This Friday, January 20, at noon Eastern Standard Time, Donald J. Trump will be sworn into service as the Forty-fifth President of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts of the United States Supreme Court. While the traditions of the inauguration will be followed religiously, the sideshows by disaffected liberals and the disappointed mainstream media will be unlike anything we have ever seen before. Following are some observations about the event.
Similarities with the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. A friend of mine reminded me of the remarkable similarities between 1981 and 2017 despite the passage of thirty-six years. Both Mr. Reagan and Mr. Trump will have succeeded extraordinarily inept presidents (Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama). Mr. Carter is widely regarded as the worst president of modern times – dating back to the 1900’s. He presided over a foreign policy that was highlighted by the invasion of the American embassy in Iran and the holding of fifty-two American hostages for 444 days – they were released immediately upon the assumption of office by Mr. Reagan. On the domestic front, Mr. Carter, having benefited from the previous administration’s economic policy initially, then drove the economy into “stagflation” – high inflation, double digit interest rates, oil shortages, and flat to negative economic growth. So poorly did Mr. Carter perform that, following his “national malaise” speech, fully eighty percent of the nation disapproved of his leadership.
Mr. Obama is now vying with Mr. Carter as the worst president in modern times. His tenure is marked by a fully failed foreign policy highlighted by the “Russian Reset”, the abandonment of the Ukraine when Russia invaded the Crimea, the “Red Line” debacle with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the collapse of Libya and the resulting Benghazi murders, the capitulation to Iran over nuclear weapons and the lifting of most of the sanctions (including the payment of $160 Billion in unmarked European currency), the unchallenged expansion of China into the South China Sea, the premature withdrawal from Iraq allowing the emergence and dominance of the Islamic State, and the relentless criticism of Israel while turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the Palestinians, Hamas and Hezbollah.
On the domestic front, while Mr. Obama inherited a deep recession from President George W. Bush (albeit one that Mr. Obama helped create by insisting as a Senator that banks except “subprime” mortgages from people who could not or would not repay them) he then presided over the weakest economic recovery in history highlighted by abusive and costly regulations and a Trillion dollar stimulus package that was spent on higher wages and benefits for public employees, grants to political supporters (green energy, community organizers and labor unions). Mr. Obama nearly doubled the national debt that is now near $20 Trillion with each succeeding budget he submitted adding to that debt load. While Mr. Obama continues to brag about job creation under his Administration, the percentage of the American workforce with jobs remains at historic lows – yes, the number of jobs grew, but the population grew faster. The best that can be said of Mr. Obama’s policies is that as destructive as they were, they could only weaken but not stop the recovery. Meanwhile, race relations deteriorated, partisanship accelerated, average family income decreased, and Obamacare has failed. So poorly has Mr. Obama performed that over two-thirds of the nation believes that we are headed in the wrong direction.
So poorly has Mr. Obama performed that, sensing an opportunity to shift the onus of being the “worst president”, Mr. Carter has begun criticizing Mr. Obama’s legacy. The Washington Free Beacon reporting on an interview given by Mr. Carter to the Aspen Institute noted:
“President Obama was criticized last week by the president he is often compared to, Jimmy Carter.“Carter told an Aspen Institute audience that Obama’s accomplishments on foreign policy ‘have been minimal’ and that the United States’ influence is ‘lower than it was six or seven years ago.’* * *“’On the world stage, I think [Obama’s accomplishments] have been minimal,’ Carter said. ‘I think he has done some good things domestically, like health reform and so forth. But on the world stage, just to be objective about it, I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than when he took over.’* * *“’I would say the U.S.’s influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower than it was six or seven years ago,’ Carter said.”
The comparisons between Mr. Reagan and Mr. Trump even extend to criticism of their spouses. The mainstream media described Nancy Reagan as a “spendthrift” and obsessed with her fine clothes and expensive furnishings. They even criticized her during her mastectomy for worrying about its effect on Mr. Reagan. They went so fare as to imply that Ms. Reagan as one of the “party girls” available to stars during Mr. Reagan’s Hollywood days. Similarly some in the mainstream media have been critical of Melania Trump’s days as a model, including her posing in the nude, and have described her as “hooker” and a “golddigger.” Ms. Reagan was widely criticized for her “Just Say No” war on drugs, while Ms. Trump is being criticized for her intention to work on “cyberbullying.”
The Left’s Maniacal Frenzy. The frenzy of America’s left wing and its supporters in Hollywood and the mainstream media continues unabated and has sunk to new lows when BuzzFeed and CNN aired stories relating to unsubstantiated rumors regarding Mr. Trump’s representatives meeting with high level Russian officials in months before the election and that Russian officials had embarrassing information on Mr. Trump. The “stories” have been circulating among media outlets for months but no one has been able to verify a single allegation contained in them. CNN sought to legitimize its publication by saying they were simply reporting on a “briefing” by Mr. Obama’s intelligence officials that included an aside about the existence of the rumors. BuzzFeed went all-in by publishing the scurrilous and unfounded rumors.
Meanwhile, several members of Congress have taken to the microphone to announce that they will not attend the inauguration and some, including Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), have claimed that Mr. Trump’s election was not legitimate. Mr. Lewis is a civil rights icon and has worked tirelessly on behalf of minorities during his years in Congress, and that makes him . . . well that makes him a civil rights icon and proves that you can be a civil rights icon and a sore loser and petit, hyper-partisan hack at the same time. (I made a similar observation regarding Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in previous column when I noted that Mr. McCain was a legitimate war hero and that made him . . . well a war hero, and proved that you can be a war hero and a jerk at the same time.)
And not to be outdone, Hollywood has given us a string of “celebrities” denouncing Mr. Trump which range from Madonna offering oral sex for members of the electoral college who would vote against Mr. Trump, to Meryl Streep who, like her good friend Hillary Clinton, chose to assuage her ideological superiority over those with whom she disagrees by suggesting that without Hollywood all Trump supporters would have to watch was football and mixed martial arts. Look, I have always admired Meryl Streep’s acting but to paraphrase previous criticism of the Dixie Chicks – please shut up and act. I continue to be fascinated as to why the media gives extraordinary attention to the political views of entertainers and sports figures when most, if not all, are wholly ignorant on the subjects to which they deign to speak.
Now with so little FACTUAL news to process, the mainstream media has turned its attention to idle speculation about what might happen and in each instance conclude that Mr. Trump will fail or cause widespread problems. The latest of these comes from former and disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather who has engaged in speculation about what might happen if some foreign power hacked Mr. Trump’s Twitter account:
“Seriously, it’s pretty easy to argue that this could become a threat to national security. What if there was a tweet from Donald Trump’s account calling for an attack on North Korea? Too far fetched? The point is how much do we really know who is saying what?”
CBS is probably grateful that they had the good sense to sh*tcan Mr. Rather lo these many years ago.
And while the mainstream media continues to be content with unproven gossip and idle speculation about Mr. Trump and what may come, they have failed to pursue stories where there are actual facts to be discovered – like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potential abuse of her public office in furtherance of financial gain for her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation, or why a demonstrable internet exhibitionist like former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was given access to a plethora of classified State Department documents.
I don’t write this article as a boon to Mr. Trump by suggesting he is of similar stature to Mr. Reagan – he has a tall hill to climb to achieve anything like that. Rather, it is simply to note the similarity of circumstances in which each began his presidency and the reaction of the mainstream media and the political elites to someone outside their tight little circle that dares to challenge the status quo.