Thursday

January 19th, 2017

Insight

Transition in chaos, business as usual

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published Nov. 18, 2016

The Democrats and their media acolytes keep sorting through the entrails of road kill looking for clues to find the disaster to unmake the making of the president. So far nothing has worked.

First someone had the bright idea that the losers could peti­tion the electors in the Electoral College to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton as a gesture of generosity and the way to "bring us together" again. The electors would have an epiphany, like the Apostle Paul's on the road to Damascus, and vote to make Hill­ary the president after all.

Within 48 hours the petition drew 3 million signatures online, which clearly demonstrated that a lot of Demo­crats still have enough time on their hands to entertain entertaining fantasies.

Then Donald Trump appointed Steve Bannon, the director of Breitbart.com, as his senior political coun­selor. Democrats remembered that Breitbart had once published a column that called Bill Kristol, a leader of the Never Trump soreheads among the establishment Repub­licans, "a renegade Jew." This was proof that Mr. Bannon is a racist, a bigot, an anti-Semite and probably a retired wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, eager to destroy Israel and kill all the Jews.

Well, not quite. It turned out that the of­fending column was written not by Mr. Bannon but by David Horow­itz, whose point was that Bill Kristol was insufficiently attentive to the real interests of Israel and the Jews. Jews, after all, can be renegades, too. One by one, an impres­sive number of members of the Hebrew faith, who had been employed by Mr. Bannon or who worked with him, stepped up to declare their outrage that Steve Bannon was the victim of false witness. He was even endorsed by the Zionist Organization of America, one of the oldest Jewish organizations in America, and invited to a ZOA dinner this weekend in New York.

That tempest subsided, to make room for the latest disaster to rock the November vote. The latest sensation is that Donald Trump's transition team now "now lies in chaos," with many Republicans scrambling for jobs and trying to influence the Donald to take their recommenda­tions for prospective secretaries of State, Treasury, Inte­rior, Commerce, attorney general, and whatever scraps that may be on the table when the jobs with star power are gone. Is Rudy Guiliani a lock for secretary of State? Will Ted Cruz be the surprise attorney general?

Anyone who has been in Washington long enough to have watched a transition or two could tell you that the Trump transition looks like transitions before it, the ultimate sausage works. There's frantic traffic in and out of Trump Tower, where nominations are vetted and choices made - just not fast enough to suit reporters under pres­sure to get a story, and The New York Times has had the inevitable Page One story that Fifth Avenue traffic is a mess.

The Donald continues to do things his way. He slipped out of Trump Tower the other night, sneaking past the gaggle of reporters there to do their jobs, to take his family to dinner at a Manhattan steakhouse (with not a proper vegetarian in the crowd), and was promptly scolded for breaching precedent and protocol. Presidents-elect are supposed to be tracked by the press, and the White House Correspondents Association filed a com­plaint that the Donald's movements were "unacceptable." Unacceptable? To whom? Will he be arrested for showing insufficient deference to MSNBC or holding up the early editions of the Chicago Tribune? Must his election now be set aside? Can The Washington Post now declare that his administration is not only in chaos, but in disarray?

To everyone else, everything looks to be proceeding as usual. The Donald continues to tweet with his usual energy: "Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are." That hardly sounds like a cry for help. Jason Miller, a "senior communications adviser," offered a bit of per­spective to the press hysteria. "There's a clear structure in place, and I think some of this palace intrigue, really, comes from folks who aren't up for jobs who might be a little bit bitter." (Or a lot bitter.)

The smart money says that come next Jan. 20 there will be a new administration in place, and the Donald will show up at noon, as expected, and put his hand on a Bible held by the new first lady and the president-elect will say the 35 words (or 39 if he adds, "so help me G0D," as most presidents have) that will transform him into the presi­dent of the United States.

Nobody will remember the "chaos," and there will be plenty of sausage for breakfast. There always is.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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