Long Division or Long Addition In DC And On Holcombe

Long Division or Long Addition In DC And On Holcombe


Leonard Zwelling

By any measure, Donald Trump won the votes of a minority of a deeply divided nation in a fashion that allowed his inauguration on January 20. From the moment of his election, through his inaugural address, to the many dismissals, firings and resignations within his administration, to the on-going Russia investigations in the House, the Senate and by the independent counsel, Mr. Trump has continued to divide America. It is likely that in this election year of 2018, this will only get worse.

In a round table discussion on Meet the Press on Sunday, December 31, Chuck Todd led two Republicans and two Democrats, members of the House, through a civil exchange that clearly shows that the parties are on different planets when it comes to their agendas for the nation. The GOP is rolling in the benefits of the tax cuts and is obsessed with national security which Mr. Trump has made less secure by pulling America back from international engagement and stoking hostility with his pronouncement about Jerusalem. Jerusalem is already the capital of Israel. The Israelis didn’t need Mr. Trump to tell them where their parliament and Supreme Court meet. Even though my sentiment is in favor of Mr. Trump’s moving the embassy, in a region where Saudi proxies are fighting Irani regulars and Irani proxies are fighting Saudi regulars, the fuse for a true war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a mighty short one. Why shorten it for no gain?

You would think that the turmoil in Washington and the turmoil caused by the president around the world would bode for a major Democratic victory wave in 2018. Will the Dems take the House or Senate? Maybe, but I doubt it because I believe each House and Senate race is unique and that if the Dems don’t get better candidates than a bunch of old white guys (Sanders or Biden in 2020? They’d be in their late 70s), or run against awful candidates like Roy Moore, the Dems are not guaranteed victory in either chamber. Besides, what do the Democrats actually stand for? Got me.

And, along with that turmoil in DC is the fact that Wall Street is going wild, unemployment is at a 17-year low, and wages are inching up. The latter may be subject to downward pressure if the cuts to ObamaCare within the tax bill prove costly to businesses paying health insurance premiums, but we shall see. Mr. Trump may be presiding over one of the great economic rides of all time. It is hard to believe that his party will lose that much ground given the state of the American economy and the vastly greater number of Democratic Senate seats up for grabs in red states that Trump won.

Trump may have created chaos. He promised no less. That doesn’t mean his party will lose in November. We shall see. His strategy of long division of the nation may well be a success in the long run and that includes into 2020 if he is not impeached. And even if he is impeached, it is doubtful the Senate composition will alter sufficiently for him to be convicted (it takes 2/3 of the Senate to convict an impeached president).

Trump seems safe unless Mueller says otherwise. We wait. Handcuffs are more likely to plague Mr. Trump than impeachment and the former are very unlikely. However, if he is impeached, he could be driven from office. Just ask Al Franken.

If there is one thing that Dr. Pisters appears to be, it is the anti-Ronald, anti-Donald. He is a softer spoken, less flamboyant president at a time when MD Anderson needs just that to heal itself. No more Ken Shine-DePinho-inspired long division is needed at 1515. Some addition, however, is required.

It will be important in the first months of the Pisters Era to hear a direction for the institution that does take its guidance for collective action from its leadership. That leadership needs to be heard from and more leaders need to be named. The sooner the better to avoid long division and create a solid whole.

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