My feelings about President Trump are — complicated. But of this I am sure: Trump has to be given every chance and every support that the Republican Party can muster. It is not “normalizing bad behavior” to support President Trump or to, if not mute, restrain criticism. This is particularly so when the focus of the criticism is style and character, not policy.
I am one of those who distinguishes between Trump-ism and the man. Trumpism (IMO) is a fundamental challenge to identity politics, collectivism, and the administrative state. Trumpism is a use of federal power in ways that are not consistent with traditional limited government conservatism to rebalance and stop, and hopefully reverse, the progressive agenda. Trumpism is chemotherapy applied to the cancer of progressivism.
Are there risks? Of course. But consider the alternative. One definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. We lay that charge on progressivism all the time. Why would we not recognize that “standard” Republican politics on the national level suffer from the same syndrome?
Obama should have taught us the lesson of what happens when progressives weaponize government against its people. Is it not plain that government, having been weaponized, needs more aggressive addressing than simply freezing the status quo?
Trump won the nomination and the general election specifically because he saw this and offered the largest bid to address it. His opponents in the primaries said all the standard and right things — and even meant (mostly) well — but they did not close the deal with the voters. Trump did. And in the general election, it was a choice of “more of the same” versus aggressive change, not freezing the status quo.
America made its choice but progressives and some conservatives have been working against Trump from the get-go. We know who the progressives are — Democrats, media, academia — and thanks to @garyrobbins we have a list of the 1,400 Republicans who signed up for “the Resistance.” The Republican resistors (IMO) have forgotten that great scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Butch and Sundance are standing atop a cliff over a raging stream far below. Pursuers are at their back and Butch says they need to jump. Sundance is reluctant and Butch asks, “Why”? “Because I can’t swim!” replies Sundance. Butch laughs and says, “The fall will probably kill you.”
To Trump supporters, America is on the cliff and irreversible progressivism is closing in. Republican detractors of Trump are like Sundance saying they won’t take the last chance for escape because they will not be able to do it “virtuously” — i.e., control things. The rest of us want to take that chance for escape because we know to not jump means permanent capture. We would rather chance a bad outcome than remain and get one certainly.
Is Trump personally a flawed man? Yes. Is Trump personally not adept at playing the Washington game? Yes. Are there limitations imposed by Trump’s flaws and lack of Washington savvy? Of course. But as Victor Davis Hanson has said, Trump possesses a “certain animal cunning” in the way he approaches problems. America sorely needs that cunning here and now.
There was a time and place for Henry Clay. It was before the battle, to avoid the battle. But once the battle started you needed a Ulysses S. Grant, not a Henry Clay. We are in a battle. Time to line up behind the Commander-in-Chief.