A Central Organizing Principle

Author: Gary Hart

Search as one might for one or more unifying principles that guide Trumpian government, there is none.

Underlying themes seem to be nationalistic and populistic.  But, like much with Trump, those are vague ideological concepts and lacking in cohesiveness.

The closest one can come, predictably, is a negative: destroy any vestige of the Obama administration, tear down its structures, plow under any remaining debris, and sow salt on the earth.

For all anyone knows in this epic disaster of an era, there is a Koch financed project to eliminate any reference to Barack Obama in future American history books.

In the continuing search for any semblance of coherent structure to Trumpian governance, this demented hostility to his predecessor and attempt to destroy all his works may offer an insight into the shambles of his foreign policy.

Consider the erratic list of initiatives: cordiality to Putin who tilted the US election Trump’s way; insistence on negotiations with Kim Jung-un even while he conducts new missile tests; cordiality to Saudi leaders who murder US journalists; and most recently a botched effort to get leaders of the Taliban, complicit in murdering 3,000 Americans on 9/11, to negotiate at Camp David.

No accounting for the strangeness of this behavior.  Except possibly one thing.  Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize and Trump has not.

Trump can’t take Obama’s prize away, but he can seek to match it.  And in his very confused mind about international diplomacy he thinks the way to do that is to pull a rabbit out of an unpredictable hat.

Even as evidence mounts of presidential behavior distant from normality and stability, and few defenders of his chaotic and unpredictable stops and starts, it may be that some irrational competition he sees with Obama could account for an otherwise patternless series of episodes in far flung parts of the world.

At this point, it is anyone’s guess as to why he does what he does and why so much of it makes so little sense.  It would require someone greatly skilled in the mysteries of psychiatry and the human mind to sort through the rubble.

But the lack of coherence and rationality invites speculation.  After all, it is only the survival of our nation at stake.

The search for coherence in the thought of one who does not demonstrate coherence is not an idle exercise.  In very short order we will enter election year.  Consider a president for whom the epithet “loser” is his strongest condemnation.  And consider his response to losing, especially as might happen he loses closely.

The possibilities for mayhem are almost endless: presidential demand for recounts in all close, that is to say “purple”, State like Colorado; allegations of voter fraud everywhere; emergency litigation filed in courthouses across the country; denial, despite evidence, of foreign (i.e., Russian) interventions; even efforts to demand the Republican Senate negate the election outcome and propose a new election.

The closer we get to November 2020, the more tensions will rise.

If ever statesmen and women are needed, it will be then.  And not all of them can come from the Democratic Party.  A looming catastrophe might be required to find out if there are any elected officials in the Republican Party who will once again put country before party and career.

That would be a central organizing principle worth pursuing.

3 Responses to “A Central Organizing Principle”

  1. Paul G Says:


    Consider cordiality by Bush, Obama, Trump; all bowing to Saudi leaders, whose 14 of 19 citizens(zero from Iraq) murdered near 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

    Exactly 18 years later, veteran Bush and Trump critic, filibustered Stephen Colbert, “interviewed” former national security advisor / secretary of state Conolezza Rice about 9/11, Afghans and Iraquis; but Saudis escaped, again.

    The dangerous obscenity of extremely concentrated wealth knows no morality.

    Thank you for flying to the hostile Bush WH to warn Condi of your informed instincts … a week before the awful tragedy … with Chaney in charge!


    Would like to pay respects to all for 9- 11, and to thank all in the public service on that day and since for their brave and extraordinary call of duty as first to respond.

    Thank you to our host, Senator, your efforts our colleague here mentions, but one of many exemplary ways to add to the security of your country, our world.

    I say, yours, but, though born and resident in the UK, to an Italian father , English, Irish mother, married to one who hailed from NY, I married the country, I had been having an affair , a love affair with years, ever since I remember.

    How marvellous it is that having wanted you as President in 88, when, as a young university of London student, I attended Democrats Abroad primary in London, to engage with you here.

    You being fair, honour the achievements that were genuine, of President Obama.His were not in eight years, what your hero President Kennedy, achieved in three.However, as with another considered a non achiever by some, not by those who are more astute, President Carter , who, in many ways President Obama followed in decency and moderate good service, compared to many since,or he in office now, looks like Lincoln or Roosevelt!

    President Hart would have been great, but as host and sage he is as good as it gets here.

    So poignant, these posts, so concerned this contributor, so full of love for your country, mine, by love affair and marriage, it leads me to want to serve it, and save it.

    The UK is in turmoil. There is much we need to do to offer ways forward and to help one another as we deal with our yellow haired populists president and prime minister and their less than funny bafoonery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Michael Says:

    I suppose if one were to engage in armchair psychology, one could determine that Trump sees Obama as responsible for him getting into politics, and into a position – the presidency – which he obviously hates. Evidently, it was Obama’s ridicule of Trump at the White House Correspondence Dinner that pushed him into politics. For trump it may have been a branding excursive gone awry, landing him in the Oval Office, but it can also wind up destroying his life and landing him in prison if he loses reelection. Trump is well aware of that. I share Senator Hart’s concern for our democracy should Trump win or lose. Assuming the latter, I don’t think it’s statemen we will need, or at least not statemen (and women) alone. We will need patriots in law enforcement and the military ready and willing to enforce the Constitution at noon on January 20th, 2021. And we should not expect help from the Republican Party. It has as much of a contempt for democracy and a disdain for those they represent as Trump does. We’ve seen that from Mitch McConnell on down to the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature just yesterday.

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