Donald Trump – Character Counts
by Charles Robertson – Cofounder Broward Tea Party
You weren’t intentionally eavesdropping but you couldn’t help but overhear the conversation. The person speaking said something racist or sexist or any multitude of inappropriate comments. And then you formed an opinion of that person, we’ve all done it. What we say and how we say it reveals who we are. That explains why people share their deepest thoughts and secrets only with those they trust. To strangers or in group talk we’re more guarded, aware we’re being judged. Political candidates are acutely aware of this, knowing that any verbal misstep could derail their campaign. When asked a question, they don’t just answer the question, their answers are crafted to project their vision and bolster their image. And then there’s Donald Trump.
Let me start by saying I’m not a fan. I suspect the majority of my fellow Tea Partiers aren’t either. We tend to value character as the primary requirement in our candidates. Sorry Donald, we found your weakness. Speaking to Rolling Stone Magazine about fellow candidate Carly Fiorina, Trump said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president, I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” Is this a presidential candidate or Jon Stewart? Crude, disrespectful, boorish, insulting, is this what conservatives want in a President? This wasn’t eavesdropping, this was Trump publically revealing who he is. To publically offend someone in this manner goes beyond poor judgment, this was mean spirited and that reveals something deeper and more troublesome about the man. A red flag for those who are paying attention. And don’t think this was an isolated slip of tongue, there’s no shortage of similar Trumpisms.
What we’re seeing now is the same phenomenon that led to Barack Obama. People enraptured by words. In both cases the message was and still is powerful. People were hungry for hope and change. Today people are fed up with “stupid” politicians. Were tired of America becoming a “dumping ground.” Trump’s blunt politically incorrect words strike a chord on numerous issues. The folks identify on a gut level. But as was the case with Obama’s campaign, the message is long on emotion, short on substance and detail. Trump’s popularity and perhaps his campaign strategy is based on an anti Obama anti politician national sentiment. Fueled by dissatisfaction, conservatives are making the same mistake as Obama supporters, falling for the message and ignoring the messenger.
A fellow conservative friend of mine supports Trump. I asked him why and his answer I believe speaks for most all Trump supporters. He likes what Trump says about immigration, trade, foreign policy, etc. My friend’s process for candidate evaluation is to check the boxes, whichever candidate gets the most checks is the winner. I have a similar process but checking the issue boxes is step #2, in my process a candidate doesn’t get to step #2 unless I check box #1 CHARACTER. Without character I don’t trust any politician to their campaign rhetoric. People’s misplaced frustration with politicians is to blame the vocation (politics) when the real problem is the individual politician’s lack of character.
Call me old fashioned but I long for a Reagan type leader. For me our president should embody class, character, confidence, honor, and integrity. When I think of Trump none of those words come to mind. Tea Partiers seek true conservatives who govern by principle. Trump admits to buying politicians, what principle is that? I suppose in an ever increasing secular world, ethics are overlooked. People seem more willing to accept someone with baggage if they relate to the message. I find that hard to accept considering there’s no shortage of other good candidates without or at least far less baggage.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m against political correctness. I prefer straight talk, no mincing words.
The same way I begrudgingly admired Barack Obama’s ability to inspire through his speeches I also admire Donald Trump’s ability to do the same. Problem is, they’re just words. Our culture of low information voters (Trump would call them stupid) don’t get beyond sound bites. An angry voter is money in Trump’s bank. The master deal maker is selling the people what they want, hope & change repackaged as the pseudo conservative version.
Character is essential when difficult decisions are needed. Just ahead I see our country headed toward hard times that will require difficult unpopular decisions. Will someone who’s spent his lifetime building his “brand” be willing to risk that by bucking public opinion. Trump proudly points to his poll ranking, he relishes this aura of success. As a businessman he sees the numbers validating his message and I believe maintaining this popularity will govern his decisions, his policies. This is where I see him differing from Obama. Obama sticks to his ideology and progressive agenda, more so in his 2nd term, despite his dropping popularity. I don’t believe Trump has that same ideological passion for conservatism, I see him more as a finger to the wind, Clinton style populist. The rhetoric we hear now might bear faint resemblance to the policies and actions of Trump the president. That’s the art of the deal, close the deal first, deal with the rest later.
When asked by Chris Wallace in the 1st debate about his Atlantic City casino bankruptcies Trump responded, “First of all these lenders are not babies,” he continued, “They are killers. These are not the nice sweet little people you think.” Problem is, it wasn’t just the lenders who got hurt. In the 2009 Trump Taj Mahal bankruptcy case, unsecured creditors — low-level investors, contractors, small-time vendors — got less than a penny on the dollar for their claims against Trump Entertainment Resorts. I understand there is sometimes a necessity to make difficult business decisions that can hurt some, perhaps to save more. An explanation of that with an apology to those who were hurt would have seemed the appropriate answer. Instead we got an attack on the evil bankers, same liberal style talking point designed to appeal to the angry. I’ve seen this all before and unless we find a leader with character I’m afraid it doesn’t end well.