On March 21, 1973, White House counsel John Dean confronted President Richard Nixon about the growing Watergate scandal. "We have a cancer -- within, close to the presidency, that's growing," Dean warned. "It's growing daily."
Dean's famous metaphor is relevant to the Trump administration -- not because the risk is precisely analogous but because it isn't. In Nixon's time, cancer was apt to be a death sentence. The tools to combat it were crude and brutal. Today, even as cancer remains a leading cause of death, for many people it can be managed as a chronic illness, capable of being kept under control with an arsenal of treatments.
That view of cancer -- not as a metastatic killer but as a dangerous problem requiring vigilant control -- may be the best way of understanding, and dealing with, the Trump administration. In the alarming month since he took office, it has become clear, if it were not already, that President Trump is dishonest, unprepared and undisciplined. His presidency poses an enormous risk to the country -- to its safety, standing in the world, and relations with allies, just for a start.