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Trump: First Year

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.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

11 Comments

  1. Alexander Pope poem An Essay on Man;

    Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
    Man never is, but always to be blessed:
    The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

    It was a hope that millions of Americans prayed for in the final days leading up to the presidential election. A hope that we would not continue down the stairs of moral depravity (transgender bathroom policies) and forced mandates violating God’s holy law and constructing new laws to assist the power of darkness and continue on to (abasement) of our children and nation. A hope that one Nation under God would be honored again, not swept under the oval office carpet like a inconvenient old fashioned myth. A hope that springs eternal but tangible in our day, in our midst and in our government. A Holy hope we prayed to Almighty God to bless U.S. once more and create freedom for all who honor His holy name, freedom for all, born and unborn.

    The instrument of delivery is akin to a Jew’s Harp belonging to the Boston Pops and honored in first chair.

    Our hope is not in vain.
    God Almighty. Father, Son and Holy Spirit is alive and well. He hears our prayers and will win the day.

  2. Apparently, the disloyal resistance, the NeverTrumpers, the RINO’s view President Trump’s many triumphs (rational federal judges, lower taxes, fewer regulations, less government interferences/interventions in commerce and finance, soaring stock market values/401k’s/IRA’s, lowering unemployment (especially minority and female), increasing GDP growth, defeat of ISIS, confronting NK nuclear proliferation, etc., etc.) as very bad things.

    I am uncertain as to what/who they hate most: President Donald J. Trump; evil, unjust America; or 60+ millions real-American voters.

    We will remember. Payback will be a b—h.

  3. A little tune I sent to people I know who were supporters of the out going President. Admitally, at the time this was more for the outgoing and the defeat of more of the same with HRC. In hindsight, and I must say I never thought I would be saying this, but now it in fact applies to all that embodies the person elected. If I may:

  4. Trump is fortunate in his enemies. As oafish and exasperatingly inarticulate as he can be, the childish pettiness and venom of his critics is worse. I can’t believe adults are unashamed to appear on national TV to crab about how many scoops of ice cream Trump has, how tall he really is,whether he overfed fish and other trivial nonsense. Dr. Sanjay Gupta knows full well that a physician should not diagnose a patient he has not examined or offer a medical opinion outside of his own specialty, but he couldn’t refrain from casting aspersions on Trump’s doctor and predicting that Trump will have a heart attack. Trump seems to have the ability to draw out the very worst in his opponents, including people who seem reasonable otherwise. With every sneer and petty insult, the “elites” confirm that we deplorables are right to distrust power in their hands.

  5. Trump’s adversaries and enemies have consistently underestimated him. Trump graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at Penn. Yet he isn’t a multisyllabic jerk like so many from Harvard/Yale. Trump’s pop culture persona was something he did for fun. It was not the true nature of Trump. Trump’s Twitter retorts at his adversaries drives them crazy and after years of the Bushes silently taking every stupid accusation thrown at them by the Democrats, I have no problem with it…..except I wish he would do it more often. I don’t see him as being an oaf at all. His speech in Poland was tremendous and definitely not the work of an oaf.

    Every Republican president has problems with the Senate. The GOP, more aptly named the Stupid Party, always has its McCains, Collins, Flakes, Grahams, etc. who espouse policies repugnant to Republican voters nationwide. Trump has been clear in his opposition to illegal immigration and yet here we have Flake and Graham trying to force amnesty over a budget impasse. Well, I care not what the Pope or the American bishops say – I want illegals deported. The GOP establishment hates its base and hates Trump especially because he is not and will never be one of them and he embarrassed them.

    Should the Dems lose some Senate seats Obumblercare should be history. Opposing Obumblercare repeal, opposing tax cuts and illegal alien amnesty is not a good way to get elected in 2018 in a state Trump won in 2016.3

  6. During the Clinton years, conservatives prattled on ad nauseum about the importance of character in the presidency and Clinton’s lack of it. Now, these very same conservatives seem to not care about it. However, I think Trump is showing more character than he did during the campaign and in the very early days of the Administration.

    He had thus far been much better on policy than I thought he would be. That being said, I think his ardent supporters wildly overstate his success. For instance, although the stock market has been on pretty much a bull run 2009, his supporters would have you believe he pulled it out of the toilet into the stratosphere. To sure, these policies will do much good if left unabated and not offset by spend thrift policies (like Trump’s proposed “infrastructure” policy). But they take more time than his supporters say.

    The biggest problem with the Trump presidency thus far is the lack of objective analysis. Let’s hope that changes.

  7. “Trump has governed as the most conservative president since Ronald Reagan, and in some areas more conservative than Reagan.”

    Here we would do well to remember Reagan never had the benefit of his party controlling both the House and the Senate. If, God forbid, the dems take back the House and Senate in November, let’s see how conservative Trump will govern then.

  8. I see nothing about Trump that is similar to Clinton. There were a plethora of books about Clinton’s scheming, cheating on his wife and drug use before and after he was first elected and his behavior after than has proven Clinton to be a scheming lout.
    NeverTrumpers have never been silent about Trump. There has never been a lack of Trump critics.

  9. Trump’s opponents still run around screeching like Maleficent at the end of “Sleeping Beauty”: “No! These things cannot be!” Also like her they seem determined to call on “all the powers of Hell” to unseat him.

  10. My comment in Sunday 1-21-18, New York Times on Ross Douthat’s article: “Trump So Far Is More Farce Than Tragedy”

    Farce, Tragedy? Ridiculous. Trump has done great job on the economy and world peace. When was the last time most of us have had it so good. Look what Trump has done for black unemployment with his immigration policies. He has done a great job overall. Why can’t the MSM give him a break?

    So what is the problem? The problem is superficial judgement. It is Trump’s appearance, his packaging that is the issue. He is crude and coarse, overly aggressive, proud, scornful, easily angered, Tweets his head off, etc. For many of his supporters this is just another reason to like him. He’s a bigger than life one of us so to speak.

    And the last question. Would the conservatives rather have had Hillary and her baggage? If so, they’re nuts.

Comments are closed.