The End of Trump’s Revolution?

By David A. Cowan

“From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

At his inauguration, Donald Trump made this pledge to the American people. Despite leading the first unified Republican government in a decade, Trump failed to deliver on this pledge in his first 100 days in office.

The brand of populism that helped Trump’s rise to power has been squeezed out by the longstanding division within the Republican Party between the GOP establishment and the conservative movement. Over the past 100 days, a conventional Republican presidency wedded to conservative orthodoxy has emerged, albeit with Trump’s distinctive character flaws.

A Trumpian populist policy agenda has also been hampered by the dynamics within the White House. After the failed travel-ban orders and his demotion from the National Security Council, Steve Bannon saw the influence of his populist faction wane. Major infighting with Jared Kushner’s centrist faction further undermined Bannon’s standing and endangered his position in the administration. This chaotic environment ultimately allowed Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus to persuade Trump to favor orthodox conservatives’ priorities.

A Conventional Republican Presidency

No episode demonstrated this better than the Obamacare-repeal debacle. Trump and Ryan launched the Republican legislative agenda with a deeply unpopular and regressive health-care reform bill, the American Health Care Act. It would have kicked 24 million Americans off insurance by 2026, including many of Trump’s blue-collar supporters. Only 17 percent of the public supported the AHCA. The principle that the federal government should ensure universal health-care coverage is now widely accepted by the American public, and was accepted by Trump during the campaign. Any Republican health-care plan that violates this principle is doomed to fail.

Another unpopular legislative initiative was Trump’s budget blueprint, which arrived stillborn as Democrats and moderate Republicans denounced cuts to popular programs such as Meals on Wheels (which actually was affected indirectly, through the elimination of Community Development Block Grants). The proposed cuts would undermine a federal safety net that holds as many as 6.2 million white working-class Americans, Trump’s key demographic, out of poverty. It is not a surprise that the proposed cuts came straight out of orthodox conservatism’s playbook, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation. And in another significant budget row, Trump blinked during negotiations with Democrats last week by withdrawing his request for border wall funding in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Trump has fallen into the same trap with his broader economic policy. After much speculation, the administration unveiled its tax-reform blueprint last week. In another surrender to orthodox conservative thinking, the blueprint is largely made up of unfunded tax cuts for corporate America. There is no mention of a border-adjustment tax, or any other kind of tax on imports. Infrastructure spending appears to have been kicked down the road. Despite this shift away from populism, Trump’s tax-reform plan will still divide the Republican Party as dramatically as Obamacare repeal has. By …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Juan Williams: A new founding family for today’s America

By Juan Williams To my mind, the great men and women of postwar America include Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Ted Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bill Bratton and Billy Graham. …read more

Via:: Juan Williams

      

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Juan Williams: A new founding family for today’s America

By Juan Williams To my mind, the great men and women of postwar America include Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Ted Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Bill Bratton and Billy Graham. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The Suicide Of Europe

By Rod Dreher

British journalist and public intellectual Douglas Murray — who, for the record, is a) conservative, b) atheist, and c) openly gay — says that Europe is well on its way to civilizational suicide. Excerpts:

Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide. Whether the European people choose to go along with this is, naturally, another matter. When I say that Europe is in the process of killing itself, I do not mean that the burden of European Commission regulation has become overbearing or that the European Convention on Human Rights has not done enough to satisfy the demands of a particular community.

I mean that the civilisation we know as Europe is in the process of committing suicide and that neither Britain nor any other western European country can avoid that fate, because we all appear to suffer from the same symptoms and maladies.

As a result, by the end of the lifespans of most people currently alive, Europe will not be Europe and the peoples of Europe will have lost the only place in the world we had to call home.

Europe today has little desire to reproduce itself, fight for itself or even take its own side in an argument. Those in power seem persuaded that it would not matter if the people and culture of Europe were lost to the world.

Murray says that the causes for this are many, but he singles out two massive events that happened simultaneously: the world decided to migrate to Europe at the same time that Europeans lost faith in themselves and their civilization. More:

While generally agreeing that it is possible for an individual to absorb a particular culture (given the right degree of enthusiasm both from the individual and the culture) whatever their skin colour, we know that we Europeans cannot become whatever we like. We cannot become Indian or Chinese, for instance. And yet we are expected to believe that anyone in the world can move to Europe and become European.

If being “European” is not about race, then it is even more imperative that it is about “values”. This is what makes the question “What are European values?” so important. Yet this is another debate about which we are wholly confused.

Are we, for instance, Christian? In the 2000s this debate had a focal point in the row over the wording of the new EU constitution and the absence of any mention of the continent’s Christian heritage. The debate not only divided Europe geographically and politically, it also pointed to a glaring aspiration.

For religion had not only retreated in western Europe. In its wake there arose a desire to demonstrate that in the 21st century Europe had a self-supporting structure of rights, laws and institutions that could exist even without the source that had arguably given them life.

In the place of religion came the ever-inflating language of “human rights” (itself a concept of Christian origin). We left unresolved the question of whether or not our acquired rights were …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Trump skips Correspondents Dinner, but media’s bias can’t be ignored

By Dan Gainor Journalists who campaigned against President Trump both before and after the election questioned the need for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Give Trump 130 days: President’s tax plan is his biggest test (and biggest opportunity)

By Liz Peek President Trump is on the cusp of achieving nothing less than a once-in-a-generation tax cut that will boost the U.S. economy out of its 8-year rut and restore the nation’s competitiveness. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Trump’s 100 days vs. Democrats’ 100 days of resistance: A progress report

By Daniel Oliver We’re at Donald Trump’s 100 day mark: The bad news for the resistance is that if the election were held (again) today, Hillary Clinton would still lose. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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The Anglican Blessing Of The Asparagus

By Rod Dreher

A culinary controversy rageth among Anglicans, it appears:

Asparagus is so venerated in Worcester that it has been blessed in a special ceremony in the city’s cathedral.

But the thanksgiving service celebrating the local crop has been criticised by other Anglicans who have called it “absurd”.

The bizarre Sunday evensong service was defended by the cathedral’s Precentor, who said the vegetable was “a sign of the abundant provision and generosity of God”.

Christian groups told the Daily Telegraph that the ceremony, which also involved a man in costume as an asparagus spear, was inappropriate.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of pressure group Christian Concern, said: “This is an absurd pantomime-type scene that makes a mockery of Christian worship.”

Influential Church of England blog Archbishop Cranmer, which is run by conservative theologian Adrian Hilton, said the service was “an infantile pantomime” and said it brought the Church of England into disrepute.

More:

The post added: “This is church, for God’s sake. Really, for His sake, can the Church of England not offer something clean and undefiled in the worship of God?”

Rev Peter Ould, a priest from Canterbury, said: “I think the service itself is a good idea – there isn’t anything wrong in praying for a good growing season.

“But someone dressed up as an asparagus and a bloke in a St George costume behind him holding a sword – that just looks a bit silly.

“That takes it from being a good church service to something which looks like it’s more to do with promoting the asparagus growers.”

Read the whole thing, and take a look at the photo of the procession within the cathedral.

I am strongly inclined to disagree with the traditionalists here, for reasons I’ll get to in a moment. What holds me back fully is that the image of a man dressed like a giant asparagus, participating in the church procession, does make it seem more like an asparagus growers’ promotion.

But leave that clown out, and, well, what’s the big deal? Why should we not ask God’s blessing on our crops, especially one that is so important to the local people within the cathedral’s parish? In south Louisiana fishing communities, Catholic priests bless the shrimp boats on the first day of the season. This sort of thing strikes me as very traditional, very medieval.

The Archbishop Cranmer Blog disagrees. This is a very fine rant. Excerpt:

And no, before you leap to defend this farce, it is not akin to the Harvest Festival: ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ is about rejoicing in industry and the serious stuff of life: it is never, ever turned into a Teletubby-fest with a guest appearance by Worzel Gummidge prancing behind the vicar. Surely Worcester Cathedral could have found a way of thanking God for asparagus without bringing the Church of England into disrepute. If this doesn’t make ‘Have I Got News For You’, they’ll have missed the religious frolic of the week.

Gus the Asparagusman (for it is he) has no place at all in a worshipful act of reverence: he …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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