JEFF KOWALSKY / Stringer
How much longer are journalists going to continue making fools of themselves and boring their readers by spewing out anti-Donald Trump pieces, instead of providing the public with informed and reasoned commentary on the American presidency?
The anti-Trump drivel is both a surrender to groupthink – the worst threat there is to good journalism – and an investment by commentators in virtue signalling to their peers. Nobody in the wine bar is going to say: “Hey, I really loved your piece praising Trump’s economic policy.” Peer pressure and Twitter are not only policing the general public in the politically correct interest, but also intimidating commentators, though most of them have psyched themselves into believing Trump is the devil incarnate anyway.
It is easy meat, too: dashing off a formulaic polemic, taking care to include the key buzzwords – “meme”, “trope” and “man-child” – beats researching objective facts and complex statistics. Even on supposedly conservative platforms, as in purportedly conservative parties, liberal orthodoxy has supplanted not only intellectual legacy but even objective thought.
According to received opinion – the discredited orthodoxy that the forces of realism are remorselessly displacing across Europe and North America – Trump is a fool, an incompetent, a buffoon who is disgracing his high office. He is not a “statesman” like Angela Merkel who destabilized Europe by unilaterally inviting in a million African migrants, or Emmanuel Macron, the pygmy who likes to pose in the palaces of great Bourbon monarchs – a vanity that merely highlights his inadequacy. (More on Jupiter on another occasion: Macron is the gift that just keeps giving and, in the buffoonery stakes, we are nowhere near Peak Macron yet.)
In contrast, Trump is despised as part of the Orbán/Salvini phenomenon – the group, as it happens, that is reshaping the future of Europe. These are people who do not play by globalist liberal rules, possibly because they believe mankind has a higher destiny than to submerge its culture, nationality and liberties in a pool of cheap labour to benefit mega-corporations.
As the McCain obsequies anti-Trump hate-fest fastidiously implied, true American statesmen practise rhetoric, unlike Donald Trump who communicates in garbled utterances. What the collective Beltway Entitlement does not realize is that Trump’s verbal inarticulacy is one of his greatest strengths. The world is tired of micro-crafted orations from politicians that have been processed by sixteen speech writers and three focus groups: weasel words delivered by hypocrites, dripping with insincerity and conveying promises they have no intention of keeping.
Rhetoric epitomizes everything that was wrong with the liberal democratic political system that is now on death row across the developed world. “Four score and ten years ago…” “Yeah, bud, ya mean ninety years ago, right?” “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” intoned the bootlegger’s heir. A Republican bumper sticker more succinctly debunked the Kennedy clan myth: “More people died at Chappaquiddick than at Three Mile Island”. And so on, up to the most synthetic practitioner of all, Barack Obama (tremble, Mogadon shareholders).
American voters have been subjected to sufficient hot air to destroy the ozone layer, all this bovine effluent serving as substitute for action or the fulfilment of campaign pledges. Trump’s lack of rhetorical skills is, to Joe Public, a plus point; his plain speaking is a breath of fresh air. Rhetoric is sinister: it began with the waspish Cicero destroying his enemies, it bred an intoxication in France in 1789 that produced the Reign of Terror, and it created a monstrous regime that consigned six million Jews to the gas chamber. Rhetoric we can well live without.
Donald Trump is a good president: less than two years into his first term, that is already evident. His across-the-board tax cuts have energized the US economy. Last month total nonfarm payroll employment in America increased by 201,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.9 per cent. Black and Hispanic unemployment is at record lows of 6.3 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively. An extra 2.5 million jobs have been added to the US economy this year.
Trump deserves credit for this because of his tax cuts and his welfare reform promoting economic mobility and encouraging more people to enter the workforce. His 2019 budget will save $3 trillion over the next decade for US taxpayers. He has also ended the absurd “Catch and Release” policy for illegal immigrants, with immigration a key issue among the American public.
The sucker’s deal with Iran on its nuclear programme that the “statesman” Obama signed (independently of Congress) has been repudiated by Trump with visible results: already, the mullahs are in trouble. Similarly, Trump’s 12 June meeting in Singapore with Kim Jong-un brought North Korea seriously to the table for the first time in decades. As Trump is well aware, the Kim regime is volatile and unpredictable; it will not abandon its nuclear ambitions easily and its undertakings cannot be relied on.
But there is a good prospect of defusing tensions between North and South Korea and beginning a two-steps-forward-one-step-back process that could progressively draw Pyongyang into the international community, lured by the economic carrot. If that fails, the regime knows Trump will not hesitate to wield the military stick.
Despite Democrats obsessing in an orgy of wishful thinking over Mueller and supposed Trump complicity with Russia, that is not the issue. Forget Russia: the issue is China. Trump’s historic contribution, even at this stage of his presidency, is to have met head-on the previously unchallenged bid by Communist China for global economic hegemony. While Beltway pietists bleat about blasphemy against “free trade” and globalisation, Trump summed up the reality in one succinct remark about China: “When they charge 25 percent for a car to go in, and we charge 2 percent for their car to come into the United States, that’s not good.”
Trump said this at his signing of a presidential memorandum to initiate a Section 301 trade action against China; he is targeting in particular the drain of US intellectual property to Beijing. “Protection!” shriek the more unbalanced champions of “free trade”: what is occurring in economic relations between state capitalist China and the West is a million light years removed from free trade, as Adam Smith understood it. Trump is doing the right thing. He did the right thing, too, in withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on spurious “man-made” global warming and his example is likely to be followed by Brazil.
If, as expected, he secures the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Trump will have restored the SCOTUS to the stewardship of sober constitutional originalists, instead of liberal judicial activists who interpret the Constitution as prescribing whatever their prejudices impel them to decree. The grotesque scenes of disruption during the confirmation hearings, orchestrated by a Democrat senator, demonstrated the Democrat Party’s contempt for the great institutions of America.
But no, Trump is a clown, insist the scribblers. The sensible people are wearing “pussy hats” or are dressed like a bunch of Amish Red Riding Hoods, or screaming obscenities and tweeting four-letter word abuse. Nobody is more obviously brimming with hatred than the anti-Trump brigade, so they have redefined “hate” as disagreement with their prejudices. British commentators are in strange company.