August 28, 2017

Reassessing the Trump presidency

It's been just over 7 months since president Trump was sworn into office.  Back then, there was a palpable energy and excitement within his base of supporters. And so with an initial flurry of executive orders and a Supreme Court Justice aligned with his campaign promise things looked very promising - he'd repeal Obamacare, reform taxes and drain the swamp.  That was in hindsight a really aggressive agenda, as much as it was a necessary one.

A mere 7 months later the views of president Trump steamrolling his detractors and delivering everything he promised seem, to be blunt, highly naive.  That is especially true in light of the fact that the president seems to be more and more surrounded by establishment types with Democrat-type mindsets, and beset on the titular right by CINOs - conservatives in name only. That is not to say the things the president had promised as a candidate are impossible nor any less necessary than they were on January 20th. Still, it's time for conservatives, nationalists, libertarians and Republicans to undertake a reality check.

One man (regardless of whether he is the president) running up against an establishment with an entirely different geopolitical world view and agenda, was never going to drain the swamp in a day, a month or even a year.  Consider that the bureaucracy is as much invested in self-preservation as any individual.  That means that government departments are not going to pave the way for their own trimming let alone their own eradication as a result of being redundant or superfluous or extremely inefficient.  In addition the heads of those departments consist of political appointees or careerists who would be extra-invested in their own fiefdoms' continued existence.

But the establishment extends beyond just that.  Democrat and Republican representatives in Congress and the Senate are both invested in the status quo.  They are on both sides invested their own power and wealth.  Power corrupts - they have most certainly bought into self preservation, regardless of the impact it has had on middle America with respect to wealth, jobs, or values.  All that matters to them is their own situation.  That is why their response to president Trump on any issue, regardless of party affiliation, has actually become highly predictable; resist.

The media is driven by two things as well - sensationalism (which amounts to profit and self preservation as the root objective) and progressive liberalism.  With president Trump those two things dovetail very well for them.  Russia, mental instability, or whatever the narrative du jour might be, it all serves the attempt to derail the president; it makes for a sensational attention-grabbing news cycle as they strive to keep themselves relevant. It also serves to try to discredit the president's views and argue for a return to progressive liberal policies come the next election cycle. Make no mistake, it's what they want.

With all of that arrayed against president Trump, it's not surprising that 7 months into his administration his populist allies like Steve Bannon or Sebatstian Gorka have slowly been replaced by establishment insiders.  President Trump is facing a Great Wall of resistance.  Even a team of true-believers in swamp draining could not have accomplished by now what we want them to have accomplished.  Surely we didn't believe that the establishment would roll over for the president?  Surely we did not think they would accommodate the president's agenda instead of fighting back tooth and nail and try to destroy the agenda by destroying the man?

Maybe, naively, we did. 

Therefore it has come time to reassess the Trump presidency.  Yes progress has been slow.  No, the agenda has not been implemented. Not yet.  But what we have not gotten right is our fault not the president's.  What we have been wrong about is not the president (at least so far) but rather the time it will take to do this thing.

The establishment will not be cowed in a day.  The government will not become accountable to the people in a year. It will not happen even in 10 years.  To see this through, it's going to take not one term of president Trump and not even two.  Rather I suspect this is going to take 10 to 15 years of constant hammering, or rather chipping away at the foundation of big government and insider politics to make a difference.  Think about it; it took generations for progressivism to seep into government and the public consciousness. They understood the idea of generational shifts. This swamp problem does not go away in that short of a time frame.  We have been wrong to expect it to do so.

This is no time for the right of center to shy away from president Trump's agenda.  We should hold his feet to the fire, and we should do the same with the Republicans in the senate and congress and the White House.  We should demand he eschew liberal Democrat thinking people within his administration.  It is also incumbent upon us to ensure that we do not abandon the agenda and seek a second term of president Trump and that we follow that with someone with a similar agenda so that it might be continued.

This is a critical juncture in American history. On the heels of Reagan's presidency conservatives voted for president Bush, someone who was the embodiment of political establishmentarianism within the GOP. Between that and today we have seen liberal Republicanism in presidents and nominees as well as liberal Democrat presidents. President Trump, despite his flaws, is possibly the last best shot at chipping away at the stone of establishment/bureaucracy/progressivism.  The opportunity must not be squandered.

Russia did not dissuade president Trump's supporters and nothing the left throws at him in the media will do so.  While the less obvious but continual push back from the inside establishment might dishearten us, we must not let it do what the leftist media cannot - turn our support from president Trump, or if you prefer, his stated agenda of smaller, accountable government, and American exceptionalism.   To cede to the pressure is to accept a managed decline of American greatness.  As a nation capable of far more, you deserve far more than that. Do not settle for less than the sheer greatness of which America is capable.
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