Trump the Statesman

By | 2016-10-13T12:58:16+00:00 October 13th, 2016|

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore

Could Donald Trump help lead the nation back to constitutional government? Or is he the uneducated, boorish, ego-maniacal boob that his critics say he is?

I start with Trump’s courage, unquestionably a virtue of the statesman. In his 1978 Harvard speech, Alexander Solzhenitsyn accused the leaders of the Western world of a lack of civic courage. They were unwilling, he said, to stand up to their enemies. Trump has shown civic courage again and again. He alone among prominent politicians is willing to name the actual source of terrorist violence against Americans (Muslim immigrants) and propose sensible policies to stop that source (restrictions on immigration from countries associated with Muslim terrorism). Trump alone is willing to tell the truth about the collapse of the rule of law in cities with large black populationsnamely, lack of adequate enforcement of laws punishing crimes against person and property.

Trump shows personal courage as well. I don’t know of a single American statesman in the past century, unless it’s Reagan, who could have stood up to the nonstop stream of vitriol, hatred, ostracism, accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, you name it, that Trump has been showered with over the past 15 months. What a man!

Prudence is another virtue of statesmanship. Who has been more prudent than Trump in pursuing the presidency? With the entire Republican establishment united against him, he made statements that were criticized again and again as imprudent. Yet Trump kept getting stronger. He is within a few points of Hillary Clinton, and sometimes ahead, in the polls. He has been criticized endlessly for his supposed gaffes, every one of which was expected to finally end his quest for the presidency. But what were most of these “gaffes” but telling the truth again and again about the important questions facing Americaabout the obvious bias of Judge Gonzalo Curiel; about the crime many illegal immigrants import; about the danger of Islamic immigration; about the shameful failure to provide law enforcement in black areas; and about the massive bipartisan failures in foreign policy over the past 25 years.

Prudence is about winning, but above all it is about winning on behalf of the right goals. What is the purpose of government in the American Founding? Answer: government is instituted “for the security and protection of the community as such, and to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights” (Pennsylvania Constitution, 1776). Government’s job is to protect citizensall citizens, not just women and minoritiesagainst harm from fellow citizens and from abroad. It is about the common good of all Americans. What candidate since Reagan has understood this better than Trump?

Trump says we need to restrict Muslim immigration because it is dangerous to the life and property of Americans. He says we need to enforce criminal law because blacks aren’t getting the protection they deserve. He says we need a right to bear arms for self-protection. He says we need Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, a constitutional originalist. He says “a nation without borders is not a nation at all. We must have a wall. The rule of law matters.” He wants an immigration policy that protects Americans from terrorist acts and benefits American workers. All of this is exactly in line with the founders’ approach.

And yet it is widely believed that Trump is ignorant of the purpose of the Constitution and the idea of justice in the founding! He doesn’t need lectures on natural rights from absurd parodies of statesmanship like Paul Ryan and Ben Sasse. He gets it without knowing anything about these increasingly empty natural rights slogans, which, as any thoughtful observer must admit, are no longer understood in their original sense. Obama and Hillary Clinton love to praise natural rights. Yet they have no idea of what they are and how government secures them.

Is Trump’s trade policy prudent? He believes that the purpose of trade policy is to protect and benefit Americans. The first substantive law ever passed by Congress says taxes on imports are “necessary for … the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” In other words, trade rules must serve the good of national prosperity and national defense. How can a country defend itself in a future war if its trade policy leads to outsourcing of steel production and widespread unemployment of both skilled and unskilled American workers?

After the War of 1812 had demonstrated the need for America to be economically independent of Europe, Jefferson abandoned his earlier utopian dream of America as a nation of farmers. He now became a strong advocate of manufacturing: “He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture, must be for reducing us either to dependence on . . . foreign nations, or to be clothed in skins, and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of these; experience has taught me that manufactures are now as necessary to our independence as to our comfort.”

Why is Trump the only prominent politician since Reagan to understand that obvious political truth? The Founders got it, but Trump is routinely denounced for his failure to embrace “free” trade.

What is the purpose of foreign policy? Is it to save the world and the environment, to promote gay rights and feminism, as Obama and Hillary Clinton believe? No. In the Constitution, foreign policy is supposed to “secure the blessings of liberty for OURSELVES and our posterity.” Nothing else! What politician since Reagan understands that besides Trump? Why should our troops be stationed in 150 countries around the world? The Cold War is over. Trump proposes to restore the kind of foreign policy recommended by John Quincy Adams, who warned against roaming around the world “in search of monsters to destroy.”

If Trump could return America to a sane foreign policy operating within the natural rights parameters of the founders, it would be a victory of moderation and justice over the destructive arrogance of American power that has unleashed so much misery on the world since 1989. Those, too, are virtues of statesmanship.

The Clintons, together with the Bushes and Obama, have had a death grip on the presidency since 1989. On October 9, for the first time ever, the full depths of the evil, corrupt, greedy, and criminal Clinton “marriage” were exposed to the public. In front of the whole nation, with Bill Clinton’s rape victims in the audience, the Clintons were subjected to the public humiliation they have so long richly deserved but which no other Republican has ever had the courage to visit on them.

And yet scores of Republican and “conservative” leaders become frantic over 11-year-old  private conversation.. Did Plutarch agonize about whether his heroes cheated on their wives or made boastful remarks about the women they had bedded or wished to bed? Was Hamilton’s reputation forever destroyed when his tawdry adulterous affair with another man’s wife was discovered? No. His picture continues to grace the $10 bill and his legacy is celebrated on Broadway.

Liberals have flooded our culture with porn, obscenity, trashiness everywhere you look, and millions of female readers of Fifty Shades of Grey have fantasized about being treated cruelly by a powerful male lover. During Clinton’s presidency in the 90s, we were lectured about the need to follow the example of France and get over our Puritanical preoccupation with sex. But when Trump says a few crude and boastful words, establishment adults everywhere are faux-fainting in dismay.

There really is a bipartisan ruling class. Angelo Codevilla and John Marini are right. Trump is the only man since Reagan to challenge it. Conservatism Inc., which is part of that ruling class (they get the scraps from the table after their betters finish dining), therefore turns its back on him, gleefully pointing and sputtering “I told you so” over every Trump comment or action that hints of racism, sexism, or homophobia. These “conservatives” are in effect working night and day for a Hillary victory. Good job, conservatives!

Trump has shown throughout his career that he knows how to get things done. He does it by working with competent subordinates who have the appropriate expert knowledge in their respective fields. He is good at hiring, and he is good at firing. Has a single presidential candidate since 1987 had that kind of success in their pre-presidential past? And yet many say Trump is unprepared for the presidency, and Hillary is ready to goa woman who has failed at everything she has put her hand to, except to get promoted to ever higher offices and get rich by corruption and crime. What delusion!

I don’t know why conservatives are unable to grasp these simple truths. It can’t be only self-interest. I’ll fall back on Nietzsche’s explanation, because I have nothing better: in all modern politics, one hears “a hoarse, groaning, genuine note of self-contempt. It is part of that darkening and uglification of [the West] which has now been going on for a hundred years…. The man of ‘modern ideas,’ that proud ape, is immoderately dissatisfied with himself: that is certain.”

Thus the instinctive revulsion of every “respectable” person in America at the specter of Trump as president. One wonders whether it is animated by a hatred of life itself. As Nietzsche also says, “man would rather will nothingness than not will at all,” and man cannot bring himself to will if he thinks there is nothing higher, purer, and nobler to aspire to. Trump wants America to live, not die.

About the Author:

Theophilus
  • Dave Edwards

    Cute.

  • Dave Edwards

    And no, Theo, I don’t know of any president who has been successful in losing a billion dollars in one year or single-handedly destroying a major American party. Trump is a special type of prudent statesman who knows all about “winning”.

  • John Ash

    Conservatives need to dispense with this attempt at character building for Trump. It is no better than nation building. Trump canNOT make even a rudimentary ode to the Constitution, nor create an apologetic case for his behavior. I could on the latter, but I’m not the one that needs to make it. He can’t enunciate a serious policy on any front. Not on immigration, walls, etc. Claiming that Mexico will pay for a $100m+ wall is ludicrous on its face. Claiming he will start throwing around tariffs as if this won’t have an implosive effect on exports is equally laughable. Conservatives are guilty of overlaying their own vision of what Trump is in the same way libruls did with Barack Obama.

    It long past time for people to abandon ship and elect an honest, experienced man President.

    • Dave Edwards

      The wall is estimated to cost tens of billions, not hundreds of millions. Of course, Trump might try to save a few bucks by hiring illegal aliens like he did for Trump Tower.

      • John Ash

        True, I got my magnitude wrong.

      • Gray Panther

        There doesn’t have to be a wall if they simply started punishing people who hire illegals with stiff fines & jail time; if there are no jobs for these people, they will go back home to figure something else out.

    • SurfingUSA

      ?? Paying for the wall will be a piece of cake. Either by a tax on remittances by Mexicans in the US to their homeland or suspension of all visas, foreign aid, etc. until Mexico coughs up.

      • Dave Edwards

        Yeah. A piece of cake that might be tied up in court for decades…

        • Shep

          The law has already passed, congress just won’t fund it.

          • Dave Edwards

            There are many other legal roadblocks.

          • Shep

            Considering how Obama has ruled by fiat it wouldn’t be too hard for Trump to do so too.

          • Dave Edwards

            A dictator is okay as long as he is your dictator?

          • Shep

            yes.

          • Dave Edwards

            Sad.

      • John Ash

        Well, Mexico won’t pay, so that leaves a tax on remittances, but I suspect the courts would declare that unConstitutional unless it applied to everyone world wide. So…good luck with that.

    • Shep

      You sound like Brett (((Stephens))) nee Erlich.

      • John Ash

        He must be a cool guy. Who is he?

    • Severn

      You know a big fat nothing about the Constitution.

      Claiming he will start throwing around tariffs as if this won’t have an implosive effect on exports is equally laughable.

      Who the hell does this Trump guy think he is … Ronald Reagan?

      https://mises.org/library/ronald-reagan-protectionist

      “If President Reagan has a devotion to free trade, it must be blind because he has been way off the mark. In fact, he has been the most protectionist president since Herbert Hoover.”

      • John Ash

        We have actual trade agreements, you know. Once Trump blows those up, the economy will tank.

        • Severn

          As usual you skip blithely past the facts – in this case the fact that the policy positions you describe as “laughable” were extensively employed by Ronald Reagan, without tanking the economy.

          People just like you were insisting that if the British voted for the Brexit – rejecting their sacred trade agreements! – their economy would tank. How’s that coming along for you?

    • Ironwrkr

      “It long past time for people to abandon ship and elect an honest, experienced man President.”
      Yeah, well maybe so Diogenes, but in the meantime you go to war with the army you have. If the opposition cannot unite to defeat Clinton then they will never unite. May as well throw in the towel.

      • John Ash

        It is one thing to unite behind a flawed warrior, it is another to act like he isn’t flawed and try to bullshit people into thinking he is awesome.

        • Ironwrkr

          Well, there are those, but as others have said, better a flawed vessel than an overflowing chamber pot.

        • Gray Panther

          Whether or not Trump is “awesome” remains to be seen but so far, he has made reasonable suggestions as to how to solve the problems the American people care about, the problems that really matter; he comes across as a leader, something we have not seen since Reagan. Pay more attention to what he says & does & less attention to what his many detractors are saying.

          • John Ash

            Well, it’s good that he beat Hillary, and it’s good that he’s already softening his positions. I knew he would, but not sure it will be enough on immigration. If he tries to kick out well behaving immigrants, it will be civil war. Just like if he starts throwing around big tariffs, there will be a trade war. And everyone will lose.

          • Gray Panther

            Take a peek at his interview with Leslie Stahl on this past Sunday’s installment on 60 Minutes & you will get to see him assert that it is only the criminals he is after, not the regular folk.

  • Party of Lincoln

    Well, now we seen it all. The exaltation of Trump as a “statesman” — even before he’s even sworn in as president!

    In days past, one would have to actually accomplish something of note before being hailed as a statesman. But no, all one has to do now, if Decius and Theophilus are to believed, is to propose economically illiterate policies that mock the Constitution and degrade the people.

    But let’s assume that marching 10-12 million illegal immigrants back to Mexico at a cost of about $500 billion (and that’s a conservative estimate) is profoundly statesmanlike. Let’s assume that banning Muslims from entering the United States “until we know what the hell is going on” would make Washington and Lincoln bend knee to America’s greatest statesman yet.

    Let’s drill down to the most idiotic economic policy any candidate for the presidency of the United States has ever proposed. Trump’s solution to the federal debt:

    Force holders of US Treasurys to take a haircut. Genius!

    So that there can be no claim that “Trump never said that”, let’s review his actual words.

    “I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”
    He added, “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”

    It’s not clear that the brain trust at “American Greatness” have any how dire the consequences to the American economy would be if the Untied States tried to force its creditors to accept less than 100 cents on the dollar. If it needs to be explained here, God help us.

    But let’s go beyond Trump’s insane solution to the federal debt. After all, it could be argued that he was having bad day and, as we all know, Trump never actually commits himself to any policy.

    Let’s talk about his “fiscal policy”. He has proposed a $9.5 TRILLION dollar tax cut, the benefits of which would accrue mostly to the titans of the establishment he ostensibly seeks to destroy. Wise or not, he has repeatedly stated that Social Security and Medicare reform are off the table under a Trump regime. Fine. He has also proposed an Obama/Clinton-style stimulus program, which is estimated to cost another $500 billion. Stimulus spending on “infrastructure” is not objectionable per se, but the track record on previous stimulus spending sprees under Obama and Clinton did not yield the results that were promised.

    Decius and Theophilus would be wise to take a look at the US debt clock. For convenience, I’ll provide a link right here:

    http://www.usdebtclock.org/

    As of this moment it shows about a $19.45 national debt. On the day Barack Obama was sworn in as potus in 2009 the national debt stood at 10.6 trillion. The national debt doubles roughly every 10 years. Were we to do nothing about taxes and spending we could reasonably expect the national debt to grow from $20 TRILLION in 2017 to about $40 TRILLION in 2027. Were we to adopt Trump’s plan to add to the EXISTING PROJECTED GROWTH of the national debt we could expect the national debt to grow to about $50 TRILLION in 2027.

    Boys and girls, grave concern about the national debt is warranted.

    But no, we have a “statesman” running for president who not only ignores the economic Titanic as it approaches the iceberg, he proposes to put his foot on the pedal and hasten the crash. Because after all, “you can’t lose”.

    A genuine statesman does not make a problem worse; he confronts it honestly and proposes solutions to the people that they may not like but with a commitment to painstakingly explaining to the people what the truth is he gets them there. Like everyone else, I would love to have a free lunch — tax cuts and a permanent government spending spree — but the balance sheet of the United States is in rough shape and cannot sustain such a fiscal policy. A genuine statesman would spend far less time proposing a trade war with China or a mass deportation to Mexico — two countries where he manufactures his merchandise and buys his steel — and more time on the most critical issue facing our country, by far.

    • Shep

      Look everyone, someone’s Karma ran over their Dogma!

    • Severn

      propose economically illiterate policies that mock the Constitution and degrade the people.

      Economically illiterate dogmas – just like Reagan’s? Just like the Founders, Just like Lincoln’s? It’s amusing that you are currently calling yourself “Party of Lincoln” when you clearly know nothing about what Lincoln stood for.

      https://mises.org/library/ronald-reagan-protectionist

  • Dave Edwards

    Tomorrow on “American Greatness”
    “Trump as Christian” Commodus discusses Mr. Trump as the epitome of Christian virtue

    • Severn

      If you have a thought in your head, you do a masterful job of concealing it.

    • Stick

      Am I to understand that Obama is Marcus Aurelius?

  • Surprisingly well argued, and on multiple fronts.

    The question is whether a country that no longer identifies as a nation can even understand statesmanship any more, absent any real understanding of national interest. This actually wasn’t a bad definition:

    “A genuine statesman does not make a problem worse; he confronts it honestly and proposes solutions to the people that they may not like but with a commitment to painstakingly explaining to the people what the truth is he gets them there.”

    The question, as always, is which problems are the most pressing. What IS key to the national interest?

    The Trumpism argument is that a uni-party globalist nomenklatura, and immigration that corrodes liberty as well as economic strength, are among the core drivers of our present difficulties and disunity. If one agrees, there is a persuasive argument that Trump is the ONLY statesman of recent years. If one disagrees, then the argument shifts to “which problems?”

    Debt and trade strike me as especially poor ground to stand on in such discussions (vid. “Party of Lincoln”), since both have obvious antecedents in culture (bringing us back to immigration as a component) and the existence of said globalist nomenklatura. Looking forward to more interesting arguments instead…

  • Kuni Leml

    Ya, umm, the problem isn’t “Trump says a few crude and boastful words” the problem is Trump confessing to actually “engaging in” “sexual molestation.”

    I hope that clears up any confusion you may have on that issue (but I doubt it.)

    • Severn

      Trump has never “confessed” to engaging in “sexual molestation”. Unless we adapt the latest progressive fad sweeping the universities and declare that any man who has ever laid a finger on a woman without getting her express consent first is guilty of assault — something which you seem eager to do.

      Nice hammer and sickle tee shirt, comrade.

      • BG

        Exactly! Grabbing a woman’s pu**y without her consent surely doesn’t rise to the level of sexual assault. Perfectly acceptable behavior. Grab away!

        • Severn

          You think and talk exactly like a leftist.

          Which would be a lot more easy to put up with if you’d admit that is what you are, but like so many leftist trolls on conservative blogs you engage in the pretense that you’re something you’re not.

          • BG

            No pretense here; I’m voting for Trump. He’s the best thing to happen to the Democratic party in years.

      • Kuni Leml

        So what part of Trump’s “I don’t even wait” when it comes to getting consent did you miss?

        It’s okay, if most people were trying to defend a molester like you are, they too would also probably pretend to be ignorant of the confession.

  • walsall

    “I start with Trump’s courage,”

    Then I start with his ducking the Vietnam War.

    • Andrew E.

      And yet 200 Generals and Admirals, and 21 Medal of Honor recipients, endorse Trump.

    • Stick

      It actually seems consistent. Why fight for another’s borders when you are not allowed to defend your own? The full militarization of Vietnam was led by two pussy hounds.

  • rickv404

    “Trump the Statesman”

    Are you kidding me? You people on this site are deluded. You are of the same sort of mentality that falls in line behind a would be fascist dictator.

    • Severn

      Says the fascist bootlicker trying to elect Hillary Clinton.

    • Another idiot speaks. Most likely a paid Clinton troll.

    • On second thought, he’s from conservative, inc. A real dork!

  • Severn

    I guess the question is “What is constitutional government”?

    Many in the anti-Trump “conservative” camp seem to be of the opinion that Trump is not a constitutional conservative unless he explicitly repudiates the policy’s which have been engaged in, or at least implicit endorsed by, both parties over the last eighty years. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Dept of Education, the DHS, the DEA, etc etc.

    It’s true that Trump has not pledged to take an axe to FDR era liberalism. But then, Romney, McCain and Bush never ran on such a platform either. Even Reagan, who ran on scrapping the Dept of Education, failed to accomplish that modest goal. So this particular line of anti-Trump attack not only eliminates Trump, it eliminates every past and potential future Republican Presidential candidate. To scrap or even reform FDR era liberalism requires acts of Congress. The President has no constitutional power to scrap the administrative state, and if Trump were going about proclaiming his intention to scrap this or that government bureau the anti-Trumpians would size on that as proof of either his constitutional ignorance or his desire to rule as a dictator.

  • James Francisco

    “And yet scores of Republican and “conservative” leaders become frantic over 11-year-old private conversation.” I did not become frantic when hearing about this particular evidence of Trump as a profoundly immoral man because I’ve known that about him for the last 27 years. His promiscuity and serial adultery shows a fundamental disloyalty and dishonesty is beyond contempt. His conduct in business is quite frankly both appallingly predatory and somewhat incompetent. Analysis of his performance as a money manager suggests that if he had fired himself 30 years ago and hired a professional funds manager his net worth would be nearly twice what it is now. Publius excuses his bad behavior on the premise that “others do that too!” Well that’s not good enough. Bad behavior, particularly when there is any form of dishonesty or betrayal deserves condemnation in the absence of any sign of repentance, which Trump seems incapable of giving.

    • Stanley1

      You wrote “quite frankly.” That means — luckily for the rest of us — that you’re being frank.

      What a treasure.

      • James Francisco

        That is the best you can do? Cavil about word choice? Come on Stanley, you’re better than that. Let’s hear what you really think about the substance of the comment.

        • Stanley1

          Right, what I wrote was too subtle for you to recognize that I was calling you a pompous twit.

          • James Francisco

            And so, you reveal yourself as the typical Trumpist, unable to do better than Ad Hominem attacks. Should your boy lose, which is by no means certain yet, don’t make a mess on the floor on your way out.

  • Shep

    This is what Trump is fighting against!

    It’s a video Masterpiece!

    • Gray Panther

      Really? It’s reasonable to have disdain for moneyed interests but this is absurd. Hitler? Come on.