Cats & Dogs; the Election, Trump, and the GSEs
While most of my year’s worth of non-GSE political blogging wasn’t wasted, it was way off the mark. Hillary Clinton—whom I was supporting and touted—didn’t win.
Donald Trump--who I didn’t think had an August snowball’s chance and who I excoriated--came through, lost the popular vote but beat her in the Electoral College, which the GOP would be foolish to drop, since they secured two their last three elections wins (Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016) through that artifice.
Trump is our next President….Gag, haff-kaff, harrumph!!
OK, I was wrong, wrong, wrong, and if you missed it, I was dead wrong. A lot of others were wrong, too, but that doesn’t make my massive miss feel any better.
I still think Trump was helped by the Russian hackers, but what I think doesn’t matter. My choice and predictions were the wrong ones I underestimated the anger and dislocation his supporters felt. I underestimated the depths to which he and his campaign would stoop. I underestimated “rogue” FBI agents and their equally rogue agency head Jim Comey. I overestimated HRC’s ground game and its ability to snap back. I overestimated how certain demographic groups would vote. Did I mention the Russians?
In a nutshell, I still worry that Donald Trump’s thin-skin will cause him to move against North Korea (or fill in the blank_______) and start a nuclear holocaust, if he feels insulted. I see only “yes men” surrounding him.
I despair that the new/old R political appointees he’s rushing pell mell to bring in –reportedly because his initial transition team didn’t think he would prevail and didn’t do much early work--will have their own agendas and “President Trump” will be too overwhelmed by his broad new responsibilities to slow them down or stop them, i.e. the Trump pledge to help the little guy and who has been shut out of jobs and prosperity will be quickly ignored.
I think DT won on policy promises that are too tough to pull off, even with a GOP Congress which also won and doesn’t feel it needs to sit back while Trump shapes America’s future and gets credit.
I believe Mr. trump has miscalculated the challenge of governing in a pluralistic democracy, working with his opponents (who could include Republicans), in a system which works on compromise but can be slowed immeasurably by foot dragging foes and critics, people not unknown inside the Beltway. I hope he learns fast.
But, we are facing Donald Trump’s inauguration and four years of his presidency. Since I can’t/won’t wish ill fortune on him, what do I do and what do I say/write?
Using how I blogged and treated President Obama will be my template. I will criticize Trump when I think he’s wrong and praise him when I think he makes the right decision, in the same manner I criticized Obama’s foreign policy and his tentative steps domestically.
That will take a lot for me, since I am heavily inclined not to trust the ‘Donald Trump type” and I certainly don’t trust the people the President-elect has around him.
But, I have to give him a chance to rise above them and rise above some of his campaign arguments.
So, my mind is open, but leaning skeptically.
One note that’s disconcerting, already, and that is the GOP lobbying and money world voracious efforts to integrate itself and run Trump’s transition and personnel team. That crowd has been shutout of political jobs in DC for eight years, but still managed to achieve a lot by grindingly lobbying the BHO administration and working with the Republican Congress to secure other victories.
Now, they’re just trying to find federal jobs for themselves and/or their friends where, inevitably and invariably, they will try to influence future decisions about their previous/current employers and/or their own ongoing issue responsibilities, if they, personally, don’t join the Trump Admin.
See seamy story below from the Washington Post.
As I have written before Leftists are lazy and wobbly; this crew of Conservatives is very much into breaking glass, taking prisoners, destruction of Obama legacies, and busting other policies they find abhorrent, women’s health rights, climate control, environmental regulation, fossil fuel development limitations, etc.
Let’s see how much President Trump wants to or can control his new executive shock troops and, hopefully, rise above them.
What “Trump transition progress” I’ve seen so far—especially the people handling major areas and issues---looks very “old hands and same-o, same-o,” an approach that doesn’t augur well for Donald Trump’s promise “to clean out the DC Swamp.”
Instead it appears Trump's employing the very Washington swamp denizens and residents—replacing Republican hacks for Democrat hacks--which he asserted not do.
So, I am not sure what his current implementation portends?
It’s one of those consequential details I pointed out early that a new President can’t just fob off, as Trump now has done twice first with Chris Christie (who, finally, will lose weight if he serves NJ jail time) and now his VP-elect Mike Pence.
The Democrats—under Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) with their 48 seats—still can clog the Senate process, much as Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed in 2009, when he announced that his GOP Senators would “oppose anything Obama is for” and try and make BHO a one term President.
For Minority Leader Schumer, that’s one fresh and ugly precedent for you to consider.
I just hope Democrats won’t be too quick to sing "Kumbaya" with the GOP, since the other side seldom if ever did.
Some post-election black humor
Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post, is fast becoming my favorite contemporary acerbic writer.
The Donald, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac
The GSE community was much in a happy twitter last week as the stock market, surprisingly, reacted favorably to the Trump election and Fannie and Freddie stock, specifically, jumped on thin reports of favorable treatment by the new President.
Hold on folks, let’s try walking before we run…too far.
As you know on the GSEs, I’ve written that I think Trump would side with the big money interests and support doing away with Fannie and Freddie in some new arrangement.
Nothing Mr. Trump has said or done since winning on Nov. 8 has altered my opinion.
The near term F&F fate still is with the courts, as Judge Sweeney and the appeals judges in the Lamberth case, as well as the Delaware court likely will voice major GSE opinions before the new President or his spokesmen/women.
(Maybe with the election past us, we’ll get a decision one of these Tuesdays or Fridays from the appeals court?)
The GSE good news story last week was all about Donald Trump’s personal relationship with Fairholme's Bruce Berkowitz, investor Carl Icahn, and Wall Street investment guru John Paulson, throwing in some late week positive comments from Bill Ackman to the effect that the Trump team will fix the F&F issue and return them to operational function as private companies within a year.
That would be wonderful news---if it happens.
Remember, President Obama had lots of friends (who were consistent voters), indeed a nation of African American and Hispanic citizens--who relied on the GSEs to support their homeownership aspirations--and then BHO did nothing but stymy those hopes with his “kill the GSE” efforts. Worse he agreed to hijack their resources under Treasury’s “2012 sweep.”
The GSEs are nowhere near the “Top 20” matters facing the new Trump White House. He has lots of other worries/priorities.
That is not to say that he won’t, ultimately, help F&F, but—IMO-- it ain’t happening quickly or based alone on searching through last week’s relationship goat entrails we perused.
The Washington DC political reality is that the GSEs always have been and will be about partisan politics. Resisting the GSEs resurrection, to something akin to what they were, is formidable array of opponents.
President-elect Trump might have to choose between these roster sides.
Likely future good GSE guys:
--Bill Ackman (?)
--the Community Mortgage Lenders, Independent Bankers, a variety of civil rights and social action groups
--scattered GSE investors, bloggers/communicators ("the real" Tim Howard)
Definite bad GSE Guys:
-- GOP’s anti-GSE presidential platform language
--Nation’s largest and most powerful financial institutions
--The entire GOP leadership in both houses, with Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and HBC Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex), leading the anti-GSE crusade
--Think tanks on the Right, AEI, Heritage, Cato, etc.
--The Wall Street Journal and other media
--Corker’s good friends/allies at the Realtors, Homebuilders, Mortgage Bankers, Financial Services Roundtable, American Bankers Association, etc. etc.
(Speaking of anti’s, while they’ll still be skulking around, I won’t miss the likes of Gene Sperling, Gary Gensler, Jim Parrott, Mike Stegman, Antonio Weiss, and a few other anti-GSE Obama/HRC supporters.)
For Trump to remove GSE constraints, the new President would have to oppose that hulking GSE opposing array, a task for which he might not be tough enough, especially because he’ll need those same folks' congressional support on so many other issues from healthcare, immigration, jobs, the Wall, and dealing with Iran, Syria, China and the Middle East, etc. etc.
Prudence suggests pro-GSE types could be happy under the new President, but I think we need to wait until we see more, i.e. the actual fire in Trump’s cave, not the shadows of same (as I tried patiently to explain that Plato allegory to one of my blog critics last week).
Happy birthday to me, yesterday; not saying I am old,
but--having now seen both in action--I can tell you that Donald Trump is no Abraham Lincoln. ;-)