As the regular reader of this blog (Hi Sarah) knows, I’m not an American. When it came to the 2016 election I was a NeverHillary who had low expectations for a Trump presidency. It wasn’t that I didn’t like some of the things Trump said, but I was intensely skeptical that he would try to do any of them, let alone succeed. Over the last year I’m very happy to say that my skepticism has been proven wrong. Not that he’s perfect by any means and yes in part as far as I’m concerned he benefits from the bigotry of low expectations, but he’s so far exceeding those initial low expectations that I now judge him as a president in his own right as opposed to being #NotHillary. Yes, I too cringe at some of his tweets – at how he seems to embody the crudity of modern discourse, and so on – but, while I’m not into kekistani 5-d chess manipulation theories, I do see how often those tweets both set (or reset) the political narrative and allow him to troll the MSM and let the press corps demonstrate yet again how fixated they are on the superficial. Meanwhile, as the press works itself into a paroxysm of fury over some tweet, he enacts one executive order after another that implements substantive change to the US Federal government and its permanent bureaucracy.

It is the acts that will be his real legacy and an honest NeverTrumper should take a look at them and admit that he (or she – coff Jennifer Rubin coff) was wrong. But sadly (and Ms Rubin is a great example) they don’t. Instead they twist themselves into a pretzl and claim that policies that they were once in favor of are now bad because they are implemented by Trump or worse they point out that Trump’s actions in a particular policy area are not the ideal ones they would prefer in a perfect world and use that as a cudgel to assail the fact that Trump has made a change which was previously unthinkable. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem or withdrawing from the Paris Glowball Worming treaty for example. Politics we are told, is the art of the possible and many NeverTrumpers were (in this case not incorrectly) also anti-Tea Party absolutism. Shutting down government because you can’t stop Obamacare was a great example of not understanding the art of the possible. Trump, on the other hand, is combining the “art of the possible” with his “art of the deal” and getting results that are moving the goalposts – the Overton Window – of potential policy options back from the progressive/statist side that Obama moved them. Indeed in some areas he seems to be moving them back to the same sort of area that they were last seen under President Reagan (PBUH). Moreover, some of the areas that he’s moving back are surprising.

Contrary to all the lefty cries about “Dictator” and “Tyranny”, Trump is actually trying to get congress to do its job. Witness the whole DACA thing, or earlier the way that he enabled congress to roll back most of Obama’s last minute regulations. If you are a conservative NeverTrumper it is pretty much guaranteed that you are in favor of the US Constitution as originally written – three branches of government, federalism, states rights etc. – so maybe you ought to look at how Trump is devolving power, reining in the unelected 4th branch – the administrative state – and so on. In much the same way, indeed as a continuation, Trump wants to reform the civil service hiring practices:

President Trump will seek to “hire the best and fire the worst” federal government employees under the most ambitious proposal to overhaul the civil service in 40 years, officials said. […]

Trump foreshadowed the proposal in a line in his State of the Union address last week: “Tonight, I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet Secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” he said.

Trump is using the VA Accountability Act, which gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to fire and discipline workers, as a model. The White House says that law has resulted in the dismissal of 1,470 employees, the suspension of 443, demotions for 83 others last year. […]

Another pillar of the proposal would reduce automatic pay increases and instead use that money for a performance bonus pool.

Under the current system, federal employees get a review every one to three years. Employees whose performance is “fully successful” — as 99.7% are — get a within-grade “step” increase in addition to annual cost-of-living increases.

Trump’s plan would stretch out the amount of time it takes to go from step 1 to step 10 from 18 years to 27 years, saving $10 billion over the next decade, officials said. That money would then go to high-performing employees either as merit raises or one-time bonuses.

He may fail but I wouldn’t count on it. And any conservative NeverTrumper who isn’t a total hypocrite should look at this and consider whether they should continue to stand in front of the Trump train shouting STOP. If they do, I trust the train will do what real trains do and squash them into paste