The churls and their denial and grief
Life is not fair to losers, or the critics of Donald Trump, and the way he won the presidency. He just won’t stand still and give the rotten eggs a chance to hit their mark. The Donald is conducting his transition to the White House in his own way, taking his time, choosing his Cabinet carefully, and rationing misery to his detractors. His critics, particularly in the know-it-all media, are having trouble with a transition of their own. Almost a month has passed since the election, and the critics, who are supposed to be working their way through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance — are stuck in denial. They should be angry by now, and learning how to bargain with their emotions.
Some of the critics of press and tube are still in denial — wallowing in it, if plain truth be told — consoling themselves that after all, Hillary won the popular vote, and if the world were an ordered place she would be measuring the White House windows for new curtains. But if all the plain truth be told, she would rather be returning to the White House and let the Donald have the consolation of the popular vote.
Others have grumbled that he was taking too long to fill out his Cabinet, until someone looked back to the Obama administration — most journalists cultivate a memory fit for a fruit fly — and discovered that not only was the Donald not loafing but was in fact a little ahead of usual.
The Democrats don’t like his Cabinet choices; fair enough, if Hillary Clinton was the president-elect the Republicans wouldn’t like hers, either. Opposing is what the opposition is entitled to do. But now that he has made some choices they don’t like his Cabinet of millionaires. But it’s hard to find men and women of accomplishment in homeless shelters. “I’ve had several jobs in my lifetime,” Phil Gramm, the former senator from Texas once said, “but I’ve never worked for a poor man.”
The stock market, which was supposed to have taken permanent residence in a basement apartment, has surged since election day and investors are expecting lower taxes and less regulation from heavy-handed government bureaucrats to sustain a boom. A survey of small-business owners, the chief source of the nation’s jobs, shows them optimistic for the first time in months. The National Federation of Independent Business finds that small-business firms are enthusiastically preparing for better times ahead.
“A seasonally adjusted net 15 percent plan to create new jobs, up 5 points since October [is] the strongest reading in the recovery,” says William Dunkelberg, the business federation’s chief economist. Economics is regarded as the dismal science, and the Donald is apparently changing that, too.
Mr. Dunkelberg warned not to expect a big job surge as reflected in the November figures, out Friday. It’s the signal on hiring this month and afterward that encourages economists who expect considerably faster growth under Mr. Trump’s administration.
The good news that Carrier, the Indiana manufacturer of air conditioning machinery, will keep 1,400 jobs in the United States, and not send them to Mexico as previously announced, has quickly become a target for the churlish and the surly. You might think that just about everyone would join the working men and women in cheering such good news, but not this year.
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, vows to scrutinize the deal — which is his duty — but he sounds like a man who hopes to find the devil sitting on an incriminating detail. “Were there any federal tax policies discussed [with Carrier executives],” he asks. “Were there promises about defense contracts? I want to know about the costs relevant to the jobs. I mean, he has not even had a press conference.”
Well, government by press conference can be fun, but it’s not always the best way to conduct a government or a transition. The Donald, a rowdy businessman, has his own way of conducting business, and it’s probably not what Washington has seen in the first 240 years.
“They say it’s not presidential to call up these massive leaders of business,” the rowdy businessman says. “I say it’s very presidential, and if it’s not presidential, that’s OK.” He had a rocket for certain other businessmen, too. “Companies are not going to leave the United States without consequences. It’s not going to happen.”
This is the new way of doing business, and it’s the Donald’s blunt speech, his scorn for Washington’s taste for evasion and euphemism, that put him where he is now. The critics themselves must move on now through the later stages of grief to acceptance. They can’t live in a safe space forever. Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.