Amidst the general rejoicing on the right side of the blogosphere, I noticed a current of deep unease bordering on hysteria coming from the dingy holdouts of the Never Trump movement.
Trump's blunt and powerful inauguration speech terrified them - not because of what he said, but because he might mean it.
Over the last two decades, it has been traditional for American political speeches to be utterly irrelevant. The same tropes are trotted out, the same lies fed to the base and then the chattering classes amuse themselves by pretending it was in any way significant.
Republicans in particularly like to play this game. Ol' Dubya and his daddy loved to give lip service to conservative principles, and certainly campaigned on reducing the size of government, restricting abortion, etc., but those were merely words to dupe the rubes in flyover country. Everyone in Conservatism, Inc. knew it as well, which was why when an Establishment type would talk up border enforcement, they'd let it go.
Trump's speech wasn't like that. He doubled down on his election themes, bluntly stating his plan and that it was going to happen. His cabinet is clearly geared to enact it, and his team lacks the usual assortment of establishment hacks who excel at gumming up the works.
For years we've been told that conservative reform of government is simply impossible. The best that could be achieved was incremental reform, maybe just slowing its rate of growth for a few years, plus some tax cuts for the hard-working and under-appreciated donor class.
Actual reductions in government power? Sorry, it's just too big. But look! We did create welfare for churches!
If Trump actually flexes his executive muscle and tears into Leviathan, fifty years of conservative orthodoxy will collapse. National Review and The Weekly Standard will be as exposed as full-on frauds and probably burst into flame.
It's funny reading some of their tripe. They keep insisting that Trump is really a Democrat in disguise and will be just as bad as Hillary.
Funny, despite all the claims of his impulsive, disorganized nature, he's the first president in my lifetime to have an entire cabinet named before he took the oath of office.
I think Trump is the political equivalent of Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was a lousy president, but a superb battlefield commander and his great strength was his ability to take setbacks in stride. Grant was never rattled, keeping his cool and meticulously plotting his counterstroke.
Trump has the same attitude to the political struggle. He doesn't give a damn what the pollsters or consultants have to say. He won election on a platform of massive reform and border enforcement. Not only won't he back down in the face of bad polling, he will hold the GOP Congress to account as well.
That's the other difference. He's in a position to tell his majority to get its shit together and actually pass conservative legislation. They've run on it for years, offered show pony-style bills, but now they're going to have to deliver - or face the wrath of an already angry electorate.
Hacks like John McCain like to say they support strong defense, but DoD is rife with wasteful procurement policies that take needed funds from combat units and redirect them to politically-connected contractors. Trump and James Mattis are a lethal combination to combat this corruption.
Basically, he will make them walk the walk. If he does, the American people will be the big winners and Conservatism, Inc. will be extinct.
I call that a win-win.