Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Trump-haters of both parties are using the president elect’s conciliatory meeting with Obama to suggest he dial back on his campaign promises and govern like the typical politicians he ran against. The old mantras of “healing the divisions” and “bipartisanship” are being chanted once again, with the usual mythic anecdotes about Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill yukking it up over drinks. These are the same sirens whose seductive songs of comity and cooperation and coming together to “solve the country’s problems” have lured many a Republican onto the rocks of policy disasters like Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the confirmation of Obama minion Loretta Lynch as Attorney General.
There are already a few signs that Trump is being influenced by such chatter. He told the Wall Street Journal that he might keep Obamacare’s disastrous mandate that insurance companies insure those with preexisting conditions. On 60 Minutes he walked back his promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary’s pay-for-play foundation. This might just be conciliatory rhetoric designed to tamp down the anger of Democrats. Let’s hope that’s all it is, for such accommodation is seldom if ever reciprocated by Democrats.
On the contrary, Democrats have repeatedly proven that bipartisanship to them means that Republicans roll over for whatever Democrats want. If not, Republicans are tarred as obstructionists, racists, or whatever other epithet du jour. That’s because progressives are cultists hungry for more power so they can impose their ideological vision by any means necessary. Like Goldfinger, they don’t want Republicans to talk, they want them to die. Assured of their political righteousness, they have one standard for themselves, the elect, and another for their enemies, the damned. The two terms of Barack Obama are a textbook case of progressive campaign duplicity followed by a refusal to respect competing ideas and negotiate in good faith. Exhibit number one is Obamacare, passed without a single Republican vote, and rammed through Congress with legislative legerdemain and big barrels of pork.
Then there’s Obama’s bypassing of Congress all together once it was taken over by Republicans. He made it clear he felt no compunction about trashing the Constitution’s separation of powers and limited executive whose primary purpose is “to see that laws are faithfully executed.” Like progressive godfather Woodrow Wilson, he wanted the power to make “good” laws, not just to veto bad ones. “If Congress won’t act, I will” and “I have a pen and a phone,” he threatened. As for “healing divisions” and “bipartisanship,” he dismissed all that by saying, “Elections have consequences,” brushing aside bipartisanship with an arrogant “I won,” and advising his partisans to “punish our enemies.” His philosophy of governing has been the “Chicago way”: “If they bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun.” Nor was he punished for behavior Republicans keep warning is political suicide. He beat light-red super-nice-guy Mitt Romney by five million votes.
But now Republicans––in control of Congress and the presidency, and poised to transform the Supreme Court––are supposed to be magnanimous, forget that history, and play nice. In other words, revert to their usual role of the political battered wife, cringingly accepting an abusive double standard. And all those angry, fed up, neglected, scorned, and smeared voters who made it all possible? Is Trump just supposed to forget all the promises he made them? How is Trump going to be the transformational president, the one who stopped the progressive locomotive from “fundamentally transforming” our country into Tocqueville’s soft despotism, if he practices the old politics of well-mannered appeasement?
One way to avoid that betrayal is to fulfill his promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Family Foundation and its abuses, particularly the trading of State Department access for contributions to the foundation and lucre to Bill Clinton. This isn’t about vengeance; it is about justice. It is about restoring faith in the fundamental principle of equality before the law, the bedrock principle that neither money, nor power, nor connections, nor status gives one a pass on violating the law. It will send a signal that everyone is accountable and will be punished if found guilty. In the case of government officials, it is particularly important that those who violate their oath of office to the highest law of the land, the Constitution, by corrupting their office and debauching government agencies will pay the price. It will show that government officials entrusted with the power of the people must tell the truth, respect the rules, and be true to their word.
The next important promise to begin fulfilling is the restoration of our broken, politicized, and dangerous immigration policies. After undoing Obama’s overreaching executive orders, Trump must work with Congress to pass bills beefing up border security, and establishing “extreme vetting’ of immigrants from countries producing terrorists. He should also issue an executive order, if necessary, stripping “sanctuary cities” of all federal monies unless they discard this 21st century version of Confederacy nullification. He also should rein in, preferably with Congressional bills, the out-of-control federal agencies like the EPA that use tyrannical regulatory regimes to abuse their powers, diminished citizen freedom, and cost our economy trillions of dollars and millions of jobs. Authorizing the Keystone pipeline, stopping the war on coal, and opening up fracking on federal land would be a good place to start.
Another important step is to marginalize the mainstream media that for so long have played an outsized role in our politics simply because history and habit gave them a prestige that no longer reflects honest journalism and a commitment to truth. His press conferences should treat on-line outlets as equals to the hacks at ABC and the New York Times. He should give interviews to new media like Breitbart and make the old dead-tree papers wait at the back of the line. What has he got to lose? They are going to savage and demonize him just as they did Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Don’t enable them by treating them with more respect than they deserve.
And most important, Trump must continue to refuse to play the game of political correctness, which is nothing other than linguistically ceding the moral high ground to a corrupt grievance politics. He must take every opportunity to scorn and marginalize the fat-cat professional minorities and privileged women whenever they try to play the oppressed victim and leverage political capital out of the accidents of their race and sex. Make it clear that the game is through when it comes to government policy and agencies. If universities want to railroad students with trumped up charges of sexual assault, or violate students’ free speech rights, let them know that they will invite investigations and risk their federal funding.
Finally, no more kowtowing to Muslim terrorist apologists and fronts, no more apologizing for American history, no more acceptance of specious excuses for jihadist terrorism like Israel or “colonialism” or Western “Islamophobia.” Move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and send a clear message that we’re done with the Palestinian canard that the homeland of the Hebrews for over 30 centuries rightfully belongs to the descendants of invaders, occupiers, colonists, immigrants, and ethnic cleansers. And don’t give another dime to the gangsters at the Palestinian Authority, who use our tax dollars to fund and reward the murderers of Israelis.
So don’t go wobbly, Donald, but follow the advice of Danton: “Boldness, again boldness, always boldness, and the country will be saved.”