Purely Political, James Buckley
Who cares that former President Donald Trump had begun to finally bring the United States’ southern border under control? That he had put up more than 450 miles of roads and border fencing and made a deal with Mexico, whose president, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, sent 17,000 Mexican troops to their northern border to help guard against illegal entry into the U.S.? That President Obrador had agreed to house asylum seekers in Mexico until their cases were heard? That deals had been made with Nicaragua, El Salvador and other Central American countries to try to stem the tide of illegal immigration?
Why does it matter that instead of a more secure southern border, hundreds of thousands of people, along with drugs and human traffickers from all over the world, now pour freely across that barrier?
Who cares that employment (pre-pandemic) — even among the lowest skilled laborers — had reached levels not seen for more than 50 years? That unemployment among Hispanics, blacks, teenagers, and women had reached the lowest levels in history or in at least 50-odd years?
Why does it matter that after decades of gutting our industrial heartland — the Rust Belt — by enacting policies created in Washington, D.C. (NAFTA did indeed cause the “great sucking sound” of businesses leaving the U.S. to set up shop in other places, as accurately predicted by Texas billionaire and 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot) that someone (President Trump) had begun to tackle that problem?
Who cares that big chunks of once beautiful cities such as Baltimore (as a kid, I would read how their residents proudly cleaned the steps leading to their front doors in the inner city), and that Philadelphia (the “City of Brotherly Love,” foundry of our republic), along with Detroit, Cleveland and dozens of other Rust Belt cities had become virtual war zones replete with rows upon rows of half-demolished buildings?
Why does it matter that, in order to entice companies that had left the U.S. to return, President Trump managed to reduce the corporate tax rate and had reached an agreement to allow U.S. companies to repatriate a large portion of their offshore profits at a low rate?
Who cares that manufacturers had begun to return to Rust Belt cities, lured there by those policies?
Who cares that most of our critical supplies of industrial metals came from China? That China made nearly all our antibiotics? That many of the things we need to remain independent and strong came from Communist-controlled China, whose goal was and is to surpass the U.S. as the world’s superpower? Who cares that Mr. Trump had begun to thwart those plans?
Why does it matter that the Keystone Pipeline had finally received approval and could begin the process of moving Canada’s shale oil from Hardisty, Alberta 1,209 miles through Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska? That otherwise this shale oil will continue to be placed upon dirty diesel-operated trains and trucks rumbling along our Interstate highways to their destination?
Who cares that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a firm proponent of charter schools (particularly for inner-city residents), had begun to help make sense of college and university “sexual harassment” enforcement policies by allowing (mostly) males to defend themselves against spurious charges that could and often did cause great harm to those falsely accused?
Why does it matter that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was writing love letters to President Trump rather than lobbing missiles over Japan?
Who cares that Israel, thanks to the Trump administration, had made historic peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Morocco, and Bahrain, and that a number of Arab nations were also considering forging ties with Israel?
Why does it matter that President Trump sought an understanding with Russia’s President-for-life Vladimir Putin, while trying at the same time to prevent Germany from going ahead with building a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany? Who cares that Mr. Trump tried to get the Germans to buy U.S. produced liquified natural gas instead?
Who cares that U.S. troops were finally being pulled out of countries where they had no mission or goal other than as invading policemen, such as in Syria and Afghanistan?
Certainly, the Democrat Party didn’t and doesn’t care about any of that.
In 2016, America, thanks to critical votes made in that much-maligned Rust Belt, had chosen a gifted but flawed Republican candidate with bad hair and a propensity for a sun-lamp-inspired tan. And they chose him over the Democratic candidate, the born-to-be-first-female-president, Hillary Clinton. Democrats were caught napping, so sure they were going to win that election that they had begun rearranging White House furniture in preparation for her triumphant arrival.
Yes, Mr. Trump talked too much and tweeted too much. But he not only had a brilliant and successful family and a beautiful wife, he was also an entertaining guy and a thoughtful dreamer who had publicly railed for decades against the politicians who’d — as far as he was concerned — sold out our country.
Once the reality of what had happened was accepted — that Donald J. Trump, scion of a New York real estate empire, a born-and-bred-to-the-silver spoon kid, had really been elected president of the United States — Democrats went to work to see that such an upset would never, ever, ever happen again.
First, they tried persuading electors not to vote for Mr. Trump even though they had committed to do so, and to cast their vote for Ms. Clinton when the Electoral College met. They nabbed a few disloyal electors but not nearly enough to make a difference. Then, well before his inauguration, they spoke of impeachment, of bringing him down (though he hadn’t yet been up).
They fueled their opposition plans with what became known as “The Steele Dossier,” a sweeping round-up of rumor and innuendo created to cast Mr. Trump in the worst possible light.
Former British spy Alexander Steele was paid a reported $10 million by the “I’m For Her” Hillary campaign for this supposed “dirt” on Mr. Trump, which proposed that he was actually a Russian plant, a Putin Puppet, a turncoat and a disloyal American.
For most of the Trump presidency, CNN and MSNBC headlined their evening talk shows and “news” programs with false Russia collusion speculation. And wouldn’t you know? The plan kind of worked. To this day, nearly half the country believes our former president had or has deep ties with the Russian oligarchy.
Along the way, conservatives and libertarians lost many once friendly voices and pens. Peggy Noonan, the Ronald Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist who can turn a phrase like no other, George Will — say it ain’t so, the ultra-conservative George Freaking Will! — the entire editorial staff at the William F. Buckley-founded National Review, longtime Republican conservative stalwarts Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard, and many other Washington D.C.-based political pundits fled from the enactment of policies they’d espoused for many years.
The House finally impeached Mr. Trump — twice! — but of course never got a Senate conviction, though a handful of Republican senators — Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — voted to convict him the second time around. Perhaps if they could have pulled off a three-peat they may have been ultimately successful, but they ran out of time.
Thence came the pandemic, and election 2020 went the Democrats’ way and Joseph Biden — a mask-friendly cognitively challenged career politician — moved into the White House. He immediately set out to undo virtually every positive thing Mr. Trump had accomplished.
The chaos that has ensued is where we are now, and that’s what we will try to keep track of as the collusion of the entertainment industry, the mainstream press, social media, Silicon Valley, academia, and most of the political class, works its pernicious way deeper into the heartland.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident.