Although it gets lost in the discussion, I have never been a defender of Trump – the man. But, I never have seen the “White House” as a person, but rather an administration. Those who have read my writings know that I have been a constant critic of the Trump personality. But, I have liked a lot of the accomplishments of the Trump administration — much more than I would have from a Clinton administration. Ergo, my vote for Trump as the lesser of the two evils.
In defense of those policies, I have been unfairly and wrongly placed in the category of Trumpeteer by Facebook friends and the media. Every day, I see the media attacking people like me as ignorant, intolerant, hateful and any other demonizing term they can come up with. It is nothing less than character assassination on a grand scale – stereotyping, profiling.
While I am perfectly willing to be critical of the Trump personality and some of his policies that do not comport to my longstanding conservative philosophy, I am also deeply troubled by his critics – especially the media – that have responded with a total loss of integrity and professional ethics. Disliking Trump does not require one to defend the ugly and dishonest abuse heaped upon him by the strident and hateful left.
In this commentary, I would like to take a pause from defending the Trump administration from the dishonesty of the never-Trumpers and their many friends in the Fourth Estate to address Trump and his administration. There are good and noble reasons for millions of Americans to have voted for Trump and who will vote for Republicans in 2018 despite the best efforts of the media to mischaracterize us as loathsome creatures.
Why I remain a critic of President Trump’s personality is because I believe that he has totally screwed up what could have been a very popular administration. Had he brought to his policies a more positive personality, I truly believe his popularity would be in the 60 percent range, and the GOP would be on the verge of obliterating the radical left that currently holds sway over the Democratic Party. Trump would have continued the conservative tsunami that began in 2010 and made the GOP the most powerful political party since the Great Depression –rivaling their national dominance following the Civil War.
Just as I have expressed the opinion in the past that the Trump personality cost him the popular vote, I think it is suppressing the achievements of his greater administration. While the elitist press is obsessively focused on Trump, his Cabinet members are making positive changes every day.
Unless you are a mindless partisan, there is nothing to like about the Trump personality. He is pugnacious – picking fights that are both petty and needless. His ego is monumental, and he sees too many things as wins or losses to himself. He is a vulgarian that cheapens the noble and inspiring rhetoric we expect of presidents – and for good reason. In many ways, he has the demeanor of the street thugs I have known in my early life in Chicago – the same threats and the same over-the-top bragging.
This does not mean that I would have him fall into the mold of what the left means by “presidential demeanor” or that he should be less vigorous in his fight to defeat the bureaucratic, elected and lobbying establishment that has run things in Washington for too long. They represent a deep state that is bipartisan in terms of party labels but united in an elitist authoritarian big-government liberal philosophy. That is what is rhetorically known as “the swamp.” That is what conservatives like me fear and abhor.
There is an expression in the military that you never fight the war you want, but only the war you get. Trump is not the President I wanted, but he is the President I have – and, for me, a better choice than Clinton. The federal courts were a big issue for me, and on that, Trump has vindicated my vote. I have been pleasantly surprised with his aggressive approach to deregulation. I am pleased to see school choice being advanced. The tax reform bill was a huge success in accelerating the economy and reducing the cost of the federal government. His efforts to stop illegal entry into the country should be a positive action for every American – and many of us who voted for Trump are not committed to any monumental wall. Just get the job done in the most efficient and economical way. I like his foreign policy that addresses problems too many past presidents have kicked down the road.
On the policy side, I think Trump is totally wrong with his promised tariffs on steel and aluminum. Conservatives are free traders. I am, however, amused how anti-Trumpism has the left flipping on basic progressive issues. Suddenly, Democrats are articulating the problems with tariffs – the same tariffs that they have backed for generations under the influence of their organized labor supporters and funders. One is inclined to believe that if Trump suddenly supported abortion on demand, his haters would be the most ardent pro-lifers in the nation. In these times, it seems that being anti-Trump trumps any loyalty to issues by those folks on the left.
Another area where I believe Trump is screwing up is with minority issues. I think his approach to the black and Hispanic communities is counterproductive and damaging the Republican Party. Before Trump, and even in his election numbers, the GOP was gradually gaining more support from the minority communities – albeit marginal. This trend has been reversed because of Trump’s ineptitude in dealing with minority problems that have and do stem from Democrat governance.
Based on my fifty years of involvement in minority issues, I saw a golden opportunity to break the throat-hold Democrats have on minorities despite the long history of oppression against blacks – and to a lesser degree against Hispanics. In fact, I wrote a past commentary on the subject entitled “Trump blew it.”
Rather than using the communication power of the presidency to point out the actual history of Democrat oppression, including in our cities to this day, Trump goes off and honors Andrew Jackson, one of the most vile racists and violent presidents in American history – appropriately a Democrat.
Republicans should have been the driving force in moving (not destroying) Confederate monuments from official places of high honor – just as Republicans lead the movement to remove the Confederate battle flag from public places of honor. They were placed there exclusively by Democrat administrations as symbols of defiance to integration and racial equity during their reign of terror in Dixie. Trump totally missed a great learning opportunity to set the record straight.
As an objective, policy-oriented observer, I have generally liked Trump’s appointments, but not totally. I never thought it was a good idea to bring family into the inner circle. It may have been his successful business model, but it does not work in government. In the Trump Organization, the Don is the boss. That is not true in government – or even multi-national corporations. Great presidents hire good people with unique expertise and then follow their lead.
I have never been a Steve Bannon fan and his departure from the White House was a welcomed move. Manafort, Flynn and Gates have brought needless scandal to the door of the White House. Good riddance to them.
One area upon which Trump’s critics pounce is his propensity to dress down his own team in public tweets and rebukes. The criticism is not unjustified. In trying to explain this behavior – which does not do Trump, himself, much good – I am reminded of a CEO I had when working for a public relations agency. He would always have staff members sit in to watch him criticize or even fire an employee. I recall being in his office as a lowly staffer when he fired a company vice president. The CEO wanted his power on display. That notion gained credibility with me when considering Trump’s role on The Apprentice. The main drama was the firing of a person in front of co-workers and millions of television views. It is not an admirable trait.
My opinion of Trump is not unique. Many of my conservative friends share a similar view. We do not make excuses for his bad behavior, but we can objectively see his accomplishments. That is something that disturbs me about the Trump haters and the elitist media. They see nothing good – nothing accomplished. Even worse! They want everyone to hate the President as irrationally as they do. They reject anything that, as they say, “normalizes” Trump. That is just another way to say that nothing positive should ever be said.
Going into 2018, the left is hoping to use the Trump personality to get voters to reject enough Republican senators and representative so that the Democrats can take over the Congress with the intention of impeaching Trump and ending the conservative agenda that is currently being carried out in Washington. If Democrats were to take even one chamber, this nation would be deadlocked for at least the following two years. Nancy Pelosi and/or Chuck Schumer would be driving the agenda – or more accurately blocking it even more than they have since November 2016.
The election is not about Trump’s personality – or the less than admirable personalities of Pelosi and Schumer. It is all about the policies. It would, however, be nice if President Trump could take a few lessons from Presidents Lincoln and Reagan. They were tough in pursuing their principles, but they did not go around gratuitously pissing people off.