Donald Trump’s magnificent Warsaw speech was discussed on CNN and MSNBC as being white nationalism in disguise for, among other things, citing symphonies as an achievement of Western civilisation. You couldn’t make it up. Except that leftist hacks can make up anything once a fall guy has been thoroughly demonised as human vermin. They are practised at the dark art.
I have heard Trump described by media commentators as a schmuck, buffoon, pig, crass, grotesque, mentally unstable, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, vulgarian, narcissistic, coarse, egotistical, shallow, horrible, one-dimensional, an embarrassment, and much more beside; some much worse. How about this from our own Nikki Sava: “Ruts deep in mud.” Even the otherwise estimable Andrew Bolt agreed with Richard Alston[i] that Trump might not “pass the character test.”
No one, apparently, can resist virtue signalling. Just when did media commentators become self-righteous arbiters of good taste and character? And just when did manners trump policies? Pun intended. When Trump became president, that’s when. This brings me to Greg Sheridan
Recently Sheridan offered his opinion that “Trump is a poor president.”[ii] As you would appreciate, this is very mild-mannered when set against most of the personal barbs aimed at Trump. Why have I picked it out? I have picked it out because unlike the rest it is a serious charge. It can be construed as being policy-related, rather than fitting into the usual script of gratuitous insults.
Trump’s policies matter to over 300 million Americans and, in fact, to all of us. His supposed personality flaws not so much; particularly as none of us should cast the first stone. The question is simple. Is Trump a poor president; and, to boot, after only six months in office? Put it this way. What egregious things has he done? What egregious things does he intend doing?
First things first. If he is a poor president it must mean that he is poor compared with a number of others. Is he poor when compared with, say, Barrack [ISIS, Iran nukes] Obama, George [Iraq] Bush, Bill [North Korean nukes, Monica Lewinsky] Clinton, or with Jimmy [Iran hostages] Carter? It’s too early, you might say, to form any kind of judgement. You’re darn tootin’ it is. At the same time, it is possible to assess what he has done so far, and intends to do, and give him a provisional mark.
I don’t have a complete list of his actions. But try these for size. He has appointed an accomplished cabinet, including Rex Tillerson (State) and General Mattis (Defence). He has succeeded in getting a conservative constitutional judge (Neil Gorsuch) appointed to the Supreme Court.
He has visited Saudi Arabia and urged representatives of the fifty-four Muslim countries who were present to drive out Islamic extremism. He has given his military commanders freedom on the ground to take effective action against ISIS and the Taliban. He is trying (if so far unsuccessfully) to persuade China to do something about North Korea. He has leant on NATO countries to meet their defence obligations; with some success. He has stood up to al-Assad and Russia in Syria. He has improved the US relationship with Israel. He has begun the process to rebuild America’s armed forces. Contrast all of this with Obama’s appeasement and passivity.
He has reduced and removed a host of regulations hampering industry and mining. He is working valiantly with a motley and divided crew of congressional Republicans to get better health insurance, to markedly reduce taxes, and to renew America’s infrastructure. He is taking concrete steps to improve the delivery of health services to veterans. He has appointed talented and committed people to improve schooling (Betsy DeVos) and housing (Ben Carson) for those in depressed inner-city areas. He has tightened border security.
He is determined to build a physical barrier across the southern border to minimise illegal immigration and the importation of illicit drugs. He has withdrawn from the TPP because he reckons it would have hurt American industry. He is renegotiating NAFTA, again to improve the competitive position of American industry. He has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord because he believes (surely rightly) that it tilts the competitive playing field against America and in favour of China among other countries.
I happen to agree with all of the above policies (and give him very high marks). However, it is legitimate to disagree with some or all of them. It is also legitimate to dislike his style. But how in the world do you arrive at the conclusion already that he is a poor president?
Someone else writing in The Australian compared him unfavourably with President Kennedy. Well, he hasn’t achieved a Bay of Pigs fiasco yet or got the US into anything remotely as disastrous as the Vietnam War.
Take a deep breath all of you right-of-centre Trump nit-pickers. Imagine another four years of Obama or, get really bothered, imagine eight years of Hillary Clinton.
Is it possible for those pontificating in the media (irredeemable leftist hacks aside) to give Trump an even break? The world is in a dreadful state – the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, Islamic extremism and terrorism is only part of the woe. Standing between the free world and its enemies is the United States. The US is heavily indebted; its military might run down; its infrastructure in a poor state; its borders too porous; its inner cities crime-ridden; and, believe it or not, a whole gaggle of elite delusionals think that climate change is the biggest threat of all.
A disruptive political leader is needed in these parlous times. If not Trump, who exactly? Who else could take on the establishment with such strength of purpose and plough on resolutely when assailed from all sides? Who else could drain the swamp (or try to). Cometh the moment cometh the man could have been written for him – at least that’s what I hope; though I am suspending final judgment, as should we all.
His carping critics make me sick. Not because they don’t like him or his policies. That’s fine. But because they are seemingly oblivious to the threats we face and apparently believe that more of the same feckless, good-mannered, Western leadership will avert disaster.
They need to open their minds to the possibility that Trump will succeed and not constantly undermine his presidency. He doesn’t fit their preconceived notion of how a president should comport himself. We’ve had a conga line of those who fit the mould. How has that worked out?