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President Trump starts in overdrive – and should continue

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted January 30, 2017

They were apt vociferously to demand "reform" as if it were some concrete substance, like cake, which could be handed out at will, in tangible masses, if only the demand were urgent enough. These parlor reformers made up for inefficiency in action by zeal in criticising; and they delighted in criticising the men who really were doing the things which they said ought to be done, but which they lacked the sinewy power to do. They often upheld ideals which were not merely impossible but highly undesirable, and thereby played into the hands of the very politicians to whom they professed to be most hostile. Moreover, if they believed their own interests, individually or as a class, were jeoparded, they were apt to show no higher standards than did the men they usually denounced.

- Theodore Roosevelt

President Donald Trump is not someone who sees a regular-sized mandate as a reason to move cautiously! His first week in office has seen him announce or undertake a yuge number of policies, as documented by this very long list from The Hill. The same mag’s Jordan Fabian and Jonathan Easley wrote, “Surprise! Trump doing what he said he would?. He’s already issued executive orders to get the Wall started; to kickstart the repeal of Obamacare; to withdraw from the TPP; to suspend visas temporarily from the seven trouble nations Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen; to call for a national investigation into voter fraud; to "[block] foreign aid for international organizations that provide abortions"; to implement a hiring freeze for non-military employees of the federal government; to expand the definition of illegals which constitute high-priority criminal deportees; and of course, to pursue defunding sanctuary cities. That’s a lot of action, especially for one week. Already. President Trump has taken steps to implement the bulk of his promises. As Mssrs. Fabian and Eastly point out, President Trump has been unusually consistent and is following through hard. He’s not only starting off in overdrive, he’s also redlining.

Just last Saturday, he filled in a widely-noticed gap in his promise-keeping by signing a five-year lobbying ban for administration officials. What’s left of the promise gap is closing, quickly.

And this high-energy redlining is beginning to spill over. As reported by Kimberly L. Strassel in the Wall Street Journal, the Republican Congress is learning that a formerly obscure Act - the Congressional Review Act (CRA) – can be used to eliminate a lot of Obama-Adminstration regulations: "It turns out that the first line of the CRA requires any federal agency promulgating a rule to submit a ‘report’ on it to the House and Senate. The 60-day clock starts either when the rule is published or when Congress receives the report—whichever comes later." So any agency report not received by Congress means the clock has not started ticking. This seems to be the case for a lot of controversial regulations issued when the Republicans had their House majority.

The Pubbies might choke and throw away the chance to reverse the more egregious reversible regs, but the fact that they’re showing real interest means that the world has changed. President Trump’s high-energy style is energizing others, however incompletely.

And in the corporate world, we see headline after headline about some biggie announcing a new factory here, new jobs there, and so on along the tracks. Granted, many of the spokepeople have said that they have announced plans that were in the works anyway. Obama supporters will claim that they’re just taking advantage of an already-turned-around economy. But the optics profoundly favour President Trump, just as the bottoming of the stock market in March 2009 favoured Obama.

As W. James Antle III pointed out, Trump’s burst of energy has the potential to make his popularity ratings shoot up. Union leaders have raved over President Trump's views on trade as well as his approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. In essence, Trump is carving out a part of the Democrat Party that has been very loyal to them over the decades. Once this filters through to the approval ratings, his oft-commented-on approval ratings will climb. This climb will accelerate once economic growth picks up more.

In the interim, Trump has little to fear from a prog counterattack. As more than one Trump-watcher has pointed out, his ostensibly frenetic activity might well be a deliberate strategy to keep the Trump-haters off balance. The American Thinker’s Brian C. Joondeph theorizes that President Trump’s highly-public squabbles are in essence a distraction strategy. Comparing it to Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope, he opines that President Trump is wearing the liberal media down by encouraging them to waste energy on ephemera while he gets his agenda pushed through. In other words, he’s playing them. Scott Adams has a related but different take: Trump’s hyper-fast actions make for a scattershot environment that result in the progs being overwhelmed by the number of things to get angry about. In his words, Trump’s high-energy burst has them succumbing to ?Outrage Dilution". David Brooks for one, seems to have been thrown off his cams by it.

Yes, there’s been a lot of winning.

But should this spate of winning put us on our guard? Is President Trump going too far too fast, leaving a flank open for a counterattack that the Dems very publicly want to make? Is he pushing so hard that his Administration will be struck by gale-force blowback?

In the humble opinion of your humble scribe, the answer is “no.? Strangely but significantly, the apparently widespread opposition to President Trump is not as strong as it seems. With one significant exception, which I will discuss near the end, the progs’ plans for resistance range from echo-chambery to flaky.

The Progressive Routed?

There’s quite a bit of evidence that they are. You need only watch Fox News’ latest Star at Nine, Tucker Carson, to see it. He’s developed a very popular shtick which consists of inviting on a prog and turning him or her into a LOLcow without so much as a yell. All he does is give them enough rope to hang themselves as he asks questions that less sheltered progs would have been able to answer. His shtick only works because his opponents live in echo chambers.

It’s not hard to find other evidence of prog haplessness. Case in point: "Liberals Fleeing to Canada Fail to Meet Immigration Standards". This...not-quite-intrepid display is not what you would call an effective advertisement for their organizational ability.

Remember the MSM to-do about fake news? That one didn’t last long, did it? All they got for their trouble was a merry band of MSM critics latching onto a new beat: landing on fake news passed along by MSMers themselves. The latest of many examples: "After Decrying Fake News, Journalists Are Still Binging On Fake News". Such as, the fake news which claimed that President Trump had the White House bust of Martin Luther Kind removed. He hadn’t.

Over in California, which is now kooky in a Progressive way, we see another attempt at not-so-great resistance: "Celebrities Call For ‘Total Hollywood Strike’ Until Trump Resigns". You can hear the retort all through the Heartland: “Do it! And take all the tee-vee people with you.?

But the above is not the keystone of kook. That, uh, noteworthy spot belongs to CalExit. As a sign of haplessness, note well: "Plan for California to secede from United States picking up steam". And adding to the brew of kookery, California Threatens To Cut Off Funds To Washington!

With this number, we’re in the zone of peak flakery. Ya’d think that the Civil War would have served as a rather instructive warning sign. But no, because we’re in the Realm of the Echo Chamber. The progs behind Calexit, if they’ve thought about the issue at all, have figured that they must be exempt because they’re not evil slavers. If you know anything about the Civil War beyond the Fun Fact level, you’ll remember that there was, er, another issue at play.

It didn’t even occur to those folks that a lot of Red-State military boys would leap on the opportunity to fight for the Union this time ‘round. To the winner goeth the Reconstruction, which includeth whatever Reconstruction Amendments are deemeth to be fitting.

Even the dangerous-at-street-level protests, which also include violence, are about as frightening as a Halloween mask. The SJW and antifa types who act as the muscle for those, arguably show signs of mental illness. The same year that the first SJW crazies fed the Youtube cottage industry that ridicules them, Macleans magazine published an exposé of the growing problem of mental illness amongst college-student high achievers.. The extent to which those antifas are motivated by mental illness is the extent to which they are not a political threat. Mentally ill people make poor tacticians.

And even if they're not, they do lack the ability to pick their battles wisely. A Fed-Ex driver became a folk hero simply by saving a couple of American flags from being burnt by a group of those protesters. Even in Portlandia, the cops are treating them as outright rioters – and getting cheered for doing so. It’s hard not to miss the fact that the folks who take down the antifas are being fêted as heroes. The self-appointed avatars of the people are discovering that people-for-real increasingly see them as disruptive and criminal.

That’s not the tilt needed to win a guerrilla war, surely. I believe I mentioned questionable tactical judgment...

Overall, there’s a pattern of the anti-Trump “resistance? floundering around as if it were routed. That’s because, in a very real way, it has. Despite Donald Trump winning a modest mandate instead of a landslide, the progs are acting as if he had won a Roosevelt-sized blowout. Why? Because they have a very definite weak point, the flipside of their institutional strength: they are profoundly dependant upon the government. Even the ones who are not materially dependant upon the government are psychologically dependant. This is their weak point, and it’s showing. Like the courtiers of old, they are only powerful and strong when they or their allies control the government. When the government is controlled by their opponents, they flail around or become impotent.

Not Entirely...

But, they still have tactics that work – most notably, using the courts. Blanketed by all the above tomfoolery is an announcement that should serve as a red-flag warning: "Dems Won’t Rule Out Endangered Species Act Suits To Block Trump’s Wall". Unlike the above flailing, this tactic has a proven track record of working. Lawsuits of this sort have throttled progress ever since Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill’way back in 1978. They did block the Fence, and it’s a sure bet that they’ll be used to try to block the Wall.

Another successful use of the courts, as reported by The Hill: "Federal judge blocks Trump immigration order: report".

So yes, there are real risks to the Trump Train getting derailed. But the ones that work all fall into the well-known tactic of lawfare. There’s nothing new about this tactic. As consistent with their odd habit of seeing the Current Year as a reprise of 1965, the progs – even when they have tricks that work – seem to have frittered away their ability to come up with new tricks.

Given that dissoluteness, there’s no reason for President Trump to take his foot off the accelerator. Petal-to-the-metal will keep the Win Train rolling. There are times for caution, but these times are not.

In fact: boldness – and the street-level pushback against protesters – hold out the promise of finally getting enough resolute support for lawsuit reform that will diminish lawsuit abuse. At the very least, Joe Hardhat is not going to be happy when he sees infrastructure jobs being thwarted by politically-motivated lawsuits. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.

 

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