This morning, Paul Krugman and E.J. Dionne don't go quite as far as I did Saturday — quoting myself: "everything legislatively designed by Trump and his fellow Republicans will be … some version of Trump University," hence Democrats, for their own protection, should uniformly oppose the administration — but they come close. The two columnists specifically warn against Trump's fraudulent infrastructure plan, as has Ron Klain, who oversaw the carrying out of President Obama's 2009 stimulus package.
As Klain put it in a recent Washington Post op-ed: "I’ve got a simple message for Democrats who are embracing President-elect Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan: Don’t do it. It’s a trap." For Democrats it's also political suicide — akin to a legitimate business believing it might cut a serviceable deal with the Gambino family. Mobsters love to make promises, but they never play fair. In the end, they'll gut you. And the modern Republican Party is nothing more than a crime family, with a new boss.
Krugman echoes my sentiment: "[R]emember that we’re dealing with a president-elect whose business career is one long trail of broken promises and outright scams…. [Y]ou should probably assume that [Trump's infrastructure plan is] a scam until proven otherwise." You'll wait a long time for any countervailing proof. As Krugman notes, Trump's plan in no way resembles traditional, government-financed projects, such as President Eisenhower's interstate highway system. Instead, the Don is "proposing … huge tax credits: billions of dollars in checks written to private companies that invest in approved projects, which they would end up owning"; "it ignores projects that are unprofitable" (many of which are the most needed); and "it privatizes some infrastructure needs," e.g., municipal water systems.
Krugman also echoes my more general sentiment; that is, that which applies to far more than Trump's infrastructure frauds: "Cronyism and self-dealing are going to be the central theme of this administration.... And people who value their own reputations should take care to avoid any kind of association with the scams ahead." In short, never play footsie with crime families.
Dionne agrees. "However attractive an old-fashioned let’s-pass-good-stuff strategy might seem, the alarming signals emanating from Trump Tower require more than politics as usual."
Dionne's is another way of saying what's been said above. To cooperate with the Trump administration is to contaminate oneself — and betray the public. The next four years will be infused with blanket corruption and reliable con artistry; there is simply no way in which one can grow a beautiful rose from the Trumpian manure about to pile up. "All the roads in the world," observes Dionne, "won’t pave over [Trump's] transgressions." And we won't even get the roads.
Thus Democrats should oppose, oppose, oppose — making clear, all along, to the working and middle classes that Trump's roses come with plentiful, and deadly, thorns.