An abridged version of this opinion piece appeared at the American Spectator here.
A reader who calls himself BillyBob left a comment after my recent op-ed in The American Spectator on the Never Trumpers’ attack on the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia, Herschel Walker.
Here is what BillyBob wrote:
Liz [Cheney] is actually a true conservative. Trump has no value structure or political spine- all he cares about is “what more can I get for me”. Anyone who believes Trump is conservative is just daft. Kinda’ like Trump.
What utter nonsense! Whatever one thinks about President Donald J. Trump’s one-of-a-kind personality, his policies were the most conservative reforms that America has seen since President Ronald Wilson Reagan left office — and perhaps even before he arrived.
Here is a partial list of the wins he secured for individual freedom, personal responsibility, limited government, free enterprise, and peace through strength during one term in the White House. Imagine how many more spectacular things Trump could have done for the American people in just four years if he were not impeded by a totally unhinged Democrat Party, the ferocious news media, the vicious Deep State (including a virulently hostile FBI), and enough Trump-hating lies to stretch Pinocchio’s nose to the size of a javelin.
a) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act— a massive tax reduction that largely remains in place: Authorized.
b) A 21 percent top-corporate tax rate: Chopped from 35 percent.
c) Eight regulations: Erased — for every new one imposed.
d) Keystone XL Pipeline: Approved.
e) Oil drilling in a small, specific portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Authorized.
f) U.S. energy independence and production dominance: Achieved.
g) Operation Warp Speed’s three COVID-19 vaccines: Delivered in record time via White House collaboration with the private sector.
h) A Right to Try law giving terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs: Enacted.
i) An executive order requiring that new federal buildings be designed in classical Greco-Roman style: Signed.
j) Three constitutionalist justices on the U.S. Supreme Court: Added.
k) Some 200 conservative judges in lower federal courts: Placed.
l) Planned Parenthood: Partially defunded.
m) The National March for Life: Addressed in person— a presidential first.
n) Critical Race Theory in federal agencies: Dumped.
o) The Washington, D.C. school voucher program: Reauthorized and funded.
p) Some 8,000 Opportunity Zones to revitalize low-income areas through tax relief and free-market incentives: Activated.
q) About 500 miles of southern-border wall: Constructed.
r) North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): Replaced with the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement — a new-and-improved free-trade pact.
s) Free-trade agreement with South Korea: Launched.
t) Paris Climate Agreement: Abandoned.
u) Iran Nuclear Deal: Ditched.
v) U.S. embassy in Israel: Moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
w) The Abraham Accords — four Middle Eastern peace deals with Israel and its neighbors: Signed.
x) Islamic State caliphate: Obliterated.
y) Chinese Communist Party: Confronted, discredited, and sanctioned.
z) American diplomatic prestige and military prowess: Restored and funded.
Donald J. Trump engineered enough victories to match the number of letters in the English alphabet. These 26 policy achievements are all conservative. And there are many more (Space Force! Record-low black and Hispanic unemployment! Due process restored to college campuses!).
Critics correctly argue that Trump’s spending curve should have been flatter. Yes, and he saw higher domestic outlays as the price required to get Congressional Democrats to pay the price for defense modernization.
Trump also could have been more of a free-trader. That said, the sanctions on China were the two-by-fours across the forehead needed to teach Beijing some basic manners about intellectual property theft and other commercial crimes.
This room for improvement notwithstanding, those who claim that President Trump is not a conservative and did not govern as one are either totally ignorant or wildly dishonest.