The Gullibillies want their due from Team Anti-Establishment and it's captain, the Orange Behemoth. It's "winning" time and they know they'll soon be winning so much they'll become tired of always winning. Donald Trump told them so, he promised.
Of course president-elect Trump won't become president Trump for another two months but he's already busy putting together the winning team, what the New Yorker's John Cassidy calls "Trump's Great Bait and Switch." Oh, oh, Gullibillies, this might not be what you want to hear.
Six days into the Trump transition, one of the biggest bait-and-switch operations in recent history is already well under way. Trump campaigned as an outsider who would overthrow a hopelessly corrupt Washington establishment. Now we learn that many members of that very establishment will play key roles in a Trump Administration. On Friday, Trump announced that his soon-to-be Vice-President, Mike Pence, a former head of the Republican Study Committee on Capitol Hill, would replace New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the chairman of his transition team. And, on Sunday, that team announced that Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, the Party’s principal fund-raising and organizational arm, will serve as Trump’s White House chief of staff, while Stephen Bannon, the former Goldman Sachs banker and head of Breitbart News, the controversial alt-right Web site, will serve as Trump’s chief strategist.
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that “at least a half dozen major Washington lobbyists and three top fundraisers for Mr. Trump’s campaign have been tasked with heading key portions of Mr. Trump’s transition team. . . . In many cases, the lobbyists are selecting administration officials for departments that will affect the interests of firms they represent.”
The Journal report helpfully listed some of the lobbyists, the special interests they represent, and the duties they have been assigned. Martin Whitmer, who shills for the Association of American Railroads and the National Asphalt Pavement Association, is leading the transition’s “transportation and infrastructure” team. In the magazine this week, my colleague Jane Mayer wrote about Michael Catanzaro, a veteran lobbyist for oil and gas firms who is overseeing “energy independence,” and Mike McKenna, the president of the lobbying firm MWR Strategies, who is overseeing appointments to the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Both men count Koch Industries as clients.
...And what of the great leader himself? The Times reported this weekend that Trump perhaps intends to dispense with the antiquated notion that the President should spend nearly all his time living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. According to a report by Maggie Haberman and Ashley Parker, Trump “is talking with his advisers about how many nights a week he will spend in the White House. He has told them he would like to do what he is used to, which is spending time in New York when he can.” The idea, apparently, is that Trump “might spend most of the week in Washington, much like members of Congress, and return to Trump Tower or his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on weekends.” I don’t know about you, but I missed the bit in Trump’s speeches where he promised to the turn the Presidency into a part-time commuter job.
But what happens if, during one of these weekends while Trump is away, the Russians march into Ukraine, or the Chinese occupy a disputed island in the South China Sea? Never fear. The Trump Administration will be staffed by folks as skilled at dealing with pesky foreigners as they are at draining the swamp: statesmen like Gingrich, Giuliani, and John Bolton—the veteran warmonger who has been rumored as a possible Secretary of State.
We’ve seen this movie before, many times. But not here in the United States.