1. In one respect, it is his fault. The most infuriating defenses of the Samantha Bee cunt-fest may be the rationalizations who pronounce her blameless (and thus Turner/TBS) because President Trump made her do it. (Well, maybe the second most infuriating: CNN fake-ethics commentator Brian Stelter actually referred to the episode in a tweet as the “feckless” controversy. You see, Brian, when your field is journalism ethics, you can’t play deceit games like that, because…oh, why do I bother?). To be fair, however, while Bee and the other potty mouthed resistance members and DNC leaders should be held responsible for their own ugly conduct, electing Donald Trump did give a cultural green light to incivility and assholery.
Since nobody else gives me credit and public recognition when I’m right before most of the chattering class (Ethicists Don’t Matter), I have to do it myself. Here is what I wrote in part on September 10, 2015:
We have elected Presidents without experience, who were narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths, who were not too bright, who were unjustifiably cocky, who spouted policy nonsense, who had only style without substance, who acted tough, who were the product of marketing rather than talent. Some of them turned out to be pretty good; some of them surprised everyone and changed their ways. None of them wrecked the nation. I am confident that even at this difficult time in our nation’s history, reeling from the serial incompetence of the Bush and Obama administrations, the United States could survive a Trump Presidency as a nation.
We could not, however, survive it as a culture.
Placing a man with Trump’s personality and his rejection of the basic features of civilized conduct and discourse to an extent that only the obscenely rich or the resolutely misanthropic can get away with would ensure that American culture would deteriorate into a gross, rude, selfish, assault muck in which no rational human being would want to live…
Even if Trump was a policy whiz, a political magician and a foreign policy master who balanced the budget and restored American’s primacy in the world, it would not be worth what would be lost: dignity, fairness, civility, caring, respect.
2. On the other hand…As President, Trump has been far, far more effective and successful than there was any reason to believe, in September of 2015, and on November 8, 2016. “Effective” and “successful” can only be measured by a leader’s own stated goals and how he is able to achieve them, as well as unanticipated benefits of his leadership that surface over time. The analysis of Democrats and the “resistance” on this topic is literally useless. Any Trump initiative that defies leftist cant is by definition not an accomplishment, and anything that they have to admit is a positive development isn’t Trump’s doing. This is not just an example of bias making one stupid, but also of bias making Democrats and the news media unbelievable, petty, and ridiculous.
By the standards of every other President in recent memory, President Trump has had a very successful first 500 days, made more impressive by the unprecedented interference with his efforts engineered by “the resistance,” the judiciary, and the news media. Naturally, Trump is making the absurd claim that he has had the most impressive 500 days of any President, allowing the news media and his critic to concentrate on that “lie” rather than substance. In the end, after all, what matters is what a leader does, not what he says he did.
Here is a partial list of this President’s accomplishments. (The fact that you, or I may not agree with the policy does not mean it is less of an accomplishment.)
- The stock market is currently up more a third the 2016 election. The Dow hit over 26,000 points for the first time in its history. It had more all-time closing highs in 2017, and the Dow increased more in 2017 than any year in history. President Trump enjoys 95 all-time highs since his election and 78 since his inauguration. The Dow, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 all set record highs since the election.
It is intellectually dishonest not to give Trump (and the removal of Obama) full credit for this. Trump promised a more friendly regulatory environment for business as a formula for economic growth. He delivered. This increase in wealth certainly “trickles down” because Americans are seeing their401k’s increase in value dramatically.
- May’s job figures showed that more 155 million people have jobs in the U.S. and only 6 million Americans are unemployed, the least since 2001.
One trusted prognosticator, the Atlanta Fed, expects he GDP growth rate to be 4.8% in the 2nd Quarter of this year, after the 1st Quarter in 2018 reached nearly $20 trillion for the highest recorded GDP in US history. Consumer confidence is at a 17 year high.
Again, all Presidents before this one have claimed credit for good economic news, and have received it. Similarly, they are stuck with the blame for bad developments in the economy, most of which are beyond their control. Efforts to carve out an exception for President Trump, who predicted exactly what would happen if he were elected, are indefensible.
- President Trump gets credit for, so far at least, defeating ISIS, which according to some estimates has fewer than 1,000 fighters now active.
Again, the news media has worked overtime to minimize public recognition of this.
- There is hope of neutralizing North Korea, entirely due to Trump taking a dramatically different approach to the rogue nation’s saber-rattling than his predecessors. If, of course, nothing is accomplished in the end, then this will not count as an achievement. In leadership, as Yoda wisely told Luke, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
Remarkably, there is strong evidence that President Trump understands this, as the previous POTUS never has.
- Trump ended the Iran deal, as he promised to do.
- He appointed and had confirmed the most circuit court judges of any President in his first year in office, and secured Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.
- He signed more than 90 executive orders.
Notable among them were dismantling Obama’s climate change edicts, regulatory reform, including requiring two regulations to be cut for every new one enacted; cutting funding for sanctuary cities, approving Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and addressing bureaucratic bloat by enacting a hiring freeze on federal employees.
- He reversed the corrosive Obama policy of allowing illegal immigrants to assume that their crime in entering the country would not matter as long as they didn’t commit any “serious” crimes once they were here.
Trump’s resolve to stop providing perverse incentives for foreign nationals to enter our country illegally has bolstered the Rule of Law, and helped restore integrity to U.S. immigration policy. For this, he and his supporters have been tarred as anti-immigrant, racist, xenophobic , and bigoted. He deserves credit for not letting sound U.S. policy by warped by “Think of the children!” emotionalism.
- His Education Department withdrew the disastrous “Dear Colleague” letter sent to institutions under the Obama Administration, which dictated a policy that resulted in a collapse of due process in disciplinary proceedings involving accusation of sexual assault.
There are more that could be argued; for example, I consider it an achievement that his election and refusal to be intimidated prompted Democrats and progressives into exposing their lack of core principles, increasingly totalitarian drift, anti-free speech inclinations, and ends justifies the means ruthlessness for anyone to see. I consider it an achievement that his election caused the news media to eliminate any shred of pretense that it is objective and trustworthy. He has also exposed the Republican Party as an empty, useless, self-sustaining racket uninterested in the public good, but only seeking power without purpose.
3. No, keeping Hillary out of the White House doesn’t count, but…The list also should include, perhaps at #1, President Trump’s emphatic rejection of the naive and anti-American Obama dream of a United States compliantly participating in global government. Ann Althouse posted this excerpt from “A Clueless ‘Final Year'” by Roger Kimball:
“This was no mere election. It was a fight between good and evil. And they were in no doubt that they were the good guys. ‘Cuba, climate, Iran,’ Rhodes says, what will happen to those things now that Donald Trump is in charge? Note that he puts forward those items as if they were triumphs for the Obama administration and not disastrous missteps. ‘The irony of the Obama years,’ Rhodes mused, ‘is going to be that he was advocating an inclusive global view rooted in common humanity and international order amidst this roiling ocean of growing nationalism and authoritarianism.’ Got that? ‘Inclusive’ and ‘common humanity’ on one side versus ‘nationalism’ and ‘authoritarianism’ on the other…. The fascinating thing of ‘The Final Year’ is the glimpse it affords into the engine room of a certain species of elite bureaucratic presumption. It is earnest, articulate, educated, well-meaning, and utterly, dangerously naïve. When you review the series of foreign policy disasters over which Obama presided—the names Libya, Syria, and Iran offer a good start—and then contrast it with his warmhearted rhetoric, you begin to understand why Graham Greene could warn that ‘innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.'”