In the run-up to the 2016 election, the conservative magazine National Review famously published an AGAINST TRUMP issue, filling the entire magazine with NeverTrump writers who urged readers to choose literally anyone else in the Republican field for president. In the three years since, the magazine and its corresponding website has softened its stance on the man who would, of course, go on to become the President of the United States. While still taking him to task on hardline conservative issues like free trade, National Review’s writers have recognized that Trump is a far better option than the lunatic left – a realization that has yet to dawn on committed NeverTrumpers like Bill Kristol.
Still, it was remarkable to read the latest piece from National Review writer Rich Lowry, because it went beyond saying, “Well, Trump is bad, but at least he’s not a crazy Democrat.” Lowry seems to be one of the first of the conservative anti-Trumpers to realize that the only thing that really makes Trump “bad” is his external personality. He is a braggart in the way that he talks, and he enjoys making controversial statements for no other apparent reason than the fun of it. But when it comes down to what matters – his actual, governing policies – there isn’t much to complain about.
“Subtract Trump’s taste for nonstop controversy and rhetorical brinkmanship, and you’re left with an incrementalist center-right government that has pursued an expansionary fiscal policy and avoided foreign war, for a period of peace and prosperity that — in any other universe — would be at the core of a stay-the-course reelection message,” wrote Lowry.
After going through numerous examples of Trump’s habit of proposing an extreme measure only to fall back on a much more reasonable alternative, Lowry writes:
Any political fence-sitter inclined to consider this a solid record of accomplishment has the competing information to consider of Trump’s constant tweeting and lurid, yet meaningless, controversies.
Given the choice, you’d prefer that people believed that your administration was cautious and incremental, while it undertook far-reaching changes, rather than believe it’s on the verge of careening out of control, while pursuing a fairly reasonable path.
The careening out of control has seemed a real possibility at times, of course, and his shambolic, confrontational governing style could yet catch up to him.
For now, he can plausibly make a reelection pitch that, despite what you might have gathered, he’s been a steward of a country enjoying markedly good times.
Exactly. For all the left-wing media’s promises that they will start ignoring Trump’s tweets and start focusing on the actual meat of the matter, the president has been able to jerk them along with every rambunctious statement he’s made over the last two-and-a-half years. And yet, behind it all, we’ve gotten a presidency that has avoided foreign wars, sent the economy into overdrive, and contained some of the worst threats facing the nation. If Trump can make that case on the campaign trail, it will be a very difficult one for Democrats to counter.