January 6, 2017


No Beliefs, No Loyalty (Robert Schlesinger, Jan. 6, 2017, US News)

[T]rump is unencumbered with either traditional partisan loyalty or a shared set of firm beliefs that would bond the president to his party. And this remains a potential fault-line to watch as Trump and the GOP congress try to govern. He remains something of a loose cannon at the head of a party with a full, ambitious and deeply ideological agenda - looser for the fact that Twitter theoretically allows him to be the first hot-take-er-in-chief, firing from the hip on whatever issue passes through his transom.

The conservative movement famously yearns for a quiescent president ready to affix his signature to whatever a GOP Congress sends his way. And in many respects Trump seems suited to that task, having given little indication of having thought policy through beyond the level of jingoistic demagoguery and off-the-shelf conservative boilerplate. NBC News' Jane Timm memorably calculated that he took "141 distinct stances on 23 major issues" during the campaign and an additional "15 new policy stances on nine different issues" since the election. But having surrounded himself with a mix of winger favorites and establishmentarians while installing true believer Mike Pence as vice president (in charge of governing) Trump gives many indications that he's likely to go with the flow.

But being utterly bereft of a core governing philosophy beyond brand-building can be a double-edged sword. Donald Trump embodies a special admixture of soullessness and craven narcissism which makes him extra susceptible to pressure from the vox populi because he lacks the steadying force of strong bonds with his fellow Republicans.

Posted by at January 6, 2017 9:12 AM