The churls and their de­nial and grief

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRUDEN

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.

Ron Wy­den

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