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    A 'transformative' presidency?


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    A 'transformative' presidency?

    Post  sinister_midget on Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:00 am

    A 'transformative' presidency?

    It's one of the greatest examples of "careful what you wish for" in political history: President Obama is going to be replaced by the kind of Republican he's always said he wanted.

    For the entirety of his presidency, Obama has insisted that he is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. Indeed, he seems to think that ideology is a dirty word. "What is required," Obama declared the day before his first inauguration, "is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."

    As a confessed ideologue, I've always taken offense at the suggestion that ideology deserves to be listed alongside prejudice, bigotry and small thinking. Moreover, as a conservative, I've always found laughable the idea that Obama is not an ideologue.

    But when Donald Trump says he's a pragmatist, it's no laughing matter. Not since Richard Nixon have we had a president (or president-elect) less committed, or beholden, to a fixed ideological program.

    Going into the GOP primaries, the conventional wisdom held that the winner would be the candidate who displayed the most ideological purity. Instead the brass ring went to the contender with the least.

    "No, it's not going to be the Trump doctrine," Trump said in April. "Because in life, you have to be flexible ... You have to change. You know, you may say one thing and then the following year you want to change it, because circumstances are different."

    A few days later, he told his supporters in California, "Folks, I'm a conservative, but at this point, who cares? We got to straighten out the country."

    His surrogates echoed the sentiment. Investor Carl Icahn assured voters that "Donald is a pragmatist. He's going to do what's needed for this economy."

    Hedge fund mogul Anthony Scaramucci wrote in the Wall Street Journal: "What elitists misinterpret as uneven principles, entrepreneurs understand as adaptability. ... Mr. Trump would be the greatest pragmatist and deal maker Washington has ever seen."

    The closest Trump comes to a rigid set of political principles is on trade. He has been making the same protectionist arguments about trade for more than 30 years. And despite the fact that the GOP has, at least rhetorically, been a party of free trade since Ronald Reagan, Trump seems to have won that argument in a rout. No doubt there are Republicans who disagree with Trump on trade, but for the most part they're keeping their opposition to themselves.

    What so many seem to (deliberately?) forget is Reagan's "free trade" wasn't as open-ended as they like to imply.

    Who was it that got the Japanese to voluntarily limit auto imports? Reagan. With just that one act one could say Reagan was for free trade, but also for fair trade.

    "Free trade" doesn't mean laissez faire trade, though "free trade" purists (aka globalists) want you to think it does. I certainly don't want economic suicide just to make Jonah Goldberg and the many other #nevertrump people happy.

    I don't want restricted trade, either, just to keep union bosses rolling in the dough. There definitely needs to be a balance between unfettered and choked. I'm hoping what we'll see will fall somewhere closer to unfettered without reaching the dimwit level the globalists like.

    Obama came into office wanting to be a transformative president. He almost certainly failed. Many of his prize accomplishments likely won't survive the next GOP Congress. And even as he argued against partisanship, and advanced the idea that a president can, nay must, decide every issue on a case-by-case basis, he always pushed a liberal agenda.

    Trump, though, really might try the case-by-case approach, which we'll soon find is more disorienting than refreshing. His "flexibility" on numerous issues - infrastructure, entitlements, industrial policy, day care and who knows what else in the years to come - means we won't know what to expect.

    For good or ill, then, Trump could be the "transformative" president Obama always wanted to be, the one who gets us past partisan ideology by doing away with principle.

    One can already hear the ideological supports of both parties groaning under the weight of Trump's pragmatism. If one party collapses as a result, both will likely topple over. What replaces them is anyone's guess, but no one will deny that a transformation took place.

    *SIGH* Still stuck on stupid.

      Current date/time is Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:58 am