Friday, January 19, 2018

Trump's First Year

When Donald Trump announced that he was running for President, I just rolled my eyes. I was still mad at him for birtherism. Before Trump got involved, it was something the Clinton campaign had invented in 2008. But after Trump jumped on the bandwagon, everyone forgot that birtherism was already well-established and insisted that Trump (who was a Republican at the time) invented it.

Then there was Trump's party hopping. I really distrusted a New York former Democrat. I expected that he'd be to the left of Romney who I figured would be a good administrator but would disappoint me in the positions he took.

I fully expected Trump to wither away when the debated started. Surely people would start to see that he was, at best, a RINO.

But he dispatched a pack of the best. Governors, ex-governors, Senators, political dynasties - he beat them all without any problems.

Several pundits I trust were calling on people to vote for Hillary Clinton on the idea that she may be a corrupt socialist-wannabe but at least she knew how to work within the system and the Republican Congress would keep her from doing too much damage (were they awake during the Obama administration?). I watched the Republican National Convention and decided that I was going to have to vote for Hillary.

Then came the Democratic National Convention. I watched some of it to see my new party in action. There was Michelle Obama saying "When they go low, we go high". Had that woman seen any of Hillary's anti-Trump ads? They set a new record for low. Then there was the Khans, waving a copy of the Constitution. Yes, their son was a hero but they were put on the stage by central casting to tell us that Trump was wrong to worry about Muslims. This was only a few weeks after one of the worst mass shootings in American history when a gunman swearing allegiance to ISIS killed gays in the name of Allah. Don't tell me that we don't need to worry about radical Islam.

Anyway, by the end of the Democrats' convention I realized that there was no way I could vote for that crowd. Hillary had ignored the old maxim - swing to the left for the primary and swing to the center for the general election. She'd spent the primary running against her husband's accomplishments and she was going to keep running to the left.

The longer the campaign went on, the more I liked Trump. First there were the rumors about Hillary's health which culminated in her collapsing in public. They followed that up with several lies (it was a hot day and she was dehydrated, she never drinks enough water, can you imagine trying to get Hillary Clinton to drink water?). Then they admitted that she was sick but we were to blame (she tried to "power through" pneumonia because women aren't allowed to get sick).

As far as I was concerned, Trump won the election in his opening statement in the first debate. Trump told us why he wanted to renegotiate the trade treaties and how that would help the average American. Hillary alternated between telling us how qualified she was and trying to get Trump to lose his temper. She forgot to tell us what she would do for Americans.

Election night was a surprise but not a shock. I'd been studying the electoral map. I figured that the pollsters had oversampled Democrats and Trump was running stronger than they showed. Once you assumed this, then all of the undecided and leaning Democrat states which were in the margin of error were likely to go to Trump. Which is exactly what happened.

So we took election day off to celebrate. And we just smiled the following day when throngs of women turned out in their pink pussy hats (which are now forbidden because not all "women" have pussies and women of color have brown pussies).

So... how did he do?

Let's be honest, Trump got off to a rough start. New presidents always have problems. Carter tried to be his own chief of staff and failed miserably. Clinton appointed a childhood friend as chief of staff then had to fire him. Trump made these guys' first few months look smooth.

This was inevitable. Between the never-Trumpers and the people who refused to "normalize" Trump by working for him, he had a shallow bench to draw from. He used a lot of family and campaign staff who had never worked in government. Turnover was unusually high. But things have settled down, just as they did for his predecessors.

Politically Trump really surprised me. His opponents keep calling his policies "populist" or "nationalist" or "authoritarian". Actually, they are Reaganesque. Trump followed through on his pledged to reduce government. He also stood up to our enemies.

When Syria first crossed Obama's unintentional red line, he went to Congress for permission to respond, promising that the response would be "unbelievably small". When Congress refused to shoulder the blame, Russia bailed him out, negotiating with Syria to remove their chemical weapons. That didn't stop them from killing their own people. They simply used chlorine gas which wasn't on the forbidden list and Obama was happy to ignore them. The first time they did that with Trump in the White House, we made a missile strike against the air field their bombers used. This might have qualified as the unbelievably small response that Obama planned but coming as it did on the heels of the gassing, it showed strength and the gassing stopped.

Obama left Trump a note telling him that North Korea would be his biggest problem. Obama kicked that can down the road as far as it could go. I'm not sure that Trump has a solution to North Korea - the four previous presidents failed. But they seem to be talking Trump more seriously than Obama.

A year ago were were still at war with ISIS and expecting it to take years to drive them out of the territories that they controlled. That put Americans and Europeans at risk from ISIS's sophisticated terrorist network. Trump stepped up the war and changed the rules of engagement. As a result, ISIS no longer controls any cities. That makes it much harder for what's left of them to recruit which makes us safer.

Trump's biggest triiumps have been domestic. We were told when he tool office that the days of economic growth were over. Instead we just had three quarters of growth over 3% - the best showing in 13 years. The stock market keeps setting records.

This is not just the continuation of trends that started under Obama. It is the response Trump rolling back burdensome regulations. Obama's administration seemed to believe that there was no cost to new regulations (or that they were worth it). Businesses refused to invest, preferring to keep their cash reserves to handle whatever new regulations were thrown at them. Now, with that fear gone, businesses are investing and giving raises.

And that was before the tax reform. The corporate tax reform was significant and highly overdue. American corporations were keeping trillions of dollars parked overseas because America had the world's highest corporate tax rate. Hillary's (and Bernie's) solution to this was to try to penalize corporations. Trump and the Republican Congress encouraged these companies to bring the money home. Apple alone announced that they will bring a quarter trillion dollars into the US. We will soon see a cash infusion of trillions of dollars into the US economy. This is big.

Plus Trump is packing the courts with young conservatives.

I could go on but you get my drift. Yes, Trump is blunt and uncontrolled but the left hated every Republican president. The more conservative he is the more they hate him. Even Romney, as mild as moderate a candidate as you will find was going to roll America back to the 1950s with segregation and a loss of women's rights. The nation would be just as divided had a more moderate Republican won. As long as they are going to hate you anyway, you might as well go big.

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