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 Post subject: Trump administration: policy vs. personality
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 3:38 am 
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I posted this comment earlier tonight in response to the latest article in right-leaning media crowing about the supposed demise of "#NeverTrump". In it, I intended to address the cult-like devotion to Trump that many of his fans display, but I also ended up summarizing a lot of my thoughts on Trump's presidency so far, so I figured I may as well toss it up here for posterity.

I wrote:
Just because you support the Trump administration's policies does not mean you have to support the man, personally, without question and 100% of the time. Conservatives should not be afraid to be honest with ourselves and each other, and the fact is that Trump, himself, remains an extremely mixed bag. At best.

He took the government's boot off the throat of the economy and has slashed many restrictive and unnecessary regulations, which has been an extremely good thing. He took the handcuffs off of our military and allowed them to do what needed to be done to liberate ISIS's physical territory and demolish their caliphate, which has also been a godsend after the horrors Obama allowed them to get away with, and for years. He has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and has also recognized that Iran is, and has always been, our enemy. These things are magnificent, and are worthy of unequivocal praise.

But however great these things are, they do not erase or make up for the undeniable flaws in Donald Trump's personal character. He habitually lies and exaggerates, and he does it all the time; that's just a fact, and it's a highly problematic one. He frequently indulges in extremely juvenile and often pointless flame wars on Twitter, and he does it in ways that often end up hurting his own cause. Also problematic. And he had an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant with their son, and he paid her to keep quiet about it during the 2016 election. That's simply disgusting.

"But those things have nothing to do with his administration's policies or the way he does his job," many say. That's a fair argument, up to a point; it's also, not coincidentally, precisely the argument Democrats made throughout the 1990s to defend Bill Clinton, and for exactly the same reasons. But character does impact policy, in ways great and small. More to the point, it makes it more difficult for Trump's defenders to argue on his behalf without being hypocritical.

But let's get back to policy. Trump allows his very liberal daughter and son-in-law, neither of whom were elected to anything, to decide the direction of his administration's policies far too often for my, and many other conservatives', liking. He has advanced extremely left-wing positions on international trade and gun control, and done it under a Republican banner, which has in turn had the effect of shifting the entire party's position on those issues to the left over the long term, if not permanently. This was one of the biggest fears of conservative, so-called "NeverTrumpers", and they have indeed been proven correct. He talks tough on border security and abortion, then he turns around and signs budget resolutions which completely undermine his own position. He has appointed one potentially decent Supreme Court justice, but he has also consistently failed to stand up to the out-of-control activist judiciary, and on matters where his own authority clearly supersedes theirs. He also failed to hold the Republican leadership to their campaign promises, most prominently on the repeal of Obamacare, and as a result the Democrats retook the House. And he totally gave away the farm in his negotiations with North Korea, where he elevated and heaped a humiliating degree of personal praise on one of this planet's most barbaric and cruel dictators, for which the US got very little in return. And last but certainly not least, he's spent money at a rate that makes even Obama look tight-fisted by comparison.

By all means, support the administration's policies, where they deserve to be supported. But don't let them blind you to the failings of the man.

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