Won't Get Fooled Again?
Trump's "flexibility" on immigration should worry his supporters.
Two of history’s most famous uprisings — the French and American revolutions — were both precipitated by people whose anger and frustration with the status quo could no longer be contained. However, those revolutions produced dramatically different results. While Americans pursued the organization of a new country, the French pursued bloody payback against their aristocracy. And while there is little doubt that “off with their heads!” was emotionally satisfying, such blood lust is even more grotesque in comparison to the noble ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and the ensuing creation of the Constitution and our great republic.
A funny thing happened last Thursday night at the schoolyard brawl promoted as a Republican presidential debate. In between Donald Trump assuring us the size of his manhood was sufficient and taunting Marco Rubio by calling him “Little Marco,” the casino mogul offered his supporters a substantially different take on the H-1B visa program than his previous stance on the issue. When pressed by Megyn Kelly about the difference between what was on Trump’s website, which says expanding H-1B visas would “decimate American workers,” and his enthusiastic support of those visas during a previous debate, Trump had this to stay:
“I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country. And if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in. And one of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges … as soon as they’re finished, they get shoved out. They want to stay in this country. They want to stay here desperately. They’re not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brainpower in this country.”
Kelly followed up, “So you are abandoning the position on your website?”
“I’m changing it,” Trump replied, “and I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.”
After the debate, Trump “clarified” — i.e., reversed — his position once again:
“Megyn Kelly asked about highly-skilled immigration. The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay. I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.”
Thus in the space of two days, Trump hardened, softened and re-hardened his position on the issue. In leftist precincts, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went from favoring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed during the Clinton administration to declaring their support for same-sex marriage, such change is known as “evolving.”
You know who else “evolved” considerably in the last few years? A GOP establishment handed two mandates by their base in 2010 and 2014, with the primary goal in both cases of putting a halt to the expansion of progressive ideology. And both times the establishment GOP not only failed to do so, but actually accommodated that expansion in a number of ways that infuriated the base, perhaps none more so than funding the Obama’s constitutionally dubious effort to unilaterally legalize millions of illegals.
It was anger over that betrayal that led directly to the rise of Donald Trump. The very same Donald Trump who catapulted himself into the hearts and minds of millions primarily because he was willing to take the hardened positions of “building a wall” on our Southern border and putting a stop to the “decimation” of the American worker.
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again
Don’t get fooled again
The above is the penultimate verse of one of The Who’s greatest songs, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
One would have to be living under the proverbial rock not to get the idea that Americans are as furious and frustrated with the status quo as they have ever been. They see a cabal of government officials and crony capitalist insiders more than willing to deal cards to the average American from the bottom of the deck, whenever it suits their purposes. Moreover, those Americans are not remotely in the mood to be lectured by members of that same cabal, or a gaggle of media pontificators, all of whom are aghast that a “Cossack” like Trump can withstand their oh-so “enlightened” vitriol.
And now that same base is telling them all in no uncertain terms: lecture us all you like, make any promises you want, and even offer an occasional apology — but we won’t be fooled again.
While snobbish presumptuousness has driven Americans toward, not away, from Trump, the question must nonetheless be asked: Are they actually getting what they want with Trump, à la the American revolution? Or, much like the French revolution, do they want change without much thought as to what that change actually engenders once it has occurred?
Trump has certainly fashioned himself a reputation for being an outsider, and there is no doubt he initially gave the base what it wanted. At the same time, one is hard-pressed to imagine how a billionaire who boasts about spreading money around with both parties to get what he wants can stand completely apart from those insiders, especially those with whom he has done such business.
But forget Trump for a moment. Does the Republican base itself still have conservative principles? Or has the anger and frustration whose chief objective is to take a wrecking ball to the status quo supplanted them?
In the coming months, the nation will learn the answer to that question. But if this revolution is not about conservative principles, then an uncomfortable question arises: If principles are irrelevant, then what makes the base’s abandonment of them more legitimate than their abandonment by the establishment GOP the base despises for doing so? Trump is certainly indicating a newfound “flexibility” on a pretty important issue. How much more flexibility will be countenanced, simply for revolution’s sake?
Only Americans themselves know the answers to those questions. But if they’ve learned nothing else in the past eight years they should be well aware that flowery campaign slogans, such as “hope and change” or “make America great again,” will be followed by something concrete. A lot of Americans now admit they were fooled by Barack Obama.
The last verse of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is only two lines, but they pack a considerable wallop:
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss.
The only “lecture” you’re getting from us? Know exactly what it is you want before casting your vote, because the election of a new president — driven solely by anger and frustration — would be a disaster.