Brett Stephens gets an attaboy!
“Tax cuts. Deregulation. More for the military; less for the United Nations. The Islamic State crushed in its heartland. Assad hit with cruise missiles. Troops to Afghanistan. Arms for Ukraine. A tougher approach to North Korea. Jerusalem recognized as Israel’s capital. The Iran deal decertified. Title IX kangaroo courts on campus condemned. Yes to Keystone. No to Paris. Wall Street roaring and consumer confidence high.And, of course, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. What, for a conservative, is there to dislike about this policy record as the Trump administration rounds out its first year in office?That’s the question I keep hearing from old friends on the right who voted with misgiving for Donald Trump last year and now find reasons to like him. I admit it gives me pause. I agree with every one of the policy decisions mentioned above. But I still wish Hillary Clinton were president.”
I quibble with some of the items on his list. He doesn’t seem to know much about Iran. He doesn’t understand why we got a fair and important treaty with them. And as one commenter wrote, he is a neanderthal on climate change. But the arc of his reasoning is vital and important.
Here are a few comments I recommended:
“But character does count, and virtue does matter, and Trump’s shortcomings prove it daily.”
This hits the nail on the head. It has never been, nor will it ever be, about politics and policy with President Trump. In the sense that he is a politician who transcends politics, he is now a transcendent figure. A man who was born into inherited wealth and power with no sense of self-awareness or empathy. The fact remains that before he won the election, his legacy would have been a trail of destruction and burned bridges—bankruptcies, divorces, lawsuits, and stiffed contractors—and a tv show. He has no real friends or business partners who will vouch for him or his character and he has zero record of serious charitable giving.
You wouldn’t be thrilled if he was coaching your son’s little league team or if your daughter brought a younger version of his current cariicature of himself home for thanksgiving dinner to meet the family.
No one comes out better for having entered a relationship with Donald Trump. No one. And yet here we are.