Near the end of the campaign I wrote a column called “Imagine a Sane Donald Trump,” lamenting that I believed he was crazy, and too bad. Too bad because his broad policy assertions, or impulses, suggested he understood that 2008 and the years just after (the crash and the weak recovery) had changed everything in America, and that the country was going to choose, in coming decades, one of two paths—a moderate populism or socialism—and that the former was vastly to be preferred, for reasons of the nation’s health. A gifted politician could make his party the leader toward that path, which includes being supportive and encouraging of business but willing to harness government to alleviate the distress of the abandoned working class and the anxious middle class; strong on defense but neither aggressive nor dreamy in world affairs; realistic and nonradical on social issues while unmistakably committed to protecting the freedoms of the greatest cohering force in America, its churches; and aware that our nation’s immigration reality was a scandal created by both parties, and must be redressed.Really? She got that from Trump's belligerent yammerings? I suppose you could also "discern" from them that he was the seventh son of the seventh mother, or Death Destroyer of Worlds, if you had taken enough Diviner's Potion at P.J. Clarke's.
You could discern, listening to his interviews and speeches, that this was more or less where Donald Trump stood.
Well, 70 days in, Noonan has decided oh my, this Administration is not going well at all. And you know what the problem is? No, it's not that a pack of cheap grifters seized the White House and, in furtherance of its crimes, allows rightwing psychos to destroy the country -- It's the servants!
His staff has failed to absorb the obvious fact that Mr. Trump was so outsized, colorful, and freakish a character that their primary job, and an easy one it was, was to be the opposite—sober, low-key, reassuring. Instead they seemed to compete with him for outlandishness.It's sort of like Benson, if the Governor were a vicious psychopath.
As for the President himself, Noonan can only shake her head and wonder what went wrong:
It amazes me that in his dealings with the health-care bill Mr. Trump revealed that he has no deep knowledge of who his base is, who his people are. I’ve never seen that in politics.Honey, he has no deep knowledge of anything except ways to separate suckers from their money.
...But Mr. Trump’s supporters didn’t like the bill. If they had wanted a Republican president who deals only with the right, to produce a rightist bill, they would have chosen Ted Cruz. Instead they chose someone outside conservatism who backed big-ticket spending on infrastructure and opposed cutting entitlements, which suggested he’d be working with Democrats, too.As I have noted many times, Noonan is all kinds of disingenuous and will sometimes play dumb to look cute, but these days I'm genuinely beginning to question the arterial flow to her brain. She seems to think voters carefully weigh multiple policy vectors -- "hmm, Trump says 'Ahma gunna kill Obamacare Ahm so great' in such a way that I expect my particular health care needs will be met" -- instead of just going "Big TV Star yell at Messicans, Me hate Messicans, Negro eat T-bone steak, me like way he yell," etc.
But of course Noonan has to pretend that, because to admit that the Trump tide is an id monster would be to admit that the electorate, or at least the new Republican section of it, is beyond her prissy ministrations and passive-aggressive bullshit; they won't be swayed by tea-cakes now they've tasted blood. Being prudent, she now has to prepare for a possible anti-Trump backlash -- but instead of portraying them as a mob turning on its master, she has to suggest they were misled -- by Hollywood!
...Their sense of how a White House works came from news shows and reading, and also from TV shows such as “House of Cards” and “Scandal.” Those are dark, cynical shows that more or less suggest anyone can be president. I don’t mean that in the nice way. Those programs don’t convey how a White House is an organism demanding of true depth, of serious people, real professionals. A president has to be a serious person too, and not only an amusing or stimulating talker, or the object of a dream.Yes, somewhere along the way the yeoman farmer was corrupted by premium cable. I wonder how she'll react if, whatever happens with this administration, she must confront the fact that her people no longer feel the need to even act as if they care about her good opinion.