October 22, 2017

ROBERT EHRLICH: Chaotic White House aside, Trump is achieving Reaganesque policy wins.

The narrative includes criticisms that have grown familiar during Trump’s first year in office. Here, the president is viewed as a shoot-from-the-hip neophyte too undisciplined to govern and quite dangerous in a world populated by despots who wield nuclear weapons.

Sen. Bob Corker’s recent broadsides qualify here. The retiring Republican Senator from Tennessee sees an overmatched executive lacking in “competence” and “stability,” albeit surrounded by a competent senior group daily engaged in the task of keeping the leader of the free world from careening off the rails. (Whatever did happen to keeping family disputes within the family?)

Make no mistake, this is how today’s Washington views the president and his administration. Note that this particular indictment is distinguished from the “all hands on deck” Trump haters who continue to be transfixed by a Trump/Russian collusion conspiracy story that lacks credible supporting evidence after two years of exhaustive investigation and desperate mainstream media attention.

In striking contrast are a series of Trump administration policy initiatives that not only define Trump as the anti-Obama, but also as more Reaganesque than a “Never Trumper” could ever have imagined. How else to describe a president willing to buck the status quo, and a powerful establishment press, in pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accords and now refusing to recertify a notoriously deficient nuclear deal with the mullahs in Tehran.

As expected, these decisions have propelled the left (and numerous feckless allies) into yet additional anti-Trump tirades. But this president seems more intent on serving America’s long-term interests than attempting to curry favor with a hostile media or spiking his approval numbers in foreign countries. (That even President Obama never dared submit either agreement to Congress in the form of a treaty provides insight into how viable he viewed the respective agreements, but I digress…)

Trump’s aggressive contrariness is not confined to foreign policy initiatives. Witness his insistence on a return to the rule of law with respect to both DACA (undocumented children brought to the U.S. at a young age) and Obamacare. Here, the layman executive manifests a better understanding of executive restraint than his Constitutional law professor successor. How refreshing, and old school, to find an administration intending to operate within established Constitutional constraints. How stunning to see a president disinclined to unilateral executive action even when the stakes are extraordinarily high.

How revealing that most of the political class is appalled.