- - Monday, January 30, 2017


President Donald Trump turns out to be unusually consistent in making good on his campaign promises, and this upsets the politicians to no send. The idea that he could be establishing a precedent so that voters will expect such consistency from politicians in the future is something too horrific for politicians to think about.

For months, at rallies and forums from coast to coast, he said he would impose reasonable and firm immigration reform — America would no longer be Uncle Sap for the rest of the world — rewrite one-sided trade agreements to give the United States a fair return, and think America first in its relations with other nations, all of whom put themselves first. (That’s how the world works.) Now, less than two weeks since his swearing in, there’s widespread shock that he’s attempting to do what he said he would do.

The immigration order that set everyone’s hair on fire was not outrageous at all, as his hysterical critics insist, but expected by everyone who paid even casual attention to what he had been saying. Few Washington hands thought for even a minute that he would try to deliver on campaign promises. Any sophisticate would have told you that campaign promises are merely trinkets to amuse the peasants, to be ignored once the votes are counted.

When Mr. Trump signed an executive order to prevent the seven nations on Barack Obama’s seven most wanted list from sending terrorists, the Washington media establishment went bonkers. The usual suspects flooded the Sunday television shows to decry what “expert” after “expert” said would bring down the sky, and quickly.

Mr. Trump promised in October that as president he would “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur.” All vetting would be considered “extreme vetting.” He did not ban Muslim immigration, as the media, for its own purposes, described his executive order.

Nor did it permanently suspend immigration from Mr. Obama’s list of suspicious countries. He ordered a 90-day suspension of immigration from countries suspected of harboring significant terrorist organizations within their borders, or with a record of providing significant support of terrorist organizations.

The president instructed the director of National Intelligence to “determine what additional procedures should be taken” to make sure that terrorists are not coming into the United States with legitimate refugees. This might distress to those waiting to be cleared for entry, but it is not irrational.

The wise and the wonderful in Washington pay no attention to campaign promises because they know that the most that voters should expect is that the bureaucracy, “the great Washington fudge factory,” will only tinker at the edges of bad law and bad regulations. That’s just politics, as the politicians expect everyone to understand.

Too bad for them, and for the rest of the world disappointed that Uncle Sap is at last waking up, but Donald Trump does not speak their language, nor, apparently, does he pay much attention to those who do. It’s a new world in Washington. The old one has been turned upside down.

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