True, Reince Priebus needs to sabotage The Boss’s Twitter access so as to head off random rants about stolen votes by the millions and zillions. Likewise Kellyanne Conway needs to consider whether the job of presidential advisor embraces lobbying the president in front of a TV audience over whom to name or not name as secretary of State.
Still, we have to notice — how could we not? — that the present presidential transition is not your ordinary presidential transition: any more than the Trump administration, once installed, is going to be your ordinary presidency. The American people voted for a non-ordinary presidency, to escape, if possible, from a malign set of circumstances.
They did? What about the popular vote, which went to Mrs. Clinton by a margin of around 2 million? In quieter times than these, we would have acknowledged that that’s how the Electoral College works — by respecting the decisions of voters in the big population centers without turning over to them sole and unique responsibility for choosing the president. Donald Trump won in the Electoral College. That’s it. He wins the whole shooting match.
Though you might not know it from watching the defeated Green Party candidate — 10 to one you can’t name her, and I won’t help — vie for public attention and financial contributions from the grumpy and disconsolate by pursuing recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Without evidence of fraud or anything else. To this effort — again without evidence being adduced — the Clinton campaign pledges support, despite Mrs. Clinton’s having conceded the election on Nov. 9.
You can almost forgive Donald Trump, who had evidenced a desire to forget the whole business of jailing Mrs. Clinton, for leveling a series of indignant Twitter posts that allege major voter fraud. You can almost forgive him, I said. The posts were beneath the dignity of a president-elect. However, it seems we’re not much into dignity anymore when the topic is political power. We’re into squeezing our enemies, kicking them in the anatomical jurisdiction normally used for sitting.
Kellyanne Conway’s gratuitous advice against hiring Mitt Romney as Secretary of State is one more piece of testimony about the disorders of the moment. Maybe she’s right about Romney, who during the campaign excoriated Trump up one side and down the other. Maybe — probably — David Petraeus needs to be Secretary of State. Nevertheless, we don’t need additional contributions to national disunity and distemper. We’ve got a gunny sack of those miserable commodities right now — too heavy as it is for a troubled people to tote.
What we need is a pause for something like serious thought about what we want done, not just over the next four hours but the next four years. The fracases and foofaraws that so entertain the anti-Trump media weaken public confidence in the Trump camp’s ability to step in and do the jobs that need doing. Which are numerous: among other things, overhauling Obamacare; ginning up the economy; cutting taxes; naming a conservative to the Supreme Court; dealing with Russia and also with — owing to the overdue demise of the local tyrant/scourge — long-oppressed, long-suffering Cuba. Islamic terror, to all appearances, rears its head at Ohio State University. No telling what else is coming between now and Inauguration Day, but it’s likely to outrank in importance all sham controversies over ballot box manipulation in a settled election.
Oh, it’s not a thing like most presidential transitions, the present handoff from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. Nor is Trump like many, if any, past transitional figures. The need of the day, because his enemies are many and bent on obstruction — they say so out loud — is that he remember his dignity and keep his cool; or that those around him — yes, I’m speaking to you, Ms. Conway — assist him in prioritizing, in leaving aside the parochial for the sake of the big picture. That’s because on the evidence of our present fractiousness and distraction, making America great again looks like anything but a no-brainer.
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