Falling behind

Feb 16, 2017 By Steven R. Peck

Somebody needs to grab the reins at the White House - right now

As the new presidential administration continues to thrash around in a briar patch of its own making, there are those within the opposition who are crowing about the spectacle almost as if it were a good thing.

We ought to be careful in that regard. That's politics talking. And we need government now, not politics.

While Democrats, or the many Republicans who are ticked off about Donald Trump, might celebrate seeing his terribly rocky start as president through the lens of defeating him in the next election, there is a small matter of the four years between now and then. At some point - soon, the nation hopes - and in some way, the Trump administration has to start doing better. There is a country to run here. There is an economy to think about, the public education system, the national defense, international trade and diplomacy. There are dealings with Congress and the states, the cabinet agencies, and much more. It's a long list, but it is the president's list, and the nation is falling behind.

Before we get to any of that, there is the simple issue of competent, day-to-day management of the office - and by office we mean both the oval and the presidency. Part of that must include finding a response to emerging problems other than blaming the New York Times or members of your own administration who are leaking information to the public. Clinging to that blame game sends the message that the astonishing difficulties in the young administration are not because of the problems actually taking place, but because of the problems being reported.

As children we all probably had an encounter with a parent or teacher in which we apologized for something, prompting the grown-up to say, "Are you sorry because you did it, or sorry because you got caught?" This could be a question asked of executive branch leaders as the turmoil continues.

"Another day in paradise," Trump quipped to a couple of guestsWednesdayas he got up to leave the room amid reporters' questions about the national security adviser he had fired the previous day and the administration's reported contact with the Russian government before taking office - questions which he ignored.

The president hasn't been in office even a month yet. If he already is using a loud stage whisper to make sarcastic and exhausted-sounding comments about the difficulty of the position, then it is cause for concern, both for him and for the nation.

It's not just rabid news reporters and sour-grapes Democrats complaining.Wednesday'slitany included Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse, plus Gen. Tony Thomas, military commander of U.S. Special Operations forces. These men can't be dismissed as depressed Hillary supporters.

The solution might be closer than the president realizes. Donald Trump ran for the office touting his exceptional skills as a businessman and administrator. Clearly, they have served him well in his life as a private citizen. It is time to unleash them now in his new job. Residents of Wyoming and the many other states which handed him the presidency have every right not just to expect it, but to demand it.

It's very, very early. There is still time for anything to happen in the Trump administration, so it is time for the turnaround to begin. It seems clear enough by now that what the president needs isn't so much a tame news media (forget about it) or air-tight information control (leaks come with the job) but, rather, someone to grab the reins.

Once that happens, a lot of this other stuff will begin to take care of itself. Start now, Mr. President. There is nowhere to go but up.

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