It's "Made in America" week in Washington, D.C. You'd think this would be cause for bipartisan celebration. Who could be against highlighting the ingenuity, self-reliance and success of our nation's homegrown entrepreneurs and manufacturers?
Enter Bill Kristol.
The entrenched Beltway pundit ridiculed a festive kickoff event on Monday at the White House, where President Donald Trump hosted companies from all 50 states to showcase their American-made products.
"Maybe it's just me," killjoy Kristol tweeted, "but I find something off-putting about turning the White House into an exhibition hall for American tchotchkes." (That's the Yiddish word for useless trinkets.)
Tell that to the engineers at Hytrol, the Arkansas-based conveyor manufacturer that brought a mechanical display of its technology to the State Dining Room. Hytrol's late founder, Tom Loberg, started out as a gopher at an electronics parts factory during the Great Depression, worked his way up to designing Navy turbines, hydraulic pumps and cylinders, and entered the conveyor belt business after perfecting bag-transporting machinery for seed, grain and tobacco farmers.
Hytrol's state-of-the-art products are now used by companies ranging from Amazon.com to Office Depot to leading pharmaceutical, retail, food and publishing conglomerates around the world. A pioneer in the materials handling industry, Hytrol employs 1,300 high-skilled workers and will rake in revenues of more than $200 million this year alone.
Tell that to the employees of Wisconsin's Pierce Manufacturing, which displayed one of its 30,000 custom-built fire trucks on the White House front lawn. Pierce started out as an auto body shop operating out of a converted church and now boasts a 2,000-person workforce. The company produces the iconic aerial tillers, pumpers, tankers and rescue trucks driven by first responders across the country every day.
Tell that to Iowa-based RMA Armament's founder Blake Waldrop, a former Marine and police officer, who was inspired to manufacture stronger body armor after losing a comrade in Iraq to an IED attack. His ceramic plates, also featured at the "Made in America" event on Monday, have been purchased by police departments in Baltimore, Los Angeles and Waterloo, Iowa. Waldrop is working on partnerships to bring his products to the U.S. military and overseas.
"I always tell people I didn't invent armor any more than Steve Jobs invented the computer," Waldrop told the Des Moines Register earlier this year. "I just found a better way to do it, just like he did."
Delaware's ILC Dover participated in President Trump's "Made in America" exhibition, too. Its trademark trifling bauble? The space suit worn by every U.S. astronaut since Project Apollo. Prolific inventor-turned-industrialist Abram Spanel, a Russian-born son of Jewish garment workers, spun off the company from his giant latex conglomerate that manufactured everything from girdles and swimwear to canteens and lifeboats.
ILC Dover produced high-pressure suits and helmets for the Air Force before winning a contract to design suits for NASA. In addition to displaying spacesuits used on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs, the company brought to the White House its DoverPac Flexible Isolator System used by pharmaceutical companies in their manufacturing processes; its Sentinel respirator used in the health care industry; and its SCape escape respirator used to protect U.S. government officials around the world from carbon monoxide, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear contaminants.
It's a crying shame D.C. is infested with effete talking heads whose only successfully manufactured product is condescending hostility toward the real movers and shakers in America. Patriotism is gauche and "off-putting" to incurable Trump-bashers like Bill Kristol, who supported Hillary Clinton and her foreign-subsidized pay-to-play cash machine over Donald Trump's unapologetic nationalism.
Could Trump and his family's own companies do better in hiring American and manufacturing in America? Sure.
Could the White House be doing more to freeze foreign worker visas at both ends of the wage scale and truly put American workers first? Undeniably.
But to nastily deride the makers and job creators proudly showing off their wares in the nation's capital at the invitation of our commander in chief takes a special level of anti-Trump lunacy and arrogance.
"Maybe it's just me," Kristol snarked as he heaped scorn on "Made in America" week.
Yes, it is just you, Kristol, and the rest of your Beltway Swamp "schmendricks" who turn up their noses at the "tchotchkes" that help save lives, move mountains and break barriers across the galaxy.
The rest of us give praise and thanks.