Personality vs. policy.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 6/1/18


If you’re a personality voter – as many people are – you likely can’t stand Donald Trump. People don’t just dislike President Trump, they hate him. And that hatred is almost totally rooted in distaste for his personal characteristics. Objections revolve around his past episodes of vulgarity and sexism, his often intemperate Tweets and his very outspoken, very rough verbal treatment of those who oppose him.

To say we’ve never had a president like Donald Trump isn’t quite accurate. Harry Truman was blunt and often very coarse. Several 19thcentury presidents – John Tyler comes to mind – were much more intemperate in their behavior than Donald Trump. But it is true enough to say that few of us alive today have seen a president anything remotely like what we have now.

President Trump’s personality stands in such contrast to the presidents of recent memory that the contrast is jarring. His confrontational, unfiltered style – particularly toward those who oppose him – is driving hatred that goes well beyond mere philosophical or political opposition. Those who hate Donald Trump hate him personally more than they have hated any national political figure in recent memory, including Richard Nixon.

But what I almost never hear from Trump haters is objection to him based on his policies. The conversation seldom gets that far. Find yourself in a debate with a Trump hater – as is, on occasion, an occupational hazard of mine – and I have found that you can bring it to a fairly swift conclusion if you can pivot the conversation to his policy successes.

They are numerous.

Since Donald Trump took office, the U.S. economy has taken off in ways that we were only recently told was no longer possible. We remember the prior administration’s admonition that anemic, sub-two percent economic growth constituted a “new normal” in the United States. We were just going have to get used to it. The economy has now gone six quarters with growth near or above three percent.

The number of unemployed in the U.S. now equals the number of job openings, meaning that the country is at statistical full employment. Black and Hispanic unemployment stand at all-time lows. Small businesses are hiring. Paychecks are growing. The food stamp and welfare rolls are shrinking.

Business and consumer confidence are both at historic highs. Business births now – again – exceed business deaths. Companies are bringing capital and manufacturing back from offshore.

Foreign policy successes are also numerous – among them an incipient success with North Korea. It remains to be seen what will happen, but there is more substance and more promise with respect to the U.S. position vis. a vis. North Korea than at any time since the Korean War.

And stop for a minute and ask yourself this. When is the last time that ISIS made the news?

For you personality voters, I get it. I, myself, often find Trump’s personality hard to take.

But I’m not a personality voter. I’m a policy guy. And on policy, Donald Trump is on a roll.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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9 Responses

  1. Jena Smith says:

    For once in my lifetime, a person who made campaign promises are actually keeping them. Imagine that!

  2. Trump’s “vulgarity and sexism” may be less an issue than a symptom. He might simply personify how angry we’ve become, despite the prosperity you describe.

  3. Buddy Saunders says:

    Paul, I think you are missing the mark a bit by labeling Trump haters “personality voters.” Were President Trump acting on a progressive/Democrat/socialist agenda (a continuation of Obama), the same people who hate him would love him, despite his personality and his variance from behavioral standards. The left hates any kind of standards. There’s no disputing that. Look at the culture they venerate–beginning with Hollywood. When the left begins citing morality and moaning about bad character, better to look deeper. They never cared before. Nor have they cared if a politician cozies up to the Russians (see Obama’s telling Putin he (Obama) will be freer to work (collude?) with the Russians after the election; and Hillary’s money trail to Russia).

    President Trump has rudely interrupted the deep state left’s beautiful, sure-thing dream of an always advancing Obama agenda (socialism on the march to a kind of Communism that “works”). If today it were that very different president, Ronald Reagan, as decent in act and word as any president we’ve ever had, if it were Ronald Reagan in place of Trump, duplicating the Trump’s goals and agenda, the lashing out hatred of Reagan would be no less than it is for Trump.

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      Yet Trump’s perceived failures as a person is all they talk about. Listen closely to the criticism that you hear from the Left concerning Donald Trump. It’s “he’s racist,” or “he’s misogynist,” or “he’s unhinged/unqualified/unfit.” What you almost never hear is, “I strongly disagree with him regarding cutting regulations,” or, “I don’t think he should have pulled out of the Iran deal.” In all of the conversations with Trump haters in which I find myself — and there was one this past Sunday into which I very reluctantly fell that served to inspire this piece — the voiced objections are almost always 100 percent about the man and zero percent about his policy positions.

      As I say in the piece, I do kind of get it. I much prefer the smiling, happy warrior way of our hero Ronald Reagan. But given how entrenched the progressive/socialist/deep-staters are, it’s likely a sad fact that only a man with the personality of a wolverine stands any kind of a chance. Obama could do the aloof, cool, “no drama-Obama” thing and make it work because the entirety of the federal bureaucracy and the northeast media were with him. And though I will go to my grave with towering admiration for Ronald Reagan, I believe that even he, with his much more avuncular style, would be outmatched by the much more virulent, much more entrenched and much more ruthless opposition posed by today’s Left.

      Thus the American people, acting largely on good instinct, I believe, chose the wolverine and the Left is now in a tizzy. But they’re stuck. It’s hard for the average liberal-next-door to form a coherent objection to a growing economy, rising employment, rising wages, reduced dependency and growing wealth. All that person has left to which he or she can object is the man himself. Therefore my argument of personality over policy.

      • Holland Cooke says:

        Trump’s personal failures sure aren’t all his critics cite. Think these tariffs he’s threatening will be good for business?

  4. Linda E. Montrose says:

    I voted FOR TRUMP for exactly why the left hates him! He says what he means and means what he says. As for the left…let the first one without sin step up and cast the first stone…any takers??? I think NOT!!!

  5. Holland Cooke says:

    But — and be honest — is Giuliani helping or hurting the president?

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