How Trump Exceeds Expectations

Trump, master of the art of distraction.

Gazing out our home-office window this morning, we caught glimpses of a survival drama. An osprey (or Seahawk) came out of his stoop, thrust his claws into the lake, flapped his wings mightily, flapped his wings mightily, flapped his wings mightily…

He went nowhere. While he was flapping the second effort, our attention was drawn, and focused on his plight. The third effort revealed a very large white object – his quarry – breaking the surface of the lake, writhing in the grasp of his talons.

It was huge, probably a large bass, I have seen bass caught from Lake Agnes that were on the order of 3 feet in length, and no telling how heavy. That osprey had not a chance.

But the bird did not easily acknowledge that fact – he gave it a couple of more tries before he took a lesson from Sir Isaac Newton and flew off defeated to my enormous oak tree, where he perched and rested for a while.

We could almost hear him panting from our office chair. It was quite a display of determination gone awry. “A man’s got to know his limitations”, as Dirty Harry so succinctly stated in Magnum Force. And that osprey had definitely found his limitation: a fish that big had to be something he had dreamed about since the day he split open his surrounding eggshell and tottered to the edge of his parents’ nest.

But some things are simply not meant to be. One of the bald eagles that occasionally grace our lake might have had a chance at that fish, but an osprey is just not big enough.  He was simply outclassed: he had the wherewithal to make the catch, but landing the fish was just not a thing he could do.

That little story makes a true, romantic, and completely tangential lede for this article, which is really about the new Trump government and its approach to governing.

Our new president has his work cut out for him and the powers that be are trying not to help in any way and are hindering whenever they think they can get away with it. Trump is a pragmatist and is not fettered by ideological constraints. The ones who are fettered by those constraints cannot stand the fact that he is not.

The Trump revolution, and it is revolutionary, is a well publicized movement of power which has been designated ‘Draining the Swamp.’  That is the double-secret (to borrow a phrase from Animal House) maneuver that the Trump Cabinet has been employing. Mystifyingly, Swamp Dwellers have been completely fooled by the deception, overt as it is.

Mr. Trump has proceeded with a devastatingly clever execution of his plan for government. And he has done it on the sly, right out in front of everybody. The MSM has its own agenda, and it is proceeding with that, trying to make the Trump accomplishments disappear into the background.

He told us all that he was going to drain the swamp; but the denizens of that district cannot comprehend the fact that someone might do what they say. Swamp dwellers treat truth like a commodity to be traded and profited upon. They have all forgotten – or never learned – the core rectitude that made this country great.

While our attention has been diverted away from the very real task of government, we have been spending our time and political capital on things like the credibility of Mike Pompeo in his nomination for Secretary of State, and Jeff Sessions as the ‘Unlikely  Hero’ of the Russia probe. The news day moves along as it always has. News organizations like USA Today, the New York Times, and the other chroniclers of the swamp proceed apace.

Thus it was with great fanfare that in January, Trump supporters announced that he had greatly exceeded expectations of his success. Rasmussen report termed its “Shockingly Long List” of modifications to the way our government does business. As hackneyed as it has become, the term ‘Draining the Swamp’ is appropriate in this context. Rasmussen reproduced a column enumerating the accomplishments and summed up thus:

81 Signed Legislative Accomplishments

Whether you agree with them all policy-wise or consider them significant accomplishments, is irrelevant. As a data journalism-centered site, we find records noteworthy and this is yet another record. The previous record was held by President Harry S. Truman.

This is a new high watermark for legislation and rulemaking in modern political history for the United States. Previous administrations have drifted into their job while the Trump administration treated their promises like goals to be achieved and attacked them assiduously. Nothing about Donald Trump’s first year indicates that he is going to be mollified or intimidated by the customs of Washington.

The way that the Trump administration is doing this is also revolutionary in the age of instant news and the resultant inundation of commentary that it brings. Unlike past presidents, Mr. Trump has pulled off most of his accomplishments with a minimum of fanfare. He didn’t want to be interrupted with non-essential explanations and justifications; he simply wanted to get the job done and let the results speak for themselves.

In an unintentional assist, the mainstream media, preoccupied with its status as foe and obstructionist, was busily directing attention away from the Trumpian agenda toward their narrative of ‘serious matters’ by which they endeavor to enhance the status of Democrats.

The topics of emphasis were Hillary’s travails, Russian meddling in US elections (nothing new, they have been doing that fruitlessly since 1946), dire predictions of political failures, trying to sweep the Gorsuch appointment and confirmation under the rug, and other egregious acts of disinformation. That is their job as they see it.

Meanwhile, beyond the notice of the media, the administration has effectively worked to dismantle the web of interlocked policies and regulations that the nanny state had evolved – just as Mr. Trump demanded and promised.

The biggest accomplishment, only now becoming visible, is his decimation of the EPA, where thousands of career positions were simply eliminated; as people quit, retired, or left their positions for other reasons, they have not been replaced. There was no more anti-business enterprise than the Obama EPA; the staggeringly stiff regulations that had been imposed for decades were doubled-down during Obama’s time.  He was intent on achieving a KO count against energy producers and makers of other evil products of our industrial society.

The do-gooders of the Obama era were intent upon giving this coal producing, petrol consuming, meat eating nation a lesson in how to live like a European. But that isn’t what we want. Our goals are different: a high standard of living with freedom to pursue a future of greatness.

The birds of Lake Agnes provide some very good lessons. The osprey tried his best to swoop down and pluck a meal from the clear waters of the lake, but his predator eye led him astray. The goal was plain, the opportunity was golden, but the fish was simply too big.

The bird had no chance. Try as he might, he was outclassed. Somewhat crestfallen, he sat up on a branch, contemplating his options – it took a few minutes, as ospreys are not rocket scientists.

Eventually the bird was spotted, medium-sized prey in his grip, flapping his way toward his nest where the young that he was hunting for will greet him noisily when he brings lunch home. In this season, the bird’s job is to feed the kids: that is his first, pre-eminent responsibility.

The pride achieved by landing a large bass was forgotten when it became apparent to him that he had not the strength to land the fish. After calming himself, he re-attacked his first responsibility and came up with a normal, perfectly adequate response.

Our president does a similar thing in the fulfillment of his responsibility. He has learned over the years that success in any complex endeavor is a matrix of tiny steps forward, a few backward, but continuation of forward progress every time there is a setback. Not spectacular, but effective movement can be made this way.

Following this methodical, patient plan, the president gets his job done with little fanfare. He is busy offering distractions to his detractors – a right feint here, a left jab that lands quickly there – so that they may continue perpetrating their false and confusing narrative which is grist for the MSM news cycle. He is putting on a distracting show.

Thus, they are talking about the show, their audience is occupied offering different opinions of the show, the Democrat party is occupied trying to make themselves part of the show, and all goes on as it has for decades.

While under it all, the worthy gents of the Trump administration go about their business, in full view, mostly unmolested by distracted harassers intending harm.

Thomas Anderson is a multi-state registered architect and an ex-Air Force electronic technician, who is a keen observer of the human condition.  Read other articles by Thomas Anderson or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

Excellent analysis. I imagine Trump would be flattered by being compared to a bird of prey. As I read this, it strikes me that the DC swamp people are as much economically threatened as politically. Over the Obama years, there was a very clear and comfortable career path. Graduate from a well credentialed university or law school, get an " assistant something" bureaucratic job, prove your worth by dumping on some icky capitalists, work for or contribute to the Democrat party, and then move on to a lucrative job as a lobbyist , attorney, or " consultant". People Lincoln called " wire pullers". Nice and neat. Probably the main reason DC-land was the fastest growing major metropolitan area in the US during Obama'a reign..
Trump upset that apple cart. Fewer govt jobs with less need for lobbyists , fixers, and " consultants" since there is nobody to approve the invoice. And the folks there now are not about building their gpv't empire, but dismantling it. As your osprey friend demonstrated, animals fight hard for the big fish before they settle for the smaller one.

May 3, 2018 8:00 AM

Trump brought in pragmatic businessmen to drain the swamp and that is just what they are doing.

May 3, 2018 8:14 AM
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