HORIST: You don’t have to like Trump to like his policies … or dislike his enemies
All those far left #NeverTrump folks in the resistance movement in the Democratic Party, the elitist east coast media and even in portions of the old Republican establishment, they have it easy. They are not conflicted. They hate President Trump personally and they hate his appointments and his policies.
Since many of Trump’s actions and policies have a broad appeal among the American public, the critics obsessively focus on the Trump personality. They would have us believe – even if they do not really believe it themselves – that Trump is some deranged Captain Queeg who will run our ship of state aground. They characterize Trump alternately as a demonic tyrant, a Manchurian Candidate – I should say “Moscow Candidate” – or an unhinged dementia damaged idiot.
By extension, the left has gone on a broad-brush character assassination campaign against anyone who works for Trump, supports his policies or refuses to join the resistance movement. They are like those despotic revolutionaries who literally kill anyone who refuses to support the revolution. While the American left is not entirely into such deadly violence – although elements are not entirely opposed to violence either – they are willing to shout down and shut down opposition speech wherever they find it.
Those of us on the limited government and maximum personal freedom – especially speech – side of the political spectrum focus more on the actions of the Trump administration than the personality of the President. Why waste time trying to defend something that is too often indefensible. Would I prefer to have my political views represented and advanced by a nicer more charismatic guy? Absolutely. But, I did not have that choice in the election and do not have that choice now – and will not in this coming November’s midterm election.
It has not been pretty, but Trump has delivered for people like me. Most important, he has appointed a lot of good people if you are looking to have a conservative government roll back the power of the bureaucracy, the oppression of excessive regulation and the abuse of excessive taxation. The left hates Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos largely because of her devotion to educational choice. But, that is exactly why I thought Trump could not have selected a better person. The fact that the old education establishment is squealing like that proverbial stuck pig confirms the wisdom of Trump’s pick.
Rolling back the crippling and unnecessary regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau win accolades from me and my fellow (and lady) conservatives. Trump’s pics for Secretary of State, UN ambassador and Secretary of Defense are first-rate. Even as he squabbles with some of the old guard in the intelligence and law enforcement communities, his appointments to the leadership positions have been universally good. Regardless of Trump’s feeling on any given day, I like Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
My delight with Trump’s pick for the federal courts – especially the Supreme Court – is inversely proportionate to the apoplexy of the left. Those many appointments alone justify my vote.
Having spent time in Washington – even a stint at the White House – I had cast my vote for Trump knowing that no one person runs the federal government. It cannot institutionally be micromanaged – and that is a good thing. When you look beyond the obsessive 24/7 anti-Trump palaver that dominates the resistance movement within the media, you discover that all his appointees are working every day to change Washington. Yep! That old pragmatic liberal establishment governing structure is being torn down. It is a bit like termites taking down a decaying old house – bit by bit. More changes are occurring than the public realizes because the liberal press can only report on Trump.
Another thing that keeps people supporting Trump is the disgraceful conduct of his critics. The anti-Trump media has kicked all integrity and ethics to the curb. Their constant dishonest ad hominin attacks on him, his family, his staff, his appointments and even those of us who defend his conservative policies is beyond anything I have seen in more than 50 years in dealing with public policy and the press.
They have made it possible to dislike Trump AND dislike those in the resistance movement even more. People like Larry O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough, Mike Brzezinski, Katie Tur, Don Lemon and so many of those panelists from the New York Times and the Washington Post offset Trump’s pompous personality with daily one-sided propaganda screeds.
Then there are those false flaggers – claiming to be Republicans or conservatives – such as Steve Schmidt, Elise Jordan, George Will, Bill Kristol and even former Republican National Chairman Michael Steele. These folks not only fall in line with the MSNBC political narratives, but they can be among the most strident and outrageous critics – proving the unbridled and unprincipled zealotry of the newly converted.
So, what about Trump, the person. That is where we conservatives are conflicted. Oh sure, there are a minority of folks who like everything about Trump. They are the counterparts of those who irrationally hate everything about Trump. The Trump haters outnumber those with blind loyalty to Trump because … well … Trump is not easy to like. As a matter of fact, it is almost impossible to like or admire that erratic egocentric personality if you have any principled objectivity and good manners. He is a pugnacious bully with a penchant for getting into unnecessary petty fights.
His ego is his worst enemy. It leads him into unseemly – and even worse – inaccurate bragging over things that only matter to him. Who cares if his Inauguration Day crowd was or was not bigger than Obama’s? Who cares what Rosie O’Donnell says about him – or anyone else for that matter? He can take the patriotic high ground against the NFL players disrespecting the National Anthem, but was it necessary to call them all “sons of bitches?”
Trump’s inappropriate and inaccurate use of superlatives hurts his credibility and his causes. Praising himself as the first, the most, the best at every opportunity is shameless – especially when the claims are provably untrue.
His propensity to say things that make him appear to be heartless is inexplicable. You do not need to be a fan of John McCain to know that saying he is no hero because he got shot down and captured is offensive to those who respect military service. Makes me wonder if Trump would not regard my Marine grandson as a hero because he got himself killed in Afghanistan.
Saying that the thousands who died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria do not count was tone deaf insensitivity of the first magnitude even if the basis for counting post-hurricane deaths was changed to increase the number for political reasons. It was just another of Trump’s unforced errors.
His propensity for name-calling is childish and uncivil. Perhaps it is just part of the theater that is ingrained in the entertainer Trump, but it does nothing to promote civil dialogue.
One can admire Trump’s toughness and his tenacity in achieving the things he promised. He should be given credit for the many things he and his administration have accomplished, but he, himself, distracts from those accomplishments. He is a terrible messenger and salesman.
Oh, I understand that he has succeeded in business and he did get himself elected President of the United States. But, that was not because of his personality, but despite it. I would not want Trump to give up being tough and determined. I think it is okay … no … it is good that he stands up to both adversaries and allies to get things done.
And yes, he does stand up to adversaries even if he engages in palsy rhetoric at times. We should not forget the rocket man talk and the threat of blowing Pyongyang off the face of the earth before he got friendly with Kim Jong-un. Conversely, he sweet talks Russian President Vladimir Putin while pushing back against the Moscow despot in the Middle East, arming Ukraine and piling on sanctions that are genuinely hurting Russia.
It has been my belief that had Trump cut off just a bit more of his acerbic rhetoric, he would have won the popular vote – and, no, I do not believe that the popular vote was stolen from him despite the usual examples of voting irregularities in some Democrat venues. I believe that had Trump tamped down his more provocative tendencies as President, he would be well above 50 percent in the favorable ratings – and there would not even be talk of a blue wave election in November.
As bad as Trump’s personality is, I do not believe it comes close to the mental illness and derangement so eagerly depicted by his enemies. We are not in the midst of a constitutional crisis. As chaotic as his management style may be, there is no threat to the Republic – no threat to democracy.
The hysteria of the Chicken Littles on the left is more the result of their own disappointment and desperation. While they constantly and hyperbolically attack Trump’s personality, it is really his ability to achieve conservative policy objectives that explains the angst and viciousness of the resistance movement.
The great unknown with Trump is the outcome of the various investigations – primarily the work of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Legal scholar Alan Dershowitz believes that the Russian meddling and collusion stuff will not touch Trump, but that the greatest danger is the digging into the Trump Organization files.
That is a wild card at this moment. That could raise issues that have nothing to do with Trump’s personality or his policies. So far, nothing criminal has surfaced, but it would be foolish to think that could not change. For God’s sake, the guy was a major real estate developer in one of the most corrupt cities in America. If New York works like my hometown of Chicago – and I suspect it does — there is every reason to be concerned.
While the policies are far more important than the personality, the Trump personality unfortunately has a negative impact. If the increasingly radical left-wing Democratic Party takes over the House of Representatives, it will be because of the personality. Rightly or wrongly, Democrats and much of the media will have convinced the voting public that an offensive personality is more important than the kind of conservative government policies most voters support and the Trump administration enacts.
Should that happen, the chaos you see in Washington today will pale in comparison to what will happen if Democrats get the power to block all conservative progress, if they can bog down the White House with endless politically motivated investigation, if they move toward impeachment. In addition, gridlock will prevent progress on many fronts for at least the next two year.
For many American, the empowerment of the new socialistic Democratic Party is a far greater threat to the Republic than the Presidents’ obnoxious personality. We should all hope the voters understand that. As the headline said, you do not have to like Trump to like what he (and his people) are doing.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at [email protected].