Rush Limbaugh once gave an account of his golfing experiences with the pre-political Donald Trump. Rush said that Trump, who was very apolitical, would throw out a political figure’s name and ask Rush, “Good or bad?” Rush stated that he would try to respond from the liberal or conservative perspective by identifying the individual as left or right of center. But Trump would not accept that response. He would repeat, “Bad or Good?”
Trump was not interested in political affiliation, ideology, or specifics of the person of interest. He simply wanted to know if he or she was a good or bad actor on the national stage.
Rush’s characterization of Trump’s curiosity shed light on President Trump’s platform. He views everyone in the Beltway in simple terms. There are the good guys, and there are the bad guys. President Trump sees white hats and black hats or villains and heroes. He’s not interested in Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives.
Earlier this week Limbaugh admitted that President Trump is not conservative or liberal. According to Rush, this is the reason that Trump appears to be flip-flopping. He is not committed to certain ideological principles which would be the concrete he needs to plant his feet firmly in one spot.
Good or bad?
Having the flexibility to act as a free spirit would definitely have its advantages, one being the leverage of unpredictability. Keeping your political enemies off guard is always a benefit. After months or years of bashing candidate and President Trump, left-wingers in Washington and the media begrudgingly had to applaud Trump for his Syrian strike.
But you also keep your base off balance when you appear to be moving in one direction and pivot. We saw several pivotal moments this week when the president made policy changes by speaking highly of the Export-Import Bank, Janet Yellen, and NATO. He then detracted his campaign comments that China is a currency manipulator. Many of his supporters were outraged with the Syrian missile attack.
As Commander-in-Chief, President Trump has returned the decision-making authority back to the hierarchy of the United States Military. Putting America first begins with national security and military super-strength. After eight years of a “Stand Down” president, Trump has unleashed the masters of American might.
Peggy Noonan has written a column in which she is suggesting that Trump’s recent flip-flops and the diminishing role of the populist leader Steven Bannon indicate that Trump is caving to the Establishment. She writes that Trump is in the process of humiliating Bannon before the final demise. Is this ousting of Bannon the result of Bannon’s conflict with Trump’s son-in-law and liberal, Jared Kushner? And would the banishment of Bannon indicate a more centrist Trump?
Noonan alleges that Trump is in the process of making way for the Establishment to rise in the White House. That may be so, but as of now, President Trump has been busy addressing campaign promises.
Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed, illegal border crossings have drastically reduced, the building of the wall is under negotiations, the repeal of Obamacare is back on the table, tax reform is front and center, and jobs for legal Americans are making a comeback.
President Trump is energetic, confidant of his performance, and remains undeterred by his critics in terms of advancing his agenda. Has he said or done some things that many of us deplore? Yes. But you don’t get everything you want in any president.
Can a president be successful without adhering to a conservative or liberal doctrine in terms of consistent achievements? I’m not so sure. Having principles are priority in establishing a moral social construct.
But just maybe, for this time in history, looking through the lens of good versus bad is not such a bad thing. From my standpoint, if you are shooting for the good, whether you are aware of it or not, you will end up on the conservative side.