Trump could turn out to be well-regarded president

To the editor:

On the morning after the election, I felt as though I had won the lottery, in that unexpectedly there was a chance for a lot of things to go better. The Supreme Court could be made safe from a liberal majority; health care management could improve, hopefully with the help of Ben Carson; some repressive regulations could be dumped, to the benefit of small businesses. There might even be a reduction in the corporate income tax, which could let businesses grow like crazy — a point that Pat Toomey, to his credit, is right about and that liberals, with their willing disregard for economic realities, totally misunderstand. And, if Trump had the insight and enough courage, he might even try to destabilize the Saudi government, the root cause of terrorism in the Middle East.

However, there are things to be concerned about regarding Trump. First, he will have to put all his assets in a blind trust; he has said that he will put them in a trust run by his kids. That will not fly and both parties know that. That will cause a struggle with an uncertain outcome.

And his position atop a wholly Republican Congress may tempt him to overplay his hand. Lord Acton’s dictum pertains: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Trump will have relatively absolute power; will that go to his head and cause him to do something stupid?

He already has demonstrated his business instincts, by threatening to dismantle all sorts of programs he dislikes, an approach different from a politician’s. A politician faced with a failure will say, “We must try the same thing again,” How many job-training programs are there in Washington? Countless. A businessman says, “Why don’t we stop doing this?” Trump’s statement that he’s going to eradicate programs are simply challenges to their supporters to defend them. He has already backed away from several campaign promises and may ultimately be seen as a centrist. As a businessman, he is interested in what works; if, through greater understanding of the details of the program, he decides to change his mind, that means he is not locked into ideological promises, as Obama was in regarding the closing of Gitmo.

Liberals will continue to fret about his temperament and unfitness for office. However, his background and demeanor have parallels to those of a former politician who did quite well in office. Curiously, like Trump, this man was the son of an American and British parent. Early in his career he flip-flopped on issues regularly and in fact changed his party affiliation twice. He made so many questionable decisions that people thought him unstable. The elite establishment thought him crude and boorish, and he could be rude to women in public; when a woman rebuked him, “You’re drunk,” he retorted, “Yes, and you’re ugly. But tomorrow I will be sober.” He was an unabashed seeker of publicity. But when his country was threatened by a danger that the government refused to recognize, voters sensed that he would, and he became the country’s leader. In office, his dynamic  personality and thirst for action caused him to propose many unworkable ideas, but he had sense to surround himself with sensible men who would keep him in check. Liberals still try to diminish his importance, but history regards him as a statesman of the highest quality.

Will these parallels continue to the point that Trump is considered in retrospect a historic personage? Damned if I know.

John Brittain