Enjoy it while you can. Or weather it, depending on your Trumpian disposition.
The undeniable reality is that President Donald Trump is doing what no other politician could do. Indeed, the very reality of some of his most off-putting, “unpresidential,” unconventional methods are exactly what are making him so effective.
And what probably makes him unrepeatable.
Long-time Republican strategist turned Libertarian in 2016, Mary Matalin is one of the few establishment-type folks who has come around and actually gets what’s happening.
“I think he’s stunning; he’s a paradigmatic shift…I don’t think anybody else can do it because everybody else who thinks they know about politics impedes their own forward motion by saying it can’t be done. He doesn’t have that gene — everything can be done,” Matalin recently said in a speech.
She’s exactly right. And that is the engine for the paradigm shift.
“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”
– Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company
The U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem is the latest example. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all promised on the campaign trail to make that move, as stipulated by Congress in 1995. But none of them followed through because they listened to the advice of the careerist diplomats in the State Department that it would be inflammatory and dangerous and so on. It just cannot be done reasonably.
But Trump thumbs his nose at the conventional thinking constantly, and followed through with his promise — besting all three of those presidents both in honesty and courage in doing the right thing. This is one element of the Trump presidency that is changing the dynamic in the always-volatile and violent Middle East.
“Safety first has been the motto of the human race for half a million years; but it has never been the motto of leaders. A leader must face danger. He must take the risk and the blame, and the brunt of the storm.”
– Herbert N. Casson, author
North Korea is another example of Trump doing what absolutely no one else was willing or capable of doing — in a way no one expected and that terrified the careerists in the establishment. Responding to Kim Jong-Un’s jibes at Trump being old, any other President would have been very presidential and not replied. Trump tweets back that Kim is short and fat and nicknames him rocketman. That’s about as unconventional as it gets.
No one knows what to do with that. The media had fits, but they are clueless about Trump. The tweeting is coupled with Trump having sent two aircraft carrier groups to the Korean Peninsula and Kim having seen Trump attack Russian-backed Syrians multiple times, even killing some Russians. This generated another paradigm shift. If Trump is willing to kill Russians, why would he shy away from North Koreans? Kim is now negotiating and talking about total nuclear disarmament. We’ll see what happens, but this is an immense step everyone thought impossible.
“Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”
— Will Rogers
The Iran deal is another area where the conventional paradigm is altered. Despite most of the Republicans in the 2016 primary declaring they would rip up the Iran deal, one suspects that they probably would not have once the State Department careerists, other Washington establishmentarians and European allies pressured them not to. Too dangerous!
But Trump is Trump. He kept that campaign promise, too and is helping forge an alliance between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and…Israel! In one sense, this is merely an alliance of a common and deadly enemy, Iran. But it still is rather amazing to consider. And while it has its own impetus among those nations, the fact that America can be counted on (at least until 2020) to support this alliance against Iran’s violent expansionism is undoubtedly critical. Because of Syria and North Korea, the Iranian Mullahs must realize and calculate that they are dealing with a very different and more serious President than the previous one.
“Diplomacy is not an end in itself if it does not advance U.S. interests.”
— John Bolton, now National Security Advisor
China trade and tariffs is a very squishy area for doctrinaire conservatives. Free markets are a bulwark of modern conservatism. But Trump’s enactment of a series of tariffs, and more recently sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE, have moved the dial. The Chinese sound willing to renegotiate the lopsided trade deals of previous administrations and stop or slow down immense amounts of cheating and blackmailing on behalf of Chinese companies.
According to the genuinely clueless media, Trump is now “flip-flopping” on the ZTE sanctions and talking about Chinese jobs instead of American jobs. But what has happened is that the Chinese are willing to stop their threatened retaliatory tariffs that were in response to the U.S. tariffs, just to stop the ZTE sanctions. Meanwhile, U.S. tariffs remain in place, revealing that the U.S. has — and always has had — the superior position of strength in negotiating. We just finally have a president who sees this and is willing to buck all of the establishment thinking and use the superior position for the good of the American people. In doing so, he’s created a new paradigm.
This is most certainly something no one else in the Republican field would have done. (Full disclosure, this writer supported Sen. Ted Cruz in the primaries. But it is virtually impossible to see even Cruz doing this.)
“New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.”
All of this is just on the foreign stage. Domestically, the tax reform package was something that Republicans had been wanting for decades. And while it was a GOP bill, it was in conjunction with Trump and clearly driven by his support for it. That reform has literally given most Americans a pay raise, and a new paradigm.
De-regulation is shockingly underreported, but it has been a major factor in unleashing the American economy since his election. The Trump Administration has eliminated 22 regulations for every one new one it has implemented. American businesses are being unshackled and it shows. In addition to GDP and job growth, wages are increasing and will begin increasing faster as the economy continues to be strong.
Deregulation is something most Republican presidents would not touch because they are always wet-fingering the politics of it with environmental groups and other special interests ready to pounce. Caution and reelection remain preeminent. But Trump just does it because he is unlike any other modern president, or any other options out there. And the paradigm of ever more regulations stifling Americans is cracked.
“He’s given people back hope, I mean people really, small-business people or young families or retiring people, in our DNA is always the potential to be better, to strive for something,” she said. “You couldn’t strive for anything. You’re being bushwhacked at every corner. He has shifted the collective psyche from horribly cynical to helpfully skeptical. So I think he is doing great.”
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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