Character flaws

Hate to have to do it and all, but I fear I’m gonna have to pick a few nits with the esteemed CBD’s premises here.

President Trump has many character traits that seem, at first glance, to be wonderful openings for his political opponents to make substantive inroads on his popularity with the 20% of the voters who are not firmly in one camp, and perhaps decrease the enthusiasm with which his base supports him.

Here is a partial list, in no particular order, and without vetting for accuracy. But any casual perusal of the raw sewage pouring out of the media will lend support to these tendencies.

He is undoubtedly thin-skinned,

Could be, could be. Alternative take, though, is that Trump does not suffer fools gladly, nor does he let an insult, slight, or treachery pass him by without returning the favor in spades. After seeing the deluge of pure shit he’s been indundated with the past three years, I’m okay with that myself. In fact, the more he bristles, bares the claws, and attacks, the happier I’ll be. If fighting back hard against any and all provocation is being thin-skinned—and perhaps it is—well, so be it.

Note too, though, that Trump was clever enough to entirely ignore the Shittpeachment farce in his SOTU last week, not mentioning it even once. In that case, he managed to suppress any reflexive tendency towards being thin-skinned at least enough to use forebearance to his own tactical advantage, which says a few encouraging things about him too.

is prone to exaggeration and hyperbole

Alternative take: is confident, a perennial salesman and self-promoter, and a self-made larger than life character.

uses odd grammatical constructions that seem ripe for parody

And that prevents his opponents from pinning him down, keeping them off-balance and uncertain.

has goofy hair

Hey, he’s 70 and still HAS hair. I just turned 60 and am quite frankly envious.

Is curiously uninterested in reining in a bloated federal budget

This is the one I have the hardest time disputing. On the other hand, the budget is Congress’s responsibility, not his; there just isn’t a hell of a lot he can do about it, even if he wanted to.

is a big fan of firing people, and on and on.

Another one I don’t have any problem with. Actually, in my opinion he hasn’t fired NEARLY enough people since taking office. Hopefully he gets himself good and busy with rectifying that after re-election.

I’m only needling CBD a little with this, but there is one complaint about Trump we hear constantly, mostly from people whose criticism is a lot less constructive than CBD’s and whose motives are questionable at best: his Tweeting. They claim Trump’s Twitter assaults are rude, vulgar, and a childish affront to the solemn dignity of his exalted position. They wish he would just cut it out already, relying instead on Enemedia to honestly vet and oversee his statements rather than bypassing them to communicate directly with the people via Twitter.

Stuff and nonsense. Taking to Twitter to both needle his adversaries and inform his supporters is simply Trump making good use of an extremely popular platform to reach as many people as possible, directly and without interference or manipulation by any self-appointed “gatekeepers.” FDR did pretty much the same thing:

The fireside chats were a series of evening radio addresses given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (known colloquially as “FDR”) between 1933 and 1944. Roosevelt spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II. On radio, he was able to quell rumors and explain his policies. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was regarded as an effective communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency. Their introduction was later described as a “revolutionary experiment with a nascent media platform.”

The series of chats was among the first 50 recordings made part of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, which noted it as “an influential series of radio broadcasts in which Roosevelt utilized the media to present his programs and ideas directly to the public and thereby redefined the relationship between President Roosevelt and the American people in 1933.”

I just bet the tightassed fussbudgets of that era didn’t care much for FDR’s end-run around the gatekeepers, either. I noticed a huge irony in the above-quoted Wiki, boldfaced below:

It cannot misrepresent or misquote. It is far reaching and simultaneous in releasing messages given it for transmission to the nation or for international consumption.
— Stephen Early, FDR press secretary, on the value of radio

Roosevelt believed that his administration’s success depended upon a favorable dialogue with the electorate — possible only through methods of mass communication — and that this would allow him to take the initiative. The use of radio for direct appeals was perhaps the most important of FDR’s innovations in political communication. Roosevelt’s opponents had control of most newspapers in the 1930s and press reports were under their control and involved their editorial commentary. Historian Betty Houchin Winfield says, “He and his advisers worried that newspapers’ biases would affect the news columns and rightly so.” Historian Douglas B. Craig says that he “offered voters a chance to receive information unadulterated by newspaper proprietors’ bias” through the new medium of radio.

How very odd that the Left doesn’t seem nearly so concerned about media bias or its corrosive effects these days. In fact, having been in charge of Old Media for so long now, they take its power to drive the national debate as read, viewing any challenge to its waning might as the threat to them that it truly is. It’s no wonder they’re so put out by Trump’s “unpresidential” Tweeting, and petulantly demand that he knock it off.

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