Image of Donald Trump & Mike Pence by Gage Skidmore on Flickr through Creative Commons
Does anyone really believe that Donald Trump's the one deciding who'll serve in his cabinet? VP-elect Mike Pence is in charge of his transition. When has that ever happened before?
Oh, come on, as the late Joan Rivers used to say, "Can we talk?"
Ok, ok, cynicism aside, does anyone really believe he (Trump) gives a damn? That he's in it for anything other than his ego, the good of his brand, his businesses, investments and, lest we forget, his wallet?
He doesn't even want to live in the White House full time, for god's sake.
And speaking of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, does anyone really think he'll last the full four years? That he won't break precedent for the umpteenth time, get bored or fed up or both, and become the first president ever to willingly resign before his first term is up? Or do something so egregious, or illegal, he'll get impeached?
Well ask yourself this:
Who truly has the power in Washington? And I mean, regardless of who's sitting in the Oval Office. I'll tell you.
As speaker of the House, Paul Ryan is the most powerful elected Republican in the country.
And, thanks to Donald J. Trump, he's in the enviable position of having both a House and Senate majority and a Republican president. It doesn't get much better than that. He can do just about whatever the hell he wants.
Lots of folks, me included, had our knickers in a twist during the campaign, wondering how he (Ryan) could get behind Trump. Simple. Like him or not, Paul Ryan's a very smart guy; and very ambitious. Pragmatic, too. He saw the crowds at the rallies. He saw Donald Trump defy the odds and win the nomination. He knew he needed Trump, he knew he was his ticket to glory.
So what if he had to gaze up at the heavens, ask for forgiveness, take a deep breath and gulp as he voted for him.
It worked, too. Ryan got what he wanted. And now that he's got it, he's making damn sure there'll be a team he can work with, a team who are ready to dance to his tune, to deliver his agenda, now and when Donald Trump's out of the picture. Which I'm betting will be sooner, rather than later.
Start with Trump's VP, Mike Pence, an old friend of Ryan's and, more importantly, a fellow conservative. Donald Trump had another candidate in mind, remember? The party line is, his children persuaded him to choose Pence. The question is, who persuaded them?
Then there's the little matter of Chief of Staff. Trump wanted Steve Bannon. Who got the job?
Reince Preibus, a longtime Paul Ryan friend and ally.
Yes, yes, I know, Trump annointed Steve Bannon -- no friend of Ryan or the Republicans -- as his chief strategist. Personally I think it was a consolation prize, a bone Paul Ryan was probably willing to toss, because he knows full well that when Trump exits the White House, Bannon will be right there, by his side.
And until then, he'll be neutralized anyway. The penny may not yet have dropped for president-elect Trump, but without Congressional approval, any plans and proposals Bannon comes up with that go against Republican doctrine will go absolutely nowhere.
In essence Donald Trump has more power as Chairman and President of his company than he'll have as president of the United States.
Some of his other nominees, especially those slated for key roles, also feel more like a Paul Ryan dream team than Donald Trump's:
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, for Defense Secretary ... Retired Lt. General Michael T. Flynn, National Security Advisor ... Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General ... Rep. Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary ... Elaine Chao (wife of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell) for Transportation Secretary ... Governor Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations.
They're pretty establishment for such an anti-establishment outsider, don't you think?
Of course, we'll only know when we know. But in the meantime, let's have a little fun -- what do you say?
What do you think the odds are that Donald Trump will complete his first term? No point asking the Vegas odds makers -- they favoured Hillary to win. So, anybody willing to guess?
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