this morning, that the country would be able to endure a long Trump presidency. Even guys who had strong ideas about how to change things – FDR, Kennedy, Reagan and Obama – didn’t come into their presidencies shooting first and asking questions later.
Why are Democrats nostalgic for Reagan and even the Bushes at this point in the Trump presidency?
Because even Reagan, ideologue that he was, wanted to govern. He didn’t want to rule.
That is the difference.
4. Governing is how a country operates.
Yes, you set the tone and agenda. But you try to do that by convincing as many people as you can that this is the right thing to do. You talk to people, not at them.
I disagreed with everything Reagan did and stood for. I think he damaged the country. But he got eight years from the American people because he masterfully reached out to those who didn’t vote for him and tried to sell what he was doing.
Trump hasn’t tried. There was brief feint toward reconciliation in his victory speech early on Nov. 9. But that didn’t last the week.
There was never the traditional bury-the-hatchet meeting with his opponent, like the one between Barack Obama and John McCain. Hell, the night before the inauguration, Obama attended a dinner in McCain’s honor.
That wasn’t because they were close buddies, although I do believe there was some respect between the two at the time. It was part of how Obama wanted as much of the country at least looking at him positively before he took office.
Trump has been in go-to-hell mode going back before the campaign. He seems to have no interest in unifying the nation.
And what makes that all the more amazing is the fact that he didn’t win the popular vote. He didn’t even come that close to winning the popular vote – 2,864,974 fewer votes than his opponent.
Give George W. Bush credit – and I can’t believe I’m doing that. After what is now the second most contentious election in our lifetimes, he reached out to the other side even though he was about a half-million votes behind Al Gore.
5. And here’s the screwy thing: Trump could have made his life a lot easier.
Everybody understood that we elect a president through the Electoral College, not the popular vote. So no one would deny Trump his legitimacy – if he didn’t undermine it himself with his bluster, his tweets and his bullying.
Seriously – what if Trump had waited to implement this immigration debacle. What if he had talked to Homeland Security and Defense and State and Justice to make sure they were all on board, waited a few weeks to draft a proposal, and then gone to the American people to calmly explain why he was doing it.
Yes, there certainly would have been protests. But they wouldn’t have been so massive, the policy wouldn’t have seemed so draconian and counterintuitive, and a broad consensus of the American people might have signed on.
You wouldn’t have had the Deputy Attorney General fired after stating she didn’t believe the ban was constitutional. Because she would have been consulted ahead of time and resigned – or asked to resign – if she couldn’t go along.
The fact is that Trump doesn’t want to govern. He and the dolts who voted for him – and let’s stop being sympathetic to their concerns, because they’ve signed on for this crap – believe compromise and consideration get in the way of what they believe they should happen.
They want to rule.
The problem is there are more people on the other side. And they don’t want to be ruled.
How will this end? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe Trump, Bannon and their ilk will get what they want – they’ll wear down and wear out the opposition and get their agenda.
But every day, it seems, there’s something that shocks and outrages people. It might get tired, but it also doesn’t go away. And it cuts into the heart of this country – and these are wounds that might not heal in our lifetime.