When it comes to choosing between presidential campaign platforms, what should be a matter of principle can turn into a matter of taste… How do you like your lies prepared and served?
Oops, did I say “lies”?… Excuse me, I meant “promises.” Do you want an all-you-can-eat campaign platform buffet with its promises well-done to the point where even the romaine lettuce in the salad bar is burned to a crisp? In that case, I’m sure you found the Joe Biden platform delicious and filling.
As I described in last month’s Letter From the Editor, Biden’s platform bill of fare is 564 pages long with every entrée so over-cooked that it seems as though Joe has accidentally left his mental oven on at 450 degrees since 1988.
Or do you prefer a “tasting menu,” with little dibs of this and dabs of that, each dished up rare, not to say as raw as pork tartar and chicken sushi? If so, you’ll smack your lips over the four-page Donald Trump campaign platform with its 54 bite-sized promises. Never mind that some of what’s on offer contains nothing that could be considered an intellectual calorie.
On August 23, the Trump campaign made an announcement…
TRUMP CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCES PRESIDENT TRUMP’S 2ND TERM AGENDA:
FIGHTING FOR YOU!
* Note for the reader: To avoid confusion, Trump’s platform promises are in bold, and my comments in [brackets].
Building on the incredible achievements of President Donald J. Trump’s first term in office, [creditable achievements there may have been, but it’s the miscues, muddled messaging, Tweet-blurts, and administrative chaos that have been incredible] the president’s re-election campaign today released a set of core priorities for a second term [so similar to the core priorities for the first term that they amount to a plea for a do-over] under the banner of “Fighting for You!” [With the amount of fighting that’s going on in America at the moment, maybe the president should specify exactly which “You” it is that he’s fighting for.]
President Trump’s boundless optimism [one way to put it] and certainty in America’s greatness [despite it needing to be “made great” again] is reflected in his second-term goals and stands in stark contrast to the gloomy vision of America projected by Joe Biden and Democrats. [Actually, there’s nothing “gloomy” about Joe’s “vision of America.” Biden is projecting a beautiful PowerPoint presentation of candy-flavored rainbow benefits, programs to give everybody a flying pony, and pixie-dust domestic and foreign policies. It’s when the flying ponies collide with the marzipan prismatics and it begins to rain horse feathers while the pixie dust gums up the machinery of government that the gloom begins.]
With the brief introduction having been made, the even briefer platform planks follow…
Create 10 Million New Jobs in 10 Months [That’s 33,333 jobs per day, 1,389 jobs per hour. About the only way the government could create that many jobs that quickly would be to ban the Internet and legally require that every e-mail message, Google search, grandchild-picture Facebook posting, and item of advertising spam be personally delivered to you by a federal employee. We used to call this the “Post Office,” and I was under the impression that the Trump administration was critical of that institution.]
Create 1 Million New Small Businesses [Let’s be frank about this… The only people who would have the grit and gumption (and desperation) to start a small business in the current economic mess would be 1 million new immigrant families.]
Cut Taxes to Boost Take-Home Pay and Keep Jobs in America [As a Republican, I hate taxes. But, as a Republican, isn’t there a deficit – which goes unmentioned in the Trump platform – that I’m also supposed to hate? Nor do I see how boosting take-home pay keeps jobs in America. It’s the employers that provide the pay who leave the U.S., not the workers who take the pay home.]
Enact Fair Trade Deals That Protect American Jobs [I’m always hoping that it’s not the trade deals we have already that supply those American jobs.]
“Made in America” Tax Credits [The kind of thing that can end up subsidizing wine from North Dakota.]
Expand Opportunity Zones [Meaning we may have to use the military to invade over-taxed and over-regulated places like California.]
Continue Deregulatory Agenda for Energy Independence [A good promise that would be better if the Trump administration got serious about nuclear power plants. Reddy Kilowatt wants to get a glow on.]
Develop a Vaccine by the End of 2020 [By holding scientists at gunpoint? Though if that will work, I’ll get out my deer rifle.]
Return to Normal in 2021 [“When you wish upon a star… “]
Make All Critical Medicines and Supplies for Health Care Workers in the United States [Nice thought, but let’s make sure we have all critical medicines and supplies before we insist they be made here.]
Refill Stockpiles and Prepare for Future Pandemics [Another nice thought. We’ll ask the Magic 8-Ball which disease is coming next and what we’ll need to stockpile for it.]
END OUR RELIANCE ON CHINA
Bring Back 1 Million Manufacturing Jobs From China [Ship them by UPS or FedEx?]
Tax Credits for Companies That Bring Back Jobs from China [Companies that are already getting “Made in America” tax credits. Double-dipping alert!]
Allow 100% Expensing Deductions for Essential Industries like Pharmaceuticals and Robotics who Bring Back Their Manufacturing to the United States [Hmmm… I, in my day, have had an expense account. That $600 dinner for two at Lutèce seemed essential at the time.]
No Federal Contracts for Companies Who Outsource to China [Can we still order moo goo gai pan for takeout?]
Hold China Fully Accountable for Allowing the Virus to Spread Around the World [The bill has been sent to Xi Jinping. He says the check is in the mail.]
Cut Prescription Drug Prices [A little something in the “How?” department might be appropriate here.]
Put Patients and Doctors Back in Charge of Our Health Care System [And while we’re at it, let’s make all the health care bureaucrats sick and send politicians to treat them.]
Lower Health Care Insurance Premiums [A proposition about as controversial as saying, “I love home and mother.”]
End Surprise Billing [Xi Jinping would like a refund.]
Cover All Pre-Existing Conditions [Oops, mother needs to be put in a home, and since we lowered health care insurance premiums, we’re having trouble finding a memory care unit to take her.]
Protect Social Security and Medicare [Should we call up the National Guard for this as well as rioting and coronavirus?]
Protect Our Veterans and Provide World-Class Health Care and Services [See “I love home and mother” above.]
Provide School Choice to Every Child in America [My own child’s choice would be to skip school.]
Teach American Exceptionalism [Excepting, I presume, the exceptionally stupid things America has done.]
DRAIN THE SWAMP
Pass Congressional Term Limits [Good luck with getting Congress to vote in favor of firing itself.]
End Bureaucratic Government Bullying of U.S. Citizens and Small Businesses [Lady Gaga has been a leading anti-bullying campaigner. Should we bring her in on this?]
Expose Washington’s Money Trail and Delegate Powers Back to People and States [If Trump wants to get money out of politics, how come he keeps asking me for more campaign donations? Also, how did he get into politics? I seem to recall that his own money was involved…]
Drain the Globalist Swamp by Taking on International Organizations That Hurt American Citizens [Personally I’d start with FIFA – Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Watching soccer is painful for this particular American citizen.]
Our next three sections come from Trump’s platforms – “Defend Our Police,” “End Illegal Immigration and Protect American Workers,” and “Innovate for the Future” – that need to be considered in their generalities rather than made fun of in their particulars.
DEFEND OUR POLICE
Fully Fund and Hire More Police and Law Enforcement Officers
Increase Criminal Penalties for Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers
Prosecute Drive-By Shootings as Acts of Domestic Terrorism
Bring Violent Extremist Groups Like Antifa to Justice
End Cashless Bail and Keep Dangerous Criminals Locked Up Until Trial
[The real message in these five platform planks is that Trump’s most effective campaign volunteers are rioters, looters, violent protestors, and loud, threatening demonstrators. All good liberals hate Trump, but all good liberals also live behind breakable glass windows. It would be awfully cynical to suggest that Trump supporters quit threatening him back and go provide the Antifa mob with food, drink, and throw-able objects (of the squishier, less dangerous kind such as plastic water bottles, because we don’t want any policemen to get hurt). I don’t want to be an awful cynic so I won’t suggest it.]
END ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND PROTECT AMERICAN WORKERS
Block Illegal Immigrants From Becoming Eligible for Taxpayer-Funded Welfare, Health Care, and Free College Tuition
Mandatory Deportation for Non-Citizen Gang Members
Dismantle Human Trafficking Networks
End Sanctuary Cities to Restore our Neighborhoods and Protect Our Families
Prohibit American Companies From Replacing United States Citizens With Lower-Cost Foreign Workers
Require New Immigrants to Be Able to Support Themselves Financially
[Here are six platform planks showing restraint – weird restraint. No one has ever been able to restrain Trump, least of all Trump himself. And yet restraint we’ve got. Where’d that come from? (And where’d The Wall go?)
Trump has been accused, not without reason, of inciting American xenophobia. Some Americans do hate foreigners… And yet America is a nation of foreigners. We’re hip to the kind of tricks that foreigners get up to. “Know thyself,” said the Delphic Oracle. Americans hate foreigners.
Yet the “End Illegal Immigration” section of the Trump platform is remarkably similar to the lovey-dovey Obama administration’s immigration policy. There are a few differences – blanket ineligibilities, “sanctuary cities” ban, and “able to support themselves” proviso. (Obama didn’t seem to think anybody should support themselves, that was the government’s job.) Otherwise, it’s Obama immigration all over again, minus a Dreamer or two.
Trump hasn’t exactly gone soft on immigration, but he hasn’t loaded up on immigration Viagra either.]
INNOVATE FOR THE FUTURE
Launch Space Force, Establish Permanent Manned Presence on the Moon, and Send the First Manned Mission to Mars
Build the World’s Greatest Infrastructure System
Win the Race to 5G and Establish a National High-Speed Wireless Internet Network
Continue to Lead the World in Access to the Cleanest Drinking Water and Cleanest Air
Partner With Other Nations to Clean Up Our Planet’s Oceans
AMERICA FIRST FOREIGN POLICY
Stop Endless Wars and Bring Our Troops Home [We might be able to do one or the other, but not both.]
Get Allies to Pay Their Fair Share [NATO says the check is in the mail.]
Maintain and Expand America’s Unrivaled Military Strength [Which won’t be so unrivaled if all our troops are home.]
Wipe Out Global Terrorists Who Threaten to Harm Americans [Also hard to do with all our troops at home.]
With one little My Favorite Martian exception, this part of Trump’s platform is identical to Biden’s platform.
People who say there’s no middle in American politics have fallen off the edges.
The rest of Trump’s platform is middling as well…
Build a Great Cybersecurity Defense System and Missile Defense System [A noble goal to propose, although I doubt anyone in the voting booth (or the White House) has the slightest idea about the science and technology that would be involved in achieving this goal. So it’s a noble goal to propose while talking through our hat.]
And lastly, we have…
DEFEND AMERICAN VALUES
Continue Nominating Constitutionalist Supreme Court Justices and Lower Court Judges [But not working very hard to make sure there’s a GOP Senate majority to confirm them.]
Protect Unborn Life Through Every Means Available [Short of really going down into the subway tunnel of this emotionally fraught and morally complex issue and grabbing it 0s legislative third rail.]
Defend the Freedoms of Religious Believers and Organizations [Although some of those religious believers are Islamist fanatics and their organization is ISIS.]
Support the Exercise of Second Amendment Rights [Leaving it unsaid that getting this kind of exercise while running away from the police will not have a healthy outcome.]
As I mentioned, presidential campaign platforms are a matter of taste. And no matter how much you like – or loathe – a presidential candidate, what you’re going to taste is baloney.
(P.S. Lest my editor’s letter this month be taken as an endorsement of Donald Trump’s opponent, I once again refer you to last month’s Letter From the Editor, which ripped into Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign and took no prisoners.)