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Assault on America, Day 203: How ‘Trumpian’ values replaced the feeble and outdated old GOP

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As the nation -- or at least liberals, Democrats and the news media -- obsesses over special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony this week it should be noted that the real frontline of the “war” in Washington is far away from the clicking cameras, committee rooms and pontificating politicians in the House of Representatives.

The combatants don’t necessarily wear party labels on their lapels either, though they’re easily identifiable based on where they stand on certain topics, such as what constitutes the “true” Republican Party versus the version now embodied by President Donald Trump and the vast majority of GOP congressman and senators. No one ever said it would be easy for the outsider Trump to drain the putrid Washington swamp -- and current events demonstrate just how difficult it’s proving to be to rid the nation of the corrupted status quo.

Everyone knows Trump’s Democrat opposition bashes him relentlessly both in Congress and on the primary campaign trail, but what about those Trump critics who still consider themselves conservatives and Republicans? They’re saying Trump’s an imposter… and they long for the old days. Former New Hampshire governor and three-term senator Judd Gregg wrote at The Hill, “Wherefore art thou, GOP?... [T]o call the president’s policies ‘Republican’ is a reach. They mostly reflect his many eccentricities. They are his personal causes — conceived in most part, it seems, by watching Fox News shows. He enthusiastically rejects the history and traditional perspectives of the Republican Party. This is not a Republican administration.

“The president’s ardent supporters, who shout their adulation at his rallies, do not wish to be identified as Republican. They are of a new party. Their beliefs have no anchor in fiscal responsibility or international alliances — or, for that matter, in any commitment to this nation as an example of civility, opportunity and liberty. This new party is one that merely responds to the president’s whims, as expressed in tweets of limited depth and base vocabulary.”

“His ideas can and do change without notice or discernible ideological reason. The only constants are populist anger and a flailing at people he deems his enemies, whether foreign or domestic. This is a new party. There is no doubt about that. It has vanquished the establishment that was the party of Eisenhower, Reagan and the Bushes.”

It hurts to see Reagan’s name grouped in with the “establishment,” doesn’t it? Such critiques are hardly atypical in today’s political universe, but even so, to witness a longtime Republican like Gregg tossing out such barbs is startling nonetheless. The former Granite State senator asserts those who back the president and the “new” policies he espouses should be called “Trumpians,” which is actually a term of endearment for those who were sick to death of the terminally ill and decaying pre-Trump Republican Party. These folks hankered for a change -- and Trump brought one… in many respects.

In his piece Gregg takes Trump to task for the mounting federal deficit, the administration’s movement away from tired and outdated alliances such as NATO, and for fostering an “industrial economy” where government picks winners and losers based on favoritism and personal preference. Then he goes after Trump’s America First international trade emphasis, and, last but not least, the erosion of “civility” the nation’s experienced since Donald John Trump entered politics four years ago.

All are standard contentions regularly advanced by establishmentarians in the Bush-Romney-mold. Perhaps the only one with real merit is Gregg’s first claim. This week’s budget deal/capitulation between Trump’s people and Congress will definitely perpetuate the nation’s fiscal woes. While the economy is humming along with near record-low unemployment, rising wages and interest rates so reasonable that citizens must consider refinancing to save dough, the government’s red ink is piling up like corpses on a demolished battleground on this president’s watch.

Gregg maintains the “old” Republican Party stood for fiscal sanity and sound budgetary decision-making, but Republican presidencies aren’t exactly renowned for trimming the fat despite heavy rhetoric about “getting tough” and cutting outlays. In this sense GOP congressman and senators are all-too-willing to broker deals with the devil (the Democrats) to keep the federal gravy train on the rails. There’s no end in sight -- and solid economic growth will help only so much. Unless there’s a push from the leadership to slash spending --including Trump -- it won’t happen. Democrats aren’t about to do it, are they?

The balance of Gregg’s ramblings are plainly bitter sour grapes from the GOP side that lost in 2016. Had one of the establishment’s darlings -- Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio -- overcome Trump’s populist appeals the party would still stand for the same endless neoconservative military forays that saw George W. Bush’s second term go down in flames (in terms of his approval rate) as well as the candidacies of John McCain and Mitt Romney fail so spectacularly in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

The “alliances” Gregg alluded to haven’t brought the United States any benefits in recent times either. Besides, Trump’s merely insisted our NATO friends pay their pre-committed fair share, which has led to some of them boosting payments for their own defense. While Russia still quietly threatens along its western borders, it could hardly be said the interior of Europe is in grave danger in 2019. NATO’s continued usefulness is highly debatable.

Gregg’s points on the “industrial economy” and Trump’s trade policies are similarly dubious. Is Trump personally picking favorites in the American economy as opposed to championing policies that float all boats (along with the rising tide)? It’s true, the hated Export/Import bank is still wasting taxpayers’ money (it’s up for reauthorization in September) and there’s been no let-up in areas such as federal ethanol subsidies, but these budget bloating boondoggles existed before Trump came to town and will likely survive long after he leaves.

And Trump’s trade policies are merely addressing wrongs imposed by “free trade” partners that didn’t exactly practice what they preached. To say Trump’s America First trade emphasis is anti-Republican is far too narrow -- and wrong -- to earn credibility. Many staunch and reputable conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan, have advocated for protectionist measures their entire lives. Trump’s just taking a different tack from the stodgy ruling elites who wouldn’t ever change anything to make international cheaters play fair.

No doubt #NeverTrump’s “Trumpian” chatter will endure as long as Trump is head of the Republican Party, but here’s thinking the same arguments will resurface in 2024 regardless. Some wish Trump’s presidency would last forever; others (a much smaller Republican contingent) hope it will disappear tomorrow. Take the “it’s Trump’s GOP now” talk with a sizable grain (block) of salt.

There’s no need to aid Democrats in defining Trump as something he’s not. They’re already way ahead of the game. S.A. Miller reported at The Washington Times, “Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren…warned that an economic crash was coming and said she had a plan to stop it.

“Pointing to high debt and a sagging manufacturing sector, Ms. Warren said the economy teeters on the edge of disaster. ‘The country’s economic foundation is fragile. A single shock could bring it all down. And the Trump Administration’s reckless behavior is increasing the odds of just such a shock,’ the Massachusetts Democrat wrote in an op-ed in Medium…

“The plan to repair soaring household debt included her previous proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and use revenue from an ‘ultra-millionaire tax’ to pay off student loans and provide other new benefits to the working class.”

Professor “Pocahontas” further suggested manufacturing jobs would materialize when the economy converts to “Green” energy, the same pie-in-the-sky tender we hear from Democrats every four years. Who’s going to pay for all these “Green” jobs -- certainly not the private sector, which demands efficiency and profit -- is never explained.

Just how Democrats plan to push their wild schemes through Congress is another story, since there’s no way Democrats will enjoy a filibuster-proof senate majority in the near future. Even if the House passes irresponsible bills and the faux Indian is waiting in the White House to sign them, senate Republicans would be lurking to squelch the disease before it spreads.

It’s a shocking sign of the times that Warren isn’t even considered the most extreme of 2020 Democrat candidates (though she’s definitely up there). She’s been around so long her concept of a “wealth tax” isn’t novel and Democrats have roundly adopted her repeated calls for universal student loan debt forgiveness. Liz doesn’t expound on how her policies would rescue the economy from a downturn on her watch -- but it’s fun to listen to her talk!

All Democrats claim the Trump economy benefits only the rich, but how do they justify griping about the wage increases at the bottom of the scale? And the large boost in manufacturing jobs since Trump entered the White House, trashed the old trade deals, eliminated a ton of burdensome regulations and began touting American know-how to any foreign leader within earshot?

It’s clear that many in both parties are having a difficult time defining President Trump and what his administration represents. Though the federal fiscal situation leaves much to be desired, Trump’s emphasis on people-centered government is a big improvement from the “old” GOP.

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