“To my friends who wonder how a decent, educated woman could support a crude, narcissistic reality TV show host and erstwhile pro-wrestling figure like Donald Trump as president, I answer that it’s simple,” wrote Dr. Robin Burk, former West Point instructor and researcher at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in an article recently published in the unabashedly pro-Trump online publication American Greatness.
The article is a very well written explanation of how a woman as intelligent, cosmopolitan and worldly as Dr. Burk could come to see a man as crude, primitive and, frankly, dense as Donald Trump as the cure for what ails America’s politics. Hers is a compelling argument that will resonate with a great number of readers, including many who are NeverTrump opponents of the president.
Trump’s supporters believe, with good reason, that a metastasizing cancer has perverted the core mechanisms of our Republic, of our social and political and economic systems. We’re at the point where only the full spectrum of treatment has a hope of restoring health and vitality.
And Donald Trump is the necessary chemotherapy.
She argues in her piece that political bodies and the news media in America have so thoroughly departed from the principles of fair play and honesty that there is no turning back without, essentially, tearing everything down and starting over from scratch. In a separate conversation, she echoed comments made by critics on both the left and the right about the state of the “post WWII institutions (that) were built by a certain political/financial elite and for the most part have served their interests.” The time when Americans are willing to believe this post-WWII institutions serve the interest of the general masses “is over in many ways,” she correctly said. “But,” she added about the elites, who The Brookings Institute say make up just 1% of the American population yet earn 21% of the nation’s income, “…those with power and privilege don’t yield them easily.”
So, the solution, according to Dr. Burk, is to reject the perpetuation of mainstream politics as usual, to welcome a “barbarian,” as she put it, to “to breach those well-fortified gates.”
When Senate confirmation hearings, ostensibly held for the sober consideration of the qualifications of judicial nominees, are intentionally subverted by a senior senator who opens the door at the last minute to weeks of increasingly poisonous personal attack and calumny against a nominee like Brett Kavanaugh, with no evidence to support them, cancer has already perverted the genetic identity and immune mechanisms of our constitutional Republic.
When the corporate leftist media manipulates the news into narratives, sending selectively edited video clips viral and falsely assigning not only blame for a public encounter but even motives such as racism to a young teen such as Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann—all for having the temerity to stand his ground in the face of a strange man chanting in his face, it’s clear the cancer is not localized in one building or place but has metastasized culturally across the country.
When bureaucrats embedded in massive administrative agencies wield unchecked regulatory power with no electoral accountability, designating temporary snow melt ponds as national waterways in a bid to control western ranches, metastasis is on display.
When the core mechanisms of the country’s national security apparatus are deployed for petty partisan advantage, the cancer’s aggressive growth eats away at the very foundation of representative government.
And when high officials not only enrich themselves through thinly disguised foundation donations from foreign donors seeking favors within the Beltway, but also are allowed to destroy evidence in a criminal investigation with impunity, the cancer has progressed to life-threatening severity.
She makes a compelling argument that American government and our political system is corrupted, that those in Washington are most concerned about perpetuating their power and enriching themselves at the public trough and much less concerned about the well-being of the people. And while Dr. Burk directs her attack on those on the left, a liberal writer so inclined to mirror her accusations could make similar arguments that the right is equally as guilty. Just ask Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland or the parents of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich who are suing Fox News for defamation.
But this is where her argument falls apart, at least for me.
If the answer to corrupt, self-serving politicians, if the treatment for the cancer of a political and media elite class abusing their power and privilege, is Donald Trump, we are all sunk.
Dr. Burk rightly rails against “increasingly poisonous personal attack(s)” in her condemnation of the treatment of then Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but says nothing about the cancerous effect of Pres. Trump’s endless, puerile and corrosive personal attacks on those he perceives as enemies, including people in critical positions in our government who, to be effective in their jobs, must have the faith and confidence of the American people.
For example, his attacks on Robert Mueller and his staff members, calling them “some of the worst people in the world” are vastly more damaging to the long-term health of this nation than were the politically motivated attacks on Judge Kavanaugh.
She correctly pillories the press from wrongly interpreting the look on Nick Sandmann‘s face as being contemptuous and insolent, when it was actually just the awkward expression of a kid who had no idea what was happening in front of him. But that example of poor journalism, of sloppy, possibly biased reporting, is nothing compared to the president of the United States knowingly tweeting an edited film of the speaker of the House altered to make her look like a drunk or a victim of mental deterioration.
Most Americans would agree with Dr. Burk that unimpeachable bureaucratic demigods have far too much power over the everyday lives of Americans and that they, often unnecessarily, burden businesses with regulations that reduce productivity and cost us good American jobs. But Pres. Trump is abusing his power to levy taxes against American consumers through the imposition of tariffs, which he inexplicably thinks are paid by foreign manufacturers, that will have a far greater negative impact on American economic health. Deutsche Bank estimates the tariffs have cost the American stock market $5 trillion so far in lost equity returns and are “key in preventing a recovery in global growth and keeping US equities range bound.”
Use of the national security apparatus and the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces for political purposes is reprehensible, to say the least. Yet, Mr. Trump didn’t object when then FBI Director James Comey reopened the investigation of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton just weeks before the election. 538.com claimed Director Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress on October 28, 2016 informing them he had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent” to his investigation halved her lead against the Republican.
While Mr. Comey’s action wasn’t taken at the behest of Mr. Trump, the decision to send American troops to the border to ostensibly build a war between the U.S. and Mexico was. And it was purely political. The troops were able to do little more than string ineffective concertina wire across small stretches of desert and pose for bemused news photographers.
And now the president has granted Attorney-General William Barr new powers to review and release sensitive intelligence documents pertaining to Mr. Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The president has also directed Connecticut District Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia probe to determine if any of those involved in the intelligence community were politically motivated. This move comes after the president repeatedly claimed, without proof, that his campaign was the victim of “spying” by the nation’s intelligence services.
And, of course, all Americans oppose public officials using their positions for personal enrichment, which is why so many are appalled the president spends almost every weekend at his own golf resorts. As of this writing, Mr. Trump has spent 91 days at Mar a Lago and 58 days at Bedminster. The total cost to taxpayers is estimated at more than $100 million.
By the time he finishes his term in office, he is on a pace to spend more than 300 days, nearly a quarter of his time in office, at one of his own resorts, at a cost of more than $300 million to taxpayers, money that goes into the president’s own pockets.
So, while Dr. Burk makes a compelling argument that it is time for real change in American politics, that we need a reset that focuses those serving in our national government towards addressing the needs of the people – ALL the people – and cures the cancer that is now infecting our body politic, the cure is not Donald Trump.
In fact, he’s the disease.