Thomas Oatway: Would we be better off with a Trump stand-in?


In a recent segment of the daily TV show “The View,” the ladies of the program pointed out that the attractive lady standing behind the president, Melania Trump, might have been a stand-in. Slight differences in her appearance were highlighted.

I was not initially convinced, but one thing stood out as highly unusual: The president actually introduced her. Typically, Melania stays in the background, looking more like the person assigned to remove lint from his coat.

In any event, if this was a stand-in for Melania, she was a good one. A stand-in for Donald Trump must be
similarly convincing while not making controversial, dangerous, outrageous and factually deficient statements.

The ladies of “The View” also discussed a 1993 Hollywood movie called “Dave,” starring Kevin Klein and Sigourney Weaver. This was a fictional story of a stand-in for a philandering president, a stand-in put to work during times when the president was engaged in a dalliance.

Kevin Klein played Dave Kovic, an ordinary, non-political employment counselor who bore an astounding resemblance to the president. The administrative staff, led by the evil, manipulative chief of staff (Frank Mangella), devised this ruse.

Unfortunately, during one dalliance, the president suffered a devastating stroke and became permanently vegetative.

The staff expanded a covert plan to replace the president with his look-alike in official functions, and Cabinet meetings. Dave was expected to be a mold-able and controllable dupe.

The ambitious chief of staff, who longed to function as the de-facto president, did not trust the vice president, who would normally take office under the 25th Amendment. The plan backfired when Dave began to introduce pragmatism and compromise into Cabinet meetings.

Let me be clear: I am not in favor of anything bad happening to our president, Donald J. Trump. Instead, I would favor that Donald Trump thrive in his presidency, thanks to a sudden maturation into a fully functioning, thoughtful and responsible adult.

To be believable, the Trump stand-in would need to play golf, tweet early morning messages of dubious value, and have his hair color changed regularly from orange, to blonde, to gray.

The real Donald Trump could covertly return to oversee his business empire, which has tumbled in value. Trump’s place in the list of richest people dropped 92 positions in 2017.

Melania Trump should abandon her anti-cyber-bullying initiative, which has been undermined by her husband. The West Wing staff could possibly benefit from medical marijuana, just to get them through the stress of the day.

Melania could replant the Michelle Obama vegetable garden to produce marijuana for medical purposes, and thereby help combat the chaos and continuing turnover in staff.

We can learn a lesson from this Hollywood fantasy film. Dave Kovic enters the picture without a firm political philosophy. He just aimed to help people. Dave asked thoughtful questions to solicit compromise positions from seemingly intractable policy held by opposing parties.

A Donald Trump stand-in could actually start to “drain the swamp in D.C.,” which has evolved into one of the Great Lakes. A good start would be to replace the Wall Street billionaires on his Cabinet with patriotic and thoughtful citizens who have no allegiance to special interests.

Same goes for replacing the administration nominees who have enhanced their careers by advocating elimination or disabling of the agencies they run (e.g., EPA; Interior; Energy).

In true Hollywood fantasy, Dave the stand-in was a success until the subterfuge was finally exposed. He even got the girl (Weaver). The political lesson from the film was that compromise can be truly beneficial in achieving governance in the public interest.

The Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare failed because it was 100 percent partisan. The current G.O.P tax reform plan, similarly formulated, is being criticized for being an 80 percent tax cut for the top 1 percent.

A plan to reduce the yearly 401(k) deduction from a maximum of $18,000 to $2,400 is losing traction. There is a looming crisis to pay benefits for future retirees. Cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social

Security, along with the 401(k) program, would exacerbate this crisis.

But politicians are searching for tax revenues so wealthy donors can get a return on their contributions. Hang on to your wallets.

Five former presidents, plus Senators McCain, Corker, and Flake, have encouraged a return to civility in politics and American culture. Donald Trump (or his stand-in) has an obligation to take a new leadership role and act “presidential.” He could start the process by watching the movie “Dave,” along with his Cabinet and staff, plus all members of Congress. Then all should retake their oath of office.

Thomas Oatway is a Valencia resident.

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