The so called president knows nothing about policy. This is a fatal failing.

Policy? What Policy?


The so called president knows nothing about policy. This is a fatal failing.


One reasonable definition of “policy” is “a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual.” “Course or principle” suggest consistency and/or continuity. It is a statement that one will treat all sufficiently similar cases in a particular way in the future. So, every state has a policy of punishing persons who commit murder in roughly the same way. It is the policy of the United States as a nation to let individual states decide how to punish murder. Some allow the death penalty, which is a policy choice, while others do not, which is also a policy choice.


Law is policy codified. A law is an official statement by a sovereign entity that its officials will treat all cases of a particular kind in a particular way. Laws set the range of fines for persons whom the relevant authorities catch driving too fast on streets within the jurisdiction. Simple fairness requires that policies should be codified and written down. You may be perfectly happy to drive whatever the speed limit is, but you need to know what speed limit the jurisdiction has set for the street. So we have speed limit signs.


Several observers have noted that one problem Democrats faced in the recent shut down is that the leading Republican they theoretically should negotiate with apparently lacks the basic mental ability to sustain an opinion on an issue long enough to have a policy at all. The so called president is not capable of taking a policy position on any issue because he seems unable to remember from one day to the next what he thinks about any given topic.


Clips are flying of the Donald castigating President Obama for the shut downs that occurred during his presidency. Apparently, when it was his predecessor, Trump believed that the president is to blame for any shut down. It’s not clear if he still thinks that, but given his zeal to refuse any responsibility for any problems, in good “conservative” fashion, and his inability to sustain a consistent position on any issue, one assume he does not.


Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has said that trying to negotiate with the so called president is like trying to negotiate with jello. He said, “It’s next to impossible to strike a deal with the President, because he can’t stick to the terms.”


Ultimately, policy is all that should matter. Humans being human, there is no way to make policy that does not involve some politics because any time more than one human is involved there will be power differentials, and politics is just the business of managing power differentials.


Giving Donald Trump the enormous power of the presidency was a hugely bad idea, one that we are currently stuck with. He demonstrated with his campaign announcement that he lacked knowledge of important policy determinations that have obtained in the United States since the founding. His proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country plainly contravened the policy, codified in our Constitution, that we will have no official religion, which must mean, among other things, that we will not use anyone’s religious beliefs as the basis for making public policy.


Hiring a person for a job who plainly does not know even the most basic details of the document that defines the position is obviously a bad idea.


We need to get rid of the Donald.