Wednesday, February 28, 2018

President Trump might be the most conservative president in our lifetime

By Robert Romano

On Feb. 23, President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for the second year in a row as president, after not attending in 2016 during the campaign. At the time, he was still busy building his constituency in the Republican primary and for the general election, where he would ultimately prevail on a very conservative platform of putting America and the American people first in governing.

Now, Trump is the leader of the conservative, center-right party in the U.S. and of the executive branch. After one year in office, he has a record he has delivered on: lower taxes, fewer regulations and an opening the doors for economic expansion. ANWR has been opened for drilling. The Keystone XL pipeline is being built. The Obamacare individual mandate has been repealed.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. He ended the so-called Clean Power Plan. He withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is looking to revamp NAFTA or else pull out of that one, too. Trump ran on fair and reciprocal trade, and that’s what he’s delivering. At CPAC, Trump declared, “the era of economic surrender is over.”

By enforcing trade agreements through the exercise of the President’s power over foreign relations, Trump is enforcing what are essentially contracts. Ignoring the terms of contracts, and allowing trade partners to cheat, is not conservative. It is corrupt.

Where one might quibble about Congress’ spending record in Washington, D.C., there is a president who is getting what he can done on behalf of the American people who elected him. He set a priority to rebuild the military and put the nation’s security first. Agree or disagree with the simultaneous increase of domestic spending — Trump’s own budget called for $4.5 trillion of spending cuts over 10 years while simultaneously increasing military spending — Trump made his promise on behalf of the nation’s fighting men and women, and like Reagan before him, he’s keeping it.

Trump is handing matters back to Congress and not ruling by edict. For example, agree or disagree with Trump’s decision to put DACA back onto Congress, pass or fail, that’s where the matter belongs. In the process, he is using his decision to end DACA in March as leverage, to fight for an end to extended family chain migration and the visa lottery, moving to a more merit-based model of economic priority.

President Trump is restoring limited government. And he’s doing it despite all expectations from the pathetic #NeverTrump in 2016 that said he was no conservative. He may be the most conservative president in our lifetime.

At CPAC, Trump quipped, “Remember when I first started running?  Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately.  But do you remember I started running and people would say, ‘Are you sure he’s a conservative?’  I think now we’ve proved that I’m a conservative, right?”

Trump has. In spades. He put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and has put 13 constitutionalist judges on the federal circuit courts and another 10 on the district courts. Another 58 are awaiting confirmation.

Trump is restoring the rule of law, cracking down on violent illegal alien offenders, gangs and ending the war on police. He’s building the wall. He has made the opioid crisis front and center, and continues his focus on securing the nation’s borders.

Trump is taking on a rogue administrative state that thinks it is the legitimate government, including deep state actors who would seek to overturn the result of the 2016 election with false claims of the Russia treason plot. It’s hard to imagine anyone else collapsing under that pressure, but not Trump. He is fighting to preserve the institution of the presidency in Article II of the Constitution from an illegitimate threat to the consent of the governed.

In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, the President called for self-defense not gun control. Let gun-owners carry, and shooter will think twice.

Trump recognized Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, something no other president had done.

Trump even took on some issues outside the governmental arena, including respect for the American flag and the National Anthem, demonstrating conservative leadership in a cultural area such as professional sports — and winning.

Trump has a record he can defend. A conservative one. In 2020, it may be enough to win reelection.

But in 2018, the President realizes there are other forces at play. In uncharacteristically frank remarks on the prospects of the midterm elections, Trump noted, “And now only two years — that’s a very short period. And by the time you start campaigning, it’s a year. And now you got to go and fight again. But you just won. So nobody has that same drive that they had. So you end up not doing that well because the other side is going — they’re crazed.”

Statistically, Trump is spot on. The White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats. The exceptions were 1934, 1998 and 2002. In the Senate, the incumbents tend to lose Senate seats about 71 percent of the time, with losses averaging about 6 seats. However, there are more exceptions where seats were either gained or none lost: 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1998 and 2002.

So, what to do? Trump had some words of advice for his supporters at CPAC, warning, “Don’t be complacent… The fact is, we need more Republicans to vote.  We want to get our agenda.” He’s right. But to rally in 2018, the President needs to get the wind at his back. So far, he’s off to a good start, with his tax cut plan now in effect, a rousing State of the Union Address and now his CPAC heart to heart with his supporters.

Midterms are by no means determinative of presidential reelections. Former Presidents Clinton and Obama rebounded after catastrophic losses in Congress. But they can help. Reagan kept a Republican Senate majority in 1982 and went on to one of the largest landslides in electoral history in 1984. Nothing is set in stone, but for President Trump to continue implementing his conservative agenda in Washington, D.C., one fact is unmistakable: he needs a conservative, limited government majority in Congress.



President Trump delivered an epic speech to CPAC, and it left the #NeverTrump gang squirming

Proud to be deplorable Trump began his remarks with a throwdown* to his critics in the Republican establishment:

I’m thrilled to be back at CPAC, with so many of my wonderful friends and amazing supporters and proud conservatives. Remember when I first started running? Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately, but do you remember I started running and people said, are you sure he’s a conservative? I think I proved I’m a conservative.

And Trump was right – while no one would argue that he has internalized movement conservative philosophical principles or claim Trump has lived his life according to Biblical principles, as President he has pursued, and accomplished, a surprisingly conservative agenda.

What’s more, the President summed-up in one short sentence why he is different – in a good way – from most other recent Republican presidential candidates and presidents: Year after year, leaders have stood on this stage to discuss what we can do together to protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom.

Has any other Republican come before a national audience and talked about protecting our heritage?

Year after year Republican presidential candidates, and two Presidents Bush, went to CPAC to talk, but they rarely produced meaningful results on the conservative agenda, and, often as not, many CPAC attendees were opposed to them and their policies.

Certainly in the early years of CPAC its purpose was to advance the conservative takeover of the Republican Party, not serve as a platform for the Republican establishment to try to sell itself as part of the conservative movement.

Donald Trump, the patriotic businessman, is the only President to join President Reagan in coming before CPAC to talk about his commitment to what motivates grassroots conservatives:  protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom.

Trump’s speech, while not nearly as eloquent as a typical Reagan speech, was packed full of what connects him to the grassroots conservative – populist base of the Republican Party. And the first-year accomplishments to back it up.

But there was another element to Trump’s speech that made the #NeverTrump gang squirm: it was fun and entertaining.

You could see the prune-faced looks on some during Trump’s self-deprecating aside about his hair in the middle of a paragraph about judicial appointments:

For the last year with your help, we have put more great conservative ideas into use than perhaps ever before in American history. What a nice picture that is. Look at that. I would love to watch that guy speak. Oh, boy. Oh, I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. Doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in. We’re hanging in. We’re hanging in there, right? Together we’re hanging in. We have confirmed a record number, so important, of circuit court judges and we’re going to be putting in a lot more.

And likewise his takedown of the lone protester to interrupt his remarks:

How did he get in here, Matt? Boy. Okay. Just for the media, the fake news back there, they took very good care of him. They were very gentle. He was very obnoxious. It was only one person. So we have thousands of people here. So, listen, tomorrow the headline will be protesters disturb the Trump — one person, folks. Doesn’t deserve a mention. Doesn’t deserve a headline. The headline tomorrow, disrupters of CPAC. One person. And he was very nice. We looked at him, he immediately left. Okay. Now, I’ve heard it too often.

You’ll have one person and you can hardly even hear. The biggest disturbance are you people. You know why? He’ll say something, nobody hears him, because — and then the crowd will start screaming at him and then all of a sudden we start — and that’s okay. You have to show your spirit, right? You have to show your spirit. It is true.

“Unpresidential” some would sniff. And they sniffed again over President Trump’s comments about the role past immigration policies have played in the rise of the vicious Hispanic gang MS-13:

These are animals. They cut people. They cut them. They cut them up in little pieces, and they want them to suffer. And we take them into our country. Because our immigration laws are so bad, and when we catch them, it is called catch and release. We have to, by law, catch them and then release them. Catch and release. And I can’t get the Democrats and nobody has been able to for years to approve common-sense measures that when we catch these animal killers, we can lock them up, and throw away the keys. In 2017, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 100,000 criminal aliens who have committed tens of thousands of crimes. And, believe me, these are great people. They cannot — the laws are just against us. They’re against — they’re against safety. They don’t make sense.

Perhaps an even better example was President Trump’s demolition of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump didn’t get down in the weeds and try to debate the details of what has been shown to be the phony science behind Obama’s surrender of American sovereignty and economic growth – a surrender happily embraced by many establishment Republican – he simply said what Americans outside-the-Beltway have known for years:

Other countries, big countries, India, and others, we had to pay because they considered them a growing country. They were a growing country. I said, what are we, are we allowed to grow too? Are we allowed to grow? They called India a developing nation. They called China a developing nation. But the United States, we’re developed, we can pay.

So, folks, if you don’t mind, I’ll tell you what, it is amazing how many people understood the Paris accord because it sounds so good. It is like some of the environmental regulations that I cut. They have the most beautiful titles. And sometimes that’s — look, I’m going to close my eyes and sign this, because, you know what, I’m going to get killed on this one. I get so much thanks. The country knows what I’m doing.

We couldn’t build, we couldn’t farm. If you had a puddle on your land, they called it a lake for the purposes of environmentals. It is crazy. It is crazy. And I signed certain bills, I would have farmers behind me and have house builders, home builders behind me. And these are tough people. Strong people. They fought hard. They worked all their lives hard. And half of them would be crying. Because we gave them their property back. We gave them the right to earn a living. They couldn’t do it.

They couldn’t do what they had to do. We gave them their property back, we gave them their dignity back.

But perhaps the best part of the speech was when he spoke of the victims of the Muslim terrorist who used a truck to attack pedestrians along Manhattan’s Westside Highway:

Nobody talks about that. Nobody ever talks about the people that have been so horribly injured, who lose legs and arms in Manhattan where I used to spend my time. I know it very well, this stretch along the west side highway, people run in order to stay in shape, they want to — they want to be healthy, they want to look good, they run, they run, all the time, I see it. They run. We work in different ways. But they run. But think of this, they run. And they’re so —they want to be fit. They’re proud people. They want to be fit. And they’re running up and down West Side. It is beautiful. It is a beautiful thing. And this maniac takes a car going down the highway and just turns to the right and he kills eight. He really badly wounded 12 to 14 other people.

So somebody, think of it, runs to stay in shape, leaves the house, is jogging along, working hard, ends up going home, two months later with no leg or with no arm or with two legs missing. Nobody ever talks about them. They talk about the people rightfully that were killed. But they don’t talk about the people that — whose lives have just changed. Just changed. They don’t talk about that. This guy came in through chain migration. And a part of the lottery system. They say 22 people came in with him. In other words, an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather, a mother, a father, whoever came in. A lot of people came in. That’s chain migration. Let’s see how those people are doing, by the way. We have got to change our way. Merit system. I want merit system.

While the #NeverTrump gang squirmed and made their prune faces, millions of grassroots conservative – populist voters understood that nobody ever talks about the victims of our current immigration system – except Donald Trump.

President Trump also reprised of one the staples of his campaign stump speech, a recitation of the “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr., a minor soul hit performed by Al Wilson in the 1970s.

"I saved you, " cried the woman
"And you've bitten me, but why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die"
"Oh shut up, silly woman, " said the reptile with a grin
"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in”

From “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr.

Establishment Republicans and Democrats hated it when Trump read or referred to “The Snake” on the campaign trail because its simple wisdom proved he was right, especially about Muslim immigration.

The intelligentsia of the Right and Left and establishment Republican politicians and media personalities will continue to talk down Donald Trump and claim his remarks to CPAC just weren’t up to presidential standards. What they don’t understand is Trump’s stream of consciousness asides are exactly were he connects with the voters and what differentiates him from the inside-the-Beltway political class that voters despise.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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