There has been much discussion about evaluating or re-evaluating The Donald because of the things that have happened during the first year of his presidency. Kevin Williamson at NRO finds it the year of lost opportunities. Kevin concludes:
That 2017 has been a year of lost opportunities is an important failure for Republicans, who are likely to accomplish even less in 2018, when the prospect of congressional elections held in the shadow of Trump’s unpopularity will brighten the already visible yellow streak running down the back of Republican Washington.
Jonah Goldberg at NRO concludes that the accomplishments should not be attributed to The Donald. He says:
To listen to Trump’s cheerleaders, the biggest obstacle to conservative victories is the party establishment, when in reality it looks more like it’s running the show.
Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO is much more positive. He thinks The Donald has been a success on policy matters but hasn’t always made wise choices: Ramesh starts:
Gorsuch confirmed, ISIS defeated, taxes cut: The Trump administration has compiled a solid record of accomplishment in its first year, one that compares well with the records of many of its predecessors.
Daniel Henninger at the WSJ is close to Ramesh. He says:
The two Trump presidencies exist as parallel universes. One is inhabited by Trump of Twitter, a character out of Rabelais’s novel “The Very Horrific Life of Great Gargantua.” Much of the American population is appalled by Trump of Twitter, who lives in a dark and deeply personal pool of feuds and fulminations. His first-year approval rating floated below 40%, while voters in Virginia and Alabama rejected his candidates, and him.
Existing alongside is a universe of solid, tangible economic success. Reporting on the season’s strong holiday retail sales, this newspaper noted that consumer confidence is at a 17-year high, with unemployment at a 17-year low—a time-frame that turns the Obama presidency into a forgotten memory.
We think it is simple. The Donald has had an excellent first year. Except for HW, and we could debate that, he has had the best first year since WWII. So yes, Truman’s first year was better.
Deregulation is a big accomplishment for The Donald that is mentioned but didn’t make it in the quotes. In addition we think he has done something that has not been mentioned that has long term importance. He has not been reluctant to nominate “controversial” folks. Over the past 40 years the press has made it difficult on GOP nominations. Our explanation is that folks that are within one standard deviation to the right of center are acceptable but folks that are within three standard deviations to the left of center are acceptable.
Sidebar: Go to Wikipedia and normal distribution and click on standard deviation and coverage for background. What it implies is that 34% of the folks to the right of center are acceptable but 49.8% to the left of center are. We are not suggesting that there is any data to suggest that this is the exact ratios but we are convinced that it is a reasonable approximation. End Sidebar.
We are glad to see the back of some of The Donald’s nominees but people like Betsy De Vos and Nikki Haley have been good and driven the left and the press wild. See this hit piece on Betsy from the Washington Post.
We think The Donald’s nominees will help to dull the yellow streak that Kevin sees and will give next GOP president more leeway on appointments. We make few predictions about the future but The Donald has one good year in the books. With 2018 being an election year there will be even more challenges upcoming.