Blueprint for Reform

Is This How Republicans Try to Control a Trump Presidency?

Should the Trump Presidency be concerned with the Heritage Foundation’s agenda for foreign policy?

If we have a Trump Presidency for the next four to eight years, the conservative movement as well as the establishment Republicans will have to decide how to deal with him. As a conservative myself, if Trump keeps his promise to appoint conservative judges and defunds Planned Parenthood, I will be quite thankful.

But the Heritage Foundation has recently released a “Blueprint for Reform” that sets a larger agenda. While most of it is probably fine, the Daily Signal’s report on their blueprint contains some concerning things.

By way of background, The Heritage Foundation has pushed against Donald Trump’s campaign promises on trade. For instance, they recently released this video:

I’m sympathetic to the video, but frustrated they refused to acknowledge that the middle class is hurting and identify what (rather than trade) is causing the pain. But my point here is just to demonstrate that, even though they want a Republican victory, their agenda is not necessarily the same as Trump’s.

In areas where they do agree, I have to wonder why the Blueprint recommends actions that Congress has refused to take when they were sorely needed.

“Blueprint for Reform” also prescribes a variety of regulatory reforms to curtail the vast administrative state that has eroded the fundamental character of America. Chief among them is returning accountability to Congress by requiring lawmakers to approve all major regulations before they are allowed to take effect.

The plan calls on Congress to exercise the power of the purse by withholding appropriations from ruinous regulations such as the Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan, among others.

Indeed, President Obama’s crackdown on coal and petroleum has been particularly punishing by prohibiting access to natural resource exploration, subsidizing politically preferred energy sources, and implementing burdensome regulations that distort markets and provide little environmental benefit.

If Trump wins, he will undoubtedly work to end these regulations. But if Hillary wins, do we have any reason to think Congress has the will to defund anything? The moment the Democrats accuse the Republicans of wanting to “shut down” the government, the GOP majority will surrender. That’s how Republicans gave in to Obama’s budget.

When it comes to “national defense” the article somehow includes intervening in Eastern Europe and South Asia:

It is all too apparent that America is unprepared and ill-equipped to confront Russian adventurism in Eastern Europe, Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, and Islamist terrorists streaming across swaths of Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Donald Trump has addressed the terrorism issue. But he is not getting record-breaking numbers of voters because there has been a silent majority concerned about who has control of the South China Sea. It is the mark of disconnected elites to worry about such things rather than our middle class. The man who won the primary condemning our war in Iraq is not likely to get the country entangled in another foreign war—especially not with a nuclear power.

I think a better agenda for the military would be fixing the VA, not worrying about Russia. Those seem to be Trump’s priorities as well.

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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