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Transition to Trump: 2016 will always be remembered as the year of Donald Trump

In perusing the news coverage this week it’s become obvious that the news media is fascinated by the personal dynamic that exists between President-elect Donald Trump and outgoing lame duck President Obama.

Several journalists have commented on the power struggle that looks to be taking place among the two competing sides, with the media members instantly picking up on the latest Trump tweet and then eagerly Donald Trumpspeculating on any hidden messages that might be contained within.

Now some are even claiming Obama is “bugging” Trump.

Edward-Isaac Dovere and Josh Dawsey of Politico report, “[Trump] knows he doesn’t like how much attention Barack Obama is getting and is also bothered by what Trump and his closest advisers see as an active effort to poke the president-elect and undermine the incoming administration with last-minute policy changes on his way out of office, according to two people close to the transition.

“And the relationship is likely to get worse in the three weeks until the inauguration: Obama is scheduled to give a farewell address Jan. 10 that is expected to be a recounting of his successes and an inherent contrast with Trump and the administration is rushing to make public a report on Russian hacking during the election that intelligence officials say was done to help Trump, though the president-elect has disputed that entirely.”

I’d like to think we should be surprised by this kind of slanted reporting, but we shouldn’t be. The Politico writers claim Trump has been “irked” by Obama’s policy moves, the latest being his administration’s refusal to veto a United Nations resolution condemning Israel and then his politically correct address at Pearl Harbor this week, where the president said, “Even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward.”

Aside from the fact Obama clearly doesn’t understand what really happened at Pearl Harbor, his dig at Trump was insulting.

If anything, Trump seems bothered by the fact that supposed nice-guy Obama is going out of his way to inflict damage that will take time to undo once his administration supplants the current leftists in executive branch chairs. The Obama people may not be busy removing any letters on the computer keyboards (like Bill Clinton’s people did ahead of George W. Bush) yet they’re laying down track that will have to be torn up and thrown away in any case.

And what’s worse, they seem to be enjoying it. It’s painfully obvious for all to see that Obama recognizes his presidential legacy is going to be basically erased by Trump. All of this destruction can be repaired, but it will take time.

There also seems to be plenty of evidence that Trump’s bold moves during the transition are “bugging” Obama too. Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics writes, “Trump’s messages on social media about Obama were perceived by some as a reversal of the detente touted last month by the two men, but they seem to be less an assessment of the relationship and more a reflection of the president-elect’s defensive posture against those he sees as trying to de-legitimize his election.

“The transition of power from one party to another, particularly in this current political environment, is bound to have its hitches. But this transition has added intrigue and theatrics, including those of the outgoing president. Trump’s recent tweets, including  one criticizing Obama for failed campaigning in key states Hillary Clinton lost, come amid other factors the incoming commander-in-chief might find threatening or challenging.”

Threatening to what? Challenging to whom? If Obama is so confident about all of his “fundamental change” remaining in place long after he’s moved out of the White House, why is he going to such lengths to insist that he was a consequential president?

The truth is there’s a much deeper motive involved with Obama’s actions. His presidential legacy is important to him, true, but his moves of the past few weeks remind me of a defeated combatant mining the harbor before the enemy’s ships move in to take over. They’re also the initial shots in the covert war that will continue on as the Democrat tide recedes and Republicans and conservatives assume power at virtually all levels of government.

It’s reached the point where all Obama and the Democrats have left is to try and undermine Trump’s legitimacy. For they realize that if Trump is able to put in place some relatively easy to accomplish and very visible reforms – like enforcing the immigration laws already on the books – Trump’s popularity will remain stable and likely improve.

There is precedent here. When Ronald Reagan took office in January of 1981 America was coming off of four years of stunning defeat and malaise at the hands of Jimmy Carter. The mood of the country changed instantly after Reagan’s inaugural address. Congress acted. Within a matter of time, the economy rebounded.

People had hope. People were proud of their leaders again. I think a similar feeling will occur after Trump takes office, ditches Obamacare, passes tax reform and begins rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and cities.

There’s nothing wrong with doing what the people want. Trump realizes it; Obama fears it.

So the next time the media claims Obama is “bugging” Trump, it’s best to remember that it’s more likely the other way around.

Is Trump bowing to leftist pressure by seeking out a Hispanic cabinet member?

It was reported earlier this week that Donald Trump was taking flak from race-focused groups spouting off about his upcoming cabinet’s lack of diversity, with claims that the president-elect’s picks included too many rich white men and white generals.

With Ben Carson as the lone black member of Trump’s leadership team critics also noted there weren’t any Hispanics represented. Apparently Trump has heard the noise and is looking to rectify the situation.

Mark Hensch of The Hill reports, “President-elect Donald Trump is seeking a Hispanic official for a top role in his Cabinet, according to a new report [from Politico]...

“The president-elect has reportedly narrowed his hunt to agriculture secretary, according to an official with Trump’s White House transition team. Trump’s other options include his Veterans Affairs secretary and the U.S. trade representative, Politico added.

“’I can tell you now I have spoken to numerous folks on the transition, and they say that he’s absolutely looking for qualified Latinos for a Cabinet post,’ said Mario Rodriguez, who sits on Trump’s Hispanic advisory committee…”

Trump met with Dr. Elsa Murano and Abel Maldonado on Wednesday. Murano is a Cuban-American and Maldonado is of Mexican heritage from California.

While it’s always a positive thing to have “diversity” in the cabinet to potentially silence the complaints of the color-obsessed left, by purposely leaking the news that he’s saved a leadership spot specifically for one type of ethnicity Trump is almost implying that his other choices might also have been based on demographic considerations.

For a long time Supreme Court seats were seen in such a way, including the notion of a “Jewish seat” on the high court.

Ken Rudin wrote at NPR back in 2009, “It's not officially called that, of course. But after Associate Justice Benjamin Cardozo died in 1938, Felix Frankfurter succeeded him on the court. And when Frankfurter retired in 1962, President Kennedy named another Jew, Arthur Goldberg, to succeed him. That's when the term ‘Jewish seat’ began to be widely used.

“The tradition continued when Abe Fortas succeeded Goldberg in 1965.”

Richard Nixon ended the custom of the “Jewish seat” when he failed to replace Goldberg with another practicing Jew, but it was revived and almost expanded recently. I believe there are three Jews currently on the Court, Justices Steven Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, all liberals appointed by Democrats.

Then there was the so-called African-American seat, first filled by Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1967 and currently “held” by Clarence Thomas who was appointed in 1991.

It could be said the Court now has a “Hispanic” seat too, filled by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Not to get too far off the topic of Trump’s administration, but the apportioning of Supreme Court seats -- or cabinet appointments -- by race or gender is troubling on its face, because it implies favoritism. I for one have no doubt Trump will find the most qualified person to fill the remaining positions regardless of their skin color, ethnic background or gender.

If that person happens to be Hispanic, excellent. It will save him some grief from the press harping on the matter and further branding him a racist.

Let the Democrats crow all they want about “diversity” and other concepts that sound good in concept but are often faulty in practice. If eight years of Obama wasn’t enough to demonstrate to people that judging by race has enormous flaws, I’m not sure what would do it.

We’ve reached the end of 2016 and it’s been a heck of a year

Seeing as we’re in the final few days of 2016, many political commentators this week have been offering their personal reflections on what has proven to be one of the most fascinating and consequential years of our lifetimes.

As a prime example, in a post titled, “2016 can kiss my a—,” Erick Erickson wrote at The Resurgent, “From near death experiences to cancer to death of family members and friends to death of the celebrities of my youth to the infernal election between Mephistopheles and Beelzebub for President, 2016 can kiss my ass. I’m ready for it to be over…

“What a miserable year. The election was grating, wearing, and trying. The year, health wise, was a challenge. Through it all, I saw friends struggle and battle with worse from addiction to loss of spouses to loss of children and more…

“So I’ll just say I think I can speak for almost all of us that I am ready for this year to be over.”

Erickson did struggle with health issues this year as he documented on several occasions. And with his long and impassioned and ultimately unsuccessful campaign against Donald Trump as one of the #NeverTrump movement’s leaders, he’ll no doubt see 2016 as forgettable.

So will National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who rhetorically asked the other day, “Does a Never Trumper Need to be Forgiven?” Goldberg answered his own question by writing, “On balance, I don’t feel repentant. But I acknowledge that Trump has surrounded himself with some serious and sober-minded people who will try to constrain and contain the truly dangerous aspects of his character. If they succeed, I’ll happily revisit my refusal to ask for forgiveness.”

I think Goldberg’s half-contrition is about the best we can hope for from the #NeverTrump movement. Most of them have come around to at least admitting they were hopelessly wrong in their political positions in 2016. Fair enough. Their credibility has certainly been damaged along the way, but I think conservatives are a forgiving lot and will welcome in the repentant if they are able to return to recognizing who the real political enemies happens to be.

For me personally, 2016 has been an incredible journey. Clearly the single most memorable event was the evening of November 8 and morning of November 9 when the vote tallies indicated Americans defied the pundits’ doomsday predictions and came out in force to make a dramatic change in our American government’s direction.

But there were other great and noteworthy episodes along the way. I still remember like it was yesterday Ted Cruz’s exciting win in Iowa. I remember the back-and-forth of the primary campaign that ultimately resulted in Trump’s victory in Indiana.

I remember the tense struggle between conservatives who joined with Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton and doing battle with the #NeverTrumpers, most of whom refused to budge off what they saw as a principled if faulty stance.

The general election campaign was just as unforgettable. I remember thinking in August that the campaign was far from over despite what the pundits said after each little incident and it wasn’t a sign of desperation for Trump to replace his campaign leadership. Likewise, I thought Trump’s trip to Mexico was a stroke of genius.

I remember thinking that the infamous Trump/Billy Bush audio tape would probably end up sinking his candidacy, but then changed my mind the following week after Mike Pence’s performance in the vice presidential debate.

I remember thinking that James Comey’s announcement that he was reopening the FBI investigation would even up the race, but could also be a trap.

And I’ll always look back fondly at the way Trump has handled his transition, especially his willingness to bring “Merry Christmas” back into the national vernacular.

Like any other year, I’m a little sad to see 2016 go. But I also believe 2017 is going to be one heck of a good year. Here’s to it!

Here’s to a Happy and meaningful New Year!

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