Remembering why Donald Trump was elected
The media nurtures amnesia over 28 years of failure
If you’re one of the 63 million who voted for President Trump, you agonize as you watch the evening news — because you know it’s going to be mostly negative coverage and commentary. The Sunday talk shows are worse — the major network (NBC, CBS, ABC) shows are loaded with anti-Trump messages. They don’t try to hide their prejudice and contempt, and they give air time to most anybody who opposes Mr. Trump, especially establishment Republicans. In short, the liberal media hates Mr. Trump more than they hate Republicans.
Because so much of the evening news is political commentary, I once suggested the Federal Communications Commission require so-called TV news “journalists” to disclose their obvious political affiliations. For example, it would be “John Dickerson (Democrat-CBS),” “Chuck Todd (Democrat-NBC),” and “George Stephanopoulos (Democrat-ABC).” These TV news readers dispense mostly liberal political commentary — and the worst of them (e.g., CNN and MSNBC) give us nothing but political spin.
What’s behind this? Both the media and the Washington political establishment want us to forget why Donald Trump was elected in the first place.
It was because of the colossal political failures of every administration since Ronald Reagan in critical domestic and national security matters. But establishment Washington is so full of itself that such criticism is simply not allowed — especially from an outsider. And Mr. Trump is definitely an outsider who has criticized previous administrations regardless of party, a “big no-no” in Washington D.C. — where no one is ever at fault for anything.
So, what were the failings of the postReagan administrations, some of which Mr. Trump has had the audacity to criticize? Many, if not most of the 63 million Republicans (and Democrats) who voted for Mr. Trump remember them with varying degrees of pain.
Here are just some of the most egregious:
• George H.W. Bush (four years): Caved on taxes, took the nukes out of South Korea. Drifted so far away from Reagan’s values and policies that fellow Texan Ross Perot ran on a third-party ticket, got 20 million votes, which elected Bill and Hillary Clinton by default.
• Bill Clinton (eight years): Spent most of his time chasing interns, said “I never had sex with that woman,” got impeached and disbarred for lying about it. Ignored the obvious al Qaeda terror threat despite the first bombing of the World Trade Center and attack on the USS Cole. His National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who was his representative to the 9/11 Commission, stole highly classified, 9/11-related, original documents from the National Archives — by putting them in his socks. Did Mr. Clinton have reason to know about the impendency of 9/11? The smoking gun, if it existed, was simply stolen and destroyed. “Clinton fatigue” lasted eight years.
• George W. Bush (eight years): Mr. Bush invaded Iraq as the primary strategic response to 9/11, despite the fact that Iraq had little or nothing to do with the attacks. He found no weapons of mass destruction, but stayed on in Iraq for years, spending trillions on a goofy “democracy” policy. He disbanded Iraq’s professional military, then facilitated an Iran-backed Shiite takeover of Iraq domestic politics. The proximate cause of much of this bad policy was the Bush administration’s support of a murky character named Ahmed Chalabi, who was strongly backed by Washington’s “neocons,” especially those in very senior positions at Defense, State and the White House.
Iraq was and is a disaster, yet Mr. Trump’s criticism of it was taken personally by the Bush family and the neocons, who responded by dissing Mr. Trump in pre-election media. And Mr. Bush gave us the Six-Party Talks with North Korea, which provided diplomatic cover for their nuclear and missile programs, while discontinuing some of our own more promising ballistic missile defense technologies. Russia invaded Georgia. Medicare Part D was a costly sellout to the drug companies. However, the very worst was yet to come.
• Barack Obama (eight years): Another national security disaster. The announced departure from Iraq was the proximate cause of the rise of ISIS. Vladimir Putin gained the upper hand in Syria and established Russian primacy in the Middle East. Mr. Putin moved to reclaim Crimea. The various Libyan catastrophes, Hillary’s callous “What difference does it make?” The White House “echo chamber” spinning the “27-year-old know-nothing” reporters. The poorly negotiated Iranian nuclear deal guaranteeing us another North Korea situation. Then there was Obamacare, a costly and inefficient enlargement of the social welfare system placed directly on the backs of the young, healthy and working. However, Mr. Obama killed Osama in Laden — finally, one win for our team.
It was this sustained 28-year record of mostly dismal failure that was the basic reason for the 2016 election result — no wonder 63 million Americans were fed up with the “swamp” in Washington. And we can also understand why no one in Washington — or on TV — wants to talk about it. It makes them all look dumb.
They would much rather criticize President Trump, so they do.
Barack Obama: Another national security disaster. The announced departure from Iraq was the proximate cause of the rise of ISIS.
Daniel Gallington writes about national security.