The Oval Office Inspiration

Last week was a week filled with surprises — in other words, a typical week in the world according to Trump. The biggest surprise was the loss of the President’s dream White House buddy, Anthony Scaramucci, after only 10 days as the new White House Press Secretary. How sad it was to see President Donald lose such a perfect Oval Office confidant. I’m sure he saw “The Mooch” as someone who would be totally in sync with his own personality – a fellow loudmouth, braggart and bully. And wouldn’t he have been the ideal enabler? But it was not to be.

Also, last week we saw the President’s son, Donald Jr., get in deeper hot water caused by his less than forthright statements about his involvement with the Russians during last year’s political campaign. And now we learn that President Trump “weighed in” on the wording of his son’s misleading statements. Interesting choice of words — a bit like “Bonnie ‘weighed in’ on the route Clyde should take in the getaway car.” Was it obstruction of a federal investigation?
Time will tell.

What is becoming clearer every day is that President Trump is in way over his head. He has no idea how to conduct himself in the presidency. Perhaps that’s because he entered his job with very little understanding of how a democracy works. I’m not talking about a failure to understand the complexities of government at its highest level. This guy doesn’t appear to understand government at the level of an eighth grade civics class. 

Of course this isn’t the first time the United States has had a less than competent president. We had a string of bad ones back in the middle of the 19th century. — The Civil War followed. – And although history should never blame that tragedy entirely on those mediocrities, their ineptness played a role. The truth is, we’ve had a good number of presidents who were in beyond their depth. Sometimes their advisors saved them from disaster. But in many cases, the inadequacies of those presidents and the flaws of their advisors led to seriously bad times — not just for us here at home but for people halfway around the world.

So, it’s always smart to take the competency of our President and his/her cabinet very seriously. The lives of millions of people literally depend on their sensibilities and skills. —
But I digress.

Today, we progressive Democrats have a clear goal. (Actually have for a long time.) We want to move our country in a direction that is more equitable, more hopeful, more rewarding for every citizen across our nation. But how do we do this when the White House is occupied by an erratic narcissist with apparently no strong personal convictions? (And by the way, we could almost say the same thing about the Governor’s office in Springfield.)

Obviously, we need to gain more leverage in the legislative branches of our federal and state governments. Our founding fathers recognized the importance of such checks and balances. If we must live with a bizarre executive branch, we Americans better make sure our legislative branch has its act together. This certainly hasn’t been the case in recent years – especially since the appearance of the Tea Partiers and the Citizens United Decision that has allowed millions of anonymous dollars of oligarch wannabes to influence election campaigns at every level of government.

But here’s something we shouldn’t forget: Republicans don’t have a majority of Americans under their tent. The opposite is true. (Regardless of what the President says about millions of illegal immigrant votes.)

This is why I have been so encouraged by the burgeoning grassroots efforts coming from a variety of directions to shift the majority of state and federal legislators to the Democratic column. The “Resistance Movement” continues to gain momentum. Since Trump’s election last fall, growing numbers of volunteers across the U.S. have gotten involved in pushing back. Some of you reading this may have attended one or more rallies, rung doorbells or worked a phone bank. Several U.S. House Republicans in neighboring states are now targeted for defeat next year. Our Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is very much a part of this growing effort. The DPOE is also keyed into this.

And last night at the New Trier Dems Executive Committee meeting we heard from Doug House, the President of Illinois’ Democratic Party County Chairman’s Association. You may not have heard much about their efforts yet, but you will. They are seriously organizing to help elect Democratic candidates for state and federal offices in 2018 across Illinois. At this point prior to the party primaries, their work has been targeted at fielding strong candidates and getting them in front of the public. Doug reported that the Democratic message, already being spread by the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, is now beginning to resonate in every corner of our state.

The New Trier Dems also have plans to get engaged in helping the campaigns of several Democratic candidates vying to replace vulnerable Illinois Republican members of Congress. And closest to home of course, we’ll be working to elect New Trier’s state and federal Democratic legislators.

Think how good it would be to see Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell lose their gavels in 2018. It can happen — but only if enough of us get involved in these efforts. Our incentives are easy enough to find. Just keep watching the weekly antics in the Oval Office.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973 

P.S. A couple weeks ago at the NTD Meet & Greet at AVLI in Winnetka…

I met Fritz Kaegi. He is a Democrat who has declared he is running to replace Joe Berrios as Cook County Assessor. The New Trier Dems will not be endorsing any candidates until our endorsement meeting in January, 2018. However, Fritz is an intriguing candidate. (He refuses to take donations from attorneys who do business with the assessors office. Certainly a refreshing approach.) You can learn a bit more about him by visiting his website: