Monday, December 12, 2016

"...if Donald Trump decides he has to schmooze Al Gore before giving me Scott Pruitt, I can live with that."

I am glad to see one-by-one writers at National Review coming around to praise the actions of President-elect Trump. For example, Andrew McCarthy:
Well, if there had been a second Clinton administration, do you think we’d have gotten Pruitt? How about Jeff Sessions at Justice, or General James Mattis at Defense? Or Trump’s promised upgrade in immigration enforcement to be carried out by General John Kelly, the clear-eyed So-Com commander who has warned about radical Islam’s inroads in Central and South America (and a Gold Star dad whose son laid down his life in Afghanistan, fighting our jihadist enemies)?

Do you figure Hillary would have tapped teachers-union scourge Betsy DeVos for the Education Department? Or a staunch Obamacare critic such as congressman (and doctor) Tom Price to run HHS? Do you think a President Clinton would have stocked her national-security team with advisers who believe we need to organize policy around the idea that the jihadist regime in Iran is an enemy of the United States — not a potential ally we should appease at all costs, but a foe whose ambitions and provocations need to be checked?

Not a chance.

Trump’s call with the president of Taiwan? I like it. After all, to pull off the “strategic ambiguity” of our dubious “One China” policy, needn’t we at least maintain some, you know, ambiguity? And in a week when we observed the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I must say Trump’s echoes of Reagan and MacArthur — declaring, “There can be no substitute for victory in the pursuit of peace” — were far more welcome than a lecture on the perils of “fake news” from, of all people, the woman who fraudulently blamed a YouTube video for the murder of four Americans by jihadists in Benghazi.

...On that score, I am not as glum as some of my friends over Trump’s Carrier intervention. As a matter of policy, I think our editorial has it right. Thus, I can’t praise it because I am not convinced, as Moore is, that it “puts American workers first.” When the government dabbles in this sort of thing, some American workers always benefit over others.

It succeeds as theater, however, because the visibly affected workers are the ones whose jobs have been saved. And in politics, theater has its place. Since the economic effect of the Carrier bailout is negligible, is this one of those places? That depends. Let’s say Trump did it merely to showcase his emphasis of American well-being over global concerns, before implementing economic policies that benefit American workers across the board once he takes office. If so, Carrier will be remembered as a clever gambit that won Trump some goodwill. On the other hand, if Carrier is a prelude to Obama-style crony capitalism — just substitute Trump’s manufacturing rationalization for Obama’s green one — then it will rightly be seen as the seed of a debacle.

Time will tell. As it will regarding Trump’s olive branches to the left — the praise for Obama, the let-felonies-be-bygones approach to Hillary, the audience with Gore, the bridge-building with the New York Times editorial board, the phone call to Al Sharpton, and so on. It is said that Trump is not ideological and wants to overcome our country’s deep, paralyzing divisions. That’s an appropriate thing for a president to try to do, and maybe Trump’s combative persona can make some ironic headway. The Left knows that, unlike the gentlemanly George W. Bush, the new president will punch back and then some. Maybe he’ll get better cooperation — or at least less sabotage.

We’ll see. I am pleasantly enough surprised that I am not fretting, for now, over Ivanka’s visions of Eleanor Roosevelt. There’s a long way to go, but if Donald Trump decides he has to schmooze Al Gore before giving me Scott Pruitt, I can live with that.
Read more here.

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