Draining the swamp
Mike Myer becomes a Trump true-believer
Today's Mike Myer column, "Fear Real For Swamp Critters," is about defending Trump and to that end, he wants to talk about Trump's efforts to "drain the swamp":
Both Republican and Democrat leaders first underestimated Trump, then grew desperate to stop him.
Now they have shifted to harassment in an attempt to intimidate him, with talk of trying to impeach him.
Interesting. For Myer, it's not the Trump administration's ties to Russia before and after the election that have him in trouble. It's not his lies, changing stories, or ethical shortcomings. It's not the unethical and sometimes criminal actions of the people he's surrounded himself with -- no, it's because he's trying to "drain the swamp" that has gotten him into trouble. Myer has apparently drunk the Kool Aid. (That or his only source of information is what gets published in his newspapers.)
Myer then points to Trump's base:
It has not escaped the notice of those in the swamp that in poll after poll, Trump’s support never seems to drop below 30-36 percent.
Perhaps Mike ought to do more research. Juan Williams of Fox News (of all places), writing in The Hill disagrees:
At this point, it isn’t just government ethics watchdogs who are pointing out the contrast between candidate Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp,” and the charade taking place at President Trump’s White House.
The American people are catching on.
A Monmouth University poll taken last month found that 32 percent of Americans said Trump is “actually making the swamp worse.” In fact, 35 percent said he has done nothing to change Washington’s swamp culture. Only 24 percent said he is making good on his promise to drain the swamp.
Trump’s supporters respond to questions about his record on government ethics by pointing to his January 2017 executive order placing new restrictions on lobbyists working in his administration.
But even that defense is fraying. Last month brought news that the Trump White House had asked the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for even more ethics waivers for Trump staffers to get around the lobbying rules. The Trump administration has requested more of these ethics waivers in its first six months than the Obama administration did in eight years.
Imagine, a record worse than Obama's!
Myer's problems is that he's expanded the swamp to include anyone who disagrees or questions Trump:
In reality, the swamp includes entrenched Republican and Democrat politicians at all levels, federal and state bureaucrats, big financial institutions, big health care, the entertainment industry, defense contractors, the self-proclaimed intelligentsia who control higher education and yes, some in the news media.
It's a definition that includes a lot of people but Myer obviously doesn't include himself because cults not only need leaders, they also need spokespersons who can readily explain to the followers how the dear leader knows what's best for them. Clearly Myer has taken on a new role for himself and his papers: he'll defend Trump from the enemies that he believes are out to get him and his followers. With this column, it certainly appears that Myer is making Wheeling "newspapers" a part of the Trump revolution.
Here's a soon-to-be-appointed "swamp critter" that I'll bet won't get any local criticism
From Friday's Washington Post:
President Trump will nominate a prominent coal lobbyist and former Senate aide, Andrew Wheeler, to serve as the Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy administrator, according to two senior administration officials.
Wheeler, a principal at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, is a lobbyist for coal giant Murray Energy and served as a top aide for Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) when Inhofe chaired the Senate Environment Committee. He has represented Murray Energy — whose chief executive, Bob Murray, is a prominent supporter of the president — since 2009.
McKinley op-ed piece
Today's opinion pages also include an op-ed piece by Representative David McKinley: "Congress, President Chalk Up Major Accomplishments." As with previous articles by the first congressional district's representative, it doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Here are his opening paragraphs:
Judging by the relentlessly negative headlines, you’d think nothing is being achieved in Washington.
With so many distractions and distortions, the country’s attention is constantly diverted away from Congress and President Trump’s accomplishments. Some would suggest the national media are trying to undermine President Trump and Congress’s agenda.
So McKinley wants to set the record straight:
So, let’s take a look at the facts: Since Trump’s election more than 800,000 jobs have been created and consumer confidence is hovering at its highest level in over a decade. The stock market, which is a good indicator of optimism about the economy, has created more than $4 trillion in wealth for investors and pensions. Not a bad start for just six months, but is the national media reporting it?
I did some research on the 800,000 jobs number -- while others are using that number (Kellyann Conway among others), I could not find the source of the statistic. The best analysis I found that used Labor Department statistics was the Los Angeles Times earlier this month:
From February through May — the latest data available — the U.S. economy has created 594,000 net new jobs, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s fewer than the 659,000 created during the final four months of the Obama administration, which Trump criticized for its job growth.
So far, 2017 is on track to produce the fewest net new jobs in seven years.
From there McKinley gives credit to Trump for the rise in the stock market. Yes, the market has gone up since he took office although I'm not sure that he supports why Trump or Congress deserve much credit for its rise.
McKinley then pulls a fast one on his readers. His thesis is that Trump and Congress have accomplished a great deal but most of what will follow is about what the House of Representatives has passed. For example:
And what about the fact that the House of Representatives has passed more than 270 bills this year, more than the first six months of President Obama and the five presidents who preceded him?
The House and the president have also taken steps to lower drug prices, clean up contaminated industrial sites, invest in drinking water infrastructure, and reform the GI Bill to help the men and women who have bravely served our country.
Sorry, it's not an "accomplishment" until both the House and the Senate pass it and it's signed by the President.
Finally, here's NPR's conclusion on their fact check of Trump's accomplishments:
So, what has Trump accomplished with Congress so far? Nothing that political scientists would categorize as major pieces of legislation.