The American Presidency

No man, with the possible exception of General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower, has ever been ready to become President of the United States on day one.

The job is bigger than any man, more complex than any man’s experience, throws him into a malestrom of competing voices and opinions while uniquely challenging its holder to make life-and-death decisions beginning day one. Looking at that sentence, I believe that Ike was ready to go right after the Inauguration.

When we look at the American President, we may be able to empathize with the enormity, the complexity, the contentiousness, but it is impossible to feel the magnitude of the responsibility for the life-and-death decisions he must make at scale.

Today when I got up, I was confronted with the enormity of the decision of whether to break my fast at home or to go out. I tried to get my wife to go out with me, but she rebuffed me in a brutal fashion thereby savagely wounding my fragile ego.

What woman — especially one to whom you have been married for 40 years — refuses such an enticing invitation? One who is going out to lunch with a couple of her best pals and doesn’t want to waste the conversation ammunition or calories on mois.

When President Trump got up this morning, he was contemplating launching the Middle East into war as he decides how to respond to the naked Iranian aggression against Saudi Arabia.

I was comforted by what I saw in the American response to the Iranian downing of an American drone over the Straits of Hormuz.

With the retaliatory strike ready to launch, President Trump stepped back and cancelled the strike reasoning that the damage to property did not balance with the impending loss of life. The military was ready and wanted to strike, but President Trump put the sword back in the scabbard.

I applauded that decision then and I stand by my thought now. I recognize there is an argument that the American drone response sent the wrong message that Iran then converted into their actions in attacking Saudi oil infrastructure. Perhaps so, but we took a chance that peace might fill in the void left by our not attacking.

I believe that restraint of the use of power is the most difficult thing for any President to do. It is easy to pull the trigger. It is more difficult to unload and put up the gun.

It is worth noting that President Trump’s critics accused him of being anxious to plunge the US into more wars — being a war monger — when, in fact,

 1. His leadership  has carefully managed the use of additional force (talking to you, ISIS);

 2. President Trump has made a sincere effort to withdraw us from an existing war (Afghanistan);

 3.He has attempted to take on potential war issues that prior administrations have kicked down the road (China, Russia, N Korea, Venezuela, Iran);

 4. He has shown admirable restraint as noted with Iran.

It is worth noting the complexity of the solutions President Trump has applied to the panoply of military problems. In one instance he has hit the accelerator, in another the brake, in another the horn, and in another he has used his words. It is difficult to make the “war monger” slur stick and, therefore, I trust him to handle this situation. He has earned my trust by his performance.

I believe that Donald J Trump — like all Presidents before him — has grown into the job. I never was much of a Trump personality supporter during the campaign. I was already a #NeverHillary person, so my support was a default condition given the paucity of choices.

Whatever I have ever said in a positive manner before and now is purely based on policy. On policy, I have much to applaud. Check me as MIA on the issue of the cult of personality.

I will say a prayer for our President when I finish this blog post. I will pray that God gives him the grace to make the right decision in a matter that may not have any good alternatives. I will thank God that our President has already exhibited the ability to temper power with restraint. I will say a prayer for Iran. I will pray that the Iranian leaders will do the right thing for their people.

This Iranian situation has the potential to be a first rate shitstorm of the XXXXL variety though the Iranians have absolutely no idea with whom they are scrapping. It is often not what happens at the beginning of hostilities — talking to you Archduke Ferdinand — but where they head after initial contact that is important.

Good luck, America. God bless us all.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. For goodness sake, call somebody you haven’t spoken to this weekend. Make somebody’s day. Go have a BBQ at Green Mesquite on Barton Springs Road.