Boomer Opinion: Is the president Making America Great Again?

As every American knows, the overarching theme of the baby boomer who now lives in the White House is, “Make America Great Again.” But BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs, a longtime correspondent for two television networks who covered presidential politics over the years, has a Boomer Opinion about the question, Is President Trump Really Making America Great Again?

Those still seduced by Donald J. Trump just can’t stand it when the rest of us fail to see how he is Making America Great Again.

I know firsthand. Because after every column I write that is critical of the President, they tell me how blind I am. After a column last week asking why Trump trashes our allies but exalts our adversaries, one reader commented, “When a real manager comes in after decades of incompetence, corruption, and inefficiency, he or she faces a maelstrom of opposition and resentment when he or she begins to put the system back in place and running smoothly.” Another defended the President’s performance at the strained summit of the G7 in Canada, emailing, “After WW2 we saved Europe with the Marshal (sic) Plan and helped them rebuild, now 73 years later we’re still protecting and paying for their military protection and their failed socialist societies.” He ended his defense simply saying, “THANK YOU D J TRUMP, President of the United States.”

But here’s the thing: the reason we can’t see what the President’s protectors see is because there’s very little if anything actually there.

Greg Dobbs

Here at home, is he Making America Great Again when he relieves regulations designed to keep our air and our water safe? Is he Making America Great Again when he gives banks a break that could lead us right back to the recession out of which we recently climbed? Is he Making America Great Again when he impels legislation that grows our national debt? Is he Making America Great Again when he revokes health care options with which most Americans were briefly blessed? Is he Making America Great Again when he triggers trade wars that could cost us more than they strengthen us?

True, there are persuasive economic arguments in favor of the President’s policies, but in the bigger picture, the answer in every case is no.

Overseas, did President Trump Make America Great Again when he showed up at the summit in Singapore? From the standpoint of defusing the tension, plainly he did and thank goodness, but what kind of accomplishment is it when you merely defuse the tension that you yourself created? “Everyone can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted when he got home, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Sorry Mr. President, we were actually much safer the day before you took office. With your rash rhetoric about “Little Rocket Man” and “fire and fury” and your own “much bigger” nuclear button, you had us genuinely worried about war (remember Hawaii’s nuclear alert earlier this year) before you brought us down. And the nuclear threat has not melted away. Not until Kim’s nuclear weapons do.

For that matter, is President Trump Making America Great Again when he announces (to almost everyone’s surprise) that the U.S. will suspend military exercises— aka war games— with South Korea? Definitely not, not if we do have to fight a war with the North after all but our troops and the South’s troops are not coordinated, not well prepared. And is he Making America Great Again if he ends the missions of America’s nuclear-armed B-52s because “I know a lot about airplanes, it’s very expensive?” No he’s not, because while he might know a lot about airplanes, he doesn’t seem to know squat about defense, and about even just the symbolism of America’s commitments to its allies.

On the other side of the world, is Trump Making America Great Again when he calls Canada, a close ally, “weak” and “dishonest”— a loyal ally that has joined America in virtually every war for a hundred years? As columnist Tom Friedman put it, “What country wouldn’t want Canada as its neighbor?” Apparently us, in the playbook of Donald J. Trump. And just to put icing on the cake, Trump’s chief trade advisor Peter Navarro said after the G7, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump.” What happens next time we need good faith diplomacy from Canada, or any other ally? What happens when we need joint counterterrorism exercises, or heightened attention to human rights? Does the President’s brash behavior, and his advisor’s, ensure more cooperation, or less?

And is Donald Trump Making America Great Again when he goes to war not just with the major crime-fighting institutions in the nation, compromising their credibility with many Americans, but also with journalists, characterizing members of the media in a tweet last week as “Our Country’s biggest enemy?” Forget Iran and its aggressive Islamic revolution, forget Russia and its aggressive cyberattacks on our democracy, forget China and its aggressive agenda to surpass the American economy and supersede the American military. And by the way, forget North Korea, which so far has only put pen to paper, that paper being shamefully short on specifics. Trump’s tweet accused “the Fake News” of “fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea.” What he conveniently ignores is, there’s still no deal to downplay. One might yet come and we can all hope it does, but so far, it’s not even close to the very deals previous presidents thought they had struck with North Korea, which Trump has stridently denounced.

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I’d tell Donald Trump what I’ve told critics of the media ever since the days of Richard Nixon when I covered Watergate: the media can’t make you look like a liar, it can’t make you look like a bully, it can’t make you look like an authoritarian, it can’t even make you look like a cheating husband, without your help.

Instead of Making America Great Again, President Trump is making America, and Americans, estranged again. Estranged from our friends, estranged from one another. And having set that tone since the day he announced his candidacy for the Oval Office, Trump’s underlings are taking estrangement to frightening new levels.

Mike Pompeo shakes hands with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

That even includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an otherwise smart man who worked hard to make Singapore happen. But when a reporter asked him about verification of North Korean denuclearization, Pompeo responded, “I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous.” Ludicrous, asking for details that Trump and Pompeo and others had promised before the summit but didn’t deliver? Apparently any reporter who questions the veracity of this administration is fair game. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager even called for the credentials of a CNN correspondent to be revoked, because during the signing ceremony, this correspondent asked the question, “Mr. President, did we agree to denuclearize?” When Team Trump treats this nation like a dictatorship, not a democracy, they’re certainly not Making America Great Again.

And that, for you who still think Donald Trump is Making America Great Again, is why he isn’t.

Greg’s book about the wacky ways of a foreign correspondent, Life in the Wrong Lane, is available from Amazon.

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15 Comments

  1. We seem to be at a point in American history when little if anything this president says is true. Nothing he says is to be believed. What’s more, he can proclaim the most outrageous lie, and it seems as if his base of followers embrace him even more. Congress, at the same time, is inert. Lawmakers are doing nothing but bickering about mid-term elections. Meantime, corruption in America’s government grows. There are reports of vice president Pence selling admission into White House influence to lobbyists and special interests.

  2. As disturbed as I am with Trump, I am equally outraged by Congress. They appear to be in hiding, waiting for the other shoe to drop so they can reappear to say it was the fault of someone else. .

  3. The most basic question before the American people at this point is, how stupid are we? If we get taken in by this bombastic narcissist who thinks the whole world is just another celebrity game show, we deserve exactly what we get.

    1. You are succinct in your comment, Ms. Carter. This POTUS will be gone in time and hopefully we will still be living in a democracy when he is. But the people of Jonestown, i.e., his “base,” are what concern me. I did not think this society was capable of supporting someone so obviously concerned with big money first. How stupid are we? Pretty darn stupid. From the blind followers to the opposition which is weak and leaderless, these times are sad dangerous.

  4. Well I do believe that America is great and it jsut needs to be tweaked. Every generation is different but a lot dont look at the cycles of history that happens. I think it is the apathy of the people that had him elected plus not enough people vote. I read a nd watched again last week All the Presidents Men. It was stated that 40 percent of the people had never heard of Watergate and didn’t care what it was. They had money same thing. Is this a cycle of life that keeps happening/

  5. Thank you Greg for continuing to speak out. Trump has stealthily brought out the worst in many Americans. He has brought back open and free bigotry, hatred, fear mongering, and religion-based politics. He has divided the country with hatred, made lying acceptable, destroyed human rights, set us back 100 years when it comes to the environment, made thugs and dictators ‘good people’, trashed the free press, signed tax laws that profit the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle class, gutted health care, etc., etc., etc. Americans are loathed and laughed at around the world right now. I am fearful for what this country will have become once he toddles off into history leaving behind a broken country. My late husband, a WWII veteran, would be sickened to see what the America he fought for in defense of justice and ‘freedom and liberty for all’ has become today! I pray the epidemic of blindness and madness gripping our wonderful country ends before it’s too late.

    1. That memo, written in 1971, is quite persuasive. Almost as if Lewis F. Powell Jr., Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, had a crystal ball. Most of what he saw happening then and feared would happen to free speech, lack of fair and balanced professors on university campuses, conservative speakers on campuses attacked and silenced, attacks on the free enterprise system; has come to pass. And we have sat idly by and let it happen.

      1. Wow, from my POV all I see, hear and read is the conservative POV. Just go to youtube and search news, 99% of the news shows are conservative.

        Republicans have the presidency, the house, the senate and the supreme court. Seven out of the last 12 presidents have been Republican.

        Most colleges’ have accepted funds from conservatives and have installed conservative professors and curriculums.

        Most school boards are conservative and have rewritten most school textbooks to reflect the conservative pov.

        So, I struggle to understand why any conservative feels their POV is not being heard.

        Conservatives dominate every social media and every political talk show.

        I get tired of hearing this complaint when faced with a wall of conservative povs at every turn. So, when I hear a conservative complain about their pov not being heard, I see it as a ploy to silence the few progressive povs there are.

  6. I agree – Trump and his cronies are continuing to undermine everything that America stands for, all to benefit not its citizens, but big business and the 1%. It is appalling to me how divided the country has become. Literally every day some scandal or another becomes public, and yet they continue to get away with dismantling the good of America. If any other leader had been involved in even one of these scandals, there would have been hell to pay, but this administration so far has been able to get away with it. I only hope that Mueller is able to bring his investigation to a full conclusion. Even if you take politics off the table, I can’t tell you how much I loathe the whole Trump administration — they have no morals or ethics, and lying has become the norm. And then their politics, shameful!

    1. Yvonne. “Big Business” is not the 1%. Big business is thousands and thousands of stockholders like you and me. Is what made the USA a superpower. Is why people attempt illegal immigration here every day. Is why most people have jobs. Is why you have medications and products to buy. Take away big business ability to make a profit and big business will close up shop and move overseas, and the whole country will look like Detroit or Venezuela.

        1. Ria, you don’t strike me as “working class”. Corporations are doing business overseas because they’re multinational. I was referring to corporations the shut down, pulled up stakes and left the US because of union demands and federal regulation that stifled growth and profits to where they couldn’t break even. My hands were greasy for 30 out of my 40 years of employment, and I own stock. Vanguard has more than 20 million investors, in about 170 countries, as of January 31, 2018; all stockholders. So I disbelieve your claim that most working class do not own stock.

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