This has been a Schadenfreude week. Schadenfreude is a German word meaning to take perverse pleasure in someone else’s misfortune. Believe me I have been over the moon at Hillary Clinton’s defeat and the petulant response of her leftist acolytes to the electorate’s rejection of this corrupt, incompetent, and arrogant harridan’s presidential pretensions. This week demonstrates that you are not entitled to be President because of your race, gender, consciously chosen sexual lifestyle practices, or any of the other characteristics of the identitarian leftist politics which have polluted our political debate during the Obama Administration.
I will always have reservations about Donald Trump which I have expressed many times during the campaign. However, I think the country has a chance to be in a much better economic, social, and international position under his presidency than it will be if we let ourselves be saddled with a third term of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. We are fortunate in that Mike Pence will be Trump’s Vice-President and a key conduit between the White House and Capitol Hill. Pence’s steadying influence is already being demonstrated by Trump’s decision yesterday that Indiana’s Governor, instead of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, will lead the transition efforts. All praise to KellyAnne Conway for running a masterful campaign and keeping Trump on message enough to win. She should play an important role in the White House’s West Wing in keeping the administration on message and not slipping off into tangential twitter land.
These efforts to transition from campaigning to governing are challenging. There are some 4,000 key policymaking positions which must be appointed and go through security clearances by January 20, 2017 when Trump and Pence take office. Many of these positions involve national security and must be filled. Numerous names have been speculated as to whom Trump might appoint as cabinet secretaries, White House Chief of staff, and national security advisor.
My personal favorite for Secretary of State is John Bolton and I’d like to see outgoing New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte considered for a cabinet level position such as Secretary of Defense. Ayotte’s defeat was the only sad moment of Tuesday’s election. She is a talented, intelligent, and personable policymaker who is great on national security issues and is a far more worthy role model for young women to emulate than Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, or Elizabeth Warren.
Trump will need to make clear that a new sheriff is in the oval office through his policymaking priorities. I look forward to seeing him overturn many of Obama’s ill-advised executive orders and he could start by actually signing some of these updated executive orders during his inaugural address in OBAMA’s PRESENCE. I particularly enjoyed Charles Krauthammer’s comment this week that Obama’s legacy is toast. Trump needs to tell the military that it will receive increased resources to address the security dangers which have increased during the Obama Administration and also tell them that their sole priority is war preparation, fighting, and winning instead of promoting social engineering as personified by the diversity cult which became insidiously entrenched during the Obama years.
The Attorney General needs to be an accomplished professional such as Rudy Giuliani or John Yoo who will concentrate on fighting and defeating crime and not harassing law enforcement personnel. Under the Trump Administration, the Justice Department must drop its race apparatchik mentality and become a forum for promoting law and order and domestic tranquillity by stamping out extortionate thug organizations like Black Lives Matter which seek to subvert the rule of law and excuse criminal behavior.
The federal judiciary will benefit enormously from the appointment of strict constructionist judges at all levels. A replacement for Justice Scalia should be nominated within the first few weeks of the administration and the Senate to advise and consent to this nomination as quickly as possible. The aging of Justices Breyer, Ginsberg, and Kennedy should give Trump additional opportunity to put a decidedly conservative cast onto the Supreme Court for decades to come and hopefully produce opportunities to overturn odious cases like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.
Tax and entitlement reform need to become hallmark characteristics of the Trump Administration’s first two years. Trump would be well advised to defer to House Speaker Paul Ryan on this and it is to be hoped that he will also work well with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As a Hoosier, I’m also proud to say that newly elected Senator Todd Young will be a valuable advocate for conservative reform after his decisive defeat of Evan Bayh in Indiana’s Senate election.
Trump will have to recognize that the U.S. needs a successful international trade policy that recognizes the value of NAFTA and Trans-Pacific Partnership for our strategic geopolitical interests. At the same time, it will also be good if we renegotiate some of our trade agreements to provide greater protection for American workers and retraining opportunities for them as the situation warrants. Repatriating U.S. tax dollars overseas will had a positive impact on our economy and job-creation. Infrastructure policies focusing on repairing existing infrastructure instead of creating new shiny public works will also be beneficial.
It is good that Trump has been in contact with a variety of international leaders. He needs to reassure our NATO allies that we will help them stand up to Russia and resist Islamist terrorism. It would also be good if he gives U.S. military commanders liberal rules of engagement to take decisive action against Russian, Iranian, North Korean, and Chinese aggression against our forces. Ending the extremely dangerous Iran Nuclear Agreement should also occur in the administration’s early weeks. We should seek constructive rhetorical engagement with all the world’s countries but this must be done on the basis of a realistic understanding of human nature and our strategic interests.
While I’m relieved Trump will be the next President, I will still criticize him when I think his policies are injurious to the national interest. I hope he will wisely choose from the experienced cadre of conservative domestic policy and international affairs figures who have ably served during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and both George Bush’s. Concerted effort should also be made to tap the talents of newly emerging conservative policymakers. While Trump, is not temperamentally a conservative, he is an executive who looks for individuals who share his vision for restoring American greatness. If Trump can transition from a sometimes boisterous cheerleader to a serious leader committed to taking what may be unpopular steps to restore America’s domestic and international strength, the volatile and contentious 2016 election cycle may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. God can really work in mysterious ways.