Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
Here is my take on the successes and failures of the first year of the Donald J. Trump Administration:
- JUDICIARY – Not only did President Trump successfully nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Antonia Scalia on the United States Supreme Court, he also successfully nominated 12 new justices to the various appellate courts, which is a record for the first year of a new administration. (success=confirmation). Furthermore, he is moving forward to fill the numerous vacancies at the Federal district court level. While the Democrats may bemoan who is nominated and confirmed, you cannot quibble with the numbers and momentum.
- TAX – as his signature, and only significant legislative accomplishment, President Trump shepherded a massive tax cut/reform bill to passage and signature. My beloved Aunt Oleeva used to say “The proof is in the pudding”. This pudding has been baked but it still has to be tasted – i.e., evaluated after is it actually read and put into effect. However, the baking is what can be touted, especially since it was finished in time for the feast.
- REGULATORY REFORM – if there is one area where the President can truly crow about “draining the swamp”, this is it. His appointments have, for the most part, taken a meat ax to the existing regulatory scheme with an eye towards reducing the burden on the American economy occasioned by excessive pronouncements from Washington. Congress has been a willing partner in this exercise. Some of the actions have been quite controversial but we are just keeping score here.
- IMMIGRATION – although there are not the concrete accomplishments in this area as in some of the others, the President has kept in the forefront of political discussions concerning what to do about persons here illegally and how to alter our legal immigration policy going forward. His executive orders excluding immigrants or refugees from certain countries closely associated with ISIS have met with limited success; still, they have been a part of the conversation.
- ANWAR – as part of the tax reform/cut legislation, the ANWAR wildlife refuge in Alaska was opened up, at least in part, to oil and gas exploration and production. This has been a goal of the oil and gas industry for decades.
- ECONOMY – unemployment is down, new jobs are being created, the Dow reaches a new high almost weekly, and people are more confident than in recent years. If it was the other way around, you would be blamed; so, when things are good, you get the credit.
- ISIS – ISIS has been defeated on the ground and driven out of the territory it has seized. However, it still remains a threatening ideology that serves as the excuse for “lone wolf” terror attacks.
1. APPOINTMENTS – too many of the Cabinet departments are being directed at the management level by hold- overs from before President Trump was elected. He has failed to fill or even nominate the assistant secretary/director/administrator level positions that supervise the bulk of the work in any department or agency. Additionally, many of his initial high-level appointments have proven disasters – Tom Price, Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, etc. Most have had no or little impact upon the functioning of the government. The only star is General Mattis at Defense
2. TWEETING – so much has been said about this that it is redundant to cover it again. It serves no purpose other than to keep the President on Fox News and in the limelight.
3. HILLARY/OBAMA – You Won, Mr. President! Stop elevating the vanquished by dredging up old wounds. They are old news – you are what’s happening now.
4. INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP – Unfortunately, through your denigration of international organizations such as NATO and the UN, your precipitous withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and the TPP negotiations, and your refusal to re-certify the Iran Nuclear Agreement despite the urging of all the other players, you have left a void in the leadership of the free world that others are eager to fill. China is moving rapidly to dominate trade in the Fare East; Russia is again growling like a bear; negotiations over the future of Basher al Assad and the Syrian government are taking place between Russia, Iran and Syria (notice who is not at the table). The free world needs the United States at its head, not throwing rocks from the sidelines.
5. POLITICS – your core base is holding strong in your camp but the recent elections in Virginia and Alabama hint that the base alone is not enough. Can you contribute to knitting together winnable electoral numbers in 2018, or will the Republicans suffer the historic dramatic losses in the first mid-term elections after a new administration? Will you step aside and let Steve Bannon and the altrite select unacceptable candidates in key races?
6. OBAMACARE – the effort to “Repeal and Replace” failed miserably, embarrassing the Republican Congressional leadership and the President. Although the President did manage to get the individual mandate repealed as p[art of the tax/reform bill that passed.
Over-all Score – Incomplete. You don’t declare the winner of the Super Bowl after the first quarter.