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The Freedom Forum

Photo: NBC News

The first 100-days (and nights) of Donald Trump as president has gone just about as well as I had expected: Not. Republicans usually enjoy such a low bar of expectations that most people I know are just happy that the world hasn’t ended since he took office. His latest dumb remark about Korea once being a part of China, and the problem that caused with all Koreans, is an allegory for his dumb presidency and his first 100-days. Trump is an absolute lightweight politically and his presidency a real-time, abject failure. Can you imagine if half of his lousy executive orders had become enacted, save a few judges stopping the most egregious because of their lousiness? What effect on the U.S. economy would that first idiotic executive order on immigration had wrought hadn’t the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit not struck it down?

It makes sense that when faced with a metric, in this case the first one hundred days as president, that Trump simultaneously blunts expectations by Tweeting that it’s a ridiculous standard while holding a media event to trumpet his massive 100-day successes. Of course any standard to Donald Trump is a ridiculous standard. Standards can be met and unmet. When you’re always right, you don’t need standards. My mother once told me (actually, often) “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” That’s an apt analogy to Trump’s veracity. He averages about 1 out of every 12 statements as being true. Full disclosure, my dear, sainted mother was a Reagan Democrat – who would have probably voted for The Donald – bless her sweet heart.

Donald Trump really believes that he is always right. Take that in for a second. If you’re always right, you never have to look back and think to yourself, “What could I have done differently?” Or, “What could I have done to have a more favorable outcome?” His decision-making has proven to be very unstable and erratic, yet this we knew before the election. I wish he would just get it over with and fulfill his campaign promise to go down to Madison Avenue and actually shoot someone. ‘C’mon, Donny? Whattya chicken?’ Nothing serious, just a Dick Cheney shotgun burn-type shooting and a few pieces of lead to pick out, that’s all I ask. Then, maybe, folks will say that (perhaps) we would be better off with President Mike Pence. Since becoming our president, other than admitting that it’s a harder job than he thought (duh!) Donald Trump has been the best president ever.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, reviled by every conservative that I’ve ever met (as a traitor to his class), set the standard for the first one hundred days of any presidency. Gripped by the maw of the Great Depression, fast action was required by the government to immediately enact a ‘New Deal’ with the American people to weather the brewing economic storm of the 1930’s. This emergency legislation was required, in large part, to of the awful presidency and decision-making of one Herbert Clark Hoover, the 31st President of the United States.

On close examination, Donald Trump’s tenure in office is beginning to look a lot more like Republican Herbert Hoover’s than either Republicans Ronald Reagan’s or Teddy Roosevelt’s. Herbert Hoover was a far more successful businessman than Donald Trump ever was, having established a multi-national mining operation before being elected president. Hoover was a leader in the Progressive Era’s Efficiency Movement, believing that every public and private institution was hindered with built-in inefficiencies. In the presidential election of 1928, Hoover easily won the Republican nomination despite never before holding elected office.

Hoover specialized in rejuvenating troubled mining operations, taking a cut of the profits in exchange for his technical and financial know how. His most successful venture was with the British Burma Corporation, producing silver, lead and zinc in yuge, excuse me, huge quantities. He helped increase copper production in Kyshtym, Russia, using new smelting techniques and managed one of Russian Czar Romanov’s royally sanctioned ‘Cabinet Mines’ in the Altai Mountains, a mountain range in Central Asia where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan meet. According to Hoover, “It developed probably the greatest and richest single body of ore known in the world” before the Communist Revolution.

In his single term, Hoover also authorized the ‘Mexican Repatriation’ program to help unemployed Mexican citizens return to Mexico. This program was a thinly veiled forced migration of approximately a million people south of the border. Where was the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals then? Later, after enacting the biggest tax cut in U.S. history (over the objection of many noted economists) Congress also passed and Hoover signed into law the hilariously sounding Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. This legislation raised tariffs on thousands of imported items to the United States. The intent of the act was to encourage purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers. However, economic depression had spread worldwide and other nations retaliated by raising tariffs on imports from the United States.

Like Ferris Bueller on his day off, Donald Trump must have been absent from class when high school economics teacher (and real-life economist) Ben Stein lectured the class that the result of these tariffs was to shrink international trade and for the U.S. to sink deeper into the Great Depression. To pay for government programs and to make up for lost revenue, Hoover signed the Revenue Act of 1932. The act increased taxation so that top earners were taxed at 63% of their net income – up from 25% when Hoover took office. Additionally under Hoover, the estate tax was doubled and corporate taxes were raised by almost 15%.

Trump’s first 100 days have revealed a strikingly similar approach to the economy as Hoover’s, even dusting off the populist poison of tariffs, such as Trump’s recent tariff on Canadian softwood and the unintended result of Mexico’s victory in the WTO over the U.S. in trade sanctions related to tuna fishing. Now that the WTO has ruled in Mexico’s favor over tuna quotas, this paves the way for another stupid trade war – which economists generally agree sucks ass. 

After promising an astonishing 4% growth in GDP during the campaign, Trump actually delivered an anemic 0.6% GDP growth in his first hundred days, marked by slumping retail sales. I hear some good numbers on Wall Street and I see some green shoots in the overall economy, but I’m investing in gold, I’m buying an electric car and I’m moving to Martha’s Vineyard. Seriously, I pray every night before I go to bed that Warren Buffet lives long enough to blow out 100 candles.

In Trump’s first hundred days, his inability to work with Congress has proven as difficult a proposition as his lousy track record in the federal courts. As historian Michael Beschloss recently said about Trump’s 100-day legislative record, he is ‘low on the list’ of successful presidents. Trump claims to have the most successful 100-days ever, yet even his (good) choice of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, chosen during the heat of the election, was low hanging fruit to claim as some big victory. If that’s the best he can come up with, that’s a sorry state of affairs for him and his administration. His action against the Syrian airbase was measured and almost presidential. It showed a little rational thought behind his decision-making and was the only successful thing he’s done in his first hundred days, in my opinion, yet even that good news was torpedoed by Sean Spicer in comparing Adolph Hitler to Bashar al-AssadIn a good way.

Sean Spicer said he let down his boss (and by extension, his country) on that day and I couldn’t disagree more. He represented in typical fashion the idiocy that Donald Trump displays on a daily basis in 140 characters or less. To say, out loud and in front of microphones set up behind the Seal of the President of the United States, that Hitler wouldn’t even gas children, or his ‘own people,’ shows such a contempt for history that it’s mind-boggling. Saturday Night Live had to track down Melissa McCarthy (like in her car commericials) just because of Spicer’s few dumb sentences.

Hitler devised such efficient ways to gas people, yes, Sean, his ‘own people’ and children, ever more efficiently with Zyklon-B, an industrial, cyanide-based pesticide, because transporting them in the back of ‘gas vans’ while pumping the carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe into the back of the van – while driving them to their mass graves – wasn’t efficient enough. ‘Spicey’ still has a job as the United States Press Secretary and that speaks louder than all the stupid things he has said. He represents the Trump Administration exceptionally well, and from what I hear, is a super nice guy.

We’ll gloss over any examination of the world leaders that Trump has offended in his first 100 days, both in person, on the telephone, and by Tweet, because it’s just too embarrassing to enumerate. The list includes former Mexican President Vincente Fox (Who told him to “Go To Hell!”); current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Trump hung up on him halfway through the call) and many others.

Then there was that time that Trump offended the entire British government when he said that James Bond helped Barack Obama tap his phone. He threw former Judge Andrew Napolitano and Fox News under the bus so fast that they must have seen the writing on the wall. For a guy who respects loyalty so much, I have to say thank you very much, Mr. President, for being super quiet while Roger Ailes, Greta Van Susterin, Bill O’Reilly and a bunch of other Foxholes got fired. Now could you please come up with your famous catchphrase for Sean Hannity too? Pretty please?

Meanwhile, just prior his tax cut for rich people, Trump tried to ax Meals on Wheels, tried to pull the plug on Ken Burns and PBS, and then Budget Director Michael O’Mul-vain-ey announced that the U.S. was getting out of the business of saving victims of starvation – on Irish Famine Memorial Day. Also, remember when Trump said that Representative John Lewis “Talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk” when Rep. Lewis had the temerity to raise the serious question of Russian meddling in our election? John Lewis! Trump said that American hero John Lewis doesn’t walk the walk! I’ve had the honor of meeting Congressman John Lewis and I’ll tell you this, he is a fearless warrior for Democracy. He walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in peaceful protest and was nearly killed for his walking.

That’s not why you wanted to be president, is it Donald? To insult American heroes like John Lewis, John McCain and Gold Star Families and actually get away with it? Forget all that bullshit about making America great again – you got into this to make heavy, massive amounts of money for you and your organization. All this government stuff isn’t for you. It’s hard work. Please, before Kim Jong-un makes you feel inadequate and you do something really dumb, please consider this possibilty: Quit. Just imagine the ratings! You then retire on the top of your game, I mean after all, a four-year term is a ridiculous standard! You’ve gotten more done in four months than all the other presidents got done in four years – combined!

You should get out while the gettin’s good and not end up like Herbert Hoover. You should remove yourself to Mar-A-Lago, the Legendary Pinnacle of Palm Beach, and be a superhero in the Ex-Presidents League, overseeing an international business empire that transcends the measly Office of the President of the United States. You and your company will become the most successful and yugest, excuse me, hugest brand the world has ever seen. You just have to resign first. And please, take Sean Hannity with you when you go. Thank you!

John Underhill
April 29, 2017

1 Comment

  1. […] thought it insulting to suggest that he resign after his first hundred days, as I did in my post 100 Crazy Nights, but I’d bet he’d take that bargain in a heartbeat now, because that was before we knew […]

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