Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Trump: A Transitory President

There are two types of people in this world, those who have strong opinions on Donald Trump and zombies.  I am among the living. 

I am also a conservative who stopped voting in primary elections because I find most Democrats are outright socialists and most Republicans are strong warriors for conservative principles right up until the second they are elected.

I was a very reluctant Trump voter.  I changed my mind several times during the process but in the end I voted Orange over a write-in.

I voted for Trump because my badly bruised ego had (mostly) healed from all the verbal beatings he launched against Ted Cruz, Ted's wife, Ted's father, Ted's heritage, Ted's looks and Ted's personality. I also hoped that somewhere deep within a Trump administration there might be a lonely conservative that could rage against the machine.

By my way of thinking, a conservative had no positive reason to vote for Trump unless you consider voting against Hillary a positive reason.  He had no firm political record and only celebrity level musings on the issues of the day.  He had a lifetime of membership in the Democrat Party.  He was boorish, mean spirited, thin skinned and untrustworthy.  He and the truth had never been captured in the same photograph.

So, with gnashed teeth and a quick prayer for forgiveness, I blackened in the Republican circle.

Now we are a full congressional election cycle into his term and the White House staff seems to be in chaos, the press is absolute toxic in its coverage of him, Code Pink will be sending an Arizona senator to congress, postmodernists made gains in the House of Representatives, and rumors are that Trump is skulking about the West Wing like a kid kept in from recess.

Oh, and then there is his Twitter account which, it appears to me, makes a cell-phone in his possession at least as dangerous as the nuclear launch codes.

It is hard to take a seemingly objective conservative look at this president when he sits in swirls of both earned and contrived controversy and in multiple layers of both honest and idolatrous praise.  Somewhere in between the heavy petting and the poisonous vitriol there lies a more honest assessment of the man and his position in the GOP.

Here is mine.

If nothing else is evident, Trump has demonstrated to his fellow Republicans that spinal constitution can lead to victories on policy.  Democrats have known this all along but the deeply entrenched self-loathing GOP only elevates members into leadership when they've earned advanced degrees in the Capitulatory Sciences. 

We heard it from minority house members that they needed a majority before they could do what they wanted to do.  They were given that majority.  Then they protested that they needed a Senate majority to do what they wanted to do.  They were given that majority.  Then they whimpered that they needed to have the White House before they could do what they wanted to do.  When gifted with a Republican in the White House, self-loathing GOP office holders found the atmosphere to be too toxic to provide what they promised.  

Trump was not to be stalled.  

No other GOP president would have achieved tax cuts.  No other GOP president would have pulled out of the Paris climate farce.  No other GOP president would have moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.  No other GOP president would have jettisoned NAFTA (a mistake) and would have engaged in a global trade war (another mistake.)  

On and on it goes.

Yet, Trump is a fighter even in situations where he looks ridiculous.  He tries to stick to his public word even when video tape provides conclusive evidence that he's lying through his teeth.  He makes no apologies when he should be begging forgiveness.  He leaves no perceived slight unanswered.  One wonders what level tirade results on those late evenings in the Executive Residence when he has trouble slipping on a pajama shirt. 

Trump isn't just a mixed bag.  He's a multi-colored bag overstuffed with mixed bags. 

After two years of observation I believe his character flaws are worse than I thought they were on Election Day, but I find that his administration has pursued many more conservative policies than I thought would ever be possible.  My facial expression here could be described as a grimacing smile.

My hope is that Donald Trump is a transitional president for the GOP, one that bridges the gap between an establishment party that is not so dedicated to its professed principles as to actually pursue them once elected, and a party that has learned a lesson from the recent midterm losses--that character, words, honesty, temperament and founding principles have impact.

You don't have to be a jerk to stand up for yourself.  (This is not to be confused with not standing up for yourself at all as was George W. Bush's wont.)   

Unfortunately, being succinctly Trump means needlessly picking on people who are sometimes innocent, defenseless, sympathetic or all three.  This is behavior that cannot be excused when children do it, and a grown President of the United States should damn well refrain from it too.

The lesson of Trump for a conservative party is that the path ahead is rather straight and narrow but decidedly uphill.  The principles are already very well defined.  The individual is sovereign.  The powers of government are limited.  Our rights come to us from a higher order.  We are a nation of laws.  These conservative principles resonate with a sizable portion of the people and should be respected.

It’s going to take a future GOP candidate who is willing to stay on the principled road who also has the strength to push uphill.  

Trump has displayed to us a willingness to fight for what he believes in even if not the proper tactics for that fight.  That, if possessed by a virtuous candidate bent upon conservative ideals, would be a person worth voting for. 

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