For some time now, I’ve been promoting how I think we need to restore trust in government and deal with the big problems facing America.
The answer is to elevate states and local governments in the federal system and allow them to solve problems rather than grow programs and deficits at the federal level.
Whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, dysfunction and gridlock in Washington aren't going to end. In fact, turmoil is likely to increase. I’m afraid both of them see every problem as an opportunity for bigger federal programs. But the federal government isn’t going to solve our problems; it’s going to make them worse.
Those angry grassroots voters that have propelled the campaigns of Trump and Bernie Sanders are likely to be greatly disappointed by a Clinton or Trump presidency. The infatuation with Trump will end rather quickly when he can’t fulfill his big promises.
Americans are mad at government, especially the federal government, and the answer isn’t more federal government.
Politicians have led on voters with promises to take care of them from cradle to grave, and the reality is the federal government just can’t deliver. When problems get worse, the solution is always, let’s spend more money, make the program bigger.
Meanwhile, state and local governments, especially in Idaho, function reasonably well. I wish we had a presidential candidate whose main platform was to denationalize American politics, move most programs – and funding – to state and local levels. Let the federal government be lean and mean, focus on its constitutional roles, and be successful once again.
This isn’t about ideology or political party. It’s about what works. It’s about problem-solving and good governance. The reason our presidents all fail is they are trying to do too much. One-size-fits-all programs can’t possibly work for 300 million diverse American.
There are ways to reverse the centralization of power and money in Washington. I’ll write about it in a future column.
I was pleased to see Jonah Goldberg take up this theme in a National Review column. We must rebuild the country from the local level up, rather than the national level down. We need balanced federalism, intelligent devolution.
Morbid curiosity. Contemplating President Trump. OK. Admit it. Deep down, you harbor a morbid curiosity, guilty speculation, about a Donald Trump presidency.
Sure, you can’t stand the guy. He has no moral principles or guiding ideology. He’s completely unpredictable. Who knows? He might plunge us into war or economic depression in his first six months in office.
And, by contrast, Hillary Clinton is totally predictable. She likely wouldn’t be a great president or take the country to the next level. But she’s rational and stable. Broad experience. She would likely move to the center after having to run hard to the left to defeat Bernie Sanders. She’ll probably work a lot better with Congress than Barack Obama ever did.
But still. Deep down, way down there where you conceal your most unruly and rebellious thoughts, you imagine that it might just be fun to see what might happen if a brash, crude, unscrupulous, narcissistic dealmaker becomes president of the United States.
A little flirting with reality TV danger . . . Let the bad boy free. Stop playing it safe. Roll the dice.
Am I right? Don’t those thoughts sometimes creep in? Come on, admit it.
I must confess that once in a while, in my most vulnerable moments, such a thought has crossed my mind. I quickly stomp it back into the inner recesses of my psyche.
Because this time it ain’t TV. It’s for real. Really real. The future of the country and maybe the world hanging in the balance.
I really have no idea what sort of president Donald Trump would be. No one does. I can only judge him by what he says, and by what’s he’s done.
On both counts, he hasn’t shown me he’s presidential material. Whether I vote for him will depend on how he conducts himself over the next six months. If he can act presidential, if he can show he has a grasp of key policy issues and wants to execute realistic conservative solutions, if he can develop an intelligent approach to foreign policy, if he can stop crude, personal attacks, then I might be inclined to support him over Clinton.
But I’m not there yet. He has been so offensive and so naïve or totally wrong on issues I care about, that it’s going to take some convincing. I’m not going to vote for a loose cannon buffoon who gets his news from the National Enquirer and repeats JFK assassination conspiracies.