Well this is interesting. Professor Allen C. Guelzo, a notable Civil War historian, his Gettysburg: The Last Invasion is the best contemporary one volume treatment of the campaign, takes a look at the first year of Trump. Guelzo is not a partisan, but rather a historian, and I find his analysis compelling;
But despite the Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, despite the unrelenting fury of the princes of the op-ed pages, despite President Trump’s hiring of staff he was forced to fire, and despite his much-criticized tweets, the president is still in charge at the White House. And he appears to be wearing down all but his severest critics.
In addition, the president is racking up enough of the legislative and policy wins that hit voters in the deepest parts of their pockets to make a re-election bid in 2020 look realizable.
The first crack in the wall of Trump denial came in mid-December, when Ross Douthat’s New York Times column, headlined “A War Trump Won,” pointed out that the ISIS caliphate had been shrunk to an insignificant size without sinking the United States into another Middle East war.
Douthat’s observation was followed by never-Trumper and fellow columnist Bret Stephens’ insistence that, despite the collapse of ISIS and other achievements, President Trump must remain beyond the pale because he lacks “character.”
What Stephens didn’t say was that the Constitution does not list “character” as a prerequisite for the presidency, nor do voters necessarily reward it – or punish a perceived lack of character.
The issue of “character” certainly did nothing to affect Bill Clinton, or, for that matter, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy. Stephens’ attack was a pout, and when pundits turn to pouting, it means they have lost faith in their own argument.
This paved the way for the yet another New York Times columnist, David Brooks, to say what for him was almost unsayable: that people who meet President Trump do not come away convinced that they have met “the raving madman they expected from his tweetstorms or the media coverage.” Brooks warned that people are noticing – especially young people who “look at the monotonous daily hysteria of we anti-Trumpers and … find it silly.”
Silly is not what a political opposition wants to look like. Yet, as we turn the page on President Trump’s first year in office, the dirigible of anti-Trumpism is assuming an amusingly deflated look.
It actually began deflating in the first few weeks of the Trump presidency, after Antifa thugs gave the “resistance” a self-inflicted black eye and a “Women’s March” made the wearing of funny hats its biggest accomplishment.
The leakage became even greater once President Trump succeeded in getting Neil Gorsuch confirmed to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. In addition to Gorsuch, the Senate has confirmed 22 Trump nominees for federal appeals and district courts, with another 43 awaiting action.
What’s more, as Jonathan Adler of the Case Western Reserve University Law School has said: “The overall intellectual caliber of Trump’s nominees has been as high, if not higher, than any recent predecessor. That’s almost the opposite of what you might have expected.”
And despite an undeniable string of misfires with Congress (especially on the “repeal and replace” of ObamaCare), there are now more grins than grimaces among Trump loyalists from the increasing number of successes the president has scored over trade deals (withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership), the repair of the crucial diplomatic relationship with Israel, the decline in illegal border crossings, and the economy.
Go here to read the rest. The difference between history and contemporary events is distance. We know how the Civil War turned out. Until very late in that conflict, until September of 1864 to be precise, the participants in that great national tragedy had no idea how that vast War was going to end, and what would come after it. In regard to Trump’s first year, I am struck by the dichotomy between the policies of the Trump administration and the words surrounding those policies. The Left, of course, has argued that Trump is a would be tyrant who must be driven from office, and Trump has responded with Tweets that give as good and bad as he gets. However, under the surface of the apocalyptic war of words, Trump has governed as the most conservative president since Ronald Reagan, and in some areas more conservative than Reagan. For conservatives Trump, for all his frequent oafishness, is earning trust and support by his policies. It is deeply ironic that Trump, a non-ideological business man and media star, should give to the country sound and sensible conservative policies, but such is the case. We are living through odd times, but it also possible that for conservatives we are living through great times. We shall see as the events of the day become the events of the past and we have some distance to judge them.