President Donald Trump is commonsensically undoing, piece by piece, the main components of Obama’s legacy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: President Trump was elected to disrupt the status quo, restore American military power, boost the economy, stop ISIS, get rid of the forced Socialism of Obamacare, and to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. One year later the Stock Market has broken 5 previous record highs including hitting 26,000 today, Jerusalem has been declared the capital of Israel, ISIS has been reduced to less than 1,000 members and the US military is experiencing a much-needed resurgence. The Left hates Trump because he is dismantling their entire vision of a Socialist America run by Dear Leader, from which they continue to enslave and plunder the American people. The Swamp is indeed being drained, and the Swamp is not happy. Too bad. Make America Great Again.
Donald Trump continues to baffle. Never Trump Republicans still struggle to square the circle of quietly agreeing so far with most of his policies, as they loudly insist that his record is already nullified by its supposedly odious author. Or surely it soon will be discredited by the next Trumpian outrage. Or his successes belong to congressional and Cabinet members, while his failures are all his own.
Rarely do they seriously reflect on what otherwise over the last year might have been the trajectory of a Clinton administration.
Contrary to popular supposition, the Left loathes Trump not just for what he has done. (It is often too consumed with fury to calibrate carefully the particulars of the Trump agenda.) Rather, it despises him mostly for what he superficially represents. To many progressives and indeed elites of all persuasions, Trump is also the Prince of Anti-culture: mindlessly naïve American boosterism; conspicuous, 1950s-style unapologetic consumption; repetitive and limited vocabulary; fast-food culinary tastes; Queens accent; herky-jerky mannerisms; ostentatious dress; bulging appearance; poorly disguised facial expressions; embracing rather than sneering at middle-class appetites; a lack of subtlety, nuance, and ambiguity.
In short Trump’s very essence wars with everything that long ago was proven to be noble, just, and correct by Vanity Fair, NPR, The New Yorker, Google, the Upper West Side, and The Daily Show. There is not even a smidgen of a concession that some of Trump’s policies might offer tens of thousands of forgotten inner-city youth good jobs or revitalize a dead and written-off town in the Midwest, or make the petroleum of the war-torn Persian Gulf strategically irrelevant to an oil-rich United States.
Yet one way of understanding Trump — particularly the momentum of his first year — is through recollection of the last eight years of the Obama administration. In reductionist terms, Trump is the un-Obama. Surprisingly, that is saying quite a lot more than simple reductive negativism. Republicans have not seriously attempted to roll back the administrative state since Reagan. On key issues of climate change, entitlements, illegal immigration, government spending, and globalization, it was sometimes hard to distinguish a Bush initiative from a Clinton policy or a McCain bill from a Biden proposal. There was often a reluctant acceptance of the seemingly inevitable march to the European-style socialist administrative state.
Of course, there were sometimes differences between the two parties, such as the George W. Bush’s tax cuts or the Republicans’ opposition to Obamacare. Yet for the most part, since 1989, we’ve had lots of rhetoric but otherwise no serious effort to prune back the autonomous bureaucracy that grew ever larger. Few Republicans in the executive branch sought to reduce government employment, deregulate, sanction radical expansion of fossil-fuel production, question the economic effects of globalization on Americans between the coasts, address deindustrialization, recalibrate the tax code, rein in the EPA, secure the border, reduce illegal immigration, or question transnational organizations. To do all that would require a president to be largely hated by the Left, demonized by the media, and caricatured in popular culture — and few were willing to endure the commensurate ostracism.
Trump has done all that in a manner perhaps more Reaganesque than Reagan himself. In part, he has been able to make such moves because of the Republican majority (though thin) in Congress and also because of, not despite, his politically incorrect bluntness, his in-your-face talk, innate cunning, reality-TV celebrity status, animalistic energy, and his cynical appraisal that tangible success wins more support than ideology. And, yes, in part the wheeler-dealer Manhattan billionaire developed real sympathy for the forgotten losers of globalization.
Even his critics sometimes concede that his economic and foreign-policy agendas are bringing dividends. In some sense, it is not so much because of innovative policy, but rather that he is simply bullying his way back to basics we’ve forgotten over the past decades.
The wonder was never how to grow the economy at 3 percent (all presidents prior to 2009 had at one time or another done just that), but rather, contrary to “expert” economic opinion, how to discover ways to prevent that organic occurrence.
Obama was the first modern president who apparently figured out how. It took the efforts of a 24/7 redistributionist agenda of tax increases, federalizing health care, massive new debt, layers of more regulation, zero-interest rates, neo-socialist regulatory appointments, expansionary eligibility for entitlements, and constant anti-free-market jawboning that created a psychological atmosphere conducive to real retrenchment, mental holding patterns, and legitimate fears over discernable success. Obama weaponized federal agencies including the IRS, DOJ, and EPA in such a manner as to worry anyone successful, prominent, and conservative enough to come under the federal radar of a vindictive Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, or a FISA court.
Trump has sought to undo all that, point by point. The initial result so far is not rocket science, but rather a natural expression of what happens when millions of Americans believe they have greater freedom and safety to profit and innovate, and trust they will not be punished, materially or psychologically, for the ensuing successful results. The radical upsurge in business and consumer confidence is not revolutionary but almost natural.
The Left and Never Trump Right claim that Trump is Stalin, Hitler, or Mussolini. In fact, for the first time in eight years, it is highly unlikely that the FBI, IRS, CIA, DOJ, and other alphabet-soup agencies see their tasks as going after the president’s perceived opponents. The same about-face is true on the foreign-policy front, as the ancient practice of deterrence replaced the modern therapeutic mindset. Obama blurred, deliberately so, the lines between allies and hostiles.
America experienced the worst of both worlds: We were rarely respected by our friends, even more rarely feared by our enemies; loud rhetorical muscularity was backed up only by “strategic patience” and “leading from behind.” read the rest of this article