George F. Will: An almost inexpressibly sad specimen in Trump

George F. Will: An almost inexpressibly sad specimen in Trump

WASHINGTON — Half or a quarter of the way through this interesting experiment with an incessantly splenetic presidency, much of the nation has become accustomed to daily mortifications. Or has lost its capacity for embarrassment, which is even worse. If the country’s condition is calibrated simply by economic data — if, that is, America is nothing but an economy — then the state of the union is good. Except that after two years of unified government under the party that formerly claimed to care about fiscal facts and rectitude, the nation faces a $1 trillion deficit during brisk growth and full employment. Unless the president has forever banished business cycles — if he has, his modesty would not have prevented him from mentioning it — the next recession will begin with gargantuan deficits, which will be instructive. The president has kept his promise not to address the unsustainable trajectory of the entitlement state (about the coming unpleasant reckoning, he says: "Yeah, but I won’t be here"), and his party’s congressional caucuses have elevated subservience to him into a political philosophy. The Republican-controlled Senate — the world’s most overrated deliberative body — will not deliberate about, much less pass, legislation the president does not favor. The evident theory is that it would be lese-majeste for the Senate to express independent judgments. And that senatorial dignity is too brittle to survive the disapproval of a president not famous for familiarity with actual policies. Congressional Republicans have their ears to the ground […]

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