When it comes to Trump, conservatives must take the good with the bad

Maybe it is because over 90 percent of mainstream reporting on the Trump administration is negative? Maybe it’s because even conservative media are more animated by the alleged anti-Trump conspiracies from within the government than his administration’s accomplishments? Whatever the reason, a plague of overcompensation has descended on the conservative media landscape. The verdict on this presidency is still out, but that doesn’t mean we cannot take stock of the drawbacks of the Trump era along with the achievements. They’re myriad.

When Trump won the presidency, conventional conservatives had every reason to believe their ideology could be transformed from a small government ethos into a movement that favored a ruthless Leviathan, so long as it was their Leviathan. People like former House Speaker John Boehner lent credence to this notion when he cast aspersions on the virtue of ideology itself and praised Trump’s debt-financed $1 trillion simulative infrastructure proposal because it would be “popular.”

Trump justified a national “Big Dig” by invoking the classic Keynesian idea that you have to “prime the pump” (e.g. inject liquidity into the market to get capital flowing again) in a time of economic crisis. But there was no crisis. GDP growth for 2017 will hover around 3 percent, just as it did in 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ unemployment rate has remained under 5 percent for nearly two years. Amid a burst of speculative enthusiasm for Republican governance, the stock market reaches new plateaus on a near-daily basis.