“Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain
There is a false narrative that has been accepted as truth by many on the left. As the story goes, before Obama was even sworn in as president, then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wanted President Obama to fail, and then set out to obstruct all of his proposals as part of a political vendetta. There are numerous problems with this version of history, not least of which is that McConnell didn’t say he wanted Obama to fail before he was sworn in (although Rush Limbaugh did say this). Almost two years later, before the 2010 midterm elections, McConnell did say he wanted to make Obama a one-term president. These two stories are often confused, and then used to begin the narrative of intransigent GOP obstruction.
To hear the more extreme elements on the left tell it, this was downright treasonous. Without going quite so far, even more establishment sections of the left said that “Republicans want Obama to fail more than they want America to succeed.” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said that in opposing the president, Republicans were putting their political interests ahead of the country. This is patently absurd. From the conservative point of view, Obama’s policies were harmful to the country.
His stimulus was a waste of money that feeds corruption. His tax plan harmed job creators when our economy was in trouble. His healthcare boondoggle was a nightmare scenario that raised premiums and deductibles, while moving us ever closer to a single-payer system. From the conservative point of view, for the country to succeed, for the American people to succeed, Obama’s policies had to fail to be enacted.
Which brings us to today, and President-Elect Trump. How many liberals are lining up to go on TV and say they hope the new president succeeds and all his policies are made law? How many liberals are decrying Senate Democrats announced plans to block Trump’s proposals? Anyone? Of course not. Just as dissent was patriotic from 2001-2008, racist from 2009-2016, and is once again patriotic, I’m sure we’re about to see some glowing profiles in courage about Senate obstructionism. And in this, Democrats may have some support from conservatives, depending on what policies Trump tries to enact.
We do not know how Trump will govern. Trump has taken at least two or three sides of almost every issue. But if he attempts to push some of the policies he campaigned on (increased tariffs, single-payer healthcare, Muslim ban, etc.), I will hope he fails, just as I wanted Obama to fail when he proposed actions I deemed harmful to America. My allegiance is to my country, not to a man. If you think opposing a president makes me unpatriotic, I say you have a great misunderstanding of where your loyalty should lie in a democracy.