Op-ed: The president is not the enemy

  • Tuesday, August 1, 2017 12:55pm
  • Opinion

The Establishment, a construct of Democrats and Republicans that rules in Washington no matter which party controls government, appears to be over its fainting spell following Donald Trump’s election. It is now throwing everything at him from a daily — make that hourly, even minute by minute — onslaught of investigations to big media’s equivalent of Molotov cocktails.

Washington, D.C., recently made assisted suicide legal. The president isn’t helping his cause by committing unassisted political suicide. Changing his chief of staff may help, but significant change must come from the president, himself.

Name-calling by the president and his critics accomplishes nothing, other than to make the name-caller feel good. In my experience, name-calling changes few minds.

Winning an argument is better than disparaging someone who holds a different view. The way to defeat your opponent is to present a better idea. In the case of the Establishment, the president should not only talk specifically about its many failures — from health insurance to winning wars, or invading countries where we don’t belong, but also present a list of alternatives he believes will work.

How’s this for a slogan, borrowed out of context from former president Obama: “If you like your Establishment, you can keep your Establishment”?

The problem today is that we have exchanged what was once common sense for nonsense. Look at what consumes our attention — transgender soldiers in the military, celebrities, leaks from the administration and gossip. It is junk food for the mind.

Here’s a positive suggestion. Let the new White House chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan. Give them a list of programs and policies the president would like to pass (or repeal) and ask the two leaders to poll their members to see what they could vote for. Then let Gen. Kelly receive from the leaders what congressional Republicans could support and vote for. Somewhere in between is enough common ground to repeal legislation and programs that aren’t working and create new ones that will work, based on experience, not ideology. The president can then hit the road and sell an agenda he and his party, and maybe some Democrats, can agree on.

The president deserves credit for eliminating regulations that have been choking the economy. It is a major reason why the economy is growing again and the stock market keeps hitting record highs. He should continue doing things his executive power allows him to do.

Calling President Trump a narcissist and “childish” changes nothing. What is the goal of such language? Do the name-callers think he will become something other than what he is, absent a miraculous conversion?

“Face the Nation” host John Dickerson editorialized on his show last Sunday about a video that purports to show President Trump ignoring an 11-year-old boy in a wheelchair while greeting others who attended his health care speech last week. Trump haters claim the video proves how insensitive he is. Dickerson said the first thing the president did when entering the room was to bend down and speak to the child. About the mischaracterized video, Dickerson said: “We’re so ready for evidence to confirm the absolute worst about an opponent it snuffs out our charity.”

He’s right and when it suits them both left and right engage in this shameful practice.

Better build up this president and the good he can do, as he is the only president we have. North Korea and Iraq are becoming imminent threats. Throwing rhetorical “bombs” at our fellow citizens is not helpful. We are not each other’s enemy. There are many who wish to destroy us. Why are we helping them?

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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