Trump needs to define his core principles

Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump focused on winning.  He covered all bases and stamped out all brush fires.  He never quit; he never even slowed down.  He won!

But now that he is in power, Trump has met his first failures.

Reality bites.  His attempt to repeal Obamacare was stopped dead in its tracks.  His policy on immigration was stymied at the border.  If he fails to lower taxes and build the wall, his supporters are going to have their first serious doubts about his competence.  While Trump's supporters are loyal, they demand results.

Amid all the complications, Trump needs a new paradigm.  Unless he can define his core principles and stick to them, the distractions and treacheries of D.C. politics will send him down endless side roads and dead ends, until finally the economy (stupid) will collapse and bring his term to an ignominious end.

President Ronald Reagan understood America.  He knew that above all, Americans cherish freedom.  The vocal minority that demands an all-powerful government is just that: a minority, however loudly its members scream. 

It is easy to get confused by liberal arguments.  They have a devious way of phrasing the issues.  For example, if you oppose any government program to feed the poor, no matter how inept, costly, and ineffective, then you hate the poor.  You want to throw Granny off the cliff.

The liberal argument has the advantage of simplicity, or, should we say, the advantage of being simplistic.  Let's face it: it is easier to, "give a man a fish" than it is to teach a man to fish, to teach him wealth accumulation, wealth preservation, and responsible stewardship of his assets.

Not that the government necessarily needs to teach these things, but certainly the government should not provide disincentives to work, which is what current welfare policy does.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said that, too often, "government is not the solution; government is the problem."  He knew that above all, Americans cherish freedom.  He knew that every government action either increases or decreases individual freedom.  Using that as his guidepost, Reagan did his best to ensure that every decision he made increased our freedom.

It's a different world today, but the laws of nature have not changed, nor has human nature.  Government works best when it restricts itself to the Constitution.  It works best when the will of the people is the paramount crafter of government policy.  "That government is best which governs least" (from Henry David Thoreau's pamphlet, "Civil Disobedience").

So far, Trump seems to understand that reducing the size of government is vital to the sustainability of the nation.  He seems not yet to have learned that restricting its scope is also vital.  Not every good idea justifies government intervention.

Government is not wise; it is simply powerful.  We cannot increase its wisdom.  We can, however, restrain its power.  Hopefully, Trump will soon focus on this, articulate a set of core values, and get on with the job of making America great again.

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