Friday, January 8, 2021

Trump Tears Down His Legacy

This morning in the Wall Street Journal Kimberly Strassel estimates the damage Donald Trump has done to his own legacy. 

What is that legacy? Strassel summarizes:

The withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the Iranian deal. The greatest tax simplification and reduction since Reagan. The largest deregulatory effort since—well, ever. Three Supreme Court justices and 54 appellate court judges. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. The Jerusalem embassy. Criminal-justice reform. Opportunity zones. He could have noted that the greatest proof of just how much Democrats and the establishment feared his mission were the five years of investigations, hysterical allegations and “deep state” sabotage—which he survived.

It was not just that Trump incited a riot at the Capitol. He had already handed the Senate to Democrats, by his erratic behavior during the Georgia run-off election campaigns.

Whatever preceded Wednesday’s storming of the capital, the truth is that Donald Trump will leave office under a cloud of ignominy:

The pity is that Mr. Trump’s conflagration will mostly burn the Americans he went to Washington to help. They will bear the higher taxes, the higher costs of regulation, the higher unemployment, the loss of freedoms. America became less great this week. And that’s fully on the guy at the top.

Obviously, the riot did not happen in a vacuum. It exposes America’s current condition. As David Goldman points out, the rot goes far deeper than a single politician. After all, when it comes to riotous insurrection and the abuse of democratic norms, the Democratic Party and their satraps in the media have been leading the way. 

Rather than allow the nation to see where the rot was, Donald Trump has, by his own actions, allowed the American left to shift the blame for everything they have done-- to Donald Trump. The Democrats can spend months inciting a violent insurrection on the streets of America’s cities. And they will take no responsibility for it, because Donald Trump has given them a golden opportunity to blame him.

Goldman points out the seditious war against Trump, war that began even before he took office.

If it were only a matter of Trump’s misbehavior, this disaster would be survivable. The trouble is that the popular belief in a vast and nefarious conspiracy has a foundation in fact: Starting before Trump’s term in office his political opponents abused the surveillance powers of the intelligence community to concoct a black legend of Russian collusion on the part of his campaign. The mainstream media, staffed overwhelmingly by Trump’s enemies, slavishly repeated this black legend until large parts of the population refused to believe anything it read in the newspapers or saw on television.

The leadership of the Democratic Party, its allied media, and the Bush-Romney wing of the Republican Party decided to play dirty to expunge an obstreperous, incalculable outsider from the political system. And in doing so, this combination, America’s establishment, destroyed public trust in the Congress and the media. It’s no surprise that two out of five Americans now believe that a vast conspiracy rigged the 2020 presidential elections. 

Note the remark, America’s establishment, the political and media leaders have destroyed public trust. It created conditions where many people believed that the game was rigged, that the results could not possibly be fair. In the absence of public trust in a fair and objective media, in politicians who practice decorum, people will believe just about anything:

The spectacle of a serving president inciting a mob against the US Congress to stop the certification of his successor held the world in morbid fascination. But the biggest problem isn’t Trump’s misbehavior, egregious as it is, but the eruption of popular rancor against the constitutional system that has made America a model of governance for the world. 

Leftist mobs last spring burned police stations and destroyed shopping districts in a rampage against supposed systemic racism, and Trump supporters desecrated the Holy of Holies of American democracy, the chamber of the United States Senate. 

As I said yesterday, the mob action at the Capitol was Trump’s gift to his detractors and his haters. 

Far too many people believe that the system is rigged, that fairness no longer exists. Besides, how many of the Obama administration officials who conspired against Trump will ever see justice?

The Democrats say that the system is rigged against African-Americans, women, and other minorities, and the Republicans say that a global elite has rigged the system against middle-income Americans. “Rigged elections” has the same resonance as “systemic racism.” These by-words imply that disagreement is prima facie proof of villainy: To deny that there is systemic racism is to be a racist, and to deny that elections are rigged is evidence of complicity in a vast plot.

As for Trump’s supporters, they no longer trust the congenitally biased media, so they are willing to believe anything. And they are willing to resort to street violence, if not to street theatre. If riots are the voice of the unheard, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, then the people out rioting in Washington were the unheard. 

Yet, President Trump should have known better. He should have known that he was undermining his presidency, destroying his legacy and doing his enemies the biggest favor they could have imagined.

Goldman, however, offers a larger perspective. By his reasoning, America itself is being eaten away from within. It no longer has the capacity to treat the ill or even to distribute vaccines effectively. It cannot mobilize to produce telecommunications equipment. It is baying at the moon, attacking our Chinese competition with lawsuits and indictments-- while China signs a new trade agreement with Europe.

It is the popular response to the gut-wrenching realization that America is hollowed out, that it is living on borrowed money (which is to say borrowed time), that it lacks both the material and organizational resources to protect its population during an emergency. Hospitals in Los Angeles have told emergency workers not to administer oxygen to patients who are not gravely ill, because the city is running out of oxygen under a deluge of Covid-19 patients. Earlier the United States clothed healthcare workers in garbage bags because it couldn’t manufacture protective gear; now it can’t produce sufficient oxygen….

It isn’t simply that the US produces no telecom equipment at all, let alone a world-class product that can compete with China; it can’t produce essential medical supplies in urgent demand in a public health crisis. On the day that the Washington mob chased the congressmen, senators and Vice President Pence out of the Capitol, more than 4,000 Americans died of Covid-19, a new record. American scientists developed what may be the most effective Covid vaccine, but the US managed to administer just 800,000 doses yesterday, which means that it will take another year to immunize the population.

We are living on borrowed time and borrowed money. Now the incoming Biden administration is going to borrow more and more money, making the stock market happy for a moment and enhancing the wealth of America’s true leaders, its techno billionaires.


Webutante said...

Stuart, I have to respectfully disagree with much you say today and said yesterday. It doesn't happen often.

We are indeed living on borrowed money and borrowed time, I'll give you that. Yet to know the medium term and long term ramifications of what happened Tuesday is far, far from clear. Outside the over-amped knee jerk reaction and rush to judge and blame Trump, I find only a few worthy and outstanding analysis. Surely more will come in the sobriety of time. Such a piece by John Solomon at Just the News has stuck to my ribs and is a real meal of what appears to have happened and how to go forward.

It's just too easy to blame Trump and be filled with righteous indignation and I won't get on that bandwagon, ever. I am no Trump apologist, but even with all his flaws, he's still the best president in generations.

No state election or protest that went bad by a few radical, irrational jerks is going to mar Trumps accomplishment or reputation for long. I grieve his loss as I would have Winston Churchill.

David Foster said...

"it (the US) can’t produce essential medical supplies in urgent demand in a public health crisis." What on earth is he talking about? The US developed vaccines in record time (with the assistance of a German partner, in the case of the Pfizer vaccine) and moved them into high-volume manufacturing in less than a year. The 'distribution' problems have nothing to do with production or physical distribution and everything to do with political micromanagement at the state and local levels.

Hal said...

With due respect Stewart, Democrats are TWANLOC, those who are no longer our countrymen. At least they have taken off the mask, no pun intended. All of the violence the past many years has been from the totalitarian left. The joke has been that Trumpers mow the lawn, trim the bushes and pick up their trash. The Communists only destroy.

David Spence said...

Like others Stewart, I love this site and agree with you 99% of the time on every topic.

IMHO, Trump did not harm himself. The crowd was escorted in by the very Capitol Police sworn to defend the building. They did not break in. People doing nothing more than barging in and taking selfies put the fear of God into the ruling cabal.

They were embarrassed, humiliated, made to look petty in the eyes of the world.

This humiliation explains the hysterical overreaction of the 25th Amendment and impeachment today.

Now they know and everyone in the world knows they are cowards. And no one is afraid to confront them. This is a positive achievement.

trigger warning said...

Everything's OK now, Kim. The scapegoat has been released into the wilderness. Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots have gone home. Spears are being hammered into pruning hooks as we speak.

As an aside, I wonder if either Goldman or Dalio have a line on the whereabouts of Jack Ma?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I would find some of these arguments more persuasive if some of you could spell my name correctly.

Sam L. said...

"Rather than allow the nation to see where the rot was, Donald Trump has, by his own actions, allowed the American left to shift the blame for everything they have done-- to Donald Trump." They've been doing that for five years.

"The leadership of the Democratic Party, its allied media, and the Bush-Romney wing of the Republican Party decided to play dirty to expunge an obstreperous, incalculable outsider from the political system." As I keep saying the GOP is the "Go Along To Get Along With Dems Party".

"Far too many people believe that the system is rigged, that fairness no longer exists. Besides, how many of the Obama administration officials who conspired against Trump will ever see justice?" That would be.......ZERO.

Lastly, I will once more say, I don't know if the media is/are a wholly-owned subsidiary of trhe Dem Party, or if it's the other way round, but it's OBVIOUS that they are in CAHOOTS!

jadair04 said...

PDT was the last chance I have seen in my 61 years. I can only now say, regarding the 'beacon on hill'. Well... bye. js

Hal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ares Olympus said...

David Spence said.... The crowd was escorted in by the very Capitol Police sworn to defend the building. They did not break in.

This is more interesting that Trump's stupidity. It now looks like clear evidence not all of the Capitol Police were not doing their sworn duty. while some doors and windows were forced forced, other doors apparently they were opened wide as an invitation! This tweet shows the doors being opened and walking right past the officers. Capitol police open doors for the protestors. They stand aside and invite them inside.

And another view, outside, shows a security person running around waving to encourage more people to enter. What is happening?!

If we needed a conspiracy theory for this, imagination free to run wild. The simplest is a critical mass of police officers WANTED Congress to stop the count, WANTED to do their part to #StopTheSteal, and believed if they could fill the Capitol building with peaceful and determined protestors, this would accomplish their goal. I suppose with all the cameras they might fear they might be caught and fired, yet we know Trump has proven he'll pardon all patriots.

OTOH, the woman who was shot by police was apparently one who was invited in an open door, so a first deadly result to this attempted insurrection.

If there is any truth to this narrative, it shows the real danger Biden and Democrats are in. With #DefundThePolice the rallying call of BLM, and many democrats supporting that stupid goal, individual police officers have gone rogue, or are organizing their own resistance.

If a critical mass of people in the military become convinced the election was rigged, they can believe they are serving the Constitution to overthrow an illegal election. This is crazy dangerous however unlikely, but some believe it can happen, and some will act. All they need is to believe Trump knows what's true and real because he has access to all the intelligence, but he doesn't have to do anything more but wait.

And now that we've proved how vulnerable the capitol building is, why shouldn't the sleeper cells, who really want to destroy our country help out by exploding some bombs in all 50 states? We're so busy in our civil war over masks and lockdowns, no one trusts anyone, everyone is scheming, the rumors will go wild, and like a star they could do anything, and we'll let them do it.

Why not?! If there was ever a time to attack America, this is it, the next 12 days, or January 20 specifically for a terroristic attack. It doesn't matter who comes out on top of a civil war, all good for anyone who hates America.

Unknown said...

You are correct.

Jkazak54 said...

Most of the people who blame Trump for what happened in D.C. are the same ones who told us every day for three years that he colluded with the Russians.

Christopher B said...

Quite a piece of speculative fiction above.

What's more likely? People intimately familiar with the communication interception and investigative powers of various Federal TLAs none the less cooperate with a political group that has been clearly targeted by a faction within the US government for over a decade, or the same people obey orders passed down by the people who sign their paychecks to stand down and stand aside with the side benefit that they are much less likely to be hurt than if they actually resist the incursion?

370H55V said...

Um, a little dispassionate perspective, perhaps?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Fair enough, some analysis from a law professor. But, it's not about critical exegesis of the text, and it's not about what would or would not pass muster in a courtroom. Whatever the law professor understood, the crowd clearly understood something else. And when you tell a mob to march on the Capitol, the better to interrupt a constitutional process, you must bear some responsibility for what they did. Given my limited knowledge of the law I would point out that if you yell Fire in a crowded theatre you are not telling people to trample each other, and yet, you bear responsibility for the ensuing chaos.