I continue to be dumfounded by people on the right, like Rob Long, who use the Wall to claim Trump did not keep his Promises. In national review today, Ramesh Ponnuru continues that sort of attack:
When he had a Republican Congress, he did very little to attain the big, beautiful wall he kept talking about. He’s done almost nothing to build the “new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation” he talked about in his Inaugural address (and in campaign stops). He talked a lot about creating a paid-family-leave program in 2016. His administration has hardly made it a priority. He’s done less than nothing to eliminate the federal debt.
Trump never “had” a Republican Congress. What Trump had was a Congress unable to help him deliver on things such as a big wall and elimination of ACA. Why? Because the Republicans who were pro-establishment did not want to deliver for Trump. For the midterms, those same Republicans retired to help usher in the Democrats.
I guess it is a sign of reverse Trump derangement syndrome for a conservative voter to look at the conservative promises kept, and say “Yeah, Trump did what he said” while dismissing the clear “I have to get elected” stuff. And again, Republicans in Congress were not supporting Trump, except on judges.
Come to think of it, Trump has been under attack for his whole term by the left, and some on the right. He has had to use political capital to defend himself in ways unimagined. So, Trump has done great for America and Conservatism and done his clear best to keep promises.
John Podhoretz, on GLOP, once ridiculed GOP voters upset that Republicans broke their promises. The contempt in his voice was so clear, and so complete, it was the last GLOP podcast I listened too. It was obvious that as a voter, being upset I was lied to and promises broken made me out to be a moron for John. It must be nice to so wise. But, here, when the same deplorables are happy with Trump for trying to keep his promises, we are again cast as rubes.
Let’s make no mistake here. It is the trying part that is important. “Trump kept his promises” is shorthand for “Trump did not get into office and turn out to be one more elite who does not care at all about me”. That is Trump’s appeal. Oh, I know the Jonah Goldbergs of the world have a total disdain of anything that smacks of populism, and that Trump is a “nationalist” which is somehow different and worse than a “patriot”. Such nuance is lost on the middle American voter who feels that the bicoastal elite, of home of Rob, Jonah, John, and Ramesh, have somehow sold them out. Trump, unlikely as it seems, has taken up their mantel. And he did not get to Washington and Sell out. That is the point.
Mr. Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington lost. The only saving grace was the senior senator broke down with guilt. Without that. Mr. Smith would not be keeping his promises. But, the people back home would have understood he tried.
One man cannot do it all alone. It would have been nice in the last four years, for the likes of National Review to actually support the Republican President like they have every other, even when they took us into wars, instead of never fully giving Trump a chance. Since they failed at that, how about not trying to call out supporters for using a shorthand of support? Apparently, that is too much to ask.