When congressional Republicans failed to enact many of President Barack H. Obama’s agenda items on looser immigration laws, gun control and “social justice” issues, they were declared by the press to be The Party of No. When Senate Democrats blocked one GOP bill after another supporting the agenda of President Donald J. Trump the media lauded them as The Heroic Resistance. When President Obama declared that he had a pen and a phone and took executive, extra-legislative action in response he was declared to be Decisive. When the pen and phone in question were placed in President Trump’s hands he was branded as Authoritarian.
Is this pattern sounding familiar?
With the end of the year just around the corner, the Democrats are grinding their teeth over the signing of the tax bill into law, while the media rushes to remind everyone that this is Trump’s “only legislative victory” in his first year. And using their unfettered platform, they’ve managed to convince a majority (or at least a plurality) of Americans that tax cuts are a bad idea and Trump’s GOP teammates will “rue the day” they decided to extract less money from people’s paychecks and employers’ bottom lines. It’s as if virtually nothing has been accomplished this year and the few achievements that managed to happen were uniformly disastrous.
But was that really what happened?
The RNC Chair, Ronna Romney McDaniel, recently gave a rather scathing response to these repeating media themes. Here’s a very brief video of her comments.
Well, so much has been accomplished in this year as we look at the year in review. You look at the judicial appointments, you look at Neil Gorsuch, you look at our Veterans Accountability Act, you look at our increased military spending and deregulation and tax cuts. We’re just going to keep doing that. The president has signaled that he wants to tackle infrastructure next year. That’s something that should bring bipartisan support. You know, there’s a lot in the accomplishment column for Republicans. What have Democrats done this year? What have they accomplished? Nothing. Resist and obstruct and fighting this president at every turn even if it’s in the best interest of their constituents is not a message that they’re going to be able to run on in 2018. This tax bill has shown that we can come together as a party. We can govern as a party. We have a president who is leading the way, and we’re going to continue fighting for the American people. Our hand is out to Democrats. We want them to come across the aisle and work with us, but if they’re not going to, we’re going to get it done.
The tax bill (which was not the only legislative accomplishment, by the way) is, in many ways, the perfect symbol for where we stand right now. It’s hardly perfect in my opinion, and it’s certainly not true tax reform in any meaningful sense, but it’s at least a significant tax cut. Yet, as I noted above, much of the media is still trying to portray it as a disaster in the making. Some, such as the Washington Post, have finally begun to realize they’re giving themselves a black eye with this message and are backing off, but they’re the exception to the rule.
Should we be surprised? There is no longer any question as to the campaign that the vast majority of the media has waged against Trump, beginning long before his inauguration. A full 91% of the media coverage he receives is negative, while the press put themselves into traction trying to avoid saying anything negative about his predecessor, no matter what he did or said. The same applies to any executive order he signs, any policy proposal he supports or any candidate he endorses.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature in all of this is the substance behind most of the complaints we’re hearing this year. In the end, what has Trump actually done to destroy the world, leading to all of this gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing? He’s gotten a few pieces of significant legislation passed, rolled back a lot of regulations and changed many of the “dear colleague” type enforcement and regulatory guidance protocols enacted under Barack Obama. Oh, and he tweets a lot.
I may not be a fan of much of the tweeting myself, and I’ve said so. I don’t agree with every policy he’s put forward and I’ve criticized him here over a number of issues ranging from the Renewable Fuel Standard to his handling of the situation with Turkey. This is nothing new… I’ve been critical of every president at times. If I want a President who agrees with me 100% of the time I should run for office myself. But I’ve also attempted to encourage Trump when he enacts policies which broadly support a conservative agenda and acted boldly to correct some mistakes from past administrations. Donald Trump has neither destroyed the world nor made it perfect. He’s a completely new breed of president to be sure, but zombies are not marching toward your doors just yet.
But as for the endless attacks on the President over each and every thing he does or says, I would ask his many detractors to contemplate a couple of points during the Christmas and New Years break. If you didn’t complain when a previous president imposed new regulations absent legislative action, you look rather foolish claiming that the next president can’t undo them. If you didn’t complain when a president summoned DACA into being without an accompanying new law, you appear ignorant when you claim that a subsequent president “can’t” make changes to it. If you’re screaming about due process for Al Franken but you’ve already convicted Donald Trump of collusion with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election, please don’t be too disappointed if we don’t take you seriously.
Things were getting done this year. Far fewer than many would like because of The Heroic Resistance, of course, but there was progress. And some of you don’t like the agenda items that Trump and the GOP majority have enacted or are working on. Guess what. Some of us weren’t too wild about quite a few changes put in place by his predecessor, but it wasn’t the end of the world. We sucked it up and got to work trying to win a few elections.
Just a few things to ponder as you hopefully spend joyful time with family and friends over the next week. Merry Christmas and my sincere best wishes to all of you, regardless of party or ideology. We can get back to the sniping next year.