“A Thick Skin Is A Gift From God” (Konrad Adenauer)
One of my very best friends made a comment to me a few years ago, that I have since found to be true for myself as well. She said that once she hit fifty, she discovered she no longer cared as much about what other people thought of her, or said about her. Like me, up until that time, she tended to be a people-pleaser, and concerned about the opinion of others. I’m long past fifty, and it’s a good thing I’ve developed a thicker skin, because I really got trashed on Twitter!
That seems to be happening more and more, as I proffer my political opinions, but I just tune out the haters. I am always open to hearing different views, and I respect everyone’s right to disagree with me or anyone else; that is one of the blessings of living in the United States. I do think that people can get their point across without personal attacks or being discourteous.
My Twitter assault was the result of my opining to Eric Bolling, of Fox News, that I hoped he was wrong about his statement that he believes Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee in 2016. I have noticed that many of the Fox News anchors and commentators seem to be heavily in the Donald camp, which surprises me, knowing as much as they do about politics. I know that Ann Coulter, author and political contributor, has been for Trump all along, so that is nothing new. Since Trump’s call to “ban Muslims” from the United States, it seems that more at FNC are joining her in their support. In my opinion, Trump is not our best choice. I just don’t trust the man.
I eschew Donald Trump for multiple reasons, not the least of which I find his personal and petty comments about the other candidates to be unbecoming someone who is seeking the highest office in the country. I understand that he appeals to many people because they are angry with the leadership in Washington, or lack thereof, and with the politically correct climate that has run amok. His willingness to say aloud what most of us are secretly thinking is refreshing to people who are more than ready to vent their frustrations. I understand all that completely, and I am every bit as angry over the conditions in our country.
I have commented on Twitter that I do not think Donald Trump is “presidential”. I’m challenged with, “do I think Obama is”. The answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”, not even a little bit, but I am not drawing comparisons. I think President Obama is a complete and utter failure. When I voice my opinion on Donald Trump, it is purely on his merits. I am not juxtaposing him against other candidates, or against presidents. I think our job as responsible voters is to educate ourselves about each candidate, and support the one we feel comes closest to our ideal, with the full knowledge that there are no perfect candidates.
I have studied the GOP field, and I have decided whom I feel comfortable supporting. Rather than just listen to the pundits, or read the headlines, I would suggest that each voter do their own research on the candidates. The media tends to spin the stories to highlight their favorites. Whether “my” candidate wins the nomination or not, I will support and vote for the eventual nominee, because I believe that preventing Hillary Clinton access to the White House is in the best interest of the country.
This brings me to another of my objections to Donald Trump. During the first debate, he was the only candidate who refused to pledge his support to the eventual GOP nominee, and refused to rule out a third party run. That turned me off right away. That is almost like, but even worse, than saying if my favorite candidate does not win the nomination, I am going to vote for Hillary, or I am not going to vote at all. It is an immature attitude, and it is not in the best interest of the country. Trump later signed a pledge of support to the GOP, but with the caveat that “he must be treated fairly”. He uses that phrase a lot. Mr. Trump needs to realize that politics is not for the fainthearted, and it is certainly not fair.
The pledge that Trump signed is not legally binding, so he can renege at any time. On the O’Reilly Factor this past week, when Bill asked him specifically if he would run as an Independent, knowing that he would hand the election to Hillary Clinton, Trump replied again, “If I’m not treated fairly”. If Donald Trump does run as an Independent, we will have the 1992 election and Ross Perot all over again. On last night’s GOP debate, Trump asserted that he is definitely with the GOP, and will not run as an independent. So, which way is it going to be? He continues to flip-flop on this issue, and that kind of recklessness demonstrates how much Trump cares about “making America great again”. I think this whole enterprise is more about Trump than it is about America.
As far as Trump’s readiness to be President, he is obviously knowledgeable about business. I am sure he will have great ideas about creating jobs and improving the economy, and those are important attributes. The deficit, the nightmare of Obamacare, and the high unemployment rate are real concerns for all of us. Trump’s comfort zone is the business world, and I have no doubt that he would be a formidable negotiator.
At this time, I think our most pressing concerns are geopolitical, and I do not believe that is Trump’s strength. Terrorism, Immigration, a nuclear Iran, Russia’s agenda, these are issues that require a knowledge of foreign policy that Trump has not demonstrated. The debates are telling. In the earlier debates, it was obvious that when the moderators introduced the topic of foreign relations, and the discussion between the candidates became more complex, Trump would hang back.
In last night’s debate, when questioned on his priority regarding the nuclear triad, it was clear he was not familiar with the term, or its meaning. He has said of himself that he is the “best on military” of any of the GOP candidates, but that does not appear to be the case. I am not belittling him; this is just not his area of expertise. United States foreign policy and military capabilities have not been in his sphere before now. This is a science within itself, it is nuanced, and it is not something you can pick up in a few months. We have seen an example of this up close and personal over the last seven years.
I also think Trump would struggle in a debate against Hillary Clinton on foreign policy. I do not like Hillary at all. I think she is immoral, and I disagree with every word she says. She was a dismal failure as a secretary of state. However, she has been involved in politics a long time, and she knows (at least in theory) about foreign relations, the governments, the leaders, the procedures, and that is to her advantage. Donald Trump will do an admirable job of attacking her on the stage, he certainly has plenty of material to work with, but Hillary is calculating and I think she will wipe the floor with him.
When Mitt Romney ran in 2012, he was an experienced politician, and he was well versed in foreign policy. In their last debate, President Obama managed to make him look like he was completely out of touch with the world scene and it helped Obama win reelection. Of course, we now know Romney was correct when he asserted that Russia presented a great threat to the United States.
I am in the process of reading James Rosen’s book, “Cheney One on One”, and Vice President Cheney talks about how badly President Obama has weakened us militarily. He says, “What has happened to the military in terms of morale, in terms of financing, budget, and so forth is just devastating….the way Obama is functioning now, he’s crippling the capacity of future presidents to deal with future crises. It takes a long time to build up that military force”. Regaining our foothold in defense, our position as a world leader, as well as our standing among our allies, will be a tall order for the next president. I do not think that in our country’s present state, we need to put someone in office that has no experience in government, or a depth of knowledge in foreign relations and military operations.
I think Donald Trump is a demagogue, but he has found a niche with the voters who are fearful for our country, and who see his bombast as strength and his empty rhetoric as leadership. I don’t think our best decisions are made from a place of fear and desperation. Glenn Beck mentioned last week on the Kelly File, that he made a prediction a few years ago that the country would fall into such a deplorable state, that the environment would be ripe for a progressive of either side to come in and captivate the voters. That is exactly what Donald Trump has done. Beck likened it to Germany, and the period of time when the German people were desperate for leadership, and they united behind Hitler.
Let me emphasize that Beck made it perfectly clear he was not calling Donald Trump “Hitler”; he was analogizing the climate that we have in our country right now with pre-World War II Germany. People are afraid, and they know they cannot trust President Obama, or his minion, Hillary Clinton. They know the country is on a downward spiral, and they crave leadership from someone who speaks to their fear. Donald Trump fills this need. He is addressing the anger, calling out the culprits, and promising grandiose changes.
To me, Trump is a lot of talk. He says that we are going to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants, ban Muslims, and build a wall that Mexico is going to pay for, but he never offers a plan as to how he is going to accomplish these things. He just keeps saying, “We just have to do it, we’ll just do it”. Well, anyone can that, anyone can make all the campaign promises they want and tell the voters everything they want to hear, but what matters is whether they can deliver on it. They have to have a plan, and they have to work within the system. Trump is used to his way or the highway, but it does not work that way in a democracy.
Last week on Hannity, media consultant, Frank Luntz, conducted a focus group on Trump. He remarked to Sean Hannity that in his twenty years of experience, he has never seen anything like the Trump phenomenon. He said no matter what videos he played of Donald Trump, even his worst attacks on other candidates, (Marco Rubio sweats more than any young person I’ve ever seen, Ben Carson is pathological, Carly Fiorina talks like a robot, and look at that face!) the participants just laughed along with Donald. They cheered him on. When Luntz played the attack ads against Donald, they just made them like him even more.
It appears that Trump cannot lose with the voters, no matter what he says or does. I don’t find this to be a particularly good thing. To me, that is not America as its best. There should exist among civilized people, a level at which a person’s behavior is no longer acceptable. It should most definitely exist among presidential candidates.
Trump’s antics in going after the other candidates are childish. He has attacked every candidate, but it is rarely substantive. He sent a case of water bottles with his picture on them along with some “Make America Great Again” towels to Senator Rubio with a note attached that read, “Since you’re always sweating, we thought you could use some water”. That is a juvenile stunt, and it has no place in a serious campaign.
It is one thing to take your fellow candidates to task over the issues and their platform, but it is quite another to make it purely personal. Trump also jokes about Senator Rubio’s finances by saying, “He’s got $12 in the bank, he borrows, he works with his car dealer in Florida, give me a break, Rubio is not the guy that’s gonna be negotiating with the kind of people you have to negotiate with to turn this country around.” That is just uncalled for, and I think that when the American people have no expectations for their candidate’s character, we are hitting bottom.
This political cycle reminds me somewhat of the 2008 election cycle that brought us Barack Obama. People were tired of war, they were tired of hearing about the terrorists, the economy was dismal, and they wanted a change. They wanted the antithesis of George W. Bush, and they ultimately found it. They did not cringe over the name Barack Hussein Obama, and they had no problem with his heritage, or that he attended the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, or that he was associated with Bill Ayers. He was a new face, he said the right things, and that is all that mattered at the time. Incidentally, Trump supported Obama in 2008, referring to himself as “his biggest cheerleader”.
He has since admitted that was a mistake, but Trump vacillates in his support of politicians, with most of his past campaign contributions going to Democrats. Notable recipients are Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, the latter on multiple occasions, including donations to the Clinton Foundation. He was also a registered Democrat, and he said even a couple of years ago that he most closely identified with the Democratic Party. His position on issues like abortion, gun control, and drug legalization fluctuate as well. Although most people seem to favor him because of his hard line on immigration, he said this in Newsmax after the 2012 election,
“The Republican Party will continue to lose presidential elections if it comes across as mean-spirited and unwelcoming toward people of color. Whether intended or not, comments and policies of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates during this election were seen by Hispanics and Asians as hostile to them….Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general…. He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal. It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote. He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country. The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants, but what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it. They didn’t know what the policy was, but what they were is they were kind.”
That sounds a lot different from the Donald Trump we see today. Again, every voter will need to make their own decision on which candidate they choose to support. I want a President I can trust and respect, and who handles themselves in a calm and mature manner. I want someone who knows and understands the issues, and whom I think can work with both sides of the aisle in Washington. That is the only way we will get anything accomplished.
Kessler, Ronad. “Donald Trump: Mean-Spirited GOP Won’t Win Elections.” Newsmax. N.p., 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
Cheney, Richard B., and James Rosen. Cheney One on One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.