Politics & Policy

The GOP’s Path Out of the Doldrums: Govern

President Trump with House Republicans after passage of the AHCA, May 4, 2017. (Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)
The cure for Democratic nonsense is Republican substance.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment on Wednesday likely marks the nadir in the spring of the Republicans’ discontent. The GOP has failed to repel the Democrats’ relentless, evidence-free insistence that President Donald J. Trump is Vladimir Putin’s puppet. Left-wing journalists and activists constantly bemoan Trump’s every statement and action, including — literally — his ice-cream consumption. Rather than resist, self-enfeebled Republicans are adrift at sea.

How can Republicans escape these doldrums? Govern.

Among any president’s greatest strengths is the power to change the subject. President Trump should change the subject daily, from the Left’s obsession du jour back to his agenda. He should rally Americans across the country to pressure Congress to approve his program. Trump will need to spend time in Washington to corral Republicans behind key legislation and to welcome foreign leaders to the White House, in all its majesty. Beyond that, however, policy-driven road trips will benefit Trump, his priorities, and the nation.

After he returns from his first overseas presidential voyage on May 27, Trump should escape the Potomac’s fever swamp, early and often.

He should visit Obamacare’s victims and let them tell their stories as White House correspondents capture their pain.

He should tour businesses and work sites and let entrepreneurs forecast how many more jobs they could create with a 15 percent corporate tax.

He should inspect the southern “border” and let locals describe the horror of illegal aliens, drug smugglers, and unidentified Middle Easterners trespassing across their property and heading north into the American homeland without permission.

Trump should call on the coal patch, where Americans whom Obama and Hillary disdain are returning to work now that Trump has ended the War on Coal. Let miners who are enjoying signing bonuses tell traveling network news crews what it’s like to regain their dignity rather than endure Democratic scorn.

Trump also should remember that personnel is policy. He needs to get much busier naming energetic conservatives and free-marketeers to fill almost 4,000 federal sub-cabinet and agency-level vacancies. Also, he recently nominated ten well-received candidates for federal judgeships. Great start! That leaves just 119 judicial slots to fill.

Trump needs to get much busier naming energetic conservatives and free-marketeers to fill almost 4,000 federal sub-cabinet and agency-level vacancies.

For its part, Congress should cancel its intense vacation schedule and spend this summer enacting Trump’s agenda.

The Senate must shift out of first gear and confirm Trump’s executive-branch and judicial nominees. It should work morning, noon, and night to do so. Fill the Senate water coolers with Red Bull!

As a down payment on tax reform, Republicans immediately should repatriate some $2.6 trillion in corporate profits now stranded overseas, awaiting lower U.S. business levies. Bring that money here — minus a 5 percent Welcome Home Tax — and harness it. If Democrats resist, hammer them mercilessly for holding U.S. capital hostage in offshore banks rather than letting companies invest it in American factories, laboratories, and offices.

Through at least Labor Day, the House and Senate floors should buzz with activity, at least five days a week. Members of Congress should vote as often as they breathe.

If Republican lawmakers can wake up, focus on the national interest, and hand Trump limited-government measures to sign, “Russia, Russia, Russia” should fade into the background. Assuming that Robert Mueller confirms that Team Trump never colluded with Team Putin, markets should rally, and vibrant growth will resume. If Trump can sign an Obamacare repeal-and-replacement bill and a big-league tax cut, America will rebound, as will Republicans.

If all goes well, Democrats will vanish like Atlantis beneath a tsunami of GOP victories in November 2018. Rather than abandon Trump’s platform for fear of losing power, Republicans should forward conservative, market-oriented reforms for him to sign. Good policy is good politics.

Republicans should cheer up and imagine keeping the House, reelecting their current Senate incumbents, and winning at least eight of the 25 seats that the Democratic caucus will defend at the next midterm election. If so, Republicans will enjoy a filibuster-proof Senate majority and can deliver President Trump legislation about which the Right merely has dreamed since the days of Barry Goldwater.

Deroy Murdock — Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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