In today’s (12/27/19) Washington Post, regular Trump defender, Mark A. Thiessen published a column, “The 10 best things Trump did in 2019” This turns out to be mostly things either not worth defending or Thiessen, who simply never criticizes Trump, misrepresenting situations. Here they are.
10. “He continued to deliver for the forgotten Americans.” This amounts to unemployment continuing to decline, wages beginning to rise, and supposedly 57 percent of Americans saying they are better off since he became president. Yes, this by and large happened, but amounts to Trump managing to having avoided derailing the expansion he inherited from Obama. The problem is that he enacted many policies that have hurt the poor and redistributed money to the rich. They would have been even better off without his policies.
9. “He implemented tighter work requirements for food stamps.” Yikes, more of his helping “forgotten Americans.” This was the amazingly Scroogeish policy of dumping people from getting food stamps just as the holiday season arrived, probably part of the “War on Christmas.” This supposedly to help the “dignity and pride” of the poor. Sure, Scrooge himself could not put it better.
8. “He has gotten NATO allies to cough up more money for our collective security.” I guess the outcome here is not a bad thing, per se, although the amounts of money involved are not all that big. But this has been the only thing he has done regarding NATO, managing to alienate most of the leading nations in NATO, with him raising serious doubts regarding whether he would actually defend a nation that might be attacked by Russia. Their attitude is best seen by the bunch of leaders mocking him on tape at the last NATO meeting. They hate his guts and disrespect him.
7. “He stood with the people of Hong Kong.” No he did not. This is Thiessen just engaging in fake news. Shameful and nauseating. Just a worthless liar.
6. “His withdrawal from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is delivering China and North Korea a strategic setback.” No it has not. I have seen zero commentators making this point. I agree that China not being in it has complicated things, and most believe that Russia had been in violation of it for a long time. But almost nobody abroad approved of Trump simply withdrawing from this important 1987 treaty negotiated by Reagan and Gorbachev. The European nations are especially disturbed by this action.
5. “His maximum pressure campaign is crippling Iran.” This is true, but this in fact follows and reinforces probably the worst single foreign policy decision he has made: withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal to which Iran was adhering. He has indeed succeeded in imposing sanctions on Iran against the views of all but a handful of nations in the world, notably Israel and Saudi Arabia. So, wow, Iranian oil exports have fallen from 2.5 mbpd to about 10 percent of that. Yes, the Iranian economy has been thrown into serious stagflation. People are miserable. But has this brought us a new and improved agreement with Iran? No. And Iran has escalated actions against Saudi Arabia and in other places. This policy is both a practical disaster as well as being completely indefensible and immoral.
4. “His tariff threats forced Mexico to crack down on illegal immigration.” Well, it probably did. But I disapprove of using tariff threats against a smaller and weaker neighboring nation, and I simply do not see illegal immigration as a bad thing. No, I am not a supporter of totally open borders, but I am not far from that. These people now blocked were desperate, and immigration helps both out economy and lowers our crime rate. There is really little here to be proud of.
3. “He delivered the biggest blow to Planned Parenthood in three decades.” I completely support PP, so I view this as nothing but bad. Ugh.
2. “He ordered the operation that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” OK, I approve of this. But Thiessen manages to undermine this two ways. First he fails to note that Trump neaely undid this by his stupid support for Turkey invading northeastern Syria against US allies against ISIS. This nearly undid this attack given that crucial information came from the Syrian Kurds. Apparently the attack was delayed and nearly did not happen. Thiessen also drags in that Biden supposedly questioned Obama’s attack on bin Laden. This is just silly. This is at best a mixed bag.
1. “He has continued to appoint federal judges at a record pace.” Needless to say, I see this as yet another thing I think is awful and reason to get him out. No mention here of how McConnell blocked Obama judicial appointments, but obviously he thinks the ends justify the means.
He then throws in a laundry list of other items, sort of a mixed bag, where he does allow just the slightest hint of criticism at one point: “Despite an inexcusable 55-day delay, he gave Ukraine the lethal aid that the Obama-Biden administration refused to deliver.” Yeah, sure no reason for any impeachment there, despite a mention of “inexcusable.” Yes, this Thiessen is a fair and balanced guy.
Something about useful idiots.
Couple of other things:
1, Trump’s maybe pushed NASA back to actually flying humans to the moon again, after near 50 years of staying in near earth orbit and bragging about what our grandparents did.. Of course it will be 2024 or 2028 or maybe longer before these new flights occur, and it’s not terribly clear the White House or Congress is actually willing to pay the bills for the program, but it’s sort of started.
2. The flip side of this is that Trump and his minions have been chopping the guts out of every scientific program that gets close to looking at global warming, and haven’t shown much eagerness to press much other R&D. Time’s a-wasting, dudes!
3. For better or worse, between Hunter Biden and Robert Mueller, a certain amount of nepotism and unsavory behavior by “elite” denizens of what Trump terms “The Swamp” have been revealed to the citizenry. Personally, I think rough-riding conservatives ought to push this to the max, no matter how much it pains genteel liberals. The country doesn’t need a special class of aristocrats cashing in on the deeds of their fathers.
4. Also FBOW we’ve had a look at middling sloppy FBI and other intelligence gathering activities, and Republicans at least may be disposed to tightening up and regularize some of these procedures. Maybe a little — maybe a lot — of openness ought to be encouraged here. Why precisely was it wise to keep possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections a deep dark secret from American voters until AFTER the damage had been done?
5. Russian bots on Facebook, fake comment streams, untruthfulness at Fox, “both side-ism” at the NY Times, the way social media amplifies uninformed sentiment in the public ….. We need to start dealing with this crap, rather than just pretending it’s our sacred First Amendment working exactly as John Adams and James Madison thought it would. And you can be durn sure that if HRC had won that 2016 election, we’d be talking about exactly none of this. Not that this is actually a feather in anyone’s MAGA hat, but ….
He did take on his own Fed. Perhaps somewhat shortsighted, but something no politician would have done, and it worked. I would never have believed they would have acquiesced so completely.
6. Been a long stretch where the USA has watched the economic rise of the Chinese state — 4X the population of the US, growth rates of 6% per year or better compared with our 2-3% — while pretending there would never be political or military consequence, and that if only we acted like friends, there would be friendship between the two nations and the USA would still be the world’s paramount power. Trump seems to have decided that was naïve and that open confrontation will produce the best outcome for the US. I’ve got a feeling he’s wrong, but he’s at least brought that potential rivalry into the open. Which is going to have consequences, one way or another.
7. Similarly, he’s brought white nationalism, abetted by Chrisstian fundamentalism, and the economic decline of the American heartland out into the open, topics conventional liberals have been studiously ignoring since Bill Clinton’s days. Again, not in clever or well intended ways, but perhaps these are issues which American politics should have been dealing with – and wasn’t.
So. I’m not saying he’s a Great President. But the history books may yet decide he was an Important one.
“Russian bots on Facebook, fake comment streams, untruthfulness at Fox, “both side-ism” at the NY Times, the way social media amplifies uninformed sentiment in the public”
Let me start dealing with this “crap” Mike by noting your #3 and #4 were all nothing but bald faced lies. If you want to complain about untruthfulness, stop spreading these lies.
“I’m not saying he’s a Great President. But the history books may yet decide he was an Important one.”
Hitler and Stalin were also “important”. Come on Mikey – cease with this intellectual garbage.
Apologies if I was too oblique. Consider this: Hitler led to world war and genocide; it’s never going to be possible to pretend National Socialism served worthier aims. Stalin gave Russian socialism the same sort of stamp. Caligula and Nero demonstrated the breakdown of Roman republicanism; before them, Augustus and Tiberius had masqueraded as exceptionally important Senators and political leaders; afterwards even the dumbest plebes understood Rome was governed by tyrants who could rule by whim, even the good Emperors like Hadrian and Trajan and Marcus Aurelius.
That’s the sort of role I see for Donald Trump. He’s made it very clear that American government and social institutions is not the perfect seamless edifice children’s school books describe, but something flawed, with cracks and crevices and papered over gaps, filled with fecal material and other slime. He’s not going to leave us an empire, or any shining Reaganite city on a hill, but instead stench and shambles. We aren’t going to get back to “normal” I fear, let alone nearer to the image of a nation we once honored.
That seems “important” to me.
“That seems “important” to me.”
In the sense that bowel movements are “important,” yes.
It is “important” because MS just copied Theissen to defend the undefendable by use of Barkley’s accurate assessment:
“This turns out to be mostly things either not worth defending or Thiessen, who simply never criticizes Trump, misrepresenting situations.”
The hard part is he does it with a straight face. That’s sick.
I am at a loss how to argue back against just plain “stupid.” For example, #10 is growth on a credit card. You take your AE Platinum Card with a $25 thou limit and you spend it out and then spend the next 5 years paying it back at 16% interest. Yea U3 is down and so is participation rate. 3% of the population bowed out of the market. $1 trillion in debt in three years of Trump and we will add another $trillion by EOY 2020.
EMichael: MS just copied Theissen to defend the undefendable
You’ve got a reading comprehension problem.
No, my reading problem is caused by your writing.