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Putting Personality Above Policy

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Leaders of both political parties and the most prominent voices in media, all make the same mistake that poisons our politics: concentrating on the president’s personality, not his policies. On cable news as well as the neighborhood pub, debates always seem to center on Trump’s character: is he a breath of fresh air who’s appropriately shaking the system, or a bigoted buffoon, who’s corrupt and incompetent? Democrats obsess on exaggerated charges of Russian collusion but won’t debate crucial issues like health care and tax reform. Arguments over Trump’s personality may boost ratings and political fund-raising but they’re ultimately pointless and polarizing.

Love him or hate him, he’s president for the next three-and-a-half years. Democrats could meet him halfway on legislation or foreign policy, but there’s no constructive compromise if your main concern is savaging his character. On reality shows, contestants play clear roles as heroes or villains but government should be about progress and programs, not nasty games.

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  1. Aaron  •  Jun 23, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Nailed it!

    I really don't like Trump's public persona. I have no idea what type of person he is off camera. I can say a I like many of his policies. I'm especially fond of the executive order requiring federal agencies to first abolish two existing regulations before proposing a new regulation. That alone makes him worth a vote.

    He may not be Mr. Congeniality and I really would prefer he stop tweeting, but he does appear to have some good ideas and the leadership skills to surround himself with a team that is able to pursue them.

    Bottom line, as an American citizen I hope Trump is extremely successful as a president. I hoped the same for Obama. To do otherwise is to wish misery upon oneself.

    • Lynette  •  Jun 28, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      @Aaron – You said EXACTLY what I have been trying to tell other people. I feel that I don't have to personally like a person to think that they make good policy for our country. I often view Trump as a bull in a china shop.

  2. Bill Baxter  •  Jun 30, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    I wish my party would give up on the Russia issue. I don't believe there is much if anything there. Just let the special council do his work.

    I definitely believe we should be debating health care and taxes with the Republicans.

    The problem with trying to meet Trump half way is that he isn't trustworthy. I wouldn't do any work for him without being paid cash in advance since has often stiffed his contractors after they did the work he ordered. He also can't be trusted to tell the truth.

    I also would not expect leaders of foreign nations to trust him (because they shouldn't).

    • AARON SCHULTZ  •  Jun 30, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Bill. I agree with you on the Russia issue. It appears to be a very loud and distracting waste of time and resources. It's time for us (the corporate or communal we) to stop shouting at each other and start listening and talking with each other. We usually agree on the problems in priciple, but our solutions and core beliefs are often mispercieved and misrepresented by tribal agents on both sides who benefit from the conflict caused by building totems and wrecking strawmen.

      Debate should focus on identifying and vetting the best ideas. Sadly most of human history is a catalog of avoidable unfortunate events caused by the idiotic and desperate desire to be the source of all profound knowledge and to be in charge.

      I hope both parties can get better at being honest with ourselves and each other. The magic is in the mix. If we focus on the things which we agree apon, we will probably find that we all can contribute something useful to the solutions for those problems that currently appear to have use irreconcilably divided.

      I don't have any personal experience with Trump. I can't say whether or not he is a trustworthy person. When I am uncertain of a person'S character, I take the trust but verify approach. Thus far Trump has given me no reason, on a personal level, to deem him untrustworthy. Other politicians have. I was personally impacted negatively by the aAffordable Care Act, after promises were made that my situation would improve or, at worst, remain the same. I have reason to mistrust those responsible for its development and implementation.

      I have personally been impacted by No Child Left behind, and some of the inane Homeland Security policies that arose under the Bush administration.

      Thus far Trump appears to be making a noteworthy effort to keep his promises. I have no personal experience that leads me to mistrust him at this time.

      I'm hoping for the best, and praying he is very successful.

    • Landree  •  Jun 30, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      I agree with you 100% that is the biggest problem I have with Trump beside his tweets. He has been caught in so many lies and the fact that he makes up his own fake news then when the media calls him out on it he calls it fake news but you put it out in the first place mr. President. I have friends in Germany and Ireland plus Japan and none of these countries trust him. To me that is a big problem because where are they going to be when we need them? It's not going to be America first it's going to wind up being America alone which is really sad considering how many countries depend on us.

      • John Train  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 4:38 am

        I have people in all these countries. At the Govt level there are many public complaints. But behind-the-scenes there is a lot of respect and a lot of corrective actions since many of Trump's complaints are 100% correct… And they know it. And they also know that they will have to adjust to what they committed to him prior negotiations.

      • Tru  •  Jul 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm

        In a scathing post on LinkedIn, Justice Department compliance counsel Hui Chen announced her decision to resign last month, saying it was impossible to go after corporate fraud and corruption when President Donald Trump himself was engaging in such practices.

        “Trying to hold companies to standards that our current administration is not living up to was creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome,” she wrote.

        Chen, a former lawyer for Microsoft and Pfizer who since 2015 was one of the top attorneys in the DOJ’s Fraud Section, said her work began to feel hypocritical and hamstrung as investigations into the Trump administration escalated.

        “Even as I engaged in those questioning and evaluations, on my mind were the numerous lawsuits pending against the President of the United States for everything from violations of the Constitution to conflict of interest, the ongoing investigations of potentially treasonous conducts, and the investigators and prosecutors fired for their pursuits of principles and facts,” she wrote. “Those are conducts I would not tolerate seeing in a company, yet I worked under an administration that engaged in exactly those conduct. I wanted no more part in it.”

        I notice that other contributors here enjoy Trump tweets and seem to find him just a sweet old man with wonderful policies, although I'm not sure anyone can actually describe what his policies consist of.

        Sorry, I have lived long enough to see both good and bad presidents but I have yet to see one who seems unable to operate beyond the capabilities of a self-entitled, unstable 12 year old.

  3. Jonathon  •  Jun 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Trump has to Tweet. How else are we going to find out what is really going on? The media? I don't think so. We are in desperate times in this country, so desperate measure are necessary. Also, the Tweets are the best entertainment I had in many years. Keep Tweeting Trump!! I love it!!

    • AARON SCHULTZ  •  Jun 30, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      I have to concede that the tweets have been entertaining; not necessarily presidential, but definitely entertaining.

      • Joe Ondo  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        Define Presidential? Who defines Presidential? Never before have we lived in an age with the level of technology that we now have. This President is establishing what is Presidential when it comes to communications in this age. Did Washington or Lincoln tweet? No, because they couldn't. Are you assuming that if they did have the ability to tweet, that they would not?

      • Joe Ondo  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm

        Tell me what part of Obama's Presidency was Presidential? Obama was not Presidential timber, even though he served the office for 8 years. How did that happen?

  4. Dennis Santillo  •  Jun 30, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    I have been telling you, Michael, this from the beginning of President Trump's administration, when it because obvious that he would pursue a Republican agenda. In the past you criticized him for the superficial instead of concentrating on substance. It is good to see you have come around.

  5. Dorsey M Deaton  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 3:38 am

    As a Ph.D. In U.S. History from a prestigious university who has taught history for 4 decades I have never worried more about the future of our country than in the last year. I never expected to see the level of corruption in our government that I saw in the Clinton Foundation and the pay to play shakedown of corporations and countries to enrich The Clinton machine. I never would have believed in the almost universal prostitution of the Mainstream media to serve the political Left and falsify facts or ignore inconvenient truths. I am embarrassed at the degree of "political correctness" and suppression of conservative thought on campuses that I have seen carried to such extremes as violence. Who would have believed that a billionaire like Soros could pay millions to violent demonstrators and protestors while the media looked the other way. I genuinely believe that there is a Deep State Establishment behind both parties, the bureaucracies, the Lobbyists and the Media Elite that cares only about their own control and growing wealth while the rest of the country has fallen behind their standard of living of 20 years ago. Had Hillary won the election our county would have succumbed to globalism and socialism and ultimate decline.
    The PEOPLE sensed that things where only going to get worse unless someone did something dramatic. A politician couldn't. Only a brash businessman like Trump had thick enough skin to withstand the relentless attack of the media and the Left. Clearly he has an ego and a brand and Doesn't know how Washington works, but he is on the right track. From my background and education I was close to the Johnson administration and supported the Democrats through McGovern, but I became disillusioned when I discovered the Great Society did not work except to increase the size of government, its control and budgets, creating a dependent underclass and discouraging business. Serving on think tanks and non-profit boards for 3 decades in addition to my university teaching has convinced me that Washington is broken and needs to be fixed. This is our last chance and the Deep State will stop at nothing–even assassination if necessary — to save their power and prerogatives. God save the United States.
    I recommend 2 books by old friends- Newt Gingrich's book, Understanding Trump, and Doug Wead's Game of Thorns. I appreciate Michael Medved's perspective on all this.

    • Tru  •  Jul 2, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      George soros pays millions to violent protestors? I
      m sure you can back that up with facts, and not statements from right-wing prop blogs.

  6. John Train  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 4:41 am

    To Dr. Dorsey M Deaton :Thank you.

  7. Denny Martin  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I was somewhat like Michael in that The Donald wasn't my first choice for president, but now he is our guy. I don't think anyone has given President Trump an opportunity to just be himself, by letting him function with the same courtesy and respect we have given any other president. How would we know how he is, or isn't capable of acting ? He has been under fire with unfounded claims and slanderous accusations from nearly every media outlet in America for the last year. Imagine how it might effect you? You might come off a little grumpy and combative as well.

  8. Kpar  •  Jul 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I, too, did not like Trump, but, as a #NeverHillary voter, I knew I had to support him.

    I did not like his speaking style. I did not think he was truly conservative. I thought he was shallow and crude and boastful.

    Still, Hillary (I believe) would have ended the Republic with her SCOTUS choices.

    All that said, I am greatly heartened by Trump's performance in office- his hiring choices, his executive actions, his calling upon America's "allies" to start carrying their share of the load. And his tweets? One of his most attractive attributes is his penchant for infuriating people for whom I have nothing but contempt!

  9. john  •  Jul 2, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Did Kellyanne Conway write this article?
    Did you plagiarize her?
    I thought you were above this illogical thinking.
    Guess not.

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