Reuters reports that at the command of the fearsome Reince Priebus, the White House chief of stuff such as office supplies, "Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner met [Friday] … in a bid to stop infighting that has distracted from President Donald Trump's message…. Priebus' message to Bannon and Kushner was to 'stop with the palace intrigue' and focus on the president's agenda."
That's two "messages" and one "agenda," a threefold thrust leading to one massive bewilderment: Just what in hell is Trump's political program; precisely what is it from which Bannon and Kushner are distracting?
Until last week, the neo-isolationists and hypernationalists could at least hang their helmets on "America First," an immensely ill-considered 1930s doctrine that could emanate only from an immensely ignorant presidential candidate. But — poof! — within a mere "three to four minutes," Trump as president reversed himself in a foreign military adventure — seemingly with as much intellectual effort as that required in ordering breakfast. That the president's mind bounces like Syrian rubble is only because he has no principled gravitas, no real foreign policy agenda, no coherent message.
Meanwhile, on the domestic front, the party of which Trump is supposed to be the iron-fisted leader is squabbling and fracturing like the early 1850s Whigs. As the Washington Post puts it, "Congress limped into its spring break with little to demonstrate that much has changed from its previous dysfunctional gridlock — despite Republicans' control of both Capitol Hill and the White House."
Presidents FDR and LBJ and BHO had their congressional-majority honeymoons, from which they spawned great legislative deeds. DJT and his partisan majority? They've proceeded as would a poorly supervised daycare. They've left their repeatedly promised healthcare and tax reforms in utter shambles, and "an infrastructure package, often touted by President Trump, has been relegated to the back of the line."
The president's campaign-"touted" infrastructure program was always destined for legislative evanescence. As Krugman commented the other day, following a NYT chat with Trump: "Given what we heard in the interview — basically incoherent word salad mixed with random remarks about transportation in Queens — it's clear that the administration has no actual infrastructure plan, and probably never will." And if he did have such a plan? His own party, over which he wields no authority, would, accordingly, cut it to pieces.
And so we return to the mystifying White House chief-of-something-or-other, Reince Priebus. Just what in hell is the president's agenda?