A bad first year for the pres­i­dent

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ken Her­ron

You might ex­pect prob­lems for a pres­i­dent who was elected with a ma­jor­ity of the elec­toral votes but not a ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­lar vote. You might ex­pect prob­lems for a pres­i­dent who had no ex­pe­ri­ence in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and no ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with Congress. He would ex­pect to have prob­lems if this pres­i­dent staffed his cab­i­net with a lot of peo­ple from out­side of Wash­ing­ton. This pres­i­dent had a Congress that was from his own party. He was un­able to get a bill through Congress to change the health­care sys­tem of the coun­try. The new staff mem­bers of the White House were con­stantly fight­ing. He had prob­lems with his ap­point­ment as At­tor­ney Gen­eral. His ap­proval rat­ing was around 36 per­cent dur­ing his first year in office. When he an­nounced his pol­icy con­cern­ing gays in the mil­i­tary he re­ceived se­vere crit­i­cism from those that fa­vored and those who op­posed his pol­icy. He was not able to get his poli­cies on tax­a­tion ac­cepted by the Congress.

In ad­di­tion to all of this, the New York Times and Time Mag­a­zine were both crit­i­ciz­ing Pres­i­dent Clin­ton on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. In ad­di­tion, a young Ge­orge Stephanopou­los was the head of the press office and the older ex­pe­ri­enced net­work and news­pa­per re­porters re­ferred to them as the “Kinder­garten Kids.” Pres­i­dent Clin­ton did not help him­self with the press when he held up land­ings and take­offs at the Los An­ge­les Air­port for two hours while he had a Hol­ly­wood hair stylist to come to Air Force One and give him a $200 hair­cut.

The “Trav­el­gate Scan­dal” also did not help Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. This was re­ported to be Hil­lary Clin­ton’s idea to fire all of the travel depart­ment em­ploy­ees and re­place them with her friends from Arkansas. It was not sug­gested at the time, but know­ing Hil­lary’s char­ac­ter now would make you won­der if she did not ex­pect to re­ceive some of the com­mis­sions gen­er­ated by this group.

Vince Foster had been an at­tor­ney for the Clin­tons in Arkansas and knew all of the de­tails of the “White­wa­ter Scan­dal.” This was a scam where the Clin­tons and James and Su­san McDou­gal were part­ners. James and Su­san McDou­gal and 38 oth­ers served time in prison for their part in the scam but the Clin­tons were never charged with a crime. The records for the busi­ness in­volv­ing at­tor­ney Hil­lary Clin­ton were lost and could not be found. They even­tu­ally turned up in Hil­lary’s bed­room in the White House. Vince Foster was the Clin­ton’s at­tor­ney for White­wa­ter and he came to Wash­ing­ton with them. He al­legedly com­mit­ted sui­cide in a park near Wash­ing­ton dur­ing Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s first year. He shot him­self in the mouth with a pis­tol. The ev­i­dence was con­clu­sive enough that the FBI ruled it a sui­cide. In the mean­time, the office of Vince Foster in the White House had all notes and records of the White­wa­ter episode re­moved and the office had been cleaned prior to the ar­rival of the FBI.

Prob­a­bly one of the best things that hap­pened to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton was that in the midterm elec­tions, both houses of the Congress were taken over by Newt Gin­grich and his Repub­li­can friends. Newt had the co­op­er­a­tion of the Democrats as well as the Repub­li­cans, and Pres­i­dent Clin­ton did not fail to sign the leg­is­la­tion that came to his desk. With the co­op­er­a­tion of the House, the Se­nate and the Pres­i­dent, they were able to bal­ance the bud­get and be­gin to re­duce the na­tional debt.

Pres­i­dent Trump has not had the same prob­lems that faced Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. Pres­i­dent Trump has an agenda that he de­vel­oped dur­ing his cam­paign for pres­i­dent and he plans to do ev­ery­thing in his power to de­liver on them. The news me­dia to­day has changed from what it was a num­ber of years ago. The news me­dia used to re­port the news that hap­pened with­out their opin­ions. To­day, the news me­dia has a po­si­tion that they are pro­mot­ing and they spin the news in a way that sup­ports their po­si­tion. Pres­i­dent Trump does not get any fa­vor­able news re­ports, so he goes around the me­dia and posts his po­si­tions on the so­cial me­dia where the news me­dia has no con­trol. Pres­i­dent Trump is also a good speaker and he goes around the coun­try giv­ing speeches that are broad­cast by the lo­cal sta­tions and Fox News on a na­tional ba­sis to get his po­si­tions and ex­pla­na­tions out to the pub­lic.

The other ma­jor prob­lem that is plagu­ing Pres­i­dent Trump is what we call “The Swamp.” The Swamp is the Wash­ing­ton part of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. It is not just the Democrats and it is not just the Repub­li­cans, it is the Es­tab­lish­ment. They are elected mem­bers of Congress in both par­ties and the ca­reer bu­reau­crats that run the of­fices of the mem­bers of Congress and the of­fices of the Pres­i­dent’s ad­min­is­tra­tive de­part­ments. They have jobs that pay high salaries and they do not wish to lose them.

Some­times I would like to send an email or let­ter to a Se­na­tor or a Con­gress­man, but I am sure that it would never be seen by the per­son I wanted to see it. It will be opened and read by a clerk who will note in the daily con­tact summary re­port that there was an email for or against a cer­tain sub­ject. There may be a stan­dard form let­ter or email that the clerk will send back to me to as­sure me that my mes­sage has been read and my wishes are on the agenda. If it is signed by the per­son I ad­dressed it to, the sig­na­ture will be by a ma­chine or in­cluded in the com­puter pro­gram that pro­duced the mes­sage. The per­son it was ad­dressed to will never see the cor­re­spon­dence.

Pres­i­dent Trump has said that he would like to “Drain The Swamp,” and it would be a good thing. Lim­it­ing the terms of mem­bers of Congress would be a big step but be sure that if this ever hap­pens it will be through Ar­ti­cle V of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Mem­bers of Congress will never do it.

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