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First You Win the Debate

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The barking and braying of the barnyard baboons in the elite media will continue until they are Trumped again. Exactly how and why they seem to be surprised by a President who is doing precisely what he promised to do remains a curiosity to me. They are shocked that this brute in the White House would actually pull out of the clever deal that the very smart and urbane Obama team carefully crafted with the Mullahs in Iran. Perhaps confronting the reality that the final threads of the Obama legacy are unraveling is just too much for them. It is a big pill to swallow after all.  

Even the once great Wall Street Journal clucked its warning, “The move threatens to widen the gulf between the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East and Tehran and its backers.” It is left for us to ask ask, what gulf? With which Middle Eastern allies? At last check, virtually every country that matters in that part of the world fully supports the President’s move. Do they somehow believe that the Israeli intelligence just made all that stuff up? Are we to simply pretend that the Mullahs are not the chief proponents of radical Islam and the largest state sponsor of terrorism? Maybe if we pretend hard enough, it might actually be true. 

History teaches the painful lessons of substituting realism with wishful thinking in matters of statecraft. That lesson seems so easily lost among our friends on the Left.  

President Trump wisely concluded his remarks with a reach-out to the Iranian people. He knows that millions of younger Iranians want to break free of the Mullah’s shackles. Eventually they will. The President’s remarks of encouragement were not lost on them. They know that the Iranian Caliphate is destined for the ash heap of history. The fissures are visible. Now they know that this American President is on their side.

But on the greater question of the unraveling of the entire Obama legacy another important lesson of history is being lost. The former president may be able to build a large presidential library. It may be unusual in it shape and form. But, it will be largely empty of any meaningful accomplishments. Devoid of any legacy. The lesson was laid out simply and clearly by the Iron Lady, Maggie Thatcher. It is, “first you win the debate, then you win the vote.” Whether it was healthcare or foreign policy, President Obama never won the debate. He seemed to think that saying something important was superior to doing important things. Lofty words at the United Nations or the Nobel awards ceremony would suffice. Doing the hard work of making his case to the American people was somehow beneath him. He never really won the debate on ObamaCare. He helped orchestrate the cornhusker kickback and other acts of legislative legerdemain to get it passed. But, the general public remained skeptical. And so, the lofty words are simply washed away. 

Citizen Trump wasn’t the only one who was embarrassed as we saw pallets of cash flown secretly to the Iranian regime. All while they orchestrated Death to America demonstrations. We all saw it. The pretense that they were really trustworthy and that they only were spinning those centrifuges for peaceful purposes was laughable. Their neighbors knew it. The Obama team knew that they could never sell this deal to middle America much less a skeptical Congress. They didn’t even try to win the debate. So they didn’t call it a treaty, it was an agreement, a deal. It was a green light special with too much junk in the trunk. President Trump just said no thanks. Most Americans agree. 

The angry Left can’t come to grips with the rising approval of this president. Perhaps that is good. This president may not have a law degree from Harvard. He will never be a favorite of the urbane Georgetown set. But, he understands human nature. He instinctively knows that things that last are not built of lofty words. They are built with hard work and steel and concrete. I hope he never loses that bulldog tenacity. And the instinctive knowledge that first you win the debate.

Gil Gutknecht served six terms in both the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives. He writes about healthcare and political issues of the day. He is currently working on a book about the high costs of Rx drugs. 

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