Trumps End-of-term Final Report Card

This is the 3rd Trump Report Card. I did it once before he took office, and once at the end of year one. I’ll stick to the same categories. (Also at the end of year two, I tried to list 10 good things about Trump.)

Global Warming: F. From Day One, Trump did everything he could to roll back and sabotage any efforts to address climate change. Pulling out of the Paris Accord, changing the cost of a ton of carbon, removing all mentions of global warming from federal websites, etc. History will not treat Trump or the GOP kindly. Fortunately the trends already in motion minimized the damage done. The private sector stepped up, and technology trends (many goosed under Obama’s stimulus package) accelerated. Renewable energies are now economically competitive with fossil fuels.

Nuclear Weaponry: C. He threw away NATO and buddied up to Russia. He used unnecessarily harsh language, and escalated tensions in Korea. But in the large picture, not so bad.

Pandemic: D. A new category! First, ere are some positive things the Trump administration did:

  • Shut down China travel early (even if done poorly).
  • Operation Warp Speed.
  • Not overly politicizing first round of stimulus relief.
  • Buying 100 million doses from Pfizer and Moderna. This was done when it wasn’t at all certain either company could successfully develop a vaccine. Buying enough for 100 million Americans was a pretty good gamble.
  • The pressure he put on the FDA was good. They were overly conservative, never properly balanced the urgency of the situation against their normal process.
  • …and many of the countries that had much better leadership had lots of problems, the connection between bad policy and outcome isn’t quite so black and white.

But here we are a full year later, and there was never a federal plan. There was never any federal plan. Even the most diehard libertarian understands this is where big government is needed. It takes the vast powers and scope of the federal government to deal with a problem that crosses borders — but Trump wouldn’t. He constantly undercut scientific advice. Not only didn’t he rally the country around mask wearing and social distancing, he did everything he could to undercut it. Even after getting the actual disease, he didn’t change his tune. History tested Donald Trump, and he failed. Hundreds of thousands of deaths are directly attributable to him.

Threats to American Democracy. Fail

He is the biggest threat to American Democracy since The Civil War. He gets a zero.

  • Trump believes he is above the law. He believes the law is there to serve him. That’s what we call a king, it’s what we got rid of. One of many examples, firing his handpicked Attorney General for refusing to corruptly stop the Mueller investigation.
  • Trump implicitly and explicitly refused to help and be the President for states that didn’t vote for him.
  • Trump lies constantly. Ignorant and venal, he further drove the discourse of the country into the gutter. Democracy doesn’t work without shared facts, and Trump refused to truck in facts.
  • The undermining of basic facts is incredible. Right now, the majority of the GOP honestly believes the election was stolen. Think about that. They don’t believe the mass media, the many non-partisan groups, the experts in the federal government, fact checkers, or the unending string of court losses. The credibility of every neutral group has been attacked steadily so Trump can simply assert lies and his followers will believe it.
  • Remember Russia? Maybe you’ve forgotten their stated goal: To make Western Democracy unable to function productively. Can anyone doubt their success? And while Trump may not have actively sought out Russian help, he was eager to accept what they gave. Treason.

The rest: Some other things happened, but anything else is chicken feed compared to these four.

The Celtics should dump Semi Ojeleye

The Celtics need to make some moves. Things aren’t going so well this year. Instead of competing with Philly and the Nets, they are barely ahead of the Knicks.

For the last several years, Boston has had too many decent players. We’ve gotten a million draft picks, and so we’ve had lots of players that require minutes and time to see if they’re any good. It’s time to start make those tough decisions and thinning the herd.

Semi Ojeleye is a decent player. He plays strong defense, hits some 3s, and doesn’t mess up much. But he also has no real upside. After four seasons with the Celtics, he isn’t going to show you anything new. Standing around the perimeter and making a good pass or shot is not enough. Can’t or won’t drive, can’t or won’t dribble towards the basket.

When you’re thinking about trade pieces, you should be thinking about upside. Not just who is good (Taytum Brown Smart are untouchable), but who might get better. When you think about it this way, Semi is done.

Trade pieces (in vague order of ‘dump him’ to ‘well, if we have to’):

  • Semi Ojeleye: Will never be better for the Celtics.
  • Jeff Teague: I love Jeff Teague, but it turns out I love the Jeff Teague of several years ago. He’s toast. Only problem is, who would take him?
  • Carsen Edwards: He got his chances, never showed much. Sorry Carsen, it’s just not working out.
  • Romeo Langford: He got his chances, never showed much. Sorry Romeo, time to move on.
  • Tristan Thompson: I love the guy, but like Teague, my impressions are of the Tristan Thompson of past years. Especially because Robert Williams is suddenly realizing his potential, we can afford to lose Thompson. Thompson is a great complementary piece, but I’d be willing to see him go, and we can get a good price.
  • Kemba Walker: I love the guy. And he’s a very good player. But a couple seasons in, I don’t think he’ll every be the great player we need for a point guard. He is still highly valued around the league and we can get a good price for him. Of note, Kemba didn’t lead the team in assists per game last year (that was Marcus Smart) or this year (Smart and Taytum). I want a point guard who make other players better with assists. I want a point guard who doesn’t set up endless plays of Brown and Taytum isolations (even though that mostly works). I want a point guard who doesn’t have to be hidden on defense.  (By the way, can you believe that James Harden is leading the league in assists right now? By a healthy margin, at 11.1 a game.)