It is over!!!
Every subject looks different. After eight years of viewing every policy question through the distorted lens of Barack Obama’s vision for America, we can get back to a Middle America perspective. This isn’t about feeling good about one debate, one Supreme Court decision, a good argument in a column or interview, or one small election. As one’s mind wander’s across any subject – domestic or international; economic or societal; security or legal – there is strong reason for optimism that things will get back to “normal”. With a Republican President, with a Republican Senate; with a Republican House of Representatives; with most of the governors; with most of the state legislatures. The movement that began with the Tea Party in 2010 has claimed all of the levers. For a glorious moment, all is possible. (Well, nearly all.)
The Known Knowns
– The Supreme Court is secure. Trump will select the Scalia replacement from a list of 21 candidates with unquestioned conservative credentials, restoring the conservative majority with John Roberts (62), Sam Alito (67), Clarence Thomas (68), and Anthony Kennedy (80). Hopefully he will go young, with an intellectual leader to replaced Antonin Scalia. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 83; Stephen Breyer is 78. This could last for decades.
– Obamacare is done. Top priority; overwhelming Republican agreement. Details are TBD, but the crippling requirements for small businesses will be gone, as will the affront to individual liberty with the individual mandate and required employer-paid contraception coverage.
– The Paris Climate agreement is dead. Obama’s penchant for concluding international agreements without submitting them for Senate approval will be exposed as a fatal flaw.
– Those significant policy decisions which Obama accomplished by Executive Order or regulation rather than legislation will be quickly reversed: EPA regulations designed to bankrupt coal companies; Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals; paid sick leave for federal contractors; eased requirements for union elections; EPA “clean water” requirements for farms; etc. etc. Hundreds.
– The way is open for tax reform, getting US corporate rates in line with international competitors, repatriating trillions of dollars held abroad, taxing hedge fund managers at standard rates, and working with Paul Ryan for fundamental change.
– Trade agreements will be re-done to reduce our ongoing $500 billion deficit and help domestic workers. Countries which sell to us will be expected to buy from us.
– Our allies will be required to do more. NATO and Asian alliances will be fine after a period of financial adjustment of one or two per cent of GDP for defense spending by our partners.
The Known Unknowns
– The way is open to reconcile with Russia as Putin attributes the declining state of relations to the Obama administration. A real re-set is possible, unlike Clinton’s gimmick.
– A prediction: the way is open to settle the Syrian civil war by working with Putin, accepting Assad, creating a Kurdish buffer along the Turkish border, and perhaps creating an enclave for the anti-Assad population. If attention were then turned to crushing ISIS, the interests of the major powers would all be realized (and the hundreds of thousands killed and millions displaced by the Obama/Clinton policies would be for naught.)
The Unknown Unknowns (All of the world’s ills cannot be solved by one election.)
– North Korea. Hopefully there will be a senior military / diplomat assigned to find the key with China, Japan, and South Korea to rein in the North Korean nuclear program.
– Iran. The Obama nuclear agreement has probably done irreversible damage, but should be the second urgent focus.
– Perhaps there is some way to reverse last month’s transfer of the internet location naming control to the United Nations.
The next 45 days cannot pass too quickly. What pardons will Obama grant – Hillary Clinton?; Huma Abedin?; Edward Snowden? Will he allow a surge on last minute immigrants? Will he release more of the hard core terrorists from Guantanamo?
The arrival of this sweep is sweeter because it was unexpected. There is some fun in watching the liberal media falling over themselves to explain the result without questioning the superiority of their ideology; there is some sadness in watching MoveOn.org-instigated anti-democracy demonstrations. But mostly there is joy in the validation after months (nay years in California) of being painted as a “deplorable” for believing in traditional American values. We are not alone, and we can right the ship.