The Rod Martin Report – January 6, 2018
Happy New Year, and Happy Epiphany! 2017 was a whirlwind, most of it far beyond our hopes. The best is yet to come.
We began with a vacant Supreme Court seat, previously held by the departed giant Antonin Scalia, and the bare promise of an unknown-quantity President — who could well have been “saying whatever was necessary” to get elected.
Many of us voted for Donald Trump primarily because of that promise, because we knew what a five-and-a-half seat leftist Supreme Court majority meant. We didn’t know if Trump would keep his word, but we did know that some chance was better than no chance.
Hope has rarely been so richly rewarded.
Nor has that reward been just Neil Gorsuch. Trump’s impact on the entire judiciary has been historic: indeed, he’s batting a thousand (literally) on his picks, something no other Republican President in our lifetimes can claim (and how very much worse might Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney and — God forbid — John Kasich have been).
It’s that, in part at least, which continues to drive the remnant of “NeverTrumpers” onward in their ever-increasing cognitive dissonance. Trump has not merely defied their every prediction, from the certainty he’d pull out in July of 2015, to the assurance he’d never win the nomination, to the promise that he’d lose the general by 30 points, to the prognosticating that he’d govern as a clone of Hillary Clinton, to the overwrought hysteria that he is “an authoritarian” or even “literally Hitler”.
This week, on CNBC, Bill Kristol — who in August of 2016 said he longed for a “principled conservative” to run against Trump, and named Joe Lieberman as one of his top choices — actually dismissed 25,000 on the Dow, record employment, the lowest small business tax rate since 1931, a raft of bonuses and widespread wage increases as “no big deal.” Even the leftists on the business channel scoffed at him, his pride having driven him mad.
No, the last year has been a marvel, an unpredictable and unpredicted conservative feast. It’s hard to even begin to assess it. But let’s give it a brief, if meaty, shot:
1. The Supreme Court and Federal Courts generally. See above.
2. Tax Reform. Though it fell far short of Trump’s proposed plan (as the Kemp-Roth tax cut and the 1986 tax reform fell short of Reagan’s hopes), it’s still “yuge”. It’s the biggest tax cut for individuals in decades. It provides a pathway for repatriation of hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars stashed overseas. It establishes the lowest tax rate for small businesses since 1931.
And of course, by eliminating the State and Local Tax deduction, it smashes the left’s subsidy for tax-and-spend state regimes in California, Connecticut, et al.: Florida and Texas no longer have to pay for Jerry Brown’s tax schemes. Expect an acceleration of emigration from blue states to red, tax revolts in those blue states ala Prop 13, and at least a few of those states flipping Republican.
Crazy talk, I know.
3. Slashing the Federal Regulatory Burden. President Trump has now achieved more deregulation than any other President in American history, eliminating an astonishing 22 regulations for every 1 enacted. And characteristically, that’s a huge over-delivery on his 2016 promise of just two for every one, a promise at which NeverTrumpers scoffed.
Don’t tell Bill Kristol, but slashing regulations is no way to be “authoritarian”.
But forget the NeverTrumpers. Hillary would have added 22 regulations for every one already on the books. And she would have bragged about it.
4. Life. During the campaign, Trump claimed to have converted on abortion, based on his experience with a friend who’d gone through the horrors of one.
Apparently he meant it. And it’s not just his judicial picks. Right out of the chute, he reinstated Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy”, which bans federal funding to any foreign group that funds or promotes abortion, and expanded its scope far beyond prior iterations enacted by either Reagan or the Bushes. He defunded the UN Population Fund on similar grounds. He also signed legislation allowing states to end Title X funding for Planned Parenthood.
He launched a federal investigation of Planned Parenthood for its fetal-tissue-trafficking. He vastly expanded the religious and conscience exemption from the Obamacare contraception mandate, enabling religious employerslike the Little Sisters of the Poor to avoid paying for abortion drugs. He pledged to sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act if Congress will just pass it.
He even directed HHS to legally define human life as beginning at conception.
4. Healthcare. Trump pushed Congress to eliminate Obamacare’s horrible individual mandate, which it did as part of the tax reform law, effectively gutting the system. And while John McCain repeatedly broke his campaign promise and thwarted overall Obamacare repeal, Trump demonstrated the biggest difference between himself and Beltway Republicans, by continuing to push forward no matter how many times Congress failed to do its job and keep its word. He’ll push further in 2018 and 2019.
5. Defeating ISIS. Obama fecklessly “fought” ISIS for seven years. Donald Trump and Mad Dog Mattis crushed the so-called caliphate in eleven months.
So much for Barack Obama’s “long-term campaign” of endless defeats by a “JV team”. So much too for his ceding of regional power to Russia and Iran.
6. Foreign Policy generally. Russia is withdrawing from Syria. Iran is facing what may be a full-on revolution. North Korea finds itself unable to get America to surrender and give it goodies, as it succeeded in doing with Obama, Bush and Clinton; and it also finds a China that’s giving the U.S. more cooperation than ever before.
NATO members are beginning to pay their fair share for the costs of the alliance and of America’s defense of their territory. The EU is in disarray. The grossly-unfair Trans-Pacific Partnership is a memory. NAFTA is being seriously renegotiated. The first-ever American military base has been opened in Israel, the U.S. has finally acted on the 1995 law requiring it to move its embassy to Jerusalem, and Donald Trump personally flew the first direct flight from Tel Aviv to Riyadh, on his way to an Arab-U.S. summit that declared its shared intent to stamp out Islamist terror. Quite a difference from the infamous Apology Tour.
Oh, and just for good measure, he’s slashed over $600 million in funding for the UN, just so far.
7. Energy. Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry ended Obama’s war on domestic energy production, authorizing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines (which Obama had held up for eight years on behalf of his friend and donor Warren Buffett, the owner of the only railroad in and out of North Dakota). The President killed Obama’s fake “Clean Power Plan” and pulled the U.S. out of the made-in-Lilliput Paris Climate Accords. And just this week, he announced a rollback of Obama’s offshore drilling bans, massively expanding access to domestic resources.
Why does this matter? Because energy independence is actually possible, thanks to advancing technologies such as fracking and to an Administration refusing to let its enemies hold it hostage ala 1973 and 1979. And because that independence does more harm to America’s foreign enemies than war, emptying the treasuries of rogue states like Russia, Iran and Venezuela with each additional American barrel sold.
Some (like the aforementioned Bill Kristol) have decried the use of the phrase America First, absurdly claiming it denotes Naziism. Others have attacked it on the grounds that it supposedly means America is withdrawing from the world. And some preachers have said (oddly and unbiblically) that “America First” violates some ill-defined duty of the U.S. government to provide for the entire world.
No fellas. This is what it means.
It also means the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years. It also means the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment rates in American history. It also means 25,000 on the Dow and 7,000 on the NASDAQ. It also means record investment in business expansion here at home, by both foreign and domestic companies.
It also means getting control of the border: even without the Wall (and it’s coming, make no mistake), 2017 saw record lows in illegal border crossings. And the key word is “illegal”. Neither America nor Donald Trump “hate” foreigners: indeed, we’ve been letting in 1.1 million new legal immigrants every year for decades, the equivalent of the entire state of Florida just since 9/11. But a country without a border isn’t a country at all, and the Bush-Obama approach to illegal immigration (aka “undocumented Democrats”) has been grossly unfair to all those who followed the law, and a thinly-varnished long-term strategy to create a Democrat majority in spite of that party’s best efforts to kill its own next generation in the womb.
Oh, and just one other thing:
8. Did you notice that, for the first time in a long time, everywhere you went last month, people said “Merry Christmas”, happily and without prompting?
I was against Donald Trump in the primary (indeed, I exclusively supported the two Southern Baptist candidates, unlike certain Southern Baptist leaders who’ve been most vocally opposed to the primary’s and general’s outcome). I shared many, if not most, of the concerns many of you had. And longtime readers know I was vocal about it, and struggled with my decision to support him.
But as we enter 2018, it’s time to take stock. It’s been an incredible year, particularly given the over-the-top opposition the President has faced, both from outside and inside a government which seems utterly disconnected from its responsibility to respect the outcome of elections. Could another candidate have stood in the face of such relentless attack? I doubt it, as much as I love some of them.
It took a Donald Trump. And, however surreal it might seem, that same Donald Trump is delivering more of the conservative agenda than all of his predecessors, in some ways even more than Ronaldus Magnus himself.
It’s an exciting moment. And 2018 will be more so. As Newt Gingrich says in an article posted just below, the Surprise of the Year is going to be a big Republican victory, no matter how many pundits and pollsters tell you the same warmed-over trash they told you in 2016. Democrats are defending 25 U.S. Senate seats to our eight (two of which got a lot safer when the awful RINOs Jeff Flake and Bob Corker bowed out). 2019 could be the year we drive the conservative revolution home.
Buckle up. It’s going to be a heck of a ride.
You can read about the world anywhere; you come to RodMartin.org to understand it. In coming weeks, the “Rod Martin Report” will cover its usual mix of politics, geopolitics, science, technology, economics and faith, because isolating any of those topics from the rest produces a stunted, distorted view of the world. We look at the whole chess board, which is why we were the most accurate analysts of the entire 2016 election cycle. We will be again.
So Happy New Year, and Happy Epiphany, and stay tuned.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it.
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