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Mistakes were made

Derbyshire’s verdict on Trump’s presidency: Epic. FAIL.

What’s the verdict on that Presidency? My view: it has to be failure.

It’s not that Trump did nothing in those four years. He accomplished a great deal. The evangelist group Liberty Counsel has published a list covering fourteen pages. It’s naturally tilted towards evangelistic concerns, and is too heavy on neoconnery for my taste—”Restoring American Leadership Abroad,” etc.—but there are some real useful actions in there.

The problem with those fourteen pages of Trump’s accomplishments is that hardly any of them had permanence. All the ones you’d stand up and cheer for were Executive Orders, that can be—and are being—revoked with a sweep of the pen by the new Chief Executive.

Biden, of course, has the advantage here that nothing he does will be contested by the Kritarchs of our woke federal judiciary. Trump had only to pick up his pen in the Oval Office for some swivel-eyed federal judge in Hawaii or somewhere to pick up his pen and declare Trump’s action unconstitutional just by virtue of it’s being … Trump’s.

That doesn’t let Trump altogether off the hook, though. To make changes you need laws, supplemented by the firm exercise of lawful federal powers.

In those areas Trump was hopeless. His party controlled Congress for two years, but the only law anyone remembers getting passed was a mild tax cut.

I give Trump a pass on that; his own party proved to be a real viper’s nest of slithering, double-dealing belly-crawlers, which could maybe cramp a guy’s style just a wee mite.

As well as just not getting much done in any permanent way, Trump failed to tackle the Swamp in any way that seriously inconvenienced them.

If we are ever again to have Trumpism in the White House, it will need a cadre of Trumpists who know their way around, who are adept at the necessary political games. The last four years were an ideal opportunity to train up that cadre: to bring Trumpists in to the federal government at high levels so they could develop their skills.

But Trump didn’t attempt anything like that. The people he brought in were Swamp critters like Kirstjen Nielsen and—God help us!—John Bolton. He supplemented their advice with soft murmurings from his daughter and son-in-law and their friends, metropolitan liberals all.

Now THAT, I cannot dispute. It’s beyond comprehension: after having made much throughout the campaign of his intention to hire only “the best people” to work in his government, he then…did nothing of the sort. The complete opposite, in fact. Again and again, Trump put Obama stay-behinds, Deep State saboteurs, and out-and-out diehard enemies on his team. Even worse, after having been flamboyantly betrayed by them, he left this wrecking crew in place to double down on the damage.

Think of it: he waited until his last few days in office to finally fire skulkabout CIA head Gina Haspel on his way out the White House door. Nefarious Swamp Thing Chris Wray—who flouted ethics, propriety, and even the law to brazenly defy an explicit directive to declassify documents that would almost certainly have been of tremendous help months ago, when Trump ordered it—remains in his well-feathered nest atop the FBI, and will be carrying the torch of systemic corruption and malfeasance to light the way for Pretend pResident Bai-Ding. Instead of getting his incompetent ass 86’d for cause months and months ago as he should have, “Doctor” FrankenFauci is headed for a cozy new sinecure with his WHO co-conspirators. The blithering boob didn’t get the boot; he got a promotion.

There’s a disgustingly long list of traitors, weasels, and snakes-in-the-grass who will still be in Mordor on the Potomac, depositing those obscenely-bloated FederalGovCo paychecks long after Trump himself has been deposited into a Federal penitentiary for the duration. He could have legitimately shown every last one of the conniving assholes the door. He had the authority; he had the right; he had not A reason, but reasonS, plural. A whacking great boatload of ’em. Hell, he said he would do it, explicitly and repeatedly. Promised he would.

Yet, inexplicably, he stayed his hand. Why?

We aren’t talking about mere mistakes here; they were far more than just questionable decisions. Not just a minor misstep here and there, the harsh lesson absorbed, leaving Trump a wiser, better leader for the education. They were grotesque demonstrations of seriously poor judgment bordering on pathologically self-destructive acts, a pattern of foolish consistency entirely outside the reach of logical explication.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the kind of mistakes that one can easily avoid paying a price for having made. They’re extremely costly. Whatever the reason for it, Trump has put himself and his family on the hook for a YUUUGE bill. And the collection agency is widely known for being absolutely ruthless, uncompromising, and impatient.

10 thoughts on “Mistakes were made

  1. First, derbyshit:
    “In those areas Trump was hopeless.”
    “In fact—and as a Trump voter it pains me to say it—in fact the feebleness, sloth, and incompetence of the Trump administration makes a sorry contrast with the vigor and resolution of this new one, the Biden administration.”

    OK, I don’t really know much about this derbyshit. He writes like a neverTrumper even if he was “a Trump voter”.

    There is no one on this planet that doesn’t make mistakes and that included Trump. OTOH, Trump ran on the platform “Make America Great Again”, not the one that seems prevalent among the pussies that never helped Trump one bit in word or deed, the “burn it to the ground crowd now that we let the election get stolen”. Trump never thought America needed to be burnt down to fix it. He may have been mistaken on that, but that is not how he proposed to make it great again.

    The derbyshits of the world, the ones that have never lifted a finger to stop the marxist movement place all the blame for American political failure at Trump’s doorstep, while praising St. Reagan. Let me ask you, how many of Reagan’s appointments were outside the deep state? Any? His VP was GHBush… I’ve yet to see even one of these assholes put up a list of choices they think can pass senate approval. And none of these assholes could have done the job Trump did, virtually on his own.

    It’s fair to discuss what did/didn’t work the last four years and figure out a way to make it much better the next time around. But accept the blame yourself as we all are to blame. We accept these conditions just as we are accepting them today. Blaming Trump, the only president since Eisenhower worth spit, is just blame shifting.

    “They were grotesque demonstrations of seriously poor judgment bordering on pathologically self-destructive acts, a pattern of foolish consistency entirely outside the reach of logical explication.”

    Please lay out your plan of good judgment and nondestructive acts, logically explainable of course.

    Good god, we’re doomed.

  2. What did Trump do that mattered? What was important?

    In my view, the most important 4, all Trump’s work with help from some of the good choices that Trump surrounded himself with:

    1. The economy. Trump started the process of bringing it back to the middle class. It was working and working well. Faster than anyone predicted.

    2. Iran / middle east. Trump isolated Iran, started the process of starving them, no American troops and needless death / maiming required. As a result, and by bypassing the terrorist palestinians, peace was beginning to fall over the middle east. This was helped by –

    3. Energy. Trump brought energy production back, making us independent of the ME

    4. China. Trump took on the Chinese. Who else do you think would have done it? Who else do you think would have correctly used the tariffs as a means to take them on? This is probably the single most important move by Trump.

    Trump is not responsible for bad choices made in the past and Trump is not responsible for the bad choices made in the future. We are.

  3. I have liked a fair bit of Derbyshire’s writing in the past, but this is ridiculous.

    In those areas Trump was hopeless. His party controlled Congress for two years,

    Well, there’s the problem: the GOP was never Trump’s party, and they did everything they could to block, undermine, and destroy him. That Donald Trump was unable to single-handedly reverse decades of corruption and leftward ratchet in the federal government is not exactly a surprise. That the new Dem admin is showing much greater ability to get things done is also not surprising, given that they have massive support from all the institutional power centers (bureaucracy, courts, MIC, etc.) rather than total opposition.

    Trump made plenty of mistakes, but most of them took the form of trusting people in the GOP to actually mean what they said about supporting limited government and working for the people. I doubt Trump had much choice — if he had pushed much harder, the GOP would have joined the Dems to vote him out of office during the first shampeachment or via the 25th amendment.

    On paper Trump might have had the power to just sweep away all these obstacles with the stroke of a pen. But in reality the DC swamp has so many self-reinforcing layers of protection that without support from a majority in congress, the president’s ability to act is quite limited. And Trump never had anything like majority support, whatever the official numbers of ‘his’ party might have been.

    I am reminded of a section from P.J.O’Rourke’s book ‘Parliament of Whores’ about how new presidents think they have all this power and control, until they learn that all the wires from the control switches have been cut. (Inexact paraphrase, it has been a long time since I read it.) O’Rourke wrote that back in 1991, about presidents who did have the support of their party. Add thirty years and the entire uniparty being fully united in their hatred of the outsider Trump, and it is remarkable that Trump managed as much as he did.

  4. It’s simple to answer.

    The Republicans could have easily had 20 Legislation Bills lined up to get voted on, pass and sent to Trump to sign and Trump was ready to sign them. All of this could have started on Jan 21, 2017 and been done before the end of the year.

    What did Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell actually pass and send to Trump to sign? The Tax Cuts. That’s it.

    Same thing that happened under W.

    Face it. The Republicans don’t want to change anything at all. They wouldn’t let a single person Trump really wanted, except for his Economic Team, to get confirmed and they must have told him that right up front.

    Meanwhile people like Sessions talked for decades about wanting to get things “fixed” and when he was finally given the chance, he went to sleep in the corner.

    You would have thought that Trump’s prodding and cajoling and then outright insulting him would make Sessions feel a little remorseful about abandoning every Principle he supposedly held dear and told us for Decades he would live up to with all the Honor, Integrity and Vigor he could muster if he was ever given the chance to do something. He didn’t. He yawned and went into hiding and then slinked off when he was finally given the boot.

    An Honorable Man would have committed seppuku for his failure, but Sessions wasn’t an honorable man.

    We have to face up to one thing. The Constitution and our Government was designed to make it difficult to get things changed radically in any short time frame. However, it was also designed to be an adversarial system, limited in scope, so that the participants would have to fight each other tooth and nail to maintain any little turf they managed to carve out for themselves.

    It worked until the Income Tax allowed large amounts of money to flow towards DC. Even then, there were limits since at some point squeezing more out of Income resulted in Revenues falling. So tax policies were implemented to extract the maximum amount out of Revenues. That STILL resulted in people having to fight for turf and a place at the trough. So next they started Borrowing through Deficit Spending and untying the dollar from gold. This worked for a while but pretty soon the interest on the debt became crushing and interest rates would rise. So then Greenspan began lowering interest rates to 0%. Even THAT was not enough for the insatiable growing behemoth in DC. Then they hit on the Ultimate Cure.

    The Fed would just buy the long term debt, keeping interest rate below the inflation rate and allowing unlimited spending without any consequences. Or so they think.

    So now we have multi-Trillion “Stimulus Bills” several times a year and everyone in DC is happily fed with lots of money flowing and ample opportunities for graft and corruption with Globalism and Foreign Wars and Foreign Aid and Open Borders.

    That godawful Orange Man Bad wanted to end the Party. DC was Fat, happy and content and no WAY they were going to let that man stop the Party.

    Now we have the Era of Dementia Man and the DC Swamp is singing Happy Days Are Here Again.

    This will not end well, and it sure as Hell isn’t going to end by Voting  A New Trump. They’ll never let that happen again unless something drastic befalls them.


    1. Well put, kennycan. After the 2016 elections the GOP had (on paper, at least) an even stronger position than the Dems do right now. With the presidency and majorities in both chambers of congress, they were in position to move fast, bring a series of bills to Trump’s desk in the first couple months, and make a big impact. They did a few things like the tax bill and some economic stuff (which was important and did make a big impact, reviving the economy from the near-coma of the Obama years). But they did not even attempt any fundamental game changers like reforming the bureaucracy, crushing vote fraud, breaking or banning government unions, breaking the educational unions and the left’s control of the schools, etc. Nothing that would actually threaten the foundations of the left’s power.

      The Dems today, in stark contrast, are making fundamental changes to cement their power: DC and PR statehood, national fraud by mail ballots, mass amnesty for tens of millions of new Dem voters, and a lot more.

      GOP take total control: pat themselves on the back about how they get the nice offices now, tinker with tax rates a little bit.

      Dems take total control: crush their enemies and make sweeping changes to the entire system.

      Only one side is actually playing to win, which means the real rules of the game are not what they are publicly claimed to be.

  5. Lots of incorrect interpretations here, including Derb’s.  First of all – Derb is not, and never has been, a ‘never Trumper’ establishment type, and even the most cursory reading of his stuff would tell you that.  Derb is an immigration patriot, and Vdare is an immigration patriot website; Derb tends toward single-issue myopia because of that, as do most of the writers there – but from the moment Trump came down the escalator, Derb and the rest of the writers there were 100% on board with him.  That doesn’t mean that his final take is necessarily completely correct or incorrect on Trump’s presidency.

    Trump suffered from two characteristics of his own (no, not ego and Twitter).  First, Trump is a businessman.  When a new CEO comes into a company, that CEO charts a course, and the managers and worker bees (for the most part) shift their work in that direction and in an effort to get the results that the new CEO is looking for.  The idea of the managers sandbagging the CEO the way that the Deep State sandbagged Trump is rare, if not virtually nonexistent, in private business.  Trump wasn’t prepared for this.  That’s why Trump hired Deep Staters in his Cabinet – he figured that if he got qualified and experienced people and gave them the direction, that they would go in that direction.  He learned differently to his, and our, sorrow.

    Second, Trump believed in the American way, and in our government the way it was presented to us in Civics class.  For all the caterwauling about his ‘dictatorial’ nature, Trump in fact was probably the most Constitutionally restrained President in decades.  He never challenged a court order, never went beyond the scope of the office, and tried to get everything done through popular will.  Even up till the end, I think Trump believed that the court system would do the right thing with respect to the corrupt election of 2020.

    Trump’s characteristics led him to failure, no question about it.  When Derb says that he overlooked loyalists to empower Deep Staters and even opponents within his own party, Derb is right.  Why Kris Kobach was never nominated for a Cabinet position is beyond me.

    Where Derb is wrong is when he attempts to use Jeff fucking Sessions as an example of a ‘loyal’ Trump supporter.  That piece of shit did more to damage Trump’s Presidency than any other man by stepping aside and allowing the Russian hoax and investigation.  Trump was hamstrung by two horrible AG picks – Sessions and Bill Barr.  The only reason that Derb (and the other Vdare writers) like Sessions is that he gave great speeches about immigration.  He didn’t DO much, but boy, could he speak from the back bench.  That’s that single-issue myopia I was talking about.

    Sessions should have been fired the day after he recused himself.  Period.  “But Skeptic, the media would have gone after Trump!”  Big fucking deal.

    Trump was given a gift.  He had complete carte blanche to do whatever he wanted without fear of media backlash – because the media had the hate meter turned up to 11 from the get-go.  There was simply no reason to moderate his behavior based on news coverage – and yet, he did.  Time after time he gave interviews to hostile reporters (Bob fucking Woodward?  Seriously?), even when he knew they were out to destroy him.  That was just bad judgement.

    Trump should have done what most Presidents do – fire key officials on day one and replace them with his own people.  “But, Skeptic, what if Kris Kobach couldn’t have gotten confirmed?”  Well, first of all, we’ll never know – he didn’t try.  But secondly, acting appointments are a wonderful thing.  Name an acting AG or FBI director, slow walk the confirmation process, repeat as necessary.  Imagine Trump’s first year in office with, say, Kobach as AG and a genuine lawman (think Daryl Clarke or Joe Arpaio) in charge of the FBI.  The world looks pretty damn different. Hillary’s emails, the spying on his campaign – think a Arpaio/Kobach combo wouldn’t have produced indictments toot-sweet?  Now imagine our political landscape with Comey, Brennan, etc. convicted.

    Why didn’t he do those things?  That private business instinct – he truly felt that if he hired those experienced, “acceptable” people, they’d be on his side.  He learned differently to his regret – and ours.

    Trump was also undone by the Plandemic.  When Governors locked down their states, he allowed it – which damaged his supporters far more than the enemy’s, and undid his greatest achievement – the economy.  “But what could he have done about it?”  Well, with a real AG (acting or not), the Justice Department could have immediately sued every state that went into lockdown.  Think about it – when the lockdown orders were challenged in court, not one was upheld.  Not.  Fucking.  One.  The problem was that private business didn’t have the resources to challenge them very often – but the Federal Government does.  If Justice had sued right off the bat, the lockdowns would have been over in a month, and mail in voting probably wouldn’t have happened.  Barr wouldn’t do it.  Fire Barr, get a real (acting) AG. Instead, Trump Tweeted.

    The riots were another area where he was impotent.  He Tweeted as cities all over the country were burned.  During the Civil Rights era, Presidents weren’t shy about sending in the National Guard whether Governors wanted them there or not.  Trump should have followed the example of Ike and LBJ.  He Tweeted.

    Trump spent 2020 showing his powerlessness.  Is it any wonder that the Dems were emboldened to outright steal the election?  Trump had the Insurrection Act at his disposal – and when it was time to cross the Delaware, he stayed on the wrong side.  He really had nothing left to lose by invoking it – and yet he didn’t.

    When Derb says that Trump mistreated some loyalists, he’s not wrong.  What happened to Mike Flynn was inexcusable.  Trump’s quick firing of Flynn gave air cover for the persecution of Flynn – and let’s not forget that this was the result of the Mueller “investigation” that never would have happened without Sessions’ help.  Trump should have stuck with Flynn.  He’s a good man and didn’t do that which he was accused of.  And if he had been charged, he should have been pardoned right off. Who gives a fuck what the media would have said?

    Speaking of loyalty, Trump was badly sandbagged by the GOPe Congress, of course.  Maybe there was nothing he could have done to have altered that – but he didn’t send Congress much legislation to vote on.  Nor did he really apply pressure to Congresscritters.  How about a big rally in Paul Ryan’s district in 2017, putting Ryan on stage in front of 20,000 constituents, and making Ryan commit to certain legislative actions?  Would it have worked?  Don’t know – it wasn’t tried.

    Was Trump a great President?  In some ways, sure.  But when Derb says that everything he did was undone in the first 10 hours of Biden’s pResidency, he’s right.  I think Donald Trump is a genuinely good and decent man (despite his exterior) who loves and believes in this country.  But it’s hard to say that his presidency wasn’t a failure.  And Trump, his family, and the rest of us will pay a severe price for it.

    1. “Trump should have done what most Presidents do – fire key officials on day one and replace them with his own people. ‘But, Skeptic, what if Kris Kobach couldn’t have gotten confirmed?” Well, first of all, we’ll never know – he didn’t try.'”

      This. Right. Here. If he’d dumped a whole slew of bureau-rats right from go, then found it difficult or even impossible to get replacements confirmed…well, so fucking what? Let the FBI limp along without a head, for however long it must. Lather, rinse, repeat, for as many other federal departments as you might wish. I’d have been just fine with that, although of course the howl raised in the usual quarters would have been predictably deafening. Again: so fucking what? They were gonna howl regardless; personally, I much prefer giving them a good, solid reason for it. No swamp was ever drained without displacing some alligators.

    2. If he had nominated Kobach Mitch would have flexed his muscles and brought the nomination to a vote the next day and rejected him. Or any other one Mitch didn’t want that Trump wanted.

      In 2020 Mitch held Removal over the president’s head. It’s the real reason Paul Ryan sabotaged the House in 2018 Elections and threw the House to Pelosi. It actually gave McConnell the Power to hold Removal over Trump’s head.

      I still believe that was the biggest constraint on Trump.

      Plus Mitch and the Boys kneecapped the Sessions replacement in Alabama for the Senate, handing the seat to a Democrat. That was a message to Trump too. They didn’t like that Bannon and Trump interfered with their hand picked person to succeed Sessions and instead derailed him and got Roy Moore instead. So they crushed Roy Moore’s chances.

      I do think he should have fired a number of people and had them vote his first choice down. Then slow walk his new choice and keep firing the active heads until he found someone in the department that was palatable. Keep that acting head and never nominate a replacement.

      That would have ended Ryan’s and McConnell’s power play.

      Agreed, Sessions should have been fired the day after he recused himself.

      The harder thing to know is whether Ryan and the RINO House would have brought impeachment up in 2017 had Trump flexed his muscles. It’s possible.

    3. Hindsight is 2020, except when it isn’t.
      Your whole comment is a theory, not anything is factual as to outcome. You cannot know what you cannot know.

      Go back to my comment. Those achievements are real and significant. The economy, Iran, energy, and China – none of that would have been possible if he went the burn it all down route you suggest. Mistakes, of course there were. But lets be clear, making up what you wish had been achieved after the fact and calling the failure to achieve what you wish a failed presidency is pure bullshit.

      Hillary Clinton was not and never will be president. Trump accomplished quite a long list of items that are real and important. He did it with damn little help while fighting a hostile congress and press.

      He won the election, he won it big. The current white house inhabitant is there on a fraudulent basis. That is the fault of the American people. We have accepted it.

      Nothing Trump accomplished was possible if he followed your after the fact / hindsight / zero political understanding recommendations.

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