A certain authenticity and willingness to engage

The Times has a piece on ways Donnie has changed the presidency. This one made me laugh.

…he has cast off conventions that constrained others in his office. He has retained his business interests, which he implicitly cultivates with regular visits to his properties. He has been both more and less transparent than other presidents, shielding his tax returns and White House visitor logs from public scrutiny while appearing to leave few thoughts unexpressed, no matter how incendiary or inaccurate.

Ha! Doin’ it wrong, Donnie. You’re supposed to reveal the stuff relevant to the job and hide the inappropriate thoughts that lurk in the pestilent swamp of your mind.

Although Mr. Trump assumed that his experience in business and entertainment would translate to the White House, he has found out otherwise.

“I never realized how big it was,” he said of the presidency in an interview with The Associated Press. “Every decision,” he added, “is much harder than you’d normally make.”

How mindless do you have to be not to know that ahead of time? How could he possibly not have realized “how big” it is? How can it be that no one told him? Or that he didn’t listen when people did tell him? It still baffles me.

Mr. Trump arrived at the White House unimpressed by conventions that governed the presidency. At first, he blew off the idea of receiving intelligence briefings every day because he was “a smart person” and did not need to hear “the same thing every day.” He telephoned foreign leaders during the transition without consulting or even informing government experts on those countries.

But he’s not a smart person, is he. A smart person would have understood that being president “is big” ahead of time. A smart person wouldn’t charge around like a buffalo on speed, breaking everything in sight. A smart person would take the whole thing seriously.

His Twitter account, of course, has been the vehicle for all sorts of outbursts that defy tradition, often fueled by the latest segment on Fox News. Presidents rarely taunt reality-show hosts about poor ratings, complain about late-night television comedy skits, berate judges or members of their own party who defy them, trash talk Hollywood stars and Sweden, declare the “fake news” media to be “the enemy of the American people” or accuse the last president of illegally wiretapping them without any proof.

Well presidents other than Trump never do that. Not rarely, but never. Never ever.

David Gergen, a White House aide to four presidents, including Reagan, noted that Franklin D. Roosevelt talked about the “moral leadership” of the presidency. “Unfortunately, we have lost sight of that vision in recent years, and it has almost disappeared during the first 100 days of the Trump administration,” Mr. Gergen said.

In a way that’s the worst thing about him. He’s a moral nightmare. He’s poison for a generation of children watching him.

But if the presidency had grown somewhat stale under the old norms as its occupants increasingly stuck to carefully crafted talking points and avoided spontaneity, Mr. Trump has brought back a certain authenticity and willingness to engage. His frequent news conferences and interviews can be bracingly candid, uninhibited, even raw. He leaves little mystery about what is on his mind.

Oh shut up, Times. Shut up, Peter Baker. We don’t need “balance” on this subject. No balance is possible. There’s no “balance” on the subject of a president who calls a senator “Pocahontas” to a cheering audience of gun-fanatics.

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