Vice President Pence’s obsequiousness at a recent Cabinet meeting — “Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that is truly restoring this country. . .” and on, and on — might be appropriate at a Communist Party Central Committee meeting or at a despot’s birthday party.
.. The divestment of self-respect is a qualification for employment in the Trump administration. Praising the Dear Leader in a Pence-like fashion seems to be what the Dear Leader requires — not in the way we might need dessert after dinner, but in the way an addict needs drugs.
.. President Trump divides the world into two categories: flunkies and enemies. Pence is the cringing, fawning high priest of flunkiness
.. Any Republican president from the 2016 primary field would have appointed conservative judges, continued the offensive against the Islamic State, and cut taxes and regulations. (He or she would also, in all likelihood, have succeeded at an Obamacare replacement.)
.. Trump spent the political capital of his first year — the highest it will ever be — on a few, generic GOP goals.
- .. Trump has tried to undermine the credibility of important institutions — the courts, the FBI, intelligence agencies, the media — that check his power and expose his duplicity.
- He has used his office (and Twitter account) to target individual Americans for harm without due process.
- He attacks the very idea of truth in a daily torrent of despicable lies.
- The moral authority of the presidency is in tatters.
- He has made our common life more vulgar and brutal, and complicated the moral education of children.
- Racists are emboldened and included in the GOP coalition.
- He has caused a large portion of Republicans to live in an alternate reality of resentment and hatred,
- which complicates the possibility of governing and is likely to discredit the party among the young, minorities, women and college-educated voters for decades to come.
.. Almost all of Trump’s accomplishments are the work of traditional Republican policy staffers and congressional leaders. Almost all of Trump’s failures are functions of his character. And that isn’t going to change.