Sunday, February 19, 2017
Deconstructing The Trump Administration - What He Says And What He Means And What They Say And What They Mean
Ever since Donald Trump made known his intentions to run for president, his devotees have been delighted. Here was a man who, like them, had had enough of political correctness, sanctimony, and righteousness. Enough of cross-dressing, free speech muzzling, police-baiting, open border ‘inclusivity’. Enough geopolitical shilly-shallying, moral exceptionalism, and tax-and-spend idealism.
President Trump has made good on his promises, and has made it clear through his Cabinet appointments and executive orders that he means exactly what he said during the campaign.
So far, so good; but what is to be made of his bombast, his insistent attacks on the media, his obsessions with fake news, election results, and Hillary Clinton? Shouldn’t a president be more presidential? Is he not demeaning the office by such a circus act? How can he be trusted or believed? At worst, is he mentally unstable?
Nothing of the sort. The problem is that most of those in the progressive Left who should be experts at deconstruction and post-modern analysis have left their credentials and their analytical tools back at Duke, Oberlin, and Wesleyan. The unschooled have bested them at their game.
They parse the President’s words just as they did during the campaign and extract memes and meaning. Ronald Reagan ran on three principles and five principles only – small government, family values, a strong military, low taxes, and defiance of The Evil Empire. Whatever else he said was Hollywood costuming, set design, and inspirational music.
Donald Trump is no different and is perceived no differently. His partisans can easily extract the main messages from his hyperbole, melodrama, and Las Vegas showmanship. They have no interest in the ‘truth’ and could care less about statistical accuracy. They want no more carefully-worded statements of policy, no considered on-the-one-hand-on-the-other economic wishy-washiness. They want the meat and care little about the dressing.
Trump supporters are not the stupid troglodytes portrayed by their opponents. They know that facts and figures might well get lost in the fireworks of a Trump rally. Precision is only the tool of those who have no patriotic conviction, no passion, and most of all no understanding of the political, social, and cultural revolution that Trump represents.
They love him, his stunning wife, his gorgeous daughter, and his grandchildren. They wish they could live in Fifth Avenue penthouses, have homes in Mar-el-Lago, Biarritz, San Remo, and Gstaad. They wish they had his private planes and yachts.
It doesn’t take too much savvy to see how the Trump Administration is being run. Donald Trump is out in front, the carny barker, the Las Vegas showman, the television celebrity, free to say what he wants, when he wants, whenever he wants. He is the superstar, the headliner, top-billed and top of the cultural ticket.
The Cabinet does the real work. They are the managers who must be faithful to Trump’s principles but who are free to develop policies, strategies, and programs that will assure their application. Trump may fulminate about the irrelevance of NATO, but Vice-President Pence states clearly and forthrightly that the United States will never renege on its regional commitments. Trump may howl about the overreaching of the EPA, how it has been co-opted by tree-hugging liberals, and how it must be dismantled; but his new Administrator says he is a strict constructionist and will follow the environmental laws of the land.
Congress understands perfectly the political game being played. They too are unexercised about the President’s public appearances and political vaudeville. They know that the former generals and CEOs of the cabinet – sober, reasonable, and intelligent and temperate men and women – will be the ones to listen to. Together they will enact a radically conservative policy agenda.
In other words, let Trump be Trump. He is consolidating his base, distracting the opposition from any meaningful counter-strategies, and befuddling the media. Congress can work with the Cabinet and Trump’s closest advisors.
There is no doubt that the Trump Administration will be the most radically transformative in decades; and will outdo even Ronald Reagan whose policies and programs to rein in government, unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and power of the private sector, and reinvigorate traditional social values were at the time revolutionary.
Donald Trump will roll back the Left’s intrusive and counter-productive policies and programs in education, social welfare, health, energy, and environment. The shackles will be off the private sector thanks to tax reform and favorable legislation. Schools and universities will be put on notice to reject demands to reinvent history, devalue individual responsibility, and to march in lockstep with cries for race-gender-ethnicity ‘equality’. He will toss American moral exceptionalism in the trash, confront ISIS and Islamic radicalism head on, and not be afraid to reconfigure the country’s economic, trade, and military alliances.
This all has little to do with his histrionics, his circus act, his reality television reruns. It has less to do with his weekend jaunts to Mar-el-Lago and Trump Tower, his tax returns, his gorgeous daughter and her family, and his unapologetic glitzy middle-brow lifestyle.
His supporters know how to separate the two and love both. With any luck Donald Trump will continue to be the greatest show in America and achieve the conservative goals he has set.
We wish him luck and all the success in the world.