by Michael Walsh
No matter when or where Donald Trump finally delivers his State of the Union speech – late last night, he gave up on the notion of an alternative venue and tweeted that the speech will take place in the House according to “history, tradition, and importance of the House Chamber,” after the shutdown is over- one thing is certain the President is lucky in his choice of enemies.
The Left, of course, thinks it has him on the run: his popularity can’t crack 50 percent, a Vichycon Republican majority foot-dragging during Trump’s first two years resulted in a grand total of bupkis, policy-wise (thanks, Paul Ryan!), and the progressive media has turned every news story- from BuzzFeed’s catastrophic confabulation about the Trump Moscow project to the innocent high schoolers in MAGA hats targeted for a classic propaganda stunt that’s now backfired badly- into an instant referendum on Trump. And yet he’s still standing.
That’s because Trump, as combative a personality who’s ever occupied the White House, thrives on conflict. While Washington is often called Hollywood for ugly people, few of the dullards, clods, clowns, rapscallions, and mountebanks who occupy seats in the Congress or in the hierarchies of their respective branches of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party have his flair for drama or his tolerance for high-stakes risk. These two things infuriate the PBFP and its media claque, a.k.a. the Washington press corps. The very things they despise about him, including his insouciant, gleeful rudeness, are the things that bind him to his base and his base to him. As far as the base is concerned, the enemy of my enemies is my president.
“Enemy” is a word that has almost dropped from the American vocabulary, to our great loss. In the days when we could name our enemies- the French and Indians, the British, the Barbary pirates, the Germans, the Japanese, the Germans again, the Russians—we could muster the will, the firepower and the sheer joy of destroying them. Since the end of World War II, and with the notable exception of Reagan’s victory in the Cold War (over the obstructions of the Democrats, naturally), we’ve been leery of “demonizing” everyone from the North Koreans to the Iranians to the Arabs and the Afghans, and instead have tried the near-useless methods of negotiation and a “peace process” that only serves to prolong indecisive conflicts in order to give full employment to lawyers, bureaucrats, the State Department, and the Clinton Foundation.
Ah, but now once again decent Americans who believe in the country as founded- and not in the crackpot fascist world of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or their ilk—have enemies they can relish, as well as a champion who enjoys giving battle.
Domestically, foremost among them at the moment is Maerose Prizzi, princess of Baltimore, who learned her ethics and morality at the feet of her father, Tommy d’Alesandro, Jr., quaintly described as a “machine politician” in his obituaries. Pelosi’s battle with Trump erupted in full tit-for-tat glory this month when she disinvited him from giving the SOTU and then, when Trump said he was going ahead with it anyway, vowed not to let him on the floor of the House as long as the government continued in partial shutdown. Trump’s sudden and disappointing capitulation to the Speaker Wednesday night has temporarily ended the tussle, but the fact remains that whenever he gives the speech, Pelosi—sitting behind him, next to Vice President Pence—will still look petty and churlish, while Trump stands gloweringly in front of the Sour Patch Kids across the aisle, making them feel America’s pain for having put the country through this.
As for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), he manages to be both snarling and unctuous at the same time, a born villain who plays the part perfectly. Shorn of his mini-me protégé, Carlos Danger, Schumer has seemed far less cocky than in those glorious early days when the sky was the limit for Anthony Weiner, now just the punch line to an evening of dirty jokes having to do with his surname.
Meanwhile, in the socialist workers paradise to the south known as Venezuela, the administration has pulled the rug out from under “president” Nicolas Maduro and in the wake of an obviously fraudulent election, has recognized his opponent, Juan Guaidó, as the legitimate head of state. Caracas is burning and it’s only a matter of a very short time before Maduro meets the fate of other tinpots: as a refugee in some Third World hellhole or as a corpse, stood up against a wall and shot.
That this is all happening during the media-fueled ascendancy of the bird-brained Ocasio-Cortez is just one of those lucky accidents. Maduro and his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have done as thorough a demolition job as can be imagined on what was once Latin America’s most prosperous country, rich in oil and other natural resources, but unfortunately subject to the same toxic caudillo culture blended with the kind of half-baked Marxist theory that has rendered most every former Spanish colony in the Americas a kleptocratic basket case. When Maduro goes, Trump needs to make what happened to Venezuela an object lesson for all Americans, so that we never fall for the siren song of “never really been tried” and instead say, “been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”
In Europe, Trump has forced the western Europeans- led by who else but the Germans again- to harden their immigration-at-all-costs stance, thus handing the balance of patriotic power over to the Visegrad Group (Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) and other small nations in the region desirous of maintaining their own cultural identities. Their grit and determination in the face of the usual taunts of “racism” have now inspired other countries, such as Italy, to rediscover the meaning of their pasts and kindled a determination to salvage their future in the face of a semi-unarmed invasion from the Middle East into the heart of historic Christendom.
In Asia, Trump has stood up to China’s expansionism, at least temporarily tamed its North Korean house pet, Li’l Kim, and reassured our principal ally, Japan, that we’re not about to abandon them to the Red Dragon. Trump’s tariff war with the Chinese (whose own economy is something of a Potemkin village) is paying dividends in their willingness to buy $1 trillion worth of American goods and reduce their trade surplus with the United States to zero by 2024-coincidentally, near the end of what will be Trump’s second term.
A showdown over the State of the Union? Possible military intervention in Caracas to protect American lives and property while a socialist dictator is deposed? By the time this is over, Democrats will be begging for the return of Vladimir Putin and the Russian collusion bear.
And don’t even get me started on Michael Cohen.
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Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules