There’s a scene in the Oscar winning 1984 movie Amadeus where Mozart is pleading with Austrian Emperor Joseph II to allow him to produce a work many in the court find distasteful: “Forgive me, Majesty. I am a vulgar man! But I assure you, my music is not.” As anyone who’s seen the movie knows, that statement is indeed true – at least in that big screen version of Mozart. The point of the line is simply that it is his work, i.e. not his words, that are important.
It’s a line that I think could equally apply to Donald Trump. The man is indeed vulgar at times. He frequently spouts off without necessarily knowing all the facts, without being clear, sometimes he’s simply wrong, and he frequently shows his thin skin when it comes to anyone who disagrees with him or who he believes has slighted him.
By any measure, if America was looking for a standard bearer of eloquence, someone to be the next Abraham Lincoln, JFK or Ronald Reagan with words that inspire a nation to greatness, that’s likely not Donald Trump. If America seeks to have another John Adams or Thomas Jefferson who leaves behind a virtual library of deep, thoughtful, consequential correspondence, that’s not likely Donald Trump either. But if the nation is looking for someone to do the basic nuts and bolts things that help put the government back where it belongs, helps point the nation towards prosperity, reminds Americans that it’s not government that made America great but rather her industrious people, then Donald Trump may be that man.
In the 50 days since Donald Trump was inaugurated the Trump White House has been a cavalcade of activity seeking to rein in the leviathan of government bequeathed to him by Barack Obama… and truth be told, by most of the dozen or so presidents before Obama as well.
The first and most important step Trump has taken has been the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. In a universe where modern courts seem to create law out of thin air or less, a conservative who recognizes that government power derives from the Constitution and what’s actually in it is exactly what the country needs.
But that’s only one. There are many more. Putting Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education is a genius move. Unlike most of the Education bureaucracy, DeVos understands that education is about the students, not the teachers’ unions. Schools are there to teach students to survive and thrive in the world, not a jobs program for teachers and administrators. DeVos will work to put parents and local communities back in control of their children’s education rather than Washington and teachers’ unions.
Then there is Scott Pruitt over at EPA. In Pruitt Trump has empowered someone who understands firsthand how the EPA has strayed far from Congress’s original intent. Pruitt will seek to reverse the decades long mission creep that jumped the shark back in 2011 when the EPA decided that it could regulate milk spills on farms the same way it regulates oil spills. (Eventually the agency had to explicitly state that it would not regulate milk…) Added bonus, Pruitt understands that energy is what powers the United States and he will seek to reverse the EPA’s war on traditional sources.
And speaking of environmental regulations gone awry, the Trump administration has announced that it will roll back the Obama administration’s last minute jump in CAFÉ standards regulations which would have required automakers to increase fuel economy for new cars to the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Aside from being an indirect subsidy to Elon Musk and the rest of the electric car market, this would have turned the United States into Europe, where practically everyone drives around in Matchbox cars few actually want.
And finally there is regulation itself… On the campaign Trump promised to cut regulation by 75%. While he may or may not ever hit that mark, he has taken two strong steps in stemming the tide of overregulation… which costs the United States almost $2 trillion per year. During the first month of the Trump administration not only stated that there would be $0 budgeted for new regulations, they also stated that for every regulation that might be rolled out, an agency must repeal two existing ones. Add to that a hiring freeze – and a ban on hiring contractors – and Trump has set himself up to at least move down that road.
Donald Trump may not be the kind of guy you want to invite to your dinner table or the guy you want dating your daughter… But so what? He wasn’t elected to be a polite dilettante who makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy. He was elected to be the chief executive of the federal government. His single most important duty in that role beyond national defense is to seek to ensure that the government does only those things that it is Constitutionally empowered to do, and if possible do them efficiently and effectively. By reining in stifling government overreach and overregulation, Donald Trump will hopefully put the United States back in a place where innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs can revive real opportunity and prosperity.
For eight years we had an “articulate” and caring president who did indeed make many people feel warm and fuzzy, and over whom Hollywood, the media and academia fawned… with the result being an avalanche of regulation, a dysfunctional and intrusive government and a GDP growth rate that averaged 1.8% - the worst in eighty years – all while piling another $10 trillion of debt onto the shoulders of American citizens!
There may indeed be sour notes ahead, like the disaster of the Obamacare repeal that is shaping up in the House, or potentially a waffling on taxes or the Paris accords, but today 50 days in, the music coming from the Trump administration has been surprisingly sublime. Like the Mozart of Amadeus, Donald Trump can indeed be vile and sometimes repugnant man, but if he continues on this path and succeeds in returning real prosperity to the United States where a robust rising tide lifts all boats, his legacy will be music to the ears of most Americans…
Friday, March 10, 2017
Saturday, January 7, 2017
I started writing this blog in 2009 after having written various random pieces over the years following 9/11. I started some months after Barack Obama was sworn in as President. I thought he was a clearly a socialist, perhaps a Communist, but most certainly un-American. One of the first signs there was a problem came prior to the election when an interview he had done years prior surfaced when he bemoaned that the Constitution was a “Charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf." Building on that he promised to “fundamentally transform the United States”. Finally, the promise of a black president didn’t quite play itself out the way some had expected. Some Americans felt that if we finally elected a black man to the presidency it would fundamentally demonstrate the United States was not the racist country so many had accused it of being. Not so much.
On the contrary. Many people started looking at that document Barack Obama saw as defective and started suggesting the entire country was built on a racist foundation. They began using 21st century mores to disparage the Founding Fathers and the Constitution they gave us over two centuries before. For them, an America that is not perfect is therefore evil and racist. Hence the name of this blog “Imperfect America”… drawing on the quote from Voltaire: “Perfect is the enemy of the good”. My first post was titled: “Racism: America’s Original Sin” essentially pointing out that the 3/5 Compromise did not at all mean what activists suggested it meant, and that in fact, had it not been for that compromise the Constitution might never have been ratified, blacks in the South might have been stuck in a country where slavery was fully accepted and a war the war that ended slavery might never have occurred. No, slaves would have been stuck in a nation that was not balanced by vociferous anti-slave voices as there were in the eventual United States. That was the start of this blog, but the areas of concern were many…
Over this past eight years I’ve pilloried Barack Obama, teacher’s unions, the BLM snake oil salesmen, Social Security Disability, Democrats, the media, big government, regulation, spineless Republicans and even Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. The list of enemies of freedom are legion, and most of them – but not all – live in the DC metro area and control the country like an unchecked borg "assimilating" everything in its path. Government rarely passes on an opportunity to get involved and make matters worse, regardless of the area or the Constitutionality of its actions. The lust for power from bureaucrats and politicians seems to know no bounds… and that won’t necessarily change with Donald Trump in office.
But what I think will change is the danger that the country is in. For eight years I’ve lamented the fact that Barack Obama and the progressive left were seeking to turn the nation into a third world socialist paradise such as Venezuela or Greece or Cuba. In some respects they’ve succeed, but thankfully in some they have been stymied. They will no doubt continue to mobilize their comrades in the media and academia to advocate for their march for progressive fascism, but given that there are fewer elected Democrats today than there have been in almost a century, they may have a somewhat difficult road ahead. Indeed Barack Obama’s legacy just may end up being the decimation of the Democrat party… which would be a fitting "fundamental transformation".
Donald Trump may be many things, but one thing he is not is Barack Obama. He may be something of a big government liberal, but he’s not anti-American. He may be too tied to big business to appreciate the challenges of small businesses, but he’s not an absolute enemy of free markets. Put another way, after eight years of worrying that the United States is about to careen off the path of freedom and die on the march to a socialist / fascist progressive nirvana, today I look forward to a future where freedom, liberty and limited government have an opportunity to retake their place in the pantheon of ideas on which the country thrives. That doesn’t mean that there are no threats left or that Donald Trump will be the savior we need. Trump will, no doubt do many things that cause conservatives such as myself to bang our heads against a wall, but at the end of the day, for the first time in eight years we at least know that our president’s starting point is not that America is always wrong, that America is racist, that government is good and the private sector is evil. America may not be perfect, but with someone other than a progressive Democrat in the White House we at least have an opportunity to address real issues of consequence and perhaps set the stage for a revival of prosperity.
As such, while I will continue to write pieces for this blog from time to time, it is now time for me to focus on a few other things a bit closer to home where I might be able to have a more direct impact.
Thank you for reading…