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Trump Keeps His Predecessors’ Promises

He’s not the first to argue for tariffs, border security and an embassy move—only the first to deliver.

President Donald Trump at the White House on March 22 shows a presidential memorandum targeting China's economic aggression.
President Donald Trump at the White House on March 22 shows a presidential memorandum targeting China’s economic aggression. PHOTO:ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG

What else could explain the sudden rise of supposedly nativist, protectionist and isolationist forces? Or Mr. Trump’s victory, which the self-proclaimed experts failed to predict? In this case America’s elites are uncharacteristically too humble: They do not give themselves enough credit for the politics they helped create.

Mr. Trump’s populism is the direct result of the establishment’s hypocrisy. He is implementing policies that more-mainstream figures from both political parties have promised for years but then failed to accomplish. In this way, they built the demand for the actions they now denounce as destructive and even racist. Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, pushing back against China’s unfair trade practices, securing the border—aren’t those are just empty campaign promises? No candidate thinks he can actually get them done, right? Somebody forgot to tell Mr. Trump.

Start with foreign policy. A bipartisan chorus of Washington mandarins complains that the U.S. is retreating from international leadership, creating a void increasingly filled by a rising China. Yet Mr. Trump is simply doing what his predecessors pledged to do. Before 9/11 intervened, George W. Bush promised a “humble” foreign policy and fewer overseas deployments. In 2008, Barack Obama criticized Mr. Bush for being more focused on rebuilding Iraq than America, and he promised to do the reverse. Mr. Obama opposed the Iraq surge, but as president announced his own surge in Afghanistan. Then when President Obama began to draw down troops there, he said America needed to focus on “nation-building here at home.”

Despite the rhetorical flourishes—and Mr. Obama was gifted at those—he was pilloried by the left for leaving residual U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, for selling arms to the Saudis despite their war in Yemen, for ineffectively seeking regime change in Syria and Libya, and for provoking Russia over Ukraine. Mr. Obama’s failures in execution cannot disguise the gap between his campaign rhetoric and reality. The Obama White House continued in a bipartisan tradition of saying America should not be the world’s policeman, then acting as if just the opposite were true.

On trade, Mr. Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, as well as to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, are said to risk a trade war and threaten economic destruction not seen since the Smoot-Hawley tariffs of the 1930s. Yet in 2002, President Bush imposed his own tariffs on steel, though they were temporary and more limited. During the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton both advocated threatening to leave Nafta as a way to negotiate better terms.

Mr. Obama’s campaign subsequently had to fight reports that it had secretly reassured the Canadian government that this was all an electoral ruse. A memo from the Canadian Consulate in Chicago described an Obama adviser as cautioning that the anti-Nafta rhetoric “should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”

The campaign insisted that the adviser had been misinterpreted, and no back-channel communication had taken place. Whatever the case, Mr. Obama’s subsequent time in office confirmed the substance. While on the stump he was happy to rail against perennial trade deficits, America’s loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs, and China’s currency manipulation and intellectual property appropriation. But President Obama did nothing much to counter them.

So, too, with Mr. Trump’s signature issue: the border wall and his accompanying rhetoric against illegal immigration. He may have finally discovered the first shovel-ready infrastructure project Democrats do not want to fund. But some kind of barrier on the border has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support or at least acceptance. In 2006, Sens. Obama and Clinton both voted for the Secure Fence Act, which President Bush signed into law. Then in 2013, every Democrat in the Senate voted for a comprehensive immigration reform that included 700 miles of border fencing. Yet today Mr. Trump’s wall is described in near-apocalyptic terms.

The lesson is that rhetoric matters. Establishment politicians have been borrowing nationalist rhetoric to win elections and then maintaining the same old activist foreign policy, free trade and lax immigration enforcement. They have spent years offering cheap talk, with no intention of following through. Now they are shocked that Mr. Trump, an outsider, does not play their sophisticated game.

If they believe in a liberal, multilateral world order, governed by institutions and rules they see as being threatened by Mr. Trump’s ethos of America First, they should make that case—but they should trust voters enough to do it honestly.

Mr. Jindal was governor of Louisiana, 2008-16.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-keeps-his-predecessors-promises-1522792613?mod=djemMER

Last fall, Oprah Winfrey spoke with 14 Michigan voters, seven of whom voted for Donald Trump. Winfrey sat down with the voters again to get their thoughts on Trump’s first year in office Continue reading

The Rule of Shutdown Politics
Democrats oppose a bill that reauthorizes children’s health care.
 
By The Editorial Board
Jan. 17, 2018 7:21 p.m. ET
 
Washington is going through one of its hoary melodramas with the threat of a partial government shutdown at 12:01 Saturday morning if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill. These are usually worth ignoring, but in this election year we are likely to see more such showdowns. So it’s important to understand the rule of shutdown politics: Democrats want a shutdown but Republicans will get blamed for it.
 
This has been roughly true in every shutdown brawl we’ve watched going back to the 1980s. It doesn’t matter if a Republican is President with a Democratic Congress, or vice versa, or if Republicans run both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Sometimes Republicans deserve the blame, as they did with Ted Cruz’s kamikaze run for ObamaCare repeal in 2013. But even if they work in good faith to avoid a shutdown, the media blame Republicans, and many voters figure the GOP must be at fault because it’s the party that prefers smaller government.
 
Democrats understand this and they use it as political leverage. That’s what’s going on this week behind the scenes as Republicans struggle to put together a budget that can get past the Freedom Caucus in the House but also get at least nine Senate Democrats to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
 
Democrats don’t want to take yes for an answer. GOP leaders want to negotiate a two-year budget deal separate of negotiations over immigration. But Democrats are refusing, though the date when new work permits will no longer be issued to the so-called Dreamer immigrants is the first week of March.
 
Democrats are refusing even though the tentative budget deal being hashed out behind the scenes would also give them a big increase in new domestic non-entitlement spending over two years. Republicans would get more defense spending. Such a deal will give more Republicans heartburn on the policy merits, but Democrats still won’t accept.

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Americans for Prosperity offer ‘Road to Freedom’ to Colorado lawmakers

Author: Joey Bunch – January 17, 2018 – Updated: 19 hours ago

Americans for Prosperity(Courtesy of Americans for Prosperity)

You won’t find Bob Hope or Bing Crosby but Americans for Prosperity are urging Colorado lawmakers to take the “Road to Freedom,” the conservative organization’s legislative agenda.

Colorado Politics scored an early review of the AFP’s positions on energy, education, transportation and the  Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

You can read the document by clicking here.

“We made great strides in 2017 defending TABOR and advancing policies that promote economic freedom,” Jesse Mallory, AFP’s state director and the former Colorado Senate Republicans’ chief of staff, said in a statement.

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The Reagan Club meets on the first Thursday of every month at The Amazing Grace Community Church ( 541 E 99th Pl, Thornton, CO, 80229) from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. with doors open at 6:00 p.m.. We feature different programs and speakers as we honor the 40th President. The Reagan Club of Colorado seeks to promote the Constitution, smaller government, lower taxes, personal freedom, helping candidates, and educating the public about one of our greatest presidents, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

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