Friday, March 31, 2017

The Fall of Donald Trump (and Why It Ain’t Happening) - By J. Robert Smith

The buzzards are out. These are a subspecies, Bueto Nevertrump vulpinus. The carcass of healthcare reform has them circling. No, actually, they believe it’s the carcass of Donald Trump’s presidency. Repeal and replace dies, so the automatics kick in. “Trump’s failed. He was never up to the job. His presidency hangs by a thread!” And the variation: “It’s good Trump failed, ‘cause Paul Ryan’s bill was a vehicle for socialized medicine. Trump’s an unscrupulous lib. He’s a pretender, and now there’s more proof!”  
Not proof, mind you, of House GOP incompetence. Not proof of a weak speaker and flabby leadership team. Cut ‘em slack. House Republicans only had seven years to figure out healthcare reform and get their act together. The failure belongs to Trump, and shows that his presidency is beginning to unravel… 40-odd days into his administration. The next three years and 325 days are just epilogue.
Reports of Trump’s political death aren’t just exaggerated. They’re absurd. It’s sky-high wishful thinking. So is the cliché that Trump’s itching to go left. It doesn’t stack up against the facts. For those who pegged Trump as a charlatan from the get-go, it’s a never-ending quest for validation. They just can’t be wrong. They’re always doubling down.   
If Trump’s first 40-plus days in the White House are any indication, he has a real crack at making an historic presidency. He could rechart the nation’s course for a generation -- in ways that advance liberty and prosperity.
The GOP’s healthcare measure was plenty flawed. Trump does have his fingerprints on it. But that’s hardly evidence of Trump super-secretly hankering for government-run healthcare. It points more to Trump wanting a win. Had the bill passed the House, it had a long and uncertain ride ahead of it. Senate Republicans would mark it up or offer their own version. Democrats would have their say. Then there would be a conference committee.  
Instead, the House GOP’s healthcare bill tanked. Is that fatal to Trump and the GOP? Not if Trump and congressional Republicans agree on better legislation and a smarter approach. Trump needs the win, and so do congressional Republicans. Voters won’t hold Republicans accountable in next year’s midterms for failing to repeal and replace? Goofy. They gave undivided government to the GOP to fulfill their promises.    
Speaking of promises, let’s get back to Trump’s fledging presidency. Peering through the fog of political war, we see excellent starts and ample successes for the president in his early days. All on the record.
Despite 24/7 assaults from Democrats, the mainstream media, celebs, and spoiled brats who took to the streets, Trump’s racking up Ws. Where to begin?
In the teeth of Democrats’ obstruction, the president’s assembling a cabinet of accomplished men and women. Overall, the cabinet profiles as conservative. He nominated a prudent jurist, Neil Gorsuch, to replace the late, great Justice Scalia. Gorsuch should be confirmed if Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans do their jobs. The president will have other chances to nominate justices (SCOTUS and federal benches). Expect those nominees to be cut from Gorsuch’s cloth. Confirmations mean an originalist tilt to the Supreme Court for years.       
The president has aggressively used his pen to deep-six many of Obama’s most ruinous executive orders. Notably, in the areas of illegals, energy, and climate. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is putting sanctuary cities on notice: no federal funds if your city harbors illegals in defiance of the law. The Homeland Security Department has sought proposals for border wall construction. The president seeks to bulk up the U.S. Border Patrol and ICE. The liberal Ninth Circuit can’t block Trump’s travel ban indefinitely. Extreme vetting will happen.    
The Keystone Pipeline will be constructed. The coal industry’s shackles are being smashed. The president has consistently stated his goal: U.S. energy independence. He’s only begun to free up the nation’s energy industries. Achieving energy independence has outsized economic benefits, but, more so, it has critical national security advantages. The country should never again be held hostage by OPEC or the equivalent.
Trump’s executive orders are peeling back Obama’s climate change regs. He proposes to make “sweeping cuts” to the EPA. His EPA director, Scott Pruitt, is a tough, no-bones reformer. Pruitt aims to depoliticize the EPA’s mission.  
The president is committed to boosting military spending. After years of neglect and downsizing, the U.S. Navy is up for revitalization. The PRC’s claim to, and ongoing militarization of, the East and South China Seas (international waters), menaces commercial shipping that transits those waters. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars annually in cargo. Much of that commerce is American.    
Trump is stepping up efforts to defeat ISIS. He’s not just trying to drone ISIS to death. He’s inserting two companies from 82nd Airborne to help win battlesagainst ISIS in Iraq.  
The president has warned the treacherous North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, that aggression or nuclear attack against the South or regional allies or the U.S. will be met with a deadly U.S. response. Rex Tillerson has pressed the Chinese to exert more influence over the North Koreans.    
The president is designating his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a smart-as-a-whip business mind, to fundamentally reform the federal government. Trump wants smaller, leaner, and less intrusive government. As an entrepreneur, Trump’s had to grapple with miles of red tape and meddlesome bureaucrats. A major government overhaul isn’t sexy, but matters greatly to the economy and liberty.
Those are just brushstrokes. Trump’s efforts have been prodigious in a short time. Tax cuts and reform will be huge in the coming weeks.
That’s not to gainsay the importance of repeal and replace. Healthcare reform is a marquee issue, and it has to get done the right way. Though sobered when Ryan pulled the bill, Trump hasn’t let the failure stop him. He’s pressing on with other critical business. He has moved on while working behind the scenes to make the next go at healthcare reform a success. We’ll see how that transpires.  
The president is a businessman, not a movement anything. That and Trump’s history bugs #NeverTrump conservatives. Short of Trump being immersed in water at a Heritage Foundation fount and born again, these conservatives will continue to find fault with the president. Even then, they’d say Trump was faking it. So be it.
Trump’s actions as president are revealing him to be a practical conservative. That doesn’t mean he’ll satisfy conservatives on every issue. Yet, in the early going, the president is keeping his promises. The herculean task of moving the nation away Obama’s leftism is underway. Underway, that is, to those willing to drop their biases and look.