When the pres­i­dent is not the en­emy

Al­though the coun­try has ex­changed com­mon sense for non­sense, change must come from Trump him­self

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Cal Thomas Cal Thomas is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist. His lat­est book is “What Works: Com­mon Sense So­lu­tions for a Stronger Amer­ica” (Zon­der­van, 2014).

The Es­tab­lish­ment, a con­struct of Democrats and Repub­li­cans that rules in Wash­ing­ton no mat­ter which party con­trols gov­ern­ment, ap­pears to be over its faint­ing spell fol­low­ing Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion. It is now throw­ing ev­ery­thing at him from a daily — make that hourly, even minute by minute — on­slaught of in­ves­ti­ga­tions to big me­dia’s equiv­a­lent of Molo­tov cock­tails.

Wash­ing­ton, D.C., re­cently made as­sisted sui­cide le­gal. The pres­i­dent isn’t help­ing his cause by com­mit­ting unas­sisted po­lit­i­cal sui­cide. Chang­ing his chief of staff may help, but sig­nif­i­cant change must come from the pres­i­dent, him­self.

Name-call­ing by the pres­i­dent and his crit­ics ac­com­plishes noth­ing, other than to make the name-caller feel good. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, name-call­ing changes few minds.

Win­ning an ar­gu­ment is bet­ter than dis­parag­ing some­one who holds a dif­fer­ent view. The way to de­feat your op­po­nent is to present a bet­ter idea. In the case of the Es­tab­lish­ment, the pres­i­dent should not only talk specif­i­cally about its many fail­ures — from health in­surance to win­ning wars, or in­vad­ing coun­tries where we don’t be­long, but also present a list of al­ter­na­tives he be­lieves will work.

How’s this for a slo­gan, bor­rowed out of con­text from for­mer Pres­i­dent Obama: “If you like your Es­tab­lish­ment, you can keep your Es­tab­lish­ment”?

The prob­lem to­day is that we have ex­changed what was once com­mon sense for non­sense. Look at what con­sumes our at­ten­tion — trans­gen­der sol­diers in the mil­i­tary, celebri­ties, leaks from the ad­min­is­tra­tion and gos­sip. It is junk food for the mind.

Here’s a pos­i­tive sug­ges­tion. Let the new White House chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, meet with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell and Speaker Paul Ryan. Give them a list of pro­grams and poli­cies the pres­i­dent would like to pass (or re­peal) and ask the two lead­ers to poll their mem­bers to see what they could vote for. Then let Gen. Kelly re­ceive from the lead­ers what con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans could sup­port and vote for. Some­where in be­tween is enough com­mon ground to re­peal leg­is­la­tion and pro­grams that aren’t work­ing and cre­ate new ones that will work, based on ex­pe­ri­ence, not ide­ol­ogy. The pres­i­dent can then hit the road and sell an agenda he and his party, and maybe some Democrats, can agree on.

The pres­i­dent de­serves credit for elim­i­nat­ing reg­u­la­tions that have been chok­ing the econ­omy. It is a ma­jor rea­son why the econ­omy is grow­ing again and the stock mar­ket keeps hit­ting record highs. He should con­tinue do­ing things his ex­ec­u­tive power al­lows him to do.

Call­ing Pres­i­dent Trump a nar­cis­sist and “child­ish” changes noth­ing. What is the goal of such lan­guage? Do the name-call­ers think he will be­come some­thing other than what he is, ab­sent a mirac­u­lous con­ver­sion?

“Face the Na­tion” host John Dick­er­son ed­i­to­ri­al­ized on his show last Sun­day about a video that pur­ports to show Mr. Trump ig­nor­ing an 11-year-old boy in a wheel­chair while greet­ing oth­ers who at­tended his health care speech last week. Trump haters claim the video proves how in­sen­si­tive he is. Mr. Dick­er­son said the first thing the pres­i­dent did when en­ter­ing the room was to bend down and speak to the child. About the mis­char­ac­ter­ized video, Mr. Dick­er­son said: “We’re so ready for ev­i­dence to con­firm the ab­so­lute worst about an op­po­nent it snuffs out our char­ity.”

He’s right and when it suits them both left and right en­gage in this shame­ful prac­tice.

Bet­ter build up this pres­i­dent and the good he can do, as he is the only pres­i­dent we have. North Korea and Iraq are be­com­ing im­mi­nent threats. Throw­ing rhetor­i­cal “bombs” at our fel­low cit­i­zens is not help­ful. We are not each other’s en­emy. There are many who wish to de­stroy us. Why are we help­ing them?

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