Sunday, October 15, 2017
Trump Doesn’t OWE Obama Anything
Not much is happening in Washington these days. Just more of the same as President Trump continues to change or scrap the policies of the previous president and the media responds by insisting each time that the sky is falling.
It’s nine months into the administration, and there is no rest for the hair-on-fire coverage. Whether it’s Trump’s move to make changes to NAFTA, decertify the Iran deal, eliminate some ObamaCare rules or cut taxes, each is greeted with a collective howl of outrage.
Every report is a parade of horrors that celebrates critics as truth-telling prophets. All the code words about cruelty to the poor and benefits for the rich are trotted out, capped with warnings about race and gender impacts.
The hyperbolic language is designed to stoke partisan fear and rally the resistance. “Sabotage” is how The New York Times editorial page described the president’s changes to ObamaCare (paywall), and it accused Trump of intentionally harming millions of people. Imagine that.
And so it goes, day after day, issue after issue. Stripped of policy fig leaves, the media reaction amounts to, “You can’t do that! That’s not how Barack Obama did it!”
See, the newcomer isn’t welcome to the neighborhood. The White House and the presidency still belong to Obama. And whatever Obama did was right, so any changes are wrong.
Never mind that unemployment is at a 17-year low and the stock market is at historic highs, or that it’s boom times for consumer and business sentiment. The economic recovery is going global, but Trump, we are assured, deserves zero credit.
The knee-jerk anti-Trump coverage shows that the media didn’t learn anything from its biased performance during the 2016 campaign. It’s still shilling for Democrats, with the left’s political talking points echoed in headlines, articles and broadcasts.
To get a sense of the double standard, recall that Obama was never treated as the usurper living in George W. Bush’s house. Quite the opposite.
The media drove the Welcome Wagon to his front door and when that proved insufficient, they became the Praetorian Guard protecting Dear Leader from criticism.
There’s a pattern. Bush was an interloper who interfered with the permanent Democratic realignment after Bill Clinton, and now Trump is an interloper after the Obama-forged realignment, which was also supposed to be permanent.
The media’s abandonment of basic fairness adds to the nation’s deepening polarization, and makes it difficult for any open-minded citizen to understand the significance of Trump’s policy changes.
That’s not to argue that all his changes are self-evident improvements and that none will fail. And there is no denying that he makes mistakes and contributes to the rancor with personal attacks on critics.
But policy-wise, he deserves a fair assessment of his actions. Instead, he gets automatic denunciation, as if anything he does is either stupid or corrupt.
Take, for instance, the two most important moves Trump made last week — changes to ObamaCare rules and decertifying the nuke deal with Iran.
It just so happens that those two items are the signature achievements of the former president. It is also a fact that both were sold on backs of lies to the American people, and that both are falling far short of their promised objectives.
Changes are not only welcome, they are necessary. Yet from most of the coverage, you get the idea that Trump is messing with perfection.
But does anybody honestly believe that ObamaCare is not failing in fundamental ways, and that every provision is sacred as written? If so, how to explain the exorbitant premium increases for those in the individual markets and the fact that one-third of the nation’s counties offer only a single insurance carrier?
And don’t forget Obama’s personal promises: you can keep your doctor, and you will have lower cost and greater choice. It was all a lie.
But still Trump is the bad guy, even though he campaigned on a promise to repeal ObamaCare. Congress has failed, so Trump is doing exactly what Obama did on so many occasions — using executive orders.
Then there’s the Iran pact. Obama committed the US to a deal that was deeply flawed, both in content and scope. In addition to paving a way for the mullahs to get nukes, it completely ignored the fact that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism and, rather than curb the aggression, the deal has emboldened Iran.
As Trump said Friday, “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakthrough.”
His willingness to work with Congress and our allies to improve the terms are a compromise that stops short of withdrawal. That is a responsible move to bolster security for ourselves and our allies, yet Trump is reflexively denounced as reckless.
What’s truly reckless is the continuing bias of the media. They campaigned to defeat Trump last year, and now campaign to defeat his every action as president. Their version of Groundhog Day is that he doesn’t belong in the White House, democracy be damned.