‘He’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) In the Catholic church, it takes three miracles for a holy person to achieve sainthood.
While President Donald Trump himself would likely admit that he’s no angel, his week on Capitol Hill certainly qualifies him for beatification within the Republican Party.
What seemed like a lost cause last week, the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, as of Friday seemed a promising bet for the coming weekend, with GOP “swing vote” Sens. Jeff Flake and Susan Collins both hinting at a ‘yes’ vote, and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia potentially even crossing party lines to make it–technically speaking–a bipartisan effort.
The release of September jobs data proved another extraordinary achievement, with Trump ushering in the lowest unemployment rate–3.7 percent–since the 1960s. Around the same time in his presidency, Barack Obama had decreed that stagnant growth and near 10 percent unemployment would be the “new normal”–a dire projection that was reaffirmed by Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as recently as 2014.
For these milestones, Trump was rewarded with consecutive days of job approval above the 50 percent mark, according to Rasmussen–a feat last achieved a full five months ago.
But Trump’s third accomplishment, while it may have marked the fruition of the first two, was nothing short of miraculous. By many accounts, he has succeeded in closing the rift in the GOP and winning over many former NeverTrumpers. A recent poll showed that the GOP enthusiasm gap leading into the Nov. 6 midterm, which in July lagged around 10 points behind Democrats, is now a statistical tie. After months of hearing predictions about a blue wave, it seems the red tide is coming in–in more ways than one.
The most shining example of this was, of course, the conversion of Lindsey Graham, which may have had as much to do with the political calculus in the deeply red South Carolina as anything inside the Beltway. Notwithstanding, Graham’s crucial role in the Kavanaugh hearing–for which he was rewarded by having his safety jeopardized, his personal information doxxed and his sexuality questioned on many a late-night show–reflected an act of true courage and conviction.
A more telling indicator of Trumpism’s enduring impact was revealed in pieces by two columnists who once stood firmly opposed to the president.
National Review editor Rich Lowry, who in January 2016 compiled an entire “Against Trump” special issue, calling him a menace to the conservative movement, has gradually softened his stance. But he seemed to go all-in after seeing the viciousness with which the Left attempted to smear Kavanaugh, calling it a justification of Trumpian-style politics.
“Surely, a reason that the president appealed to many Republicans in the first place, despite his extravagant personal failings, was that they had decided that virtuous men would get smeared and chewed up by the opposition’s meat grinder,” Lowry wrote, “so why be a stickler for standards?”
While the piece may have taken on something of a lamenting tone, Lowry praised Trump for standing up against the unrelenting attacks of the deep-state. “He may not be a constitutionalist, but he will be faithful to his own side, and fiercely battle it out with his political opponents.”
On Friday, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens echoed the sentiment in his column “For Once, I’m Grateful for Trump.” The Pulitzer-winner whimsically said, “I’m grateful because ferocious and even crass obstinacy has its uses in life, and never more so than in the face of sly moral bullying. I’m grateful because he’s a big fat hammer fending off a razor-sharp dagger.”
True, these testimonials remained more diffident than full-throated in their acceptance of what they deemed the lesser of two evils, but both, after seeing the Left reveal its true colors, reflected a renewed understanding of how high the stakes are in winning America’s culture war.