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Saturday
Apr292017

100 Days of Trump

I faced three questions in evaluating President Trump’s first 100 days in office: why do it, can it be evaluated fairly, and should it be evaluated fairly?

The answer to why is that 100 days into a new presidency, it makes sense to take stock. Evaluating the Trump presidency fairly is much harder than deciding whether or not to do it. If anything has become clear since Trump’s election, it is that fair is in the mind of the person making the judgment. It matters from which sources one gets his or her news and opinion. Entire issues are either amplified or ignored by such media outlets as Fox News, the New York Times, CNN, etc. Non-mainstream sources are filled with fake news, biased news, retreaded news and extreme opinions. How one knows what is actually going on, much less what is important is a function of his or her tastes in news, which in turn is a function of his or her political leanings. Finally, the question of whether Trump’s first 100 days should be evaluated fairly is perhaps one that is unique to our times. Biased opinions are considered mandatory by many people on both sides. Deciding that President Trump may have done something right is considered disloyal by a large segment of the population, as is deciding that he has done something wrong by a smaller, segment of our country. A “fair and balanced” assessment of presidential actions is considered giving comfort to the enemy and undermining the movement to oust the current president (and his party) from power in the next election (and for some people, before the next election, through impeachment).

So with some trepidation, I will evaluate Trump’s first 100 days. With regard to one of my major concerns (and I would argue that it should be everyone’s), the climate and the environment, Trump has been a disaster and the only saving grace is that his de-regulatory actions may be relatively ineffectual. The country is moving toward alternative energy sources with or without the EPA. Forces within the White House, and even some within industry, are urging the president to remain within the Paris Climate Agreement. On the downside, the natural environment and wildlife will suffer almost immediately from some of his actions, which take away their protections. And the kind of real progress on slowing or halting climate change that is absolutely necessary for preserving life on our planet takes more aggressive actions, not fewer.

Trump’s health care efforts, his tax plan, his aggressive targeting of undocumented immigrants, and those who protect them, his actions on immigration are all onerous to the extreme, but, thankfully, partially mitigated by the president’s ineptitude in developing policy about them. All would, if implemented, cause untold suffering on the most vulnerable members of our population.

In foreign policy Trump has been bold, if not honest, in his approach to such adversaries as Syria and North Korea. Until a policy has been fully articulated, the jury is still out in this area.

Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was not as bad as it might have been and seemed a reasonable one, given the president’s party and campaign promises.

Then we have the president’s behavior itself, which by any standard has been unpresidential, impulsive, and downright embarrassing to the country, particularly his tweets, his lying and his bragging.

Finally, the Democratic Party’s response has been ineffectual and unwilling to provide a bold progressive alternative to the Republican agenda.

That’s Trump’s first 100 days in my opinion (and in 600 words or less).

Reader Comments (2)

Climate Change: No more of a major issue than it's ever been historically. It's always been an important element in human development. Radical, unpredictable climate change is what actually forged us into becoming human. It caused us to quickly evolve into ingenious, adaptable mammals who mastered many abilities needed to survive. This bout of climate change will be no different. If you're worried that human impetus is what's driving it, that may be true. However, everything we do is entirely of the natural world. We are not outside or above it. We are as integral or unnecessary to the planet as anything else. The Earth still remains fairly unimpressed with our impact upon it. The biosphere is a different story, but again, it's simply a part of one mammalian species' evolution.

Legislation and Executive Orders: President Trump has been quite excellent at diagnosing the problems of the country. He's also developed some bold and innovative policies to help address these problems. He's been stalled by a self-interested Congress and an overactive judiciary, but most of what he's proposed is on track to ultimately get accomplished, much of it quite soon. As to these policies having dire effect on the most vulnerable citizens of the country, that is a claim for which you have not offered any evidence.

Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch- Constitutional originalist. The number one issue for a significant percentage of the President's evangelical supporters. A decisive win.

Foreign Affairs: The United States is no longer an apologist doormat to anyone. We are going to use ongoing military intervention in a couple of situations that are long overdue. You can blame hand-wringing by the last two administrations for the current crises.

Overall Grade: Above average. He's brash, he's got swagger and he has withstood the most vicious, biased attacks on a person's character in modern human history. Most people would have jumped out a window long ago. He just punches back harder. That's why he's the president.

April 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMark Wheeler

The sky is falling, they sky is falling! Yes, that is my opinion on your assessment on the environmental issue. The "deregulation" concept for environmentalist is an all or nothing scenario. But it isn't that way at all. The regulations and the out of touch- out of control EPA is scary for anyone on both sides. They act without controls by anyone...a government agency that has detrimental power with no, or few means for anyone to fight them. They have no checks and balances. AND THAT SHOULD SCARE ANYONE IN A DEMOCRACY! Liberals seem to thing that because they are trying to do something "good" in their opinion, that all rights, fairness, and justice should be trampled on. The EPA is a prime example. Trump is not forgetting the environment, but lightening up on the out of control, over reaching department's power. Power that is unfair and overreaching! That is needed. To not be honest about the far reaching regulations is dishonest. There is a happy medium. An agency, Like the EPA, without controls is more dangerous than climate change itself! (It you believe that Man has a actual say in "Climate Change." But I digress.)

As for the rest...I just don't have the energy to deal with your bias in vocabulary (i.e. "aggressive targeting of undocumented immigrants"...shall we call them what they are: illegals? Or how about targeting CRIMINAL illegal, which is the reality of the situation and not your fake narrative of targeting undocumented immigrants!) and perspective.

E.

April 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Torphy

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