January 20, 2019

The Case for Optimism About Trump

“Various commentators and publications (including some from TheWeek.com) have already declared Donald Trump the worst president in American history. This seems to me wrongheaded, and not just because I have certain misgivings about the very idea of presidential rankings. But I can say without hesitation that Trump is not only far from our worst president, but a much better one than both of his immediate predecessors.

This should not be such a hard argument to make. Iraq alone should and ultimately will seal George W. Bush’s reputation as one of the least qualified men ever to hold the title of commander-in-chief. Nice guy. Would love to catch a ball game with him or talk about painting at a Houston barbecue. Charismatic, too — but also pollyannish, a failson, and a poor judge of character. If only Jeb were less of a dork.

Barack Obama was, at least initially, a brilliant rhetorician. But his achievements in office were few. The Affordable Care Act was at best a stopgap and at worst a sop to insurance companies, whose stranglehold over the provision of medical care is now all but unbreakable. On the advice of Hillary Clinton, he overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, the mad eccentric who had ruled Libya for many years. The result is the migration crisis that has destroyed European social democracy. No president has done more to speed up the destruction of the post-war world order than Obama, albeit unwittingly. His only significant attempt at diplomacy, the nuclear deal made with Iran, was a meaningless formal exercise in making a deal for its own sake.”

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