I remember a time when congratulating yourself for something was considered bad form. It was especially bad if you did it in public. It was even worse if it was taking credit for someone else’s work.
Those days are gone.
President-elect Donald Trump has done such a great job of not being President yet that the world is already improving – some would even say it was becoming great again.
“The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7, THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN 15 YEARS! Thanks Donald!” our nation’s newly elected not-yet President tweeted at himself Tuesday. He has done the hard work of nominating a group of people to take over cabinet posts and other positions since being elected. Some of them may even be confirmed. His press secretary won’t get to start his new job because the Trump administration had its first sex scandal before the inauguration, but I’m sure that isn’t a sign of things to come.
The great thing for Trump is that his fans love that he takes credit for things with which he had nothing to do and on which he had no impact.
I'm also old enough to remember way back to 2011 when evangelical Christians thought personal ethics and morals were important factors in helping decide for whom to vote. Those beliefs waned from about three quarters of evangelical voters in 2011 to less than a third of them in 2016.
Trump ended ethics and morals requirements for our Commander in Chief and he may end every other American touchstone before he and his cronies are finished.
Trump enjoyed taking credit for consumer confidence levels but there are a lot of things in the news that I am sure he didn't want credit for.
Here are several of those:
• His current wife, Melania, brought a new fashion to Christmas Eve Mass with a dress that would get you shunned if your teen daughter wore it. The hemline was high enough that many people probably complimented her on her shirt. Trump supporters, even those who pretend to have high moral standards in this area, won’t care. I don’t know why it is true, but the past 18 months have convinced me that it is true.
• Carrie Fisher died of a broken heart. I’m not saying the election is what killed her, but I know Trump wouldn’t want credit for it. A lot of Republicans love Star Wars, too. It was true that Fisher was not a fan of Trump’s. She famously tweeted this year, “So you have to be attractive to be groped uninvited by Trump. Finally! A reason to want to be ugly!”
• The Washington Post is adding 60 reporters. Not only is the Post profitable, they are bucking industry trends and hiring dozens of new reporters to continue to create content in areas that readers have expressed the most interest. No one has been on Trump’s heels as much as the Post, so I know he doesn’t want credit for their profitability and growth.
• The armed anti-semitic march planned in Montana. Trump’s campaign workers swear they never reached out to the alt-right, racist, nationalist, white supremacist voters, yet all of those groups felt very comfortable under the tent and have a much more public profile than they have enjoyed in generations.
In a few weeks Trump will begin enjoying the life of a President of the United States and start getting credit for things that he really didn’t do and blame for everything bad that happens. At that point it will still be silly to give him too much credit either way, but at least it will really be him that deserves it.
Personally, I don’t like Trump, his style or his brand. But I hope he is given credit for a lot of success whether he does anything good or not. We can’t afford another economic downturn or costly war. Whether he earns it or not, I hope the United States has an awesome four years under his watch.
We could use a little good news after 2016’s long list of unhappy headlines.