Cry, the Schlonged Country

Donald Trump has made illegal immigration and American greatness the primary themes of his campaign. Trump’s candidacy represents a reaction to the Age of Obama among Republican voters. Trump’s candidacy represents a reaction to the Age of Obama as Jimmy Carter’s “I will never lie to you” campaign of 1976 reacted to the Watergate era of American politics.

As president Carter avowed that we had overcome our “inordinate fear of Communism.” He advertised American weakness abroad. The long-playing Iranian hostage crisis vividly symbolized it.

Enter Ronald Reagan. In the 1980 campaign he promised to make America great again. Now Trump has trademarked the slogan for his own purposes. This past May the Daily Mail’s David Martosko reports that Trump filed a trademark application on the slogan in November 2012. At the Daily Beast Michael Daly picked up the story and added a wrinkle or two this week.

It is a powerful theme. It is a powerful theme precisely because President Obama’s every action abroad has had the object of reducing the United States and contributed to the incredible mess we face. Our adversaries have sized Obama up as a patsy. They hold him in the contempt he has worked so hard to earn. Exhibit A: Ayatollah Khameni and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Exhibit B: Vladimir Putin and Russia. Exhibit C: Bashar al-Assad and Syria. Exhibit D: the metastasis of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Exhibit E: Xi Jinping and China. Case closed.

Given Obama’s two terms and the course corrections Carter initiated in his last year in office, the next president will find the United States in a hole deeper than the one Reagan confidently confronted in 1981.