Getting it straight on Trump — Part Three
This is the final installment of a three-part series dealing with the three primary forces that keep President Trump at the top of the news on a daily basis — day-after-day for years. In Part One, we dealt with the role of the Trump supporters of various breeds. In Part Two, we covered the Trump haters who believe that keeping Trump in the news will benefit them politically. In this, Part Three of the trilogy, we will deal with Trump, himself – and his efforts to maintain his position as the nation’s number one political figure.
We need to first concede that no one in America wants to see Trump at the center of the political galaxy more than Trump, himself. His monumental ego has been the key to his success — and his Achilles Heel. He disrupted an arrogant and insulated power establishment that needed disruption – and that job is not yet complete. The left is desperately trying to put that Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Although my stable of left-wing trolls keep calling me a “Trumpster,” “cultist” and worse, they are inventing a mythical Larry Horist to serve as a strawman in the windmills of their minds. Just as the media has created a mythical Trump.
My trolls follow me on a daily basis, so they must know that I am not fan of Trump, the man – no fan of that acerbic personality. No fan of his attacks on other Republicans who are doing a relatively good job for the conservative cause. I have called out Trump for his needless and counterproductive attacks on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Mike Pence and others. In past commentaries, I have been critical of specific unwarranted attacks. They rise from Trump’s ego – not a good political judgment.
For sure, crossing swords with Republicans like Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger are understandable since they launched a barrage of attacks on Trump and Republicans. Trump has a right to be pissy with those who voted to impeach or convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors.
I do make a distinction between the policies and successes of the Trump administration – of which I was pleasantly surprised – but have been a constant critic of chaotic personality. I lament the fact that he could have been not only a more popular and effective President … could have accomplished even more for the conservative cause … and could have led the GOP to victories in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Those were all unforced errors.
Part of my professional services was to consult with people in public life as to how to manage their public image – the person they are to a public who never knows them personally. I can only use Trump as the bad example of what not to do. He is primarily responsible for the damage to his own credibility – a most important asset for a politician.
Trump seems to relish being in conflicts. In a sense, he is in a destructive alliance with his critics. He offers them the fodder for criticism, and they provide him with exposure through the media. His provocative combative nature reminds me of a long-ago friend of mine who had an inexplicable habit of provoking fights for no apparent good reason. In many ways, Trump’s public image did not only NOT grow while in office, it actually shrunk. Polling has shown that. While he has endorsed a few likely winners, it is hard to find any race in which his endorsement made a positive difference – although he does take credit. But that is just his ego speaking.
Based on my professional assessment, I wrote a commentary saying that Trump is a terrible communicator. I often wished that he would have studied President Reagan – known as Mr. Communicator. Reagan was also a disrupter, but he knew how to do it – how to sell it.
According to the Democrats’ left-wing narrative, the fact that most Republican leaders are simply dodging any talk about Trump is because they are scared of his power. That is not my read. I would argue that they are wisely staying out of the fray – not picking sides in the Democrats’ staged political agenda. They will be campaigning on more germane issues – those closer to the interests of their constituents.
What I sense at the grassroots is a devotion to conservative small government and personal freedom issues – and Tump is incidental to that. He is more like the powerful Wizard of Oz after the curtain has been pulled to reveal a much less imposing and powerful figure. I doubt that Trump can win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. I doubt he will actually run.
To his credit, Trump does know how to keep himself in the center of the galaxy. He may arguably be America’s first celebrity President – presiding over a political reality show. Unlike the analogous blackhole, Trump is always visible. And as long as he has enough loyal supporters to buoy his ego — and enough detractors to see political benefit in keeping him in the headlines — Trump will be the number one news item in America for the foreseeable future.
That completes the three-part series. So … at the bottom line, I think Trump has done some very good things for America. But I think he has blown his greater opportunity. I think his power over the Republican Party is not as great as his most ardent followers may believe … as the left portrays … and as he might wish.
Of course, the issue that has dominated the news cycle for the past year – and will for the coming year – is Trump’s role in whatever that was that happened on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. More about that in a future commentary.
So, there ‘tis.