A friend dislikes the President’s personal style, but supports his policies. I’m baffled by his ability to compartmentalize. Most people, like me, do or don’t give a politician the benefit of the doubt based upon their personal feelings for them.
That sure seemed to be the case among conservatives during the Obama years.
I strongly dislike the President’s personal attributes. In fact, he’s a composite of my least favorite attributes—a serial braggart; dishonest; incurious, sexist; racist; xenophobic; insecure; uncaring; coarse; and most of all, self-centered. If I walked up to the first tee of a golf course as a single, and the starter asked if I’d like to join the President’s threesome, I’d pass.
I also dislike the people he keeps company with and his privileging of money above everything else no matter the issue. Yesterday, he tweeted, “Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia. . . .” MBS, one of the few people on the planet whose megalomania rivals his own and the person who oversaw the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The take-away is sickening—you can dismember the body of an American journalist if you buy enough military hardware.
Apart from material gain, I don’t know what he stands for.
And yet, the more critical I am of the President, the more my conservative friends are critical of me. For being divisive. For not giving him any credit for anything. For being predictable.
I’ll never conform to their way of thinking, but I never want to be predictable. Then again, most partisans, meaning all of us these days, are so predictable as to be boring. We pretty much know what each other is going to write and say, how each other is going to vote.
So in the spirit of fairness, a mental exercise. I’m going to give the President credit for some things. Maybe this exercise will inspire my conservative friends to do the same, in retrospect, in the context of the Obama years.
As this pandemic makes painfully clear, I believe the President’s intense isolationism is a grievous mistake; however, I applaud his reticence to use military power to solve international problems. He has done a very good job not starting any wars.
He also has done a good job getting other developed countries to pay a fairer share of their security needs. There’s no reason for us to float anyone anymore.
And, despite his nonsense about China paying the tariffs*, his administration has done a good job laying the groundwork to reduce the US-China trade deficit, which is unsustainable.
And, as his daily press conferences illustrate, he’s a master communicator. Just contrast him with Pence who will put you asleep faster than a million melatonin. Of course a lot of what he says is patently false, which makes for an extremely dangerous combination. His base cares more about how he communicates than whether he’s truthful or not. They like how he makes them feel better about themselves, and at the same time, aggrieved by secular elites and liberal media. But I digress. In short, I don’t like what he says, but I concede he combines very simple language, intonations, and idiosyncratic syntax extremely effectively.
That’s the best I can do. We now return to regular programming.
*economists are clear, US consumers pay them in increased prices