By Jim Campbell
March 28, 2018
Much of “So-Called” sane Washington believes that in January 2017, a crazy man landed in town from Manhattan or Neptune or some other strange place to take the reins of government, for some reason having been elected to do so two months earlier by voters who had taken leave of their senses.
Each day, President Trump rants on Twitter and raves on the South Lawn, all while lobbing monkey wrenches into the proper workings of government by issuing executive orders, saying nasty things, and wantonly firing people with whom he lacks “rapport.”
I love it!
But never has the logic of voters been on better display than last week.
Never has it been clearer that voters, in their wisdom, had decided that Washington was so implacably devoted to immolating the country upon the kindling wood of discarded common sense that only a man unafraid of defying “reasonable” group think could save the nation.
On Thursday, the supposedly sane Washington establishment that has dug the country into $21 trillion worth of debt even while gutting the nation’s defenses sent Trump legislation adding another $1.3 trillion in spending.
The bill was a political and policy disaster for the president, who got exactly zero funding for a wall with Mexico he wanted and was delivered a full plate of federal pork to digest.
And yet, even after threatening to veto it, he understood that common sense dictated he had no choice but to sign it since it included desperately needed military spending that Democrats had held hostage to their domestic spending priorities.
“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” said Trump Friday, displaying a soberness he got little credit for and which Washington has sorely lacked.
“For the last eight years, deep defense cuts have undermined our national security . . . hollowed our readiness . . . and put America at really grave risk.”
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Ostensibly responsible people in every corner of Washington were in an uproar when Trump Thursday replaced the sensible H.R. McMaster as national security adviser with the insensible “warmonger” John Bolton, exclaiming with disbelief that this could mean war with North Korea.
Well, yes. President after president and Congress after Congress had calmly, reasonably, and also quite disastrously kicked this particular can down the road for two decades with the result that North Korea, where true madness prevails, is now on the cusp of being able to drop nuclear bombs on American cities. While some claimed Trump had taken in Bolton because he had finally made peace with his walrus mustache, it was obvious that Trump did so because he in fact had a far more clear-eyed view of the threat North Korea and our other enemies pose than the supposedly more rational establishment, which for years had been hiding its pusillanimity behind the mirage that it could negotiate with the Kims.
The feathers of the Washington establishment were similarly ruffled when Trump committed the economic apostasy of finally standing up to China’s years of unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft by assessing $60 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports. “Free trade” had long been the zombie mantra of Washington’s elite, even as China demonstrated repeatedly it wanted nothing to do with the concept. “Trade war” became the new fearful mantra, and the stock market dutifully tanked.
What Trump the dealmaker knew, and what Washington didn’t understand, is that your opponents often require threats before they come to heel. “China and the U.S. have quietly started negotiating to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets,” the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, and then on Monday reported, “U.S. stocks surge as trade worries ease,” and the market recorded its biggest one-day gain in nearly ten years. (The market was down on Tuesday due to declines unrelated to Trump’s trade strategy).
Trump faced more hysteria when he announced an emphatically sane and probably overly tolerant policy permitting transgender persons to serve in the military unless they had been given a psychiatric diagnosis of gender dysphoria, reasoning – yes, reasoning – that his prior policy of banning all transgender troops went too far.
But perhaps the most harrumphing of all accompanied his decision last week to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his “election” as president, without even getting the permission of the “experts” in his administration before doing so. Little did anyone know that Trump was already planning to expel 60 Russian diplomats to punish Putin for assassinating an opponent in Britain.
A reasonable, rational, and balanced approach to a foreign leader we already know acts very badly but who has a vast military machine and nuclear weapons arsenal at his disposal.
One might even say it was a very “sane” approach amid the insane cacophony of Washington.
Keith Koffler (@keithkoffler) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is the editor of White House Dossier and the author of Bannon: Always the Rebel by Regnery.