Saturday, February 18, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The Sky Is Not Falling

Contrary to the incessant mantra of the establishment media
and most liberal (and some conservative) politicians, the sky
is not falling in Washington, DC. Nor is Donald Trump
mentally or emotionally unfit to be president. That is not to
say President Trump has not made mistakes, nor does it
affirm that he has been fully successful yet in keeping his
campaign promises.

An objective assessment of his first three weeks in office is
that he is energetic and clearly determined to do what he has
promised to do, but also inexperienced in the ways of the
Capitol and perhaps in more of a hurry than he needs to be.

The real chaos in the capital is in minds of those who oppose
him -- the same folks who determined he would fail even
before he began. The establishment media is in a fury because
he won’t recognize them at press conferences, even though they
blithely ignored the fact that his predecessor ignored the
conservative media for eight years.

Although most of his cabinet/staff appointees seem to be good
ones, albeit conservative, at least two were less than ideal. One
of them has now resigned, and the other has withdrawn. The
method of opposition to these two might have been unfair, but
the bottom line is that better (and probably more effective)
figures will replace them.

What is going on in the nation’s capital is that a major and
historic transformation is taking place. When that happens,
the losers always attack the winners with emotional arguments
that disguise the simple fact that they lost, and that the world
they believed in is being dismantled. (Republicans indulged in
this when Barack Obama was elected.)

On the other hand, the winners would not be well-advised to
assume they can, or should, transform public policy easily or
overnight. The number one specific issue of 2016 (and of
2010 and 2014), was Obamacare, and voters want it replaced.
But they want it replaced with a better healthcare reform that
includes some of Obamacare’s good features.

Another major issue was immigration reform. The initial
administration order was hastily and incompletely formulated,
as well as ineptly defended in court. Its ensuing controversy
and legal suspension was understandable. A thoughtful and
more carefully rewritten follow-up is in order.

Those who predicted President Trump would be out of his
depth in foreign policy have so far been proven wrong. He has
significantly reversed many of former President Obama’s
initiatives, and Mr. Trump’s new policies have yet to be proven
successful, but his renewed positive relationship with our
historic allies (neglected during the past 8 years), has been
overdue. The administration has an able secretary of state
and an articulate UN ambassador, but world affairs are
problematic for any president, even one who is globally

The stock market is booming. That reflects the psychology of
investors who apparently are optimistic that conservative
policies of lower taxes, fewer regulations and reasonable
interest rates will work. We were told by establishment
economists that the reverse would happen. Nevertheless,
short-term market behavior is very subjective. Presidents
have less influence on the economy than most imagine, but
good and effective policies do have impact. This should be a
wake-up call to the Republican majorities in the U.S. house
and senate that, now they have control with a sympathetic
president, it is time to implement legislation that will reflect
the policies they believe in.

So the sky is not falling  in Washington, DC. The new president
is showing high energy and determination, and continues to
outfox and confound his political and media opponents. He
continues to employ the communications skills and techniques
that enabled him to win an historic upset. But it is way too early
to pronounce a judgment on his performance --- and on the
success or failure of his administration and the new conservative
majority in Washington and in the nation as a whole.

As my readers know, I reserve the right and obligation to make
judgments when they are appropriate. I made no endorsement
in the race for president, and I was unambiguously critical of
both candidates during the recent campaign when they said or did
something that I thought was clearly wrong.

Although the nation is unquestionably divided, and many still
strongly disagree with our new president, I think a majority
want to give Donald Trump a fair chance to prove himself as
president. He did not win the most popular votes, but then,
neither candidate won a majority. Most importantly, the election
is over.

The narrative that depends on ideology alone, and liberal and
conservative labels, is a faulty judgment of American politics
today. The truest majority of voters want fairness, transparency,
security and success. Let’s see what happens now.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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