Everyone seems to have strong opinions on President Trump. Irrespective of your stance, this was a significant week, as President Trump scored a major victory with a tax reform bill emerging from the Senate. If all continues to progress, Trump will sign a piece of legislation that pertains to the promises he made on the campaign trail.
I don’t think President Trump had any idea of how difficult it would turn out to be to take on the establishment. Draining the swamp is truly a monumental task. It is not surprising that virtually every one of the like-minded souls who went off to D.C. with the goal of draining the swamp ended up taking the luxurious boat provided and went fishing instead.
One thing you have to say about Trump is that he has been willing to wade in waist deep with the alligators and snakes. Not surprisingly, he has been bit quit a few times in the process. I was one who thought the initial feeding frenzy would prove too much; that taking on the media, the Democratic and even Republican establishments all at once was a major strategic error. I thought the outsider with no political acumen would continue to talk about fixing health care or building a wall, as the powers that be continued to go about their business.
I have to admit, while I’m not convinced that any one man can effect change, we are now nearly a year in, and Trump has survived. The tax reform bill will be a boon to the economy and, like we saw with the Obama and Bush administrations before him, Congress’s inability to govern and act, coupled with their refusal to stop the growth in power by the executive branch, the president is now largely allowed to rule by fiat.
Admittedly, there are limits to executive decree. We saw that virtually every component of the Obama agenda was eliminated by Trump in the first few weeks of the presidency. It is why Trump could double economic growth almost instantly. However, Congress is still the entity that can enact long-term change, as we have seen with Obamacare.
On another note, the West and agriculture in general was not high on anybody’s list in Washington, but we saw this week that the rollback of the Obama agenda has reached all the way to us with news that Trump significantly reduced the size of national monuments in Utah. Many people in the West saw that these huge designations by the Obama administration weren’t about national monuments. Rather, it was about stopping energy exploration or development in the West.
Not surprisingly, there has been quite a bit of angst expressed about these changes by some in the conservation community, but it doesn’t appear that the fight will be too severe. You simply can’t justify the size of the designations that were made.
Of course, those who are heralding it as a victory for state rights or the West are also without a leg to stand on. What if someone like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren were to become president in three years or seven years, and every acre of public ground in the West becomes part of some sort of national monument designation? Ruling by decree only works if you can remain in power, and to the chagrin of presidents like Obama and possibly Trump, while the power of the executive branch is growing and is seemingly unchecked, we still hold an election every four years.
The West may be breathing a sigh of relief, but we live in a world that is more temporal than ever. Until Congress can become a functioning body once again, then even draining the swamp is a temporary fix.
Ironically, every day that Trump survives and the Armageddon that we have all been promised does not materialize, I think the prospects of actually reforming the Beltway and making our institutions functional again improves. For various reasons, I have been a lukewarm supporter of Trump at best, but I’m warming up to the prospect.
It is like that old saddle horse that is hammer headed, crooked legged and sway backed. You don’t think much of him, but if he tries to get the job done every day, you are much more likely to throw your saddle on him than the pretty horse that cheats you every chance it gets.