February 14, 2017

BYRON YORK: Time for Trump to hit campaign trail.

At the moment Trump is in what might be called the executive-action phase of his presidency. Beyond fighting for his Cabinet appointments on Capitol Hill, everything Trump has done has relied solely on his executive power as president. At some point he’ll have to move into a legislative phase, with the introduction of bills dealing with health care, taxes, immigration, and more.

But for now, Trump has a number of executive actions to point to: orders to 1) reduce the regulatory burdens of Obamacare; 2) freeze federal hiring; 3) pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; 4) approve the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines; 5) strengthen enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws; 6) authorize planning for a U.S.-Mexico border wall; 7) tighten White House ethics rules; 8) reduce the number of federal regulations; 9) weaken Dodd-Frank financial regulations; and 10) temporarily suspend immigration from some terrorism-plagued nations.

It’s a pretty solid list. The last, called a “Muslim ban” by detractors, has attracted the most attention — and litigation. But each item on Trump’s list would be worth a White House rollout and promotion campaign.

Instead, Trump threw them out in a firehose of appearances, tweets, and controversy. And Trump regularly distracted from his own message by doing something to set off what might be called the Daily Agitation — the frenzy of media and opposition politicians reacting to whatever the president has said most recently.

The “frenzy” had the advantage of keeping his opponents one step behind, at least initially. But opposition has been solidifying, particularly the town hall protests against ObamaCare repeal. Yes, they’re largely astroturf, but Congress does appear to be going all wobbly.

A counter-“resistance” will be most effective if it includes a grassroots, Tea Party-type element to stand in contrast to Soros-funded street thugs. But the counter-resistance can’t be effective at all without Trump making good use of the bully pulpit, too. That’s going to require the White House to run more smoothly than we’ve seen so far, and for Trump to adopt more consistent messaging, but it’s also the fun part of being president — and would take good advantage of Trump’s campaign-trail flair.

Trump won in large part because he was the fun candidate, opposed to Hillary Clinton’s dour sense of entitlement. He can still use the Fun Element to his advantage now that he’s the President.

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