If you need proof that the numerous scandals that have assaulted the Trump presidency in the past weeks are beginning to make Republicans really nervous, just read the latest editorial in the Wall Street Journal by former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan.
Titled “Democracy Is Not Your Plaything”, Noonan feels the need to remind her audience that this is a really serious situation.
“The president of the United States has produced a building crisis that is unprecedented in our history. The question, at bottom, is whether Donald Trump has demonstrated, in his first four months, that he is unfit for the presidency—wholly unsuited in terms of judgment, knowledge, mental capacity, personal stability.”
It’s a difficult assessment to disagree with. Noonan goes on to ask a more nuanced question: given the stakes at hand, “are we up to it?”
Or perhaps more accurately: “Are Congressional Republicans willing to do their duty for their country?”
After criticizing the media and Democrats in general for gloating over the daily disasters emanating from the White House, Noonan shares her alarm over what this means for America.
“There’s a sense nobody’s in charge, that there’s no power center that’s holding, that in Washington they’re all randomly slamming into each other. Which is not good in a crisis….The world sees the U.S. political system once again as a circus. Once the circus comes to town, it consumes everything, absorbs all energy.”
Again, none of this is difficult to agree with. For Noonan, however, the problem is that all of the turmoil is preventing the enactment of the Republican agenda of cutting taxes on the rich, eliminating “burdensome” regulations that protect citizens and the environment from the excesses of rapacious corporations, and removing millions of people from the ranks of those covered by health insurance.
Who does the former Reagan acolyte blame for all of this? Not, as some people are claiming, his staff.
“It is absurd to think the president can solve his problems by firing his staff. They are not the problem. He is the problem. They’re not the A-Team, they’re not the counselors you’d want, experienced and wise. They’re the island of misfit toys. But they could function adequately if he could lead adequately.”
So you can add one more name to the ranks of Republicans disaffected with the man they allowed to lead their party. Noonan does propose a solution, and it’s one that many people would pay to witness.
“It would be good if top Hill Republicans went en masse to the president and said: “Stop it. Clean up your act. Shut your mouth. Do your job. Stop tweeting. Stop seething. Stop wasting time. You lost the thread and don’t even know what you were elected to do anymore. Get a grip. Grow up and look at the terrain, see it for what it is. We have limited time. Every day you undercut yourself, you undercut us. More important, you keep from happening the good policy things we could have done together. If you don’t grow up fast, you’ll wind up abandoned and alone. Act like a president or leave the presidency.”
I think that many of us have already chosen to support the second option that Noonan proposes to offer Trump. It comes as no surprise when she makes clear at the end of the article just to whom the title of the editorial is addressed.
“The president needs to be told: Democracy is not your plaything.”
We can only hope that this is a phrase that is uttered as Trump is being shown the exit door and as soon as possible.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.