He could have been a contender

Commentary

White House ghoul Reince Priebus informs us now that Herr Trump will accept the help of Democrats in regurgitating a TrumpCare bill.

It’s a bit late for that.

As Trump stepped up to the podium to take the oath of office, he had a chance to be the greatest president of our lifetime. Instead of grabbing that chance, he began to piss and moan about the media and the sparse crowd.trump-priebus-sk

Trump’s big chance? Nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Would the Senate Republicans have rebelled? Maybe. But if Trump is the dealmaker he claims to be, he could have soothed them by promising the conservative of their choice next time. If he had the genius of let’s say LBJ, he could have sent his arm-twisters into the Senate and made all sorts of shady deals.

And if the Senate rejected Garland, Trump could have shrugged and said: I tried. Either way, he’d have gained enormous political capital. And all he had to do was nominate this moderate to the Court.

As for his base, as Trump famously claimed, he can do no wrong. His natural constituency was at least 40%. With a Garland nomination, he’d have won over most independents and at least some Democrats. He’d likely be riding a popularity wave of about 55% right now.

He would have been able to isolate the Freedom Caucus, and get a decent TrumpCare bill passed with both Dems and Reps writing it up. He might even have come close to his promise of “covering everybody.”

He’d be well on his way to accomplishing things no strictly partisan president could ever get done.

But unfortunately for all of us, Trump included, he is too vain, too unfocused, too intellectually limited and emotionally stunted to be a great president. He has already proved that. Worse, he has surrounded himself, from the beginning, with some truly awful, even evil, people.

Any Democrats who reach out to the White House now will be absolutely pummeled by the party and their constituents. How will Trump invite them to play his game at the same time as he rams a right-wing judge down their throats?

In “On the Waterfront” Brando’s character realizes he “could have been a contender” if only he’d stuck to his principles. Someday, if he lives long enough to reflect on a failed presidency, the same realization might come to Trump.