THOMAS TASCHINGER: Conservative writers trash Trump
The big political news last week wasn’t that Congress passed another big-spending stopgap budget to avoid a shutdown, or that Republicans gave themselves participation trophies for getting one-third of the way toward repealing Obamacare.
It was - or ought to be - something that’s never happened before in our politics. Two of the nation’s leading conservative writers - heck, maybe the two best - said Donald Trump is embarrassingly unfit to be president of the United States.
The two scribes were George Will and Charles Krauthammer. If you’ve ever read their columns or caught them as talking heads on cable TV, you should realize they are true heavyweights. Both have won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary, and both are as savvy as anybody in their game.
They are not secret liberals either. Both are passionate conservatives, and neither has ever hesitated to rip Democrats like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Yet last week both trained their sights on Trump, and it was painful.
Krauthammer said Trump was like the Wizard of Oz, “Loud and bombastic. A charlatan. Nothing behind the screen - other than the institutional chaos that defines his White House and the psychic chaos that governs his ever-changing mind.”
Will was harsher, if that’s possible. He said of Trump. “The problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.”
Krauthammer worries about “the insanity, incoherence and sheer weirdness emanating daily from the White House.” Will says Trump suffers from a mental and verbal disability, being unable to speak clearly about complicated issues.
Wow. Is this an episode of “The Twilight Zone”?
The brutal truth is that both men are right on target. Trump is spectacularly unsuited for the most important job on earth, yet somehow that’s where he landed. Almost every day brings another bizarre remark or ethical blunder that reveals his shallow mind or pathetic focus on image.
And mind you, this is not about his mostly conservative politics. It’s about him, how unstable and strange he is. Most thinking Republicans would love nothing more than for him to resign so Mike Pence could take over. They are eternally grateful that Hillary didn’t win, but they are terrified to see what the morning paper might bring.
The tough part is that we barely got through his first 100 days. Somehow, we have to face this circus for nearly four more years, hoping he doesn’t foolishly start a war or plunge the economy into recession.
The good news is that Trump has appointed some solid people who are keeping the federal government on track. As long as he delegates to them, the country is safe. But every day is a new adventure, and you’re mostly hoping nothing goes wrong.
So fasten your safety belts and be ready for anything. It will help to keep your expectations low, and pray a lot.
Thomas Taschinger, TTaschinger@BeaumontEnterprise.com, is the editorial page editor of The Beaumont Enterprise. Follow him on Twitte at @PoliticalTom