Trump’s Personality Finally Did Him In
In looking at President Trump as he is about to leave office – whether by a Trump impeachment or voluntarily — I was reminded of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Though originally penned to describe a girl, I find the characterization applicable to Trump. So, I paraphrase … “when he was good, he was very good indeed, but when he was bad, he was horrid.”
Anyone following my commentaries knows that I have never been a fan of President Trump’s personality and style. I firmly believe that his constant pugnaciousness, self-centered bragging, fact-challenged statements and baseless predictions crippled his ability to accomplish more – and to even get the credit for the positive accomplishments of his administration.
On the positive side, I can run a very long list of accomplishments that I applaud.
Trump has been good for the economy and the American worker. He is the first President to improve the incomes of Black and Hispanic workers. And, he is the first President since Jimmy Carter not to launch or escalate American warfare. Trump brokered peace treaties between Israel and three Arab nations. He destroyed the ISIS califate and took down critical terrorist leaders. Trump brokered fair trade deals more favorable to the United States. He got NATO nations to assume more financial responsibility for the Alliance. His Warp Speed program helped produce a vaccine in an astonishingly short period of time. These are all accomplishments about which EVERY American should be happy. From a conservative perspective, he did a lot more.
On the other hand, I have occasionally commented on his tendency to damage his own credibility. And to give his enemies ammunition for the venomous attacks of the #AntiTrump Resistance Movement. I have criticized him as an ineffective communicator because he never understood that personal confrontation and belligerence are not the best means to win an argument. And he often seemed to argue for the sake of arguing.
I have never defended Trump personally because I never liked the guy. By my calculation, politics is 90 percent policy and 10 percent personality. Trump is not the first time I voted for the person I LIKED less and against the person I LIKED more. Truth be known, when John McCain was running against Barack Obama, I actually LIKED Obama more as a person. But I abhorred his and the Democrats’ policies. I had dealings with McCain and I found him to be an arrogant assh**e, to put it bluntly. But I voted for him because of policy.
As it turns out, Trump’s personality was his Achilles Heel.
It became an increasingly more serious issue as time went by. It started to affect policy. Trump had created so many enemies that it was progressively more difficult to achieve policy goals. He could have had a new immigration policy – and have resolved the DACA situation. He was close to that deal a couple years ago.
There never should have been a Trump impeachment the first time – and would not have been except for his pugnacious personality. He made it too easy for his enemies to demonize him.
Trump’s personality resulted in the greatest conservative policy gains in recent years – but also the greatest setbacks of my generation. He ultimately lost the House, the Senate and the presidency to the radical left. This paved the way for the most authoritarian one-party leftwing leadership since Franklin Roosevelt.
Democrats and –ironically, Trump – both made Trump the issue in the 2018 and 2020 elections – and the special election in Georgia. Most believed that two very liberal senators from Georgia was unthinkable. It was only possible because of Trump.
In 2020, we saw the Republican Party – and its policies – strongly endorsed by the electorate at virtually every level of government – except for Trump. And no, it is not all about election fraud – although there was that. I know several regular Republican voters who cast their ballots for every Republican on the ballot – except Trump.
No President has suffered more from an unfair attack of political enemies
One can fairly claim that Trump’s most self-damaging trait was his ego. He seemed to see every debatable issue as a personal fight between him and the rest of the world. And he demonized those who offered the mildest of disagreement even if they were largely rock-solid supporters of his policies. I know because I have endured the wrath of Trump hard core supporters whenever I was critical of his method of operation, his personality and his constant snarling manner. And in some cases, even his policies.
BUT … it is also fair — and necessary — to say that no President of the United States suffered more from the unfair and dishonest winnowing attack of political enemies – not even the much-maligned Abraham Lincoln. Democrats and much of the elitist east coast media spent four years attempting to destroy the Trump policies by highlighting and demonizing the Trump personality. If there is conflict between Trump and the Democrat establishment, they started it when they declared their intention to cast aside America’s long tradition of coming back together after an election. In their desire to damage and destroy, they, themselves, became increasingly corrupted. They wanted him out of office from the day he stunned them by winning the presidency. And they would resort to ANY means of accomplishing that goal.
In a sad irony, Trump became the very fuel for the authoritarians on the left – for the utter corruption and morphing of the east coast media into a vehicle of strident leftwing propaganda.
It is reasonable to wonder if they had not been so politically, intellectually and morally corrupt – so much the rabid political Pitbulls– perhaps Trump would not have reacted in such an irrationally hostile manner. There can be little doubt that they brought out the worst in him. I have often described contemporary politics as a bar room fight where both sides claim the other side started the melee. It is a clash that causes a lot of damage without any discernible benefit.
And finally, what about that clash on Capitol Hill?
Trump has always been reckless and inconsistent with his words. They were easy to defend and easy to criticize depending on the political bias of the listener. The left argues that Trump – with malice aforethought – commanded his most radical followers to storm the Capitol and seize control of the government. Revolution, treason, sedition and insurrection are words bandied about in a fit of hysterical exaggeration.
For obvious reasons, the left intentionally overreacted and capriciously analyzed the event for political purposes. In an example of extreme hypocrisy, they declared this riot to be a thing apart from the even more violent, destructive and deadly riots that have plagued multiple cities in recent years – also with violent attacks on government.
But even Trump’s most ardent supporters should be able to admit that his words – and those of others were – shall we say – ill advised, at best. Yes, they went too far. Worthy of a Trump impeachment? Probably not.
But however one judges Trump’s intentions, the result was disastrous. A classic riot took place. People were injured and killed – property was damaged. Consistent with my conservative, law-and-order philosophy, I hope that all those rioting are prosecuted and convicted of their crimes – just as I believe should have been the case in all those other riots in recent years. Crime is to be judged solely on the act, not on any excusing purpose. A looter is a looter no matter the reason. I am perplexed – maybe even vexed – by the left which seem to constantly hold that might makes right – playing down or playing up similar events depended on which side is culpable. That is not a rule-of-law.
Will there be a Trump impeachment?
In the first place, it does not matter. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not driving this train on merit but on perceived political benefit.
With only days to go, I think it is a moot point. Once again, we know that Trump will not leave office before the end of his term – unless he resigns. Since removal from office is the primary purpose of a Trump impeachment, we can safely say that they are pursuing it only for the optics. It is impossible to carry out a proper Trump impeachment in this time frame. We will witness a rush-to-judgment by a kangaroo court. That is not how it should work.
Even if you believe that Trump’s action reached the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, it should be obvious that a Trump impeachment is a bad idea. It distracts from important government business – and will only further anger and divide the American people.
The future of conservative governance – and the personal freedoms and rights articulated in our Constitution – are at risk.
But rather than to fight old battles like a bunch of geriatric generals wasting away in some military retirement home, we conservatives need to reassemble, re-strategize and to build on the powerful base we enjoy in America – as reflected in the 2020 election results, excluding Trump.
We must keep in mind that Trump is only the point of the spear for the left. If you follow the leftwing rhetoric, you know they want to drive out of government all Republicans, all conservatives and all opposition to their elitist authoritarian ambitions.
In many ways, the 2022 election will be at least as important as 2020 because it will determine whether our Founders’ conservative principle of American freedom will be reclaimed to some degree – or whether the left will tighten its grip. To do that, we need to identify new leadership that can lead the way. Looking to Trump to be that person will result in further defeat. He has become – rightly or wrongly – the conservative Republican Achilles Heel.
We should not fall into the trap of allowing Trump to be the focus of debate in the months ahead no matter how much Democrats – and Trump –would like that. I have spent four years defending his policies, but I hope to see him in my political rearview mirror as we go forward.
In a few days, Trump will be the ex-President of the United States. I sincerely doubt that he will have a comeback in 2024. I hope not. History will make a more unimpassioned analysis of his presidency. I do believe people will regard him more highly and give him more credit for his substantial accomplishments than the current hyper divided partisan environment will allow.
I expect to devote my future writing to supporting the basic principles of conservative governance – as I have in the past. And, I have never been – nor will I be — a lockstep devotee to any one person. That will ensure that I likely will have to take sh*t from both sides from time-to-time. But I am used to that.
So, there ‘tis.