End of Term Marks – Trump, Donald J.

Or first 100 days, whichever you prefer.  They are both arbitrary benchmarks.  As before, I am using the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry grading system.  Thus:

O – Outstanding, the student is brilliant and can move on; E – Exceeds Expectations, not perfect but the student can move ahead; A – Acceptable, pass but will have trouble moving ahead and may not be accepted into advanced courses of study; P – Poor, not passing, can repeat the course; D – Dreadful, failed, will get no credit for the course; and finally T – Troll, complete failure, perhaps the student is not Hogwarts material.

The courses were:  1) Accuracy, truth telling and transparency; 2) Economic affairs; 3) Foreign affairs; 4) Family; 5) Legislation – Immigration and Healthcare;

Accuracy, truth telling and transparency:  D – Dreadful.  The student is feckless, and has a tendency to mouth off at 4:00 AM after an unproductive night watching worthless cable news and information channels. Perhaps Professor Snape should assign a seven parchment essay:  Why Cable TV News is Completely Ridiculous – Discuss.  Note the unnecessary argument over the Inauguration non-crowds.  Truth telling is also problematic for this Administration, although this is true of every Administration. The student fails at this, however, because the student is unable to stick to his own version of the facts, such as they are.  Transparency is nonexistent, despite the neverending glare of increasingly silly photo ops. The fact that the student feels the need to obtain advice from right wing crazies and family members with no political interests or experience does not bode well for the rest of the course.

Economic Affairs: A – Acceptable with caution.  The student has  made the proper noises about bringing jobs back to flyover country.  The student’s evident inability to confront the Chinese on their cheap exports, however, does not invite optimism. We can conditionally accept student’s uncharacteristic hesitancy as proof that the problem is larger than the student anticipates and the student has opted for further examination before coming up with a trade policy.  The student is warned:  this new jobs policy is a small hourglass.  The student may have just two years to turn this around and we’re already 100 days in.  If not done in this this time period, the student may find that his flyover constituency will cast him aside, all conservative radio and TV rabblerousing to the contrary. This is the most fragile, and perhaps the most important, promise from the student’s campaign.

Foreign Affairs: P – Poor; the student is struggling.  The student is in love with gunboat diplomacy, aka carpet bombing diplomacy.  This didn’t work for Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and George W. Bush.  This will not work for the Donald Administration either. The bombing, however, of Syria (long overdue although largely useless except as an expression of disfavor) and the threatening talk to the Potemkin Village Republic of North Korea is an improvement on the Obama Administration’s almost cowardly reluctance to do anything except to come out with intellectual folderol when things went south.  Donald’s push to get the Chinese to help rein in the Kim regime is, however, good policy.  Note:  this will adversely affect our ability to get trade concessions from the Chinese until the current “crisis” is over.  When dealing with the North Koreans, however, the “crisis” is never over.

The relationship with Europe is at best stagnant and Donald’s reception of Angela Merkel, arguably the most powerful politician in what’s left of Europe, was downright rude, as was his treatment of the Australians.  Pushing Mr. Netanyahu into making promises during a news conference was also not good form.  It may have worked the first time, but Donald does that again and he will get major pushback.  I note that, surprisingly,  we are in the usual dance with the Russians.  I will take that as a good sign, in the short term.

Family: T – Troll, the student has failed completely and may not be White House material.  The sphinx like silence and absence of the First Lady is a disgrace, Barron’s private school or no.  We get pictures of her (her First Lady portrait was an exercise in cheesiness, frankly) but she is silent.  The Easter Egg roll, usually a no brainer when it comes to White House goodwill, was not only badly planned, the seeming reluctance of the First Lady with regard to the occasion was telling.  Because we do not know why she is silent we can only be charitable and say that she is distressed about her accent or that she is kept silent by Donald.  Or, perhaps we can be uncharitable and think that she does not care.  At this point, it’s a toss up.   Furthermore, using unqualified grown children and in-laws as political advisors smacks of Greek diner management, at best.  Remember the rule about nepotism:  the family is always right.  Review material:  The Godfather.

Legislation: All ’round grade: D – Dreadful. The student will get no credit, although he is in good company; the Obama Administration didn’t do much better.

Subset Grades:  Immigration: P – Poor; the student may repeat the course.  Bad political advice, mixed with prejudice and hurry up deadlines killed any reasonable attempt to reform and control the immigration process for refugees and people bootstrapping their way up the economic ladder.  Immigration, therefore, remains the mess it has been for decades.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, this failure was leavened by the common sense reforms on the H-B1 visa system which has been abused by American businesses for decades, something that the Obama Administration did not consider to be a problem.  Before you listen to the tech corporations go on about how they need STEM talent, remember the barrista who just graduated with a hard science or computer degree and can’t get a job he/she can live on.  Those who should be the most outraged by the H-B1 system should be our young people who are done out of their livelihoods by skin flint tech companies willing to hire foreign labor for slave wage salaries, many of whom have few English skills and are put up in crummy apartments where they sleep four to a room.   It’s the Palo Alto version of the Chinese factory.

Subset Grade:  Healthcare: T – Troll; Failed completely.  The Donald Administration has decided to try again.  Whatever. If a Republican (sort of) Administration and a Republican dominated House of Representatives cannot push through repeal and replace legislation overturning law that was hated from day one, the system is entirely dysfunctional.

Summary:  I’d say we’re in Dreadful territory.  The student can do better.  We hope.

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