This is Not a New Year’s Resolution. It’s Bragging.

To begin with, most resolutions tend not to last beyond January 18 or thereabouts, so why pretend?  But perhaps more important, I had originally planned to start 2018 by resolving to write less about Pres. Trump, and it turns out I don’t need to.

The joke — or rationalization — was going to be that however much i wrote about Trump in 2017, it was less than most.  After all, this was your Online News:

…and this was your Online News on Trump:

From there, it’s an easy cruise to note that the ever-narcissistic Trump is likely as much or more to blame for this as the media, and that Trump is also right to note that the media has an interest in feeding his narcissism and some of his consequent political success.  I noted back during the campaign that the media helped ensure his nomination, even as he remained desperate for their respect.

But over the weekend, I did a self-audit of WHRPT for 2017 and was pleasantly surprised at how little I wrote about Trump qua Trump.  I was better than I remembered at limiting my commentary on Trump’s antics to those situations where I believed they interfered with his own political success.

I mention this humblebrag (or not-so-humblebrag) mostly because I’ve noticed that the most anti-Trump folks on the right focus primarily and increasingly on his character issues.  While I believe electing someone of Trump’s character likely has longer-term consequences, I have mostly tried to examine those issues from the perspective of their current political impact, e.g., how it affects his performance as head of state as opposed to head of government.

To be sure, Trump has appeared in the title of many of my posts, but I was more successful than I thought in keeping him the subtext of my real interests in how the GOP and the conservative movement (and occasionally even the Democrats) have adapted to his election.

In this regard, I was pretty early to the idea that a Trump administration wasn’t going to be revolutionary.  And this was the conclusion used by Trump supporters to reassure people as we ended 2017.

I was even earlier to the idea that a heterodox president like Trump would present to sort of problems for the GOP that Carter and Clinton presented to the Dems — and we’ve seen both types of issues.  We’ve seen the dysfunctional relationship between the White House and Congress (though I’ve argued that even beyond the tax bill, Congress helped more than the conventional wisdom suggests).  And we’ve seen the GOP apparat caught up in defending not only Trump at his worst moments, but also candidates like Roy Moore.

Some of my longer-term arguments likely won’t be resolved for years.  For example, I still think conservatives likely are better off working within the GOP than trying to form a third party.  And I still think the Russia probe is mostly a sideshow not worth the amount of time partisans are devoting to it.  My additional observation that partisans would ignore that last bit of advice has proven out, however, so I may write a bit more about that tomorrow.

Beyond tomorrow?  The obvious political story of the year will be the midterms.  I’ll probably be trying to come up with ways of discussing that story that aren’t rote punditry and aren’t hot takes.  And I hope you’ll stick around to see how it goes.

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