Don Rogers: Talking Trump? Fore!
December 28, 2017
I could feel the lid beginning to rattle as we spoke over the phone.
Dad — once president of the Honolulu Young Republicans, once a promising GOP candidate for Assembly in a state that couldn't be bluer and I'm not talking about the ocean, and still a proud "true" conservative — would hear nothing even tepidly positive about President Trump.
As for the party, he's more scathing. He believes the GOP should know better, do better, be better than this. Make America great, not a few privileged Americans even wealthier. Sold their souls, they have.
"But Dad, I understand almost everyone gets a tax break."
"Oh ho, not like the rich. Not like the corporations."
"But it's not like what the Democrats are saying, either, that everyone's screwed but the president and his buddies."
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"Pfff, his buddies. What a jackass. Hear he couldn't even put together one state dinner all year? Not even one. Sheesh." Sounded like a full boil building now.
"The Republicans pass tax reform, this major legislation, and you're concerned about state dinners? I thought you were all about over-taxation and outrageous spending strangling the country."
"Not even one."
This was the gist, not the same words, but close enough in tone.
Mom? She takes the "Commies finally got their guy in office, thanks to you" gibes in stride. Chuckles gently, waves it all off. The Red Scare was ages ago. Now even the Birchers love the Russians, our friends. They said they didn't do it. Why are we still investigating? Liberals, they make no sense.
The president may be impolitic, even crude, but maybe America needs this right now. Protesters should mind their manners, and as far as Mom is concerned, the very elements of society that ruined our morals now complain about the consequences. "Serves 'em right," she says in a knew-this-would-happen tone I remember well from childhood. I think she means the Hollywood set.
It won't surprise you my parents are divorced.
Still, I think they might model the state of the Republican Party. Or maybe, more precisely, illustrate a schism between the current base and others who more or less have given up on the party. I suspect, despite polls showing still-strong Republican support for the president, a leak toward my father's disaffection. I hear it in the "Well, no, I wish he wouldn't …, but look at …" sheepishness creeping into discussions that used to be full-throated.
I tend to agree with Dad that this tax "reform" is mostly a sop. We break as to the degree: Corporations are people too, after all. Profit is not a crime but a practical necessity. And I can see plainly where the Democrats in their fury are just as ridiculous and false. Only 5 percent of us will not see tax reductions and only by coincidence, of course, will this be the case mainly in anti-Trump states like ours.
Academic economists, code for libtards in certain circles, see some short-lived benefit and long-term difficulties with the ballooning federal deficit and debt that used to enrage Republicans.
Right-minded think tankers, funded I guess by those bogeymen the Koch brothers, see trickle down at last working the way it should. I'm not sure exactly what this means for me, a middle-class slug.
Mostly, though, I see whipsaw legislation like Obamacare in which everyone in one party votes for it and everyone in the other votes against it. No one has time to read these thousand-page tomes, so we can count on flaws that won't be fixed once the other side gains enough strength in subsequent elections. Why fix something you aim to kill when you can?
I mean, you might fix it into something worth keeping, something good for, like, real people.
Then where would you be? Can't have that. Bad for the party.
Speaking of real people — not — what's the thing with "state dinners" anyway? Apparently President Obama held them, so Trump won't.
What Obama did, stop. What Obama stopped, start again if you can. This is my most cogent guess for the new administration's policy direction: Whatever happened with Obama, it's the opposite for Trump.
So what is this, anyway? Revenge for everyone showing up at Obama's inauguration and skipping you know whose?
Still, Obama played golf, which Trump the candidate found disgusting. But as president he saw some hidden virtue in the activity. I can think of worse ways a president might pass his days. He can't be all bad all the time.
I refrained from taking this up with Dad, leaving it at "Well, Merry Christmas!"
"Happy holidays!" he replied, maybe a little quickly.
Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-4299.