Rose rates Trump highly, except for pandemic response

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By Scott Benjamin
Sacred Heart University Government Department Chairman Gary Rose says he has “never seen a president get so much accomplished in such a short period of time” as Donald Trump, which he believes puts him in “the upper third” of the 45 occupants of the Oval Office.

“I give him high marks for doing what he said he was going to do,” said Rose, who had written a wheel-barrel full of books on government, including one on the 2016 presidential election – “Haywire” (Ox Book Press, 800 pages).

“He had a laundry list of accomplishments,” he added.

“The economy and how he used deregulation to stimulate the economy,” Rose remarked. “It was pretty much across the board. He lowered unemployment for African-Americans. The results were pretty inclusive.”

“He reduced the individual tax rates and the corporate tax rates and it led to a robust economy,” he explained.

“I also would give him pretty high marks for how he called on the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] countries to pay more of their share of the defense costs,” Rose said. “That was long overdue.”

University of Chicago Economics Professor Casey Mulligan, who worked for a year as the chief staff member for the Trump White House Council of Economic Advisors wrote in his 2020 book, “You’re Hired” (Republic Book Publishers, 237 pages) that, “The President speaks with world leaders either in person or by phone. As President Trump prepared for such meetings the conversation with the staff always began the same way. ‘How much are we giving them?’ . . . the administration specialists were often unprepared for the next question: ‘What are we getting in return?’ “

On another part of Trump’s accomplishments, Rose exclaimed, “He has reduced the threat of ISIS. The threat of kidnapping and beheadings is much lower, which is pretty significant.”

“Trump imposed the tariffs on China, and although the final word is not in, it has changed the trade relations to the point where it is more about us than about them,” he declared.

“The USMCA [United States Mexico Canada Agreement] was an improvement over NAFTA {North American Free Trade Agreement],”said Rose.

“He made progress on immigration issues at the national border,” he continued.

“He kept us out of war, and has imposed a direction of America First,” Rose said. “He also has strategically brought some troops home from former combat areas.”

He noted that his evaluation differed from those of many of the students he had during Fall 2020 in his American Presidency class at Sacred Heart, which covered all 45 presidents, from George Washington through Trump.

Rose acknowledged that Trump’s personal conduct was often a shortcoming.

“I detest” some of his social media statements, he said. “I think they degraded the presidency.”
But in some ways the social media helped Trump.

University of Connecticut Political Science Professor David Yalof said in a 2009 conference call that what the telegraph was for Abraham Lincoln, what radio was for Franklin Roosevelt, what television was for John Kennedy, the Internet was for Barack Obama.

Perhaps it can be extended to include what Twitter and the social media was for Donald Trump.
“Some of his social media was controversial,” Rose said. “But there were millions of people who he was communicating with and were aware of his positions on issues.”

The Wall Street Journal has estimated that Trump has 90 million followers on Twitter.
Within months of entering the race, the cable networks were regularly airing Trump’s Make America Great Again rallies.

Rose said that Trump’s popularity “had a snowball effect.”

He believes that Trump’s loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden was largely due to his mishandling of the pandemic.

“What hurt Trump was that he was making antagonistic statements at his press conferences and attacking reporters,” he said. “It wasn’t the best example of crisis leadership. If he had appeared more empathetic and more serious at the press conferences on the pandemic it could have helped. Getting into verbal fights with Andrew Cuomo wasn’t the best decision.”

“I think that in some areas Trump has been effective during the pandemic,” Rose added. “I would praise Vice President Mike Pence’s direction of the coronavirus task force. But too often Trump wasn’t on the right message when he was speaking at the press conferences.”

Patch.com has reported that famed journalist Bob Woodward, who has written two books on Trump, told an audience in November 2018 at the Horace Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford that everything Trump does “is a gamble.”

“The pandemic crippled what had been a robust economy,” Rose said. “I think some Democrats, even some liberals might have otherwise voted for Trump if the economy had remained robust.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley recently stated that husband-and-wife professors Stephanie Muravchik, a historian, and Jon A. Sears, a political scientist, underscored Trump’s appeal to the working class in their 2020 book, “Trump’s Democrats” (Brookings Institution Press, 224 pages).

Riley wrote, “When these voters looked at the New York billionaire, they saw someone with working-class sensibilities. His language, his attitude, his mannerisms – everything that scandalized the Washington establishment – endeared him to these voters. The president’s critics accused him of violating political norms, but those were national political norms.”

Said Rose, “Trump provided a voice to people who had begun to feel powerless. Some of those people had a strong commitment to a populist president who wasn’t representing the Far Left. There were a lot of people who were looking for someone like that.”

“Some of those people in those flyover states thought [former Democratic President Barack] Obama reflected their values but they went to Trump in 2016 and 2020,” he continued. “I lived in the Midwest. It is where I went to graduate school and where I had my first teaching assignment. The people there feel differently about issue that people on the East Coast and the far West Coast.”

“Maybe if [Democratic President-elect Joe] Biden follows through on a centrist approach some of the Trump supporters will come his way,” Rose said. “If he lets the progressive faction of the Democratic Party control the platform, then forget it.”

He said that he agrees with Wall Street Journal columnist William Galston that Trump “remade the Republican Party.”

Rose said, “In 2024, it will be difficult for Republican candidates for president to go against Trump’s policies. It is now more of a working class party. It is no longer a country club Republican Party.”

Connecticut’s Stanley Greenberg, the esteemed Democratic pollster, wrote a book last year titled “RIP GOP” (Thomas Dunne Books, 336 pages). This summer former two-time Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill Curry insisted to Patch.com that the pending “facture” in the Republican Party would turn it into the “Whig Party of 1856 [which collapsed].”

Rose responded, “They were saying in 1974 that the Republican Party was broken [during Watergate]. They have said it at other times since then. It has very deep roots. I don’t think it is going the way of the Whig Party. You may well still have a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate after the [January 5] Georgia runoff elections. You could have a Republican majority in the U.S. House after the 2022 elections.”

Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz has noted that there are 11 states with two Republican senators that collectively have less population than California. He indicated that the Democrats face a challenge, since they are losing in the small towns.

Rose explained, “There is a geographic realignment going on. The Democrats have almost become a bicoastal party.”

“You can see the national realignment in Connecticut,” Rose remarked. “In the wealthy well-educated suburbs in the Fairfield County Gold Coast they are voting more Democratic.”

“There are some Republican enclaves in Eastern Connecticut and the Naugatuck Valley, but the momentum is clearly with the Democratic Party,” he added.

“The days of Connecticut being a swing state are over,” declared Rose who is currently writing a book on Connecticut municipal government. “There are towns with a number of residents with high levels of education where there are more Democrats serving on the town councils. That had not previously been the case.”

Regarding the 46th president, Rose said Biden will probably continue some of Trump’s policies.
In a recent interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman the president-elect said he is ‘not going to be making immediate moves” to abolish Trump’s 25 percent trade tariffs on China.

Rose also noted that Biden will probably support the recent anti-trust actions by the Trump Justice Department regarding Google and Facebook. Biden also has called on federal agencies to employ Trump’s Buy American platform and purchase goods and services from domestic companies.

However, the president-elect also has pledged to increase the top individual tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent and the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent.

Rose said, “The proposed higher tax rates won’t happen if the Republicans keep control of the Senate. It is clear that lower taxes stimulate the economy. I don’t see how higher taxes will make the economy better.”

However, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who sought the 2020 Republican presidential nomination in the Iowa and New Hampshire balloting, criticized Trump for signing a 2017 tax package that even before the pandemic left the federal government with a $1 trillion annual deficit for the last fiscal year.

Rose remarked, “It is true that the deficit has soared under Trump. But if you have lower taxes it can over time generate more revenue to spend on social programs as the economy continues to expand.”

Former Washington Post economics columnist Robert Samuelson has stated that since the 1964 John Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson supply side tax cut – similar to Trump’s tax package – there have only five federal budget surpluses. The last was the package that former Democratic President Bill Clinton submitted on October 1, 2000.

Former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Biden will face similar circumstances to what Clinton encountered following the 1994 midterm elections, when, given their congressional clout, Republicans were poised to block progressive legislation.

He wrote that Clinton succeeded by embracing such GOP measures as deficit reduction and welfare reform.

Said Rose, “I think it would be better to follow the Clinton example. It makes perfect sense. If he tries to push through the progressive platform it is going to be resisted. Actually, since the Senate may well stay Republican and the House has a small Democratic majority, Biden might be able to provide a good reason to the Far Left for not adopting the expensive progressive platform.”

Based on Duke Political Science Professor James David Barber’s 1972 book “The Presidential Character” (Pearson, 544 pages) Rose said he believes that Biden is of the active-positive typology – which is underscored by being adaptive and rational. Barber, who had earlier taught at Yale, deemed the active-positive presidents as the ones most likely to succeed.

Rose said, “Biden has really been interested in being president his whole adult life. He definitely is not a passive and he is not a negative.”

“His congressional relations will probably be very different than what Obama had,” the professor said. “Obama [whom Biden served under as vice president] never seemed to make a strong commitment to get to know the people in Congress very well. He came across as an elitist Democrat who was above the fray. Biden is part of the old boys’ network. I think you’re going to see more interaction with Democrats and Republicans in Congress than was the case with Obama.”