Nearly a year into his presidency, pundits are admitting that not only has President Trump accomplished more than they expected but has governed more conservatively as well.
Mark Levin devoted a segment recently to explaining why Trump is the most conservative president since at least Ronald Regan.
National Review, which famously put together a special issue last year entitled, “Against Trump,” choked down a plateful of crow last week. “Give Trump Credit Where It’s Due,” read the headline on editor Rich Lowry’s piece. “As the year ends, he is compiling a solid record of accomplishment.”
Aside from Neil Gorsuch joining the Supreme Court, much of the year had been “sound and fury signifying not much,” Lowry wrote.
“Now, it is sound and fury signifying a discernible shift of American government to the right. It is hard to see how a conventional Republican president would have done much better, except if he had managed to get Obamacare repealed, which was always going to be a dicey proposition given the narrow Republican majority in the Senate.”
The tax cut has “changes conservative economists have sought for decades” — lowering the corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent, moving to a territorial tax system and business expensing. These were “arguably as significant on the corporate side as the Regan reforms of 1981 were on the individual side,” Lowry wrote. “They stand a good chance to be enduring, too – it’s unlikely we are ever going back up to a 35 percent corporate rate or returning to a worldwide tax system.”
Other conservative accomplishments impressed as well – deregulation, VA reform, immigration reform, destroying ISIS, expanding energy production, reversing net neutrality, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, withdrawing from the Paris climate accords and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, getting NATO and UN members to pay more of their fair share.
But Jennifer Rubin, who “writes the Right Turn blog for The [Washington] Post, offering a reported opinion from a conservative perspective,” didn’t see it that way.
She named her “Distinguished pols of 2017,” and it was clear the main criteria for making the list was to oppose Trump and his conservative accomplishments, and the most disqualifier was not opposing the president.
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich led the list because he “again and again rejected ridiculous right-wing policy positions, spoke out against Trump’s attacks on democratic norms and tried to advance sensible policy positions.”
Rubin also credited other Republican governors, including Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Brian Sandoval of Nevada, because they “rallied against destructive health-care legislation and continued to govern from the center.” The three opposed attempts to repeal Obamacare – a position, however destructive Rubin may view it, that got many Republicans elected.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was so far behind in his re-election campaign that he dropped out, got a shout-out from Rubin, as did Evan McMullin, the failed presidential candidate, and the former George W. Bush administration figures who have made a cottage industry out of writing anti-Trump screeds.
The Post’s purveyor of reported opinion from a conservative perspective had no sympathy for the “fleet of ‘opinion makers’ at previously respected publications and think tanks disgraced by their cheerleading for a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic president whose contempt for truth and the rule of law is unprecedented,” predicting ominously “they will not regain the stature and credibility they once enjoyed.”
And the lawmakers were even worse in actually voting with the president on his conservative agenda.
“We sadly acknowledge that too many on the right talked (or tweeted) a good game, yet crumbled under partisan pressure when it mattered most,” she wrote. “We’ve long since stopped crediting those with pithy Twitter feeds but rotten voting records. The hall of shame is crowded to be certain.”
Vice President Pence “exemplified toadyism.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “forfeited any claim to intellectual rigor.” All Republicans refused to “properly vet nominees” or looked the other way or even joined in “while the president attacked the credibility of the courts, the FBI and the Justice Department.”