Saturday, March 02, 2019


I wish I agreed with BooMan -- and many others -- that the corrupt process of obtaining a security clearance for Jared Kushner will become a big problem for the president.
If Kushner is exposed in a very serious way, that will reflect badly on Trump in two ways. The first is that the Kushner/Trump relationship is not just a marriage, but also a family alliance coming out of the shady world of New York real estate. It’s unlikely that there any business reasons for denying a Kushner a security clearance that wouldn’t equally apply to a Trump.
But the sleaziness of Trump's business career has never seemed to bother the public. Trump's dishonest business practices and ties to unsavory characters were widely reported, even during 2016, and the stories never took hold. The Trump University scandal came and went without leaving a mark. A recent massive New York Times report on Trump family corruption disappeared without a trace. It seems obvious that Trump supporters -- even his "soft" supporters -- assume thst you've got to be tough, and a bit unsavory, if you want to make it in sinful, decadent New York. Trump's ignorance, laziness, bigotry, sexism, and political extremism seem to turn voters against him much more than the corrupt way he's run his life.
The second problem is that Trump has given Kushner such a big portfolio, including the responsibility of trying to negotiate a Middle East peace plan. If Kushner is discredited, it’s going to bleed over into Trump’s foreign policy and call into question how responsible he has been in conducting the nation’s business abroad.
I don't think most voters understand who's doing what in the Trump administration -- Cabinet members come and go, Trump personalizes certain issues (e.g., North Korea), and while there don't seem to be any foreign policy successes, a casual observer might assume that everything's being managed adequately, because no real crisis has touched America yet on Trump's watch. The Khashoggi murder seemed bad, but it's a remote issue for most people. There's no peace in the Middle East, but no administration succeeds at that. The Saudis seem shady, but they always do, yet most presidents have been deferential to them. Until there's another 9/11 or a Trump war that turns into a debacle, I can't imagine public outrage at Kushner as pseudo-secretary of state.

There's also this:

But that's unlikely to appall the public. There's rampant unfairness in most of our workplaces -- some people have have it easy while too much is demanded of others. The boss's son-in-law got special treatment -- what could be more of a cliché?

The Kushner story is bad, but I think it means more to government workers, and to the journalists who cover them and know them, than it means to the public at large.

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