Rich Lowry thinks President Trump had a great first year:
“Republicans have tried, on and off, to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling since the 1980s. The effort has always engendered intense opposition and always been abandoned. A provision for drilling in ANWR is included in the Republican tax bill almost as an afterthought.
Republicans took a constitutional fight against Obamacare’s individual mandate to the Supreme Court in 2012, and lost. They targeted it in their Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill earlier this year, and lost. They tried again with a last-ditch “skinny repeal” bill, and lost yet again. Repeal of the individual mandate also is included in the Republican tax bill. …”
Poor Donald Trump doesn’t grasp how much trouble he is in:
He has declined across the board in the polls EXCEPT with Hispanics. It is disillusioned White working class evangelical Protestants and moderates who have left the building. Democrats remain as fiercely opposed to President Trump in December as they were in January.
Consider the following list of accomplishments:
1.) ISIS – ISIS has been wiped out in Iraq and Syria. Everyone agrees this is a welcome foreign policy development, but this was mainly due to Russian and Iranian intervention. Vladimir Putin recently declared victory in Syria and withdrew Russian troops from Syria.
2.) Deregulation – The Trump administration has deregulated the FCC and cut a number of regulations that business owners find annoying.
3.) Tax Reform – A Koch Brothers and Chamber of Commerce priority that is a massive legislative victory for Corporate America and validates stereotypes.
4.) Individual Mandate – After half a year was spent on healthcare reform, this was a victory for ideological conservatives who are motivated by opposition to Obamacare.
5.) Judiciary – More victories for ideological conservatives.
6.) Decertifying the Iran Deal – A major priority for AIPAC.
7.) Jerusalem – A return on Sheldon Adelson’s investment.
8.) Immigration – DACA was ended for Congress to bring it back as an amnesty by March.
Left unsaid by Rich Lowry …
1.) The Border Wall – This was Trump’s signature campaign promise, but the can was kicked down the road twice by the True Cons in Congress in April and September.
2.) Immigration Enforcement – Barack Obama deported far more illegal aliens than President Trump.
3.) DACA – The True Cons in Congress are working on a DACA amnesty.
4.) RAISE Act – It went nowhere in Congress.
5.) Kate’s Law – It was never passed by the Senate.
6.) No Sanctuary for Criminals Act – It too was never passed by the Senate.
7.) Trade Deficit – Somehow, the US trade deficit has gone UP this year. The trade deficit with China and Mexico is also UP.
8.) Trade Reform – We still have the same free trade policy. The border tax was quietly dropped. It was another victory for True Cons tax reform.
9.) Russia Sanctions – The True Cons in Congress thwarted a major foreign policy change.
10.) Wall Street – The stock market is way up. It is investors who are feeling the Trump boom. Tax reform will further enrich the investor class.
In sum, it was a great year for ideological conservatives, donors, investors and business owners, but Trump’s populist agenda has all but disappeared. It was that populist agenda which drove the huge surge in White working class turnout in the 2016 presidential election. Those people who voted for Trump were voting for change. They were not voting for the same old conservatism.
Steve Bannon’s exit from the Trump administration was symbolic of Trump’s first year. The same is true of a whole year that was spent advancing the Ryan agenda that culminated in the Gary Cohn tax cuts. The political ground is shifting now as this is increasingly perceived as a conservative administration pushing conventional Republican priorities like deregulation and tax reform.
We shall see if the Republican Congress is foolish enough to kick off 2018 with entitlement reform.