Street Smarts in the White House

President Trump went to an Ivy League school, but he came out still talking like a New Yorker, with his street smarts intact. What does it mean to have street smarts? It’s knowledge of how to spot trouble coming, how to cope with mean bastards, and thrive. It is knowledge gained from gritty life, which gives you “a bank of courage to depend on when you are tested.” Your knowledge is based in your life experience, not conventional wisdom or academic notions, so it is actually real.

Street smarts combines common sense, self-preservation, and assertiveness. Think President Trump.

The person with street smarts has a great bullshit detector. You know how to deal with bullies and cheats, whether they be elite media or political opponents. As Willie Dixon put it, “You can’t mess with the messer, the messer’s gonna mess with you.”

Trump’s success dominating his dirty-dealing opponents has amazed and dumbfounded Democrats and the old GOP alike. They don’t understand his strengths. Like a martial arts master, Trump doesn’t absorb his enemies’ attacks. He transforms their assaults into his own energy to win.

President Trump’s street smarts go way beyond dealing with enemies. It is the key to how he carved his own successful path in life, and in the White House. The key to street smarts is noticing life as it is and dealing with it. In high falutin’ psychology terms, it is reality testing, the highest order of brain functioning.

Reality testing is essential to good judgment and effectiveness in life. It means dealing with the world as it is, not as you want it to be, nor as you fear it to be. No socialism, no global warming, no free lunch.

Good judgment requires facing things as they are. Democrats lack it almost entirely. President Trump has it in excess. Reality testing is a rare gift. It is called common sense, but it is not common.

This is why President Trump has managed to accomplish so much that was deemed impossible in the two difficult areas of the economy and foreign affairs. He pays no attention to the received truths of other people. He looks simply and without equivocation at what’s in front of him. Like any builder, President Trump has his two feet solidly on the ground at all times.

It has been a delight to conservatives to discover that President Trump is against suffocating government not because of ideology, but as a practical man. A bloated government sucking up the wealth of the country and churning out stultifying regulations is not a force for good. It is not good for the economy or opportunity or fairness or freedom. So, he’s done more to deregulate than any president before him.

Common sense without courage gets you nowhere. President Trump also has uncommon courage. He loves to be loved, but if you are in the opponents’ camp, he doesn’t give a damn about what you think of him. His big ego, for which he gets so much flak, enables him to focus on his goal, laughing at the screaming and hysteria around him. They just make it more fun and satisfying to win.

Consider: what did it take for President Trump to turn America into an energy superpower in two short years? The simplicity of accepting reality: we need energy, we have energy, energy development is good. Demonizing fossil fuels is nonsense. So, President Trump had the smarts and the guts to set a reality-based goal of a booming energy sector.

This one policy is crucial to America’s self-interest, to our economy, and to our national security. It took courage to ignore decades of stupid energy policies enacted by play-it-safe, conformist Republicans and Democrats corrupted by green energy boondoggles.

Courage, common sense, love of country.

Kim Jong Un is nearing nuclear weapons and threatening Japan and our West Coast? North Korea is a real threat, which means it has to be dealt with, not just going through conventional and useless diplomatic motions. Trump understands punk psychology. Give Kim Jong Un the respect and security he craves, while punishing his bad behavior until it is untenable. The handshake across the DMZ was brilliant diplomatic theater, but very real progress.

President Trump’s successes in stabilizing the Middle East show the same character traits of common sense, courage, and coping with bullies. Funding terrorism had to stop. Allowing ISIS to grow had to stop. Encouraging Iran to develop nuclear weapons had to stop. It’s basic reality testing, backed by the guts to follow-up with the necessary actions.

Trump’s iconoclasm went far beyond reversing Obama, although that was the first gutsy step. It was a no-brainer to reverse Obama’s phony war against ISIS, in which the rules of engagement rendered our forces vulnerable and impotent. It was a Trump no-brainer to reverse Obama’s anti-American, pro-Iran policies.

Trump broke with decades of bipartisan consensus. He stopped kowtowing to the oil sheikhs and their toadies in the European Union. Previous presidents, Democrat and Republican, turned a blind eye to the Saudi financing of terrorism. They humiliated America by pandering to Arab anti-Semitism and anti-Israel aggression. That was their idea of an energy policy.

President Trump knows you can’t survive on the streets and be intimidated by bullies. And he’s too proud of America to cringe before threats. He has the reality testing to realize that cringing brings attacks, not safety. He stands his ground.

He easily faced down the alarmist warnings the Middle East would explode like a powder keg if he kept his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, where it clearly belongs. The embassy moved, world leaders fell in line, powder keg fizzled, and the Palestinians were forced to live in the real world. Another notch on President Trump’s belt. And the world is safer for it.

President Obama, the unhappy Marxist prep school kid, stayed in his comfort zone of preachy rhetoric, not reality. Obama spoke about national unity, while pushing identity politics, the war on cops, racial animosity, demographics is destiny, and all his underhanded ways of dividing the country. For eight years, Obama did nothing on the economy, ISIS, China, Korea and Russian expansionism. He didn’t do a thing for the black community except sabotage their police protection and incite racial division.

Trump is the polar opposite of Obama. Trump the builder is all about getting things done. He has delivered the best job numbers in history for the very minorities Democrats claim to champion.

Trump has the confidence, energy, and aggression to take on every challenge and move toward victory. Democrats don’t even believe in victory.

President Trump earns his bragging rights. If he then enjoys bragging with gusto, so what? His supporters share his happiness in all he has accomplished for them as individuals, and for the country. They are richer, freer, and more secure because of his capable leadership, and they are grateful, even giddy.

Democrats think they can smear, bribe, bully and cheat their way to the White House. Their voters like the hate, the bull, and the promises of free stuff, and they did very well with those weapons in the midterms. But nothing the Democrats warn about or promise is real. In 2020, they will be coming up directly against President Trump, a master of reality. Reality is a stronger hand.

Photo Credit: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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About Karin McQuillan

Karin McQuillan served in the Peace Corps in West Africa, was a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, and is now a writer and regular contributor to American Thinker and American Greatness.