Saturday, January 21, 2017

Say "America Is Great" Before Trump Beats You To It

In all fairness to Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader wasn't present when

Halfway through his interview with The Washington Post, Trump shared a bit of news: He already has decided on his slogan for a reelection bid in 2020.

“Are you ready?” he said. “ ‘Keep America Great,’ exclamation point.”

“Get me my lawyer!” the president-elect shouted.

Two minutes later, one arrived.

“Will you trademark and register, if you would, if you like it — I think I like it, right? Do this: ‘Keep America Great,’ with an exclamation point. With and without an exclamation. ‘Keep America Great,’ ” Trump said.

“Got it,” the lawyer replied.

That bit of business out of the way, Trump returned to the interview.

But neither was Michael Grunwald, and he evidently understands, unlike Schumer, what President Trump is up to.  When New York's Chuck Schumer spoke Friday

What felt more surprising—and just as telling—was the tone of the only Democrat who spoke at the ceremony. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also took a stab at describing the state of America at the end of the Obama era, and while it wasn’t the main point of his speech, he sounded almost as gloomy as Trump.

“My fellow Americans, we live in a challenging and tumultuous time,” he began. He bemoaned the nation’s “rapidly changing economy that benefits too few while leaving too many behind.” He warned that “we face threats foreign and domestic,” suggesting that at frightening moments like this, “faith in our government, our institutions, and even our country can erode.”

Grunwald realizes "It makes political sense when Republicans claim the economy 'benefits too few and leaves too many behind,' but why would Schumer?" Not only is the New York senator (a friend indeed to Wall Street) a bad messenger, but- citing improvement of the economy the past eight years- Grunwald observes "all things considered, this isn't really an unusually 'challenging and tumultuous time.'"

More importantly, however, this is a bizarre time for the de facto leader of the Democratic Party to bemoan conditions in the country inasmuch as

That baseline matters a lot to the politics of the Trump era, because any minute now, he’s going to start taking credit for the solid status quo—the low unemployment claims, the steady housing starts, the strong stock market, maybe even the historically low uninsured rate. Democrats will sputter that the improvements were all happening before he even took office. And their feeble complaints will be utterly vulnerable to a one-sentence drop-the-mic response:

Why didn’t you say so at the time?

 Before the GOP primary campaign began in earnest (or in Iowa), Republicans typically proclaimed America "exceptional" and bashed Democrats for allegedly not acknowledging, or even understanding, it.   With a GOP President, the party will return to heralding the supremacy of the country. As Trump's directive to his attorney suggests, the President probably will lead the way in pronouncing the country "exceptional" or "great." It's not a matter of "if," only of "when."

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