Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Big, fat, beautiful heart

"You Gotta Have Heart", from a 1994 production of Damn Yankees at the Paper Mill Playhouse, photo by Ken Jacques/New York Times.

Steve M wonders about Trump's idea that the president needs to govern with "heart", which he was lecturing media personalities about in a pre-SOTU event yesterday at lunch:
“I've really learned a lot,” the president said of his first year in office during a lunch with television correspondents ahead of his first State of the Union address. “You know, governing — when you're a businessperson, you don't have to worry about your heart, the heart. You really do what's best for almost purely monetary reasons. You know, you make your money. You competing against people. In many cases, you don't like them, you want to beat, and all that stuff.... So having a business background and a successful business background is great, but oftentimes you do things that you would never do in business because you have to also govern with heart.
In that case, as Steve points out, it looks like he hasn't learned much at all, since he had the same idea in the same words last April, in an interview with John Dickerson:
for what we're doing here, Washington, you really need heart, because you're talking about a lot of people. Whereas business, you don't need so much heart. You want to make a good deal.
And with a little additional searching, for that matter, as early as January 2016, when Newmax feared he was promising a single payer health insurance system under his presidency (remember those days?), it was in terms of his heart, and Ted Cruz's lack of one:

As for Cruz, "maybe he’s got no heart," Trump said.... 
"I want people taken care of. I have a heart.... If somebody has no money and they're lying in the middle of the street and they're dying, I'm going to take care of that person."

And that April, toward the end of the primary campaign, at a rally in Everett, Washington, when he was explaining how his business skills, "good management" and "great people" would be the key to making America great again, he added the same exception:
government will become lean and mean, except — except it will have a big, fat, beautiful heart. We will have an effective and responsible and honest government for a change. Our border will be protected. Our children will be safe.
So it looks as if he hasn't learned anything at all. Surprise!

Steve also wonders: Where is it? Where's the heart? What has heart accomplished over the past year, in the governing process? And comes up empty, can't think of a thing. Nor can I. I left a comment that I thought was pretty pithy, and I'm reproducing it here.
His knowledge of what "governing" is like remains pretty theoretical--based on what he sees on TV. Going to meetings, the main event in governing, aside from the reading and writing he doesn't do at all, his main interest is not getting things done but looking the part, making everybody believe he's serious, exhibiting himself as the Great Dealmaker, and I don't think he really gets a feeling that he's "governing". Judging from the complaints in the Twitter feed, he doesn't even have a sense of being in the government, which seems bafflingly resistant to his desires.
I think he must have agreed with Schumer that there should be some heart in the immigration legislation, but then when Miller and Kelly found out he'd inadvertently done some "governing", they had to explain to Schumer that, as I always say, Mr. Trump is not authorized to speak for the White House.
The only part he's able to participate in actively is talking about hiring and firing staff. I'm sure he intends to hire people with heart, but that got him Ivanka, and Bannon; he's not a very good judge of character either.

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