President Donald Trump is often a challenge to both his opponents and defenders, writes Roger Kimball in American Greatness. His rhetoric raises more than a few eyebrows, Roger’s included, he admits.
- Trump speaks differently on the world stage than most other statesmen.
- Trump is not beholden to any of the principles of diplomacy that follow the usual script of diplomatic relations.
- Trump’s behavior makes it unclear what part is noise and what part is the vital signal.
Why Was Trump Elected?
Primarily, for what he promised on three fronts: immigration, trade and international relations.
He (Trump) wanted to check the flow of illegal immigration, revise America’s trade deals with other nations (and with itself by addressing a misguided regulatory environment), and work to make sure that America’s interventions in foreign climes were in the service of its national interest while also assuring that America’s military was as strong and prepared as it could be.
As Kimball observes, Trump’s successes on these three fronts have been mixed. And by “mixed,” Kimball doesn’t mean “poor.”
I mean that he has his share—quite a large share, in fact—of successes and some frustrations. But all three issues—like most big things in life—represent on-going processes that are seldom solved all at once and, even then, do not stay solved for long. They require constant attention and flexibility, what Trump himself referred to in one of his greatest speeches as “principled realism.”
Krugman – the Stock Market Would Never Recover
The most outrageous part of Trump’s tenure to date has been the success of his economic policy. Paul Krugman, resident economic sage of New York’s largest organ of anti-Trump sentiment, infamously predicted the day after the election of 2016 that the world was “very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.”
Asked when the stock market would recover from the insult of “putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation”—that is, people unlike Paul Krugman – Krugman said, “probably never.”
The market was then 18,000 and change. It closed Friday, after a rocky couple of weeks, at 25,886. But I surmise that Paul Krugman enjoys making a fool of himself. Just a couple of days ago, again in that former New York newspaper, he assured his readers that “The smart money thinks Trumponomics is a flop.” The “smart money,” you see. That would be the money wielded by people like Paul Krugman.
Krugman: The Internet as Influential as a Fax Machine?
I am told that Krugman, putting his intelligent pelf where his mouth is, sold all his stock holdings and went to cash following Trump’s victory. It is a mark of bad character that I have been raising a glass in honor of Mr. Krugman every time the stock market has risen another thousand points since 2016. I’ve had many sips so far. (It is a nice detail, too, that back in 1998 this Nobel Laureate in economics said that by 2005 “it would become clear that the Internet’s effect on the economy is no greater than the fax machine’s.” Nice!)
What’s the Alternative to Donald Trump?
Kimball writes that the situation in the economy, China, trade, N. Korea reminds him of political philosopher James Burnham’s famous political laws:
Where there is no alternative there is no problem.
Joe Biden? Elizabeth Warren? Bernie Sanders?
To ask the question is to answer it.
More from Roger Kimball here.