His reluctance to board the Trump Train puzzled me. Reading him on Friday, I figured out why a smart, independent thinker like Ed missed it. The answer is in four words Trump said to Howard Stern when the Iraq War began.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump said.
Stern had asked Trump if he supported the Iraq War. The full answer was “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
The date of the interview was September 11, 2002 -- the first anniversary of 9/11. That happened in Manhattan. His neighborhood. He remembered the smell, that awful, awful smell. So of course he supported the president in stomping these weasels.
The answer shows an everyman, though, who has 99 problems but foreign policy ain't one. The war was abstract then. Bush 43 was seeking permission to land a punch on Iraq. People were just beginning to pay attention.
There are a lot more “Yeah, I guess so” people than there are pundits and wonks.
And on many issues, Trump was “Yeah, I guess so.”
Like most Americans, Trump was not paying attention to the nuances of policy and politics. It is not that they are fools. It is that they have more important things to do with their lives.
Sure he had liberal positions in the past, but upon more careful examination, he changed his mind.
Was it politics? Who knows? Who cares? He's on our side now.
Once you get Trump on your side, you need not worry. He is a man who wins or dies trying.
Policies did not mean a thing to Trump the CEO.
They now mean everything to Trump the president. You can bet he reads, eats, and breathes this stuff.
But skepticism is important and men like Ed Morrissey deserve respect for carrying their doubts into the voting booth, but then taking that leap of faith and voting for Trump anyway.
My voting for Trump was easy.
Ed's vote was a very difficult decision for him.
But three months later, Ed can breath easier.
Conservatives who found themselves lost at sea in a cycle dominated by grassroots populism and the tenacious popularity of the billionaire candidate riding its wave fretted whether they would find themselves locked out, regardless of which candidate won the election. Republican leaders and the Trump campaign insisted that conservatives had only one chance left to save the Supreme Court from a progressive takeover, and eventually conservatives cast their bets on Trump.
This week, that bet paid off – and perhaps more robustly than conservatives might have hoped. Trump had long pledged to name his first Supreme Court pick from a list of 21 names, consisting of well-regarded judicial conservatives that had been recommended from sources like the Heritage Foundation and activists with whom the campaign consulted. Still, having been burned in the past on nominees from better-established politicians – such as George H. W. Bush’s appointment of David Souter or George W. Bush’s initial selection of Harriet Miers – many conservatives had low expectations that Trump would stick to his list once the political realities of Washington DC emerged.By the way, Heritage Foundation is the big winner among the D.C. Conservatives. The foundation threw its support behind him and has much input on policy.
In "Trump the Press," I noted that Trump is not a policy wonk. Guys like Ted Cruz are. Trump hires them to get the policy right.
He is also not an architect, and yet his buildings are beautiful because he hires people to make them so.
But back to Ed. I am happy for him. He now gets to see what we saw a year ago -- or six months ago -- or whenever.
During the campaign, Trump would often claim that America would start winning so much that we would get “sick of winning.” Before the first fortnight of his presidency has passed, conservatives – even those who opposed Trump or viewed his potential with significant skepticism – have to acknowledge that they’ve been on a solid winning streak so far, as early #NeverTrump commentator Erick Erickson did. “If you’re a Trump critic from the right and can’t bring yourself to even thank him for Gorsuch,” Erickson tweeted after the Supreme Court nomination announcement, “at this point, you’re just an ill-mannered ass.”
That streak won’t last forever, of course. Trump has plans for infrastructure spending that will generate opposition from fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks, and the pressing need for comprehensive entitlement reform will get back-burnered for at least a few more years. However, Trump has at least established his credibility on honoring commitments to voters, especially with conservatives who only reluctantly rallied to his banner.
That alone will earn Trump maneuvering room on these other issues, and could unite the Republican base more strongly than since the passage of Obamacare seven years ago. And that should have Democrats facing a potential disaster in 2018 worried that their own losing streak will just get longer and longer.May I suggest the infrastructure plan will not be an ideological tussle? President Trump plans to trade $137 billion in tax credits for $1 trillion in infrastructure from the private sector. The Japanese already are in.
Look for the privatization of airports and the like. Trump believes America's airports are not up to snuff with airports elsewhere.
As for entitlements, I am MC Hammer about my Social Security check -- You Can't Touch It.
But that is the small picture.
Trump is a big picture conservative.
Some of us were lucky enough to understand this early. Eventually, we all will see it.
For 30 years, conservatives looked for the next Reagan. The search for the next Trump begins on January 20, 2025.
Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.
It covers the nomination process only. The general election is covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment," which will be published in paperback on Tuesday.
For autographed copies of either book, email me at DonSurber@GMail.com
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