Donald Trump presented himself not as a Republican, not as a conservative, but rather as a “populist independent.” His inaugural speech was what Peggy Noonan in the WSJ called “remarkable … plain, unfancy and blunt,” marking “yet another break point in the two-party reality that has dominated our politics for many decades.”
The address was bold in its assertion of the distance in America between the leaders and the led: “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished—but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered—but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.”
The essential message: Remember those things I said in the campaign? I meant them. I meant it all.
Meanwhile at National Review, Jonah Goldberg worries about what President Trump said: “Man oh man did he promise a lot. When you run as a man of action and promise a revolution, you’re expected to deliver it.”
“We’ll find out a lot the next few months,” continues Ms. Noonan. “How will Mr. Trump work with Congress, and what are his specific legislative priorities? How important will the cabinet be?”
Newly inaugurated presidents usually have a grace period and plenty of support behind them. As Ms. Noonan reminds readers, Mr. Obama had “the mainstream media—the big broadcast networks, big newspapers, activists and intellectuals, pundits and columnists … a united, passionate party.” Donald Trump has a party that is split or splitting. Mainstream media seems to hate him, and on the right are the NeverTrumpers, who are still reluctant to stand behind him. In the end, Trump has only “those who voted for him.”
Will it be enough?