Thursday, November 17, 2016

Loyal to a Fault

They don't give incoming Presidents a required reading list, but everyone coming into the White House should be given a copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin's profile of Abraham Lincoln: Team of Rivals.  For those not familiar, Lincoln filled his Cabinet with a number of men who had opposed him in the Presidential race--and were often his biggest critics.  Keep in mind, these were the days when the entire nation was on edge as we approached the Civil War--and discontent was everywhere.  Despite his philosophical differences with many of his closest advisors, Lincoln managed to build a consensus amongst all of those rivals--especially when it came to fighting the Confederacy and preserving the union.

It's a lesson that President-Elect Donald Trump may want to consider as it appears he is going to fill his Cabinet and White House staff with only those who were "loyal" to him from day one.  Yes, Chris Christie ran against Trump early in the primary process--but he was never critical of the Republican frontrunner or questioned his intentions.  And when it was clear that his own campaign was going nowhere, he hitched his wagon to the "Trump Train" (although, you have wonder what good it did--Trump didn't come close to winning New Jersey).

The same is true of Rudy Giuliani.  He was the first "big name" Trump backer--even though it alienated him from the Republican establishment.  Now his name is being bandied about for a couple of Cabinet positions.  Laura Ingraham--a vocal supporter of Trump from early in the process on her radio show here on WOSH--is reportedly under consideration for White House Press Secretary--which could lead to the greatest press conferences ever, given her constant tirades against the "mainstream media" with whom she would have to work.

And every name mentioned for a position in the Trump administration has one thing in common--they will all be "yes-men" or "yes-women"--likely to never challenge the President--or even ask him to consider a different viewpoint.  Of course, given the way Trump demeaned anyone that dared question his knowledge of world or political issues--those folks would rather just watch him make a fool of himself from afar.  That was another gift Lincoln possessed--he was able to take you down a peg or two without making you feel like you had just been emasculated.

Maybe three years from now, a noted historian will write about this administration in a book entitled Team of Sycophants.

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