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No, we don't need 'Republicans who will stand up to Trump'
We need people who, like Trump, will stand up to the established political class and media. They're the ones causing every problem and solving nothing.
One of the ways you know Washington is a big echo chamber is the frequency with which certain themes spread, and become quickly co-opted across the spectrum once they start. Someone says something one day, and it only takes a day or two for it to be repeated by dozens of others. Conventional wisdom rises and falls quickly in a town where everyone is trying to sound hip to the correct thinking of the moment.
So in the past week we're seeing, from a lot of different quarters, the idea that it's time for "Republicans who will stand up to Donald Trump." And it's not just coming from one ideological corner. Here it is from longtime Republican national security type Max Boot. Here it is from left-wing blowhard Dana Milbank of the Washington Post - a conventional Beltway pundit if ever there was one.
Not to be outdone, #NeverTrump conservatives like Jay Caruso and Amanda Carpenter are parroting the line as well in a desperate attempt to justify their willingness to see Hillary Cliinton elected president.
It's as if the nation had no problems before Trump came along, and he's single-handedly putting America at the brink of extinction with his recklessness, foolishiness and incompetence. And what we need is for the sage Beltway veterans, who've been "in the arena" and know what's what, to make him stop so everything can be good and right and normal again. The way the Beltway veterans like it.
Bolshevik. We need nothing of the sort. Someone needs to be stood up to all right. But it's not Trump. It's the people who've created this power center and want to protect it at all costs, even as their circling of the wagons leaves the nation at the brink of fiscal, cultural and spiritual collapse.
Let's stipulate a few things:
1. Donald Trump is far from perfect, and in many ways is poorly prepared for the presidency. Pretending these things aren't true just makes you look silly.
2. There are some good people in Washington who want to do right by the country. I know some of them. Maybe you do too.
Now, having stipulated these things, let's step back and look at the big picture: Over the past several generations, was it Donald Trump or was it the Beltway establishment that:
A. Put us $20 trillion in debt?
B. Put us on the hook for at least $70 trillion in entitlement obligations we don't have the money to pay for?
C. Built a tax code that chokes off consumer spending power, business growth and job creation?
D. Built a federal bureaucracy that frequently abuses its power strictly for its own benefit?
E. Destroyed the health care finance system?
F. Prevented the exploitation of domestic energy resources while allowing hostile nations to develop a near-monopoly on the U.S. energy market?
G. Refused to secure the U.S. border?
H. Paid for tens of millions of abortions through indirect, back-door funding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers?
I. Allowed criminals like Bill and Hillary Clinton to embark on decades-long crime sprees with impunity?
J. Permitted mass murder in our inner cities while encouraging attacks on police officers by promoting the fiction that they a bunch of racist brutes?
K. Refused to acknowledge the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists?
L. Tried to force Christians to participate against their will in gay weddings?
I could go on, but you get the idea. Who did all this? Did Donald Trump? Of course not. He wasn't even in government. Who did this? The people who have held office in this nation for decades? And the bureaucrats they've hired and protected. And the journalists who have cheered them on while attacking anyone who dares to oppose all this as some sort of kook/freak/threat/interloper/enemy.
And look, there are some kooks. Alex Jones is a kook. Ron Paul is a kook. But it hardly matters. If you're not part of their club, the Beltway establishment is going to portray you like this whether you are or you aren't. If you don't speak their language, know their lingo, share their assumptions and accept the basic parameters in which they operate, you are a joke and a fraud and a poseur. They'll chew you up and spit you out as soon as look at you. That's how Washington works.
They hate Republicans, but they know they have to deal with them once in awhile. What they absolutely will not put up with is anyone who doesn't accept that basic premise that the Beltway power establishment is the nation's ultimate authority, and that the federal government can do whatever the hell it wants to anyone and everyone else.
But until Donald Trump came along, there has never been anyone like that who came on the scene, took their best shots, and actually defeated them. Now that Trump has done so, and is actually president, they're not just looking at an annoying gnat who threatens to complicate their lives. They're staring square in the face of someone who has more power than any of them do, and doesn't care a whit about them or the rules they presume to impose.
Trump makes a lot of mistakes, way too many of them self-inflicted (although an awful lot of them only appear to be mistakes because of the contrived spasms of the political class in response to them). Trump doesn't know as much as a president ideally should about his job. Trump is too quick to take things personally and doesn't know when to back away from a fight.
These are all imperfections we ignore at our peril. But they pale in importance compared to this far more important fact: Trump is willing to fight the Beltway establishment in a way no president ever has, and is unafraid of them. He is also willing to stand up and tell the truth about them and the harm they're doing to the nation - and indeed have already done - and is stunningly effective in his methods of doing so.
There is a battle going on in Washington D.C. On the one hand is the Beltway establishment, which is desperately fighting to hang on to its own power, influence and access to money. On the other hand is Donald Trump and those who are aligned with him, fighting to take power away from the establishment.
Neither side consists of perfect angels. But Trump is on the side of the angels. He is the only one trying to do what the nation needs. So those of us who see flaws in his game don't need to "stand up to Trump" as the likes of Boot, Milbank, Caruso and Carpenter demand. We need to help him improve his game so he will have a greater chance of succeeding. Because if Trump fails, I hate to tell you this, but this country is through.
Yeah. Through. Done. We're not going to make it. We're going to move toward an extinction-level event in which states begin seceeding over their debt obligations, or over Washington's disregard for their Tenth Amendment rights, or over the establishment's disdain for Christianity and willingness to use the administrative state to attack it.
Whether Washington sends troops to try to corral these states and we have another civil war, or they're just allowed to leave like the former republics of the Soviet Union did, there will be no more United States of America. The only thing that would prevent this would be if the national debt and entitlement obligations render Washington unable to borrow and the federal government ends up in default - making secession irrelevant because there's no longer a country from which to secede. It won't be because Congress refuses to raise the debt level. It will be because no one wants to buy U.S. debt anymore because it's become worthless.
That is going to happen if we stay on our current fiscal path. The fact that this sounds extreme to you shows only that you've allowed yourself to be influenced by the Beltway establishment and its media stenographers.
By the way, much of the so-called "conservative movement" is just as much a part of this as the left. Conservatives do have the right policy ideas and they will tout them publicly. But when was the last time the conservative movement actually achieved a policy victory? When was the last time a conservative idea was passed by Congress, signed by the president, put into implementation and celebrated as a success? You can't think of much, can you? Because it almost never happens. The "conservative movement" makes good money being the Washington Generals to the left's Harlem Globetrotters. They send you e-mails and hold events denouncing all the harm the left is doing to the country, and they raise lots of money from you because you'd like them to do something about it. They assure you they're trying. If you could just give a little more . . .
Right. They're playing this game just as much as the left is. They know their place in the Beltway, and they've learned to manage their way to a pretty good living playing their part as the earnest but well-meaning losers who take brave stands but accomplish nothing.
Most of them hate Trump too. He's not one of them. He will no more follow their rules than he will kowtow to the media or the left. He threatens to disrupt their role in the game every bit as much as he does the left.
To the extent Trump has been able to act on his own, he has been both decisive and effective. He approved the Keystone XL pipeline. He reversed Obama's ban on offshore drilling in the Atlantic and in the Arctic. He effectively ended enforcement of the ObamaCare individual mandate.
But elsewhere, official Washington is its usual clown show, and the very same people who refuse to fix anything or change anything insist on calling their own obstinance "Trump failures." Really? Trump is ready to sign the ObamaCare repeal. Where the hell is it, Congress? Trump is ready to change the way Washington spends, but Chuck Schumer will lead a filibuster to stop that and Mitch McConnell won't raise a finger to stop Schumer from doing it. That's Trump's fault? How's that?
Oh, well, Trump is bungling the optics of the presidency so they don't fear him.
Screw that. They should do it because it's right for the country. If they need to fear someone before they'll do the right thing, then get rid of these worthless people.
The political class is a disgrace. The political media are a band of liars. The entire town operates with a maturity level worse than your average high school. The exceptions to the rule only highlight how bad the reality is. And a lot of these people are in the executive branch, and they're working to undermine their own boss because their loyalty is to the political class and not to the people. That's why you've got all these leaks and all these stories based on tips from anonymous sources. It's people with their own agendas trying to take Trump down. You don't know if what they say is true. You don't know if it means what they claim it means. But the political press report it as gospel truth, because they are desperately terrified this man will succeed at taking their fiefdom away from them.
So. Stand up to Trump? No. We're not going to do that. What we need to is help Trump do better at achieving his goals. Where he has flaws, we need to help him improve.
But do not, under any circumstances, let people like this tell you it's on you to "stand up to Trump" or "stop Trump" or anything of the sort. Trump is the only one who is standing up to them, and actually has the ability to take their power away from them. What we need to do is help him stand up to them. He is flawed, but they are the cause of the problems that threaten this nation's survival.
He deserves our support, now more than ever.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!