From the Right



Keep calm and carry on

Michael Barone on

On immigration, Trump wants to scale back on extended-family unification and expand places for high-skilled immigrants. Something like this has already been happening since the Great Recession. Immigration of low-skilled people from Mexico has fallen to nearly zero. Relatively high-skilled immigrants from Asia now outnumber relatively low-skilled immigrants from Latin America. Accelerating this trend is not radical.

I moved to Washington in January 1973, the month Lyndon Johnson died and Richard Nixon began his second term. Both won elections with 61 percent of the vote. Both were very smart men who came to the presidency with deep knowledge of issues and having shouldered serious responsibilities for two decades in Washington.

Both were obviously much more qualified than Trump. Yet both committed major blunders that had Washington insiders worrying about their mental balance, and that resulted in unexpected and unwanted early exits from the White House.

So far, Trump has done nothing like Johnson's stealth dispatch of 550,000 American troops to Vietnam or, despite ongoing overheated talk of collusion with Russia, Nixon's cover-up of the Watergate break-in.

Insulting tweets don't rise (or fall) to that level. Neither does the indictment of Paul Manafort for money laundering and violating a seldom-enforced foreign lobbying act years before he was Trump's campaign manager.

Many journalists and historians are expecting a re-enactment of the Watergate scandal, and many political strategists are hoping "the resistance" will be a replay of the anti-Vietnam War movement, even though neither of those episodes seems like good precedent for what is actually happening now.

Ideological conservatives dismayed at Trump Republicans' apostasies should remember that when William F. Buckley Jr. founded National Review in 1955, neither party embraced pure conservatism. A certain amount of tension between coherent conservatives and party politicians can be productive for both.

It is to be expected that democratic republics will sometimes produce leaders as irritating to many citizens as fingernails scratching a blackboard. As in wartime Britain, the best response will usually be to keep calm and carry on.


Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News and World Report. Distibuted by Creators Syndicate Inc.


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