Amen to this.
As we said in a post over the weekend, this publication has sought to be fair to President Trump when we feel many other publications have not been. And, as we also said, this isn’t to say that Trump is without faults, and big ones. We’ve taken him to task on spending, on trade, on drugs, on guns, on the debt, on gasoline taxes, on “infrastructure,” on bluster. However, it seems objectively accurate to say that the country is in a better place, and indeed is better led, than during the Obama era. There is vitality in the country. I can see it. I think almost everyone can see it.
This isn’t all Trump of course. But what many of the never-Trumpers don’t understand was the sense of relief when Hillary Clinton was defeated. Many of us had come to accept that the status quo would continue. That the steady march toward the expanded and all encompassing welfare state was going to happen. We would have to suffer at least 4 more years of moralizing from the White House. Plus it was Hillary Clinton, a person pretty much everyone, including her supporters knew was corrupt. It was all just exhausting. The country seemed destined for mediocrity and continued slog – at best.
But then Clinton lost. She lost. And America looked around quietly the next day and gave each other quiet smiles.
Of course it wasn’t all smiles. There was a whole section of the country that descended into the heart of politically correct darkness and started (literally) screaming at the sky in anguish. But, even still, even as some convulsed in their pink knitted hats, much of America smiled. Clinton had been defeated and now we could finally move on from the gloom of the Obama years. One way or another we were moving on.
And that’s it in a nutshell. But many of the GOP neoconservative never-Trumpers were on team Clinton/Bush. They hadn’t contemplated that the neocons would be pushed even deeper into the wilderness. The neocons had fought Ron, and then Rand Paul because they feared the political wilds. But then, out of nowhere Trump came into the White House and banished them. As such they staked socially acceptable ground which just happened to coincide with the views of team Clinton/Bush. They would still get invited to the right cocktail parties and get invited to pontificate on CNN. Unlike those heathen Trump supporters.
Meanwhile much of America continued to quietly smile, gave the neocons a wave of the hand, and went on about getting things done.
(From Real Clear Politics)
Sullivan is sounding a different alarm these days. The danger Trump presents is not fascism—he is too scatter-brained for that—but incompetence and buffoonery. By January 2018, in the same magazine, he was seconding Wolff’s warning of the White House’s “chaos and dysfunction” and comparing the President to a drunk driver lucky enough not to have crashed…yet. From Mussolini to Teddy Kennedy in 18 months—I suppose that’s progress.
As for the Right’s reassessments, every conservative publication has been forced to admit, however grudgingly, that President Trump had significant accomplishments in his first year. The Weekly Standard called his record “reasonably impressive.” But this bombshell appears alongside their default position: “Trump’s character and temperament made him unfit for office.” How to reconcile these?
Partly through wishful counterfactuals. “[S]imilar ends,” the editors assure us, “would have come from almost any Republican president given a Republican Congress.” Really? That seems far from inevitable. More importantly, one must first become president to be a good or bad one. We know that Trump won the presidency by carrying states that had eluded Republican presidential nominees since the 1980s. It is not only uncertain but unlikely that a more conventional politician would have duplicated this success against Hillary Clinton.