Re­mem­ber­ing why Don­ald Trump was elected

The me­dia nur­tures am­ne­sia over 28 years of fail­ure

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Daniel Galling­ton

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.

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