Bad Old Republicans Should Make Us Grateful for Donald Trump

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Andy Card has always come across as a decent person. But the former Bush aide’s prescription for American politics makes us grateful that his preferred types of candidates aren’t in power anymore.

Gone, we hope, are the days when the likes of George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney could claim to be the likely and even obvious Republican nominees for president of their day.

The problem with this type of candidate is that he is not equipped to deal with the assault on America by the Left. Light on principles, this type of candidate tends to have a mix of weakly held good ideas and strongly held bad ideas. Faced with attacks by the Left, this type of candidate tends to whine about extremism instead of actually doing something about it.

Given 20 seconds, all of us could point out flaws of President Donald Trump. Inaccurate statements, over-the-top insults, personal moral failings, and herky-jerky leadership are all easy to spot. They’re unfortunate.

But we judge our presidents as a package, not by individual elements. Nearly one year eight months in, Trump’s is a record of accomplishment:  A major tax cut for both individuals and corporations, an improved trade deal with Mexico, a booming economy, and one confirmed and another close-to-being-confirmed justice on the federal Supreme Court committed to interpreting the law instead of trying to make social change by fiat.

Trump has gotten us into no foreign wars, and doesn’t seek to. Yet he projects strength at home and abroad. No world leader imagines he can intimidate Trump, and therefore no world leader imagines he can stick it to the United States.

Illegal immigration isn’t fixed, but it’s being addressed. Obamacare isn’t scuttled, but the administration is actually trying.

Trump also never surrenders to the forces of darkness. There are no olive branches to those who want to tear down our traditions, law, and culture.

Card on Tuesday denigrated the president — “I tend to think that President Trump is tarnishing the noble call of public service. I don’t agree with the tribalism that seems to be practiced, or the, you know, zero-sum games,” he said.

But so far Trump is a much better president than either Bush that Card served so faithfully.

Card prefers Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to Trump, and even held him up yesterday as a good possible candidate for president.

Baker, to his credit, has never sounded interested in running for president, perhaps acknowledging his own limitations. He’s also, no doubt, aware of the realities of the national Republican Party, which doesn’t favor candidates who raise taxes, endorse new government interferences in the free market like paid family and medical leave, and enthusiastically support legal and publicly funded abortion.

The best thing any Massachusetts conservative can say about Charlie Baker as governor is that he isn’t Deval Patrick.

And one of the best things any American can say about Donald Trump as president is that he isn’t George Bush – either one.