Not a day goes by that I don't read a letter or column from some poor soul espousing that President Donald Trump is the greatest threat to this nation in its history, that our “democracy” (they can't grasp that we're a constitutional republic, but I digress) is in peril, and that if he and his enablers are not voted out in November it will be the end of the world as we know it.
Whether it's a budding amateur enamored with CNN or a syndicated professional, a certified leftist or a “Never Trump” conservative, the theme is always the same: Trump coddles dictators and abuses our allies, and the world hates us. Russian collusion was real, the orange man is a white supremacist and we're just a moment away from him starting World War III.
Paragraph after paragraph comes straight from Democratic National Committee talking points. Pick your favorite conspiracy theory, toss in a few lines from The Washington Post or The New York Times opinion pieces and POOF — Trump the tyrant magically appears.
All that's left is for America to remove him, hand the federal government over to the Democrats and utopia arrives Jan. 20, 2021.
Needless to say, this columnist is not buying their bunkum.
It's not that I agree with Trump's behavior or that I don't find disgust with his petty Twitter fights and schoolyard name calling — it's just that I'm a realist. After following politics since Watergate, I'm well versed in separating political theater from policies transpired, and I'll take a rogue defending individual liberty over a suit promising Shangri-La any day.
While Barack Obama's words soared on the promises of hope, change and all things great, his policies delivered anything but.
Rather than the rebound that should have come after the Great Recession, the economy slogged along at the slowest recovery rate since World War II. The blue collar worker was written off in favor of a new “progressive coalition” voter base. The Affordable Care Act was shoved through in the dead of night with not even one Republican amendment that could have improved it. Regulations were piled upon regulations, private industry suffocated and China was treated as royalty.
Overall, the Obama era was year upon year of expanding government control over the lives of individual Americans.
And while Trump's predecessor liked to brag about the millions of jobs his administration had created, research by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard and Alan Krueger of Princeton revealed the truth behind the words. Of the 10 million new jobs created, 94% of them were part time or temporary, and the number of Americans having to take such positions rose from 10.7% to 15.8% of the population.
One could not find a more polar opposite to Obama than Trump. He's beyond rough around the edges, as crass as crass can get and has shown time after insufferable time that he's incapable of letting any slight against him — no matter how trivial — go without responding via a junior high tweet storm.
Yet just three years into his first term, he had removed the Obama barriers to economic growth, began the restoration of American manufacturing, taken NATO freeloaders to task, restored America's role as a supporter of Israel, gave the military the rules of engagement needed to destroy the Islamic State group, and renegotiated NAFTA into the USMCA, giving the United States, Mexico and Canada a framework to take on the threat from communist China.
Before COVID-19, the U.S. economy was on pace to prove once and for all John F. Kennedy's “a rising tide lifts all boats” analogy.
Yet no matter the facts differentiating the two administrations, here we are, less than a hundred days before the 2020 election, and millions of Americans steadfastly believe that our current president is a threat to the nation.
Not the Communist Party of China that has made known to the world its desire to overtake the United States as the premiere economic and military force in the world. Not the antifa members who are currently rampaging through the streets and the all too many Democrat politicians who protect them. And not the likes of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner pushing a political prosecution of a couple who exercised their Second Amendment rights against what they believed was an increasingly threatening crowd while dozens of homicide and drug cases remain backlogged.
The great H.L. Mencken defined a socialist as “a man suffering from an overwhelming conviction to believe what is not true."
Nov. 3, 2020, isn't so much Trump unhinged vs. Biden incompetent as it is about whether there is now enough Mencken socialists to at last bring down from within what no foreign army ever could.
Geoff Caldwell lives in Joplin. He can be reached at email@example.com.