It’s cold comfort to be right about Trump’s White House being a mess. It wasn’t just me; a lot of people, including a lot of Republicans, saw it coming. It brings no joy. But all the same: We told you so.
Trump’s messes are entirely his own. He can’t lay the blame on Charles Schumer, the Ninth Circuit or the Washington Post. Mr. President, you’ve screwed the pooch but good. Obama took his time. Trump acts on impulse. Personally, I’ll take the guy who measures twice and cuts once.
The latest is that Trump casually disclosed tippy-top secret information to two Russian officials in the Oval Office, filmed by official Russian photographers (U.S. press was excluded), possibly compromising Israel’s intelligence program and perhaps one or more of its agents. Nice move, sir. It couldn’t have been more effective if he’d sent it by email from his own private server. This one was so awful, Trump leaked the denials ahead of the stories.
Bibi, do you miss Barry yet? Our allies should be shitting in their foundation garments. Trump would give away NATO for an autograph – written in Cyrillic. I don’t know what the hell goes on with the Trump and his fanboy crush on Russian money. Originally, it looked like Trump wanted to rule the U.S. the way Putin rules Russia. At this point, I think he would be happy to go back to his Tower and his orange war paint. He is either brilliant or clueless. I’ll take clueless for $800, Alex.
Today I learned about the Dunning–Kruger effect. Dunning and Kruger were two psychology students at Cornell. They conducted a study of self-assessment among students. They formed a competent and an incompetent group of students. The competent ones underestimated their abilities, and the incompetent overstated theirs. Dunning and Kruger concluded:
The cognitive bias of illusory superiority is the result of internal illusion in people of low ability and of external mis-perception in people of high ability: “The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”
In English now, they were too dumb to know how dumb they were. Ringing any bells?
Maybe Trump knew what he didn’t know, but thought he could learn it. He still ends up in the dunce corner, just not as profoundly dense as if he really thought he knew it. That day he met Obama in the Oval Office after the election, he walked out of there, looking like he had the bejesus scared out of him. It gave me hope: a scared Trump, I reasoned, would be a cautious Trump. Maybe I was hit with the Dunning-Kruger effect too.
One TV guy quipped last night that now we know what happens when we elect a non-politician to high office. As much as we may despise the swamp, we can’t get rid of it. We can mix it up, alter the ph balance and occasionally rotate the creatures that dwell in it. The size and complexity of the U.S. require the swamp for its institutional memory and conventions of behavior. In some things, predictability is necessary. Unpredictability on the other hand and in Trump’s hands is downright terrifying.