One year ago, we celebrated the peaceful transition of power and the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States. It’s been a tumultuous year, but as we reflect, who can argue that we aren’t better off today than we were a year ago?
For all of the tweets and ill-advised off-hand comments the left and the media like to focus upon, most Americans see the policies of this administration working for them. They are more prosperous, more safe and secure, and more hopeful about the future. Trump’s first year passes the Ronald Reagan test, "Are you better off than you were a year ago?"
President Trump promised several things along the campaign trail. One that caused many conservatives to vote for him, despite some misgivings, was his repeated pledge to appoint judges who would adhere to the Constitution and its original intent, not legislate from the bench.
The successful appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch as justice on the Supreme Court was Trump’s first major victory. In getting the fastest Supreme Court confirmation, President Trump gave the nation an outstanding jurist, possessed of exceptional qualities of temperament and scholarship, who has the opportunity to make his mark on American jurisprudence — for a generation.
But there was more. The president also got a record number of circuit courts of appeal judges confirmed. Those jurists are in marked contrast to the Obama appointments who were "judicial activists," bent on legislating in robes.
Ditto for the federal district courts where the overwhelming caseload gets resolved. There are now lifetime appointees dedicated to upholding the plain meaning of the Constitution rather than those who want to tinker with it, so it aligns with their political agendas.
The president has been criticized by some for not getting all of his ambitious agenda through Congress. But look at what he did.
He successfully used executive action to undo much of the troubling over-reache of his predecessor. His rollback of unnecessary and job-killing overregulation helped boost the burst of economic growth we witness daily. He was able to dramatically stem the flow of illegal immigration even without congressional action.
His major legislative victory, the tax cut package, is already causing the economy to surge. The Dow shot past 26,000 this week. We’ve had the two fastest 1,000-point gains in history within the past month. It took until Ronald Reagan’s administration for the market to get to 1,000. Now we’re talking about a 1,000-point jump in a single week.
No administration would wisely peg itself to stock prices alone. So look at employment, growth in virtually every sector of the economy, consumer confidence and any other measure you’d like.
Look at what Apple did this week and the repatriation of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of new jobs. Look at millions of hard-working Americans who got big bonuses even before the tax cuts kicked in.
Nancy Pelosi said the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) was "Armageddon," the end of the world. That’s not what the vast majority of Americans see. That same over-heated hype, which sadly has come to characterize criticism of this administration, came from Paul Krugman shortly after Trump was elected.
He told us that the economy would crater and the market would tank under a Trump presidency. The exact opposite happened. Our economy is soaring at a rate of better than 3 percent annually and is on track to eclipse that mark for the first time in more than a decade. The stock market is at all-time highs on an almost daily basis.
The president promised to destroy the Islamic State, and he’s successfully done that. Their caliphate has been eliminated. A year ago, they controlled 25,000 square miles. Today they don’t control much of anything geographically. Even their "capital" is gone.
President Trump was harshly criticized by the left for his remarks about North Korea and their thuggish dictator. They predicated all sorts of calamity.
Today the North Koreans are at the negotiating table and are preparing to send Olympians to South Korea for the winter games. South Korean President Moon Jae-in summed it up, "I give President Trump huge credit for bringing about inter-Korean talks . . . "
Of course, there’s more to be done. The promised "infrastructure" package, enjoying bi-partisan support, is yet to move. It’s likely to be next on the agenda. Fixing Obamacare remains an open issue, although getting rid of the individual mandate was a big first step.
Any presidency is judged by the nation’s assurance of peace and prosperity.
For all the mind-numbing chatter about this tweet and that, the fact remains that there’s greater peace and prosperity than there was 365 days ago.
Charlie Gerow is a political analyst for Harrisburg, Pa.'s CBS affiliate, appearing weekly on its Sunday morning show, "Face the State," which is syndicated statewide. He serves as the first vice chair on the board of directors of the American Conservative Union. He is the CEO of Quantum Communications, a strategic communications and issue advocacy firm. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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