Posted On: Friday - November 30th 2018 3:37PM MST
In Topics:   Trump  Americans  US Feral Government
(I hope it's not too confusing but, the first actual discussion on this was in the intro. This post should then be labeled 1, and so on, as I can see some interesting contrasts here.)
One more thing that I could have added to the end of that Intro, but I'll put here: After I had written that post, I read the same evening another great column by our Number 1 (literary, at least) Pundit, Miss Ann Coulter. It was a big beratement of President Trump for not having fulfilled his most basic anti-immigration-invasion promises after almost 2 years now. Besides reading this latest great column for that, you will notice, as I did, that Miss Coulter made comparisons to Ronald Reagan and his accomplishments ... well, I don't want to spoil the ending, but you can probably see what's coming later on that. It's somewhat coincidental in that I'm on this Ronnie v. Donnie kick, but this happens quite a bit in our little pundit world. ;-}
OK, on the personalities and methods of President Trump versus the late great President Ronald Reagan, we can't see two men being much farther apart really. Mr. Reagan was a true statesman and an orator of no small renown. Mr. Trump is a loudmouthed, brash bit-city businessman. Though his speeches made as President were often written by speechwriters (like the execrable broad Peggy Noonan), earlier on, Mr. Reagan had made radio addresses weekly* for a number of years that were well written and spoken. Mr. Reagan, though he was lambasted and name-called in the press regularly (more on this stuff in another post), was so polished, smiling, and polite, that even the politicians on left still liked him when they dealt with him in person. (Granted, it was a more civil era.) In the time of Reagan, compromises and deals could still be made with the left, though they were often times broken (in Reagan's words here.) His manner helped him get things done when he was opposed by the House and Senate for most of his 8 years in the White House.
Mr. Reagan grew up in the old middle America. He lived in Illinois farm country, where he spent some time working in radio (politics already!) and then moved to California back when many midwesterners did (not just the Old Okies). It was a white conservative land back then. Mr. Reagan didn't fight in the war (WWII, the big one), and he, in fact, got into the least conservative business that America and California probably had, the Hollywood-based movie industry. That's when he learned who his enemies were. Lots of people know no history of his battles first for and then against the actor's unions, the latter when he realized who damn Socialist/Communist some of his colleagues were. This is where he came to have his very principled conservative views. He then spent a number of working years at General Electric, where he was employed as a spokesman of some sort. He honed his speaking skills and his political ideas during this time.
President Trump, on the other hand, though interested in politics for a long time, did not spend time in the same type of world that Mr. Reagan did. He lived in the always-somewhat-corrupt big-money world of New York City real estate as a big-time developer. He talks like a New Yorker (no, not popular, but we've put up with it because of his promises .. going on 2 years, dude!) He's in your face like a New Yorker. Now, it's probably what we need at this point, as a statesman in the vein of Mr. Reagan may not be able to push back against the much-more-vicious Lyin' Press and ctrl-left crowd that regular Americans are up against. The quick in-your-face retort is what is needed, though that's not to say Ronald Reagan was not quick with a reply. He was, in fact, known for his one-liners**, but it sure wasn't on the same level of incivility maintained by Trump. It's a different time, 3 decades after Ronald Reagan LEFT office, and the country has changed for the far worse. The right must fight fire with fire.
As far as these two men's methods of getting things done, as President, the important factor in my mind is the delegation of work and authority. Reagan had been governor of California, and Trump had been a long-time executive of companies building big high-rise projects. They both had plenty of executive experience, and that means knowing that one cannot do it all himself. An executive must delegate work to those competent people he can trust. That's been the problem with Donald Trump, as I've mentioned before on this blog, and it is his 1st obvious losing comparison to Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan picked his team from many of his long-time insider political buddies. He had a long political life already by the time he took office in 1981, from CA governor through the 1976 campaign for the GOP nomination. He did good with getting a cabinet of conservatives, albeit some of which who may have gone somewhat rogue.
Mr. Trump, though, seems to have really failed badly in this important regard. I believe it's because this high-level political scene is not what he's got experience with AND the man doesn't have the kind of strongly-held principles that Mr. Reagan did. When Mr. Trump ran a building project, he'd have to have trusted a lead structural engineer to make decisions on that aspect of it, as he himself did not have the knowledge, and rightly knew that. That's why you delegate. On becoming President, I believe Mr. Trump trusted way too many others as experienced insider picks that had the knowledge to do the job, because he didn't realize: This is all politics - there are no experts that know anything that your 70-year life of experience and instincts don't already tell you. These expert politicians aren't experts in squat-all, and they are making it up as they go along. Lastly, insiders are the LAST THING WE NEED at this point. Trumps's delegation of work in his administration has been an absolute failure.
Additionally, though President Reagan had some cabinet members that he had to change out, and I'm sure there were many squabbles over whether he'd be able to stick to his conservative principles, that was kept mostly in the White House. There were leaks as always (at least when the Lyin' Press is against you, as it was bound to be when you were a conservative, even back in Reagan's time). However, the President of the US wasn't in twitter arguments, or the 1980's equivalent, with his own damn employees! Look, a the regular Peak Stupidity reader will know that we like this guy, but Mr. Trump has been failing due to picking almost all the wrong people to help him get a job done, and his squabbles with these people have been made in public for all to see. It's time for him to go back to his roots, pick some trusted friends and/or former employees for the jobs, and not worry that they are not experts in the American political establishment. That'd be a feature, not a bug.
Having mentioned Ronald Reagan's great oratory skills above, I do want to contrast his with that of Donald Trump. It's also an effect of the times we live in, but, though Mr. Trump's vocabulary and style are NOT statesmanlike, his "speechmaking" is probably MORE effective than Mr. Reagan's was. Reagan could keep the crowd listening, and lay out the principles of conservatism in a way Trump couldn't dream of. However, it was still just speechmaking. I put quotes around that word in reference to Mr. Trump, as he really doesn't give speeches in the traditional way at all. He has rallies and gets the crowd riled up an excited. His talk goes back and forth, and around in circles, but he is really WITH the crowd. Reagan had speeches, but Trump has pep ralllies. I think the pep rallies are indeed what we need right now.
That's all well and good, but Trump's problem seems to be, as I mentioned in that intro. post, that he thinks the talk is all that's necessary sometimes. Encouragement, when all about you, the media establishment puts out it's usual lies, is a good thing. It is no doubt very helpful in rallying the base to vote, but what good is voting if the politicians you successfully elect don't really do any good for you? That's what happened - two years of President Trump and a GOP House and Senate, and what ?? Nada. Nada whole lot. I wish the current President would use the bully pulpit and (yes, sigh..) even the tweets to target Americans to help him get the work done - "Impeach Judge X in this district in California." "Tell Congressman Y to vote YES on ABC, or you will not re-elect him." That would need some attention to detail, which Trump doesn't have, and his traitorous underlings refuse to take part in.
In their dealings with the Congress and the media, there is a difference in these men in the trust factor. Though I mentioned that President Trump has put TOO MUCH trust in his beltway-boy advisors that only want to continue the back-stabbing of Americans (along with the President himself), I think President Reagan had too much trust in another sense. As a midwest-raised, old-time Californian (back when it was populated with 80-90% regular Amricans), Mr. Reagan thought people in government and the press would keep their word. His misplaced trust here was especially bad in his dealings with the US Congress. President Trump, coming from his NYC big-real-estate-deal background is supposed to be a much better wheeler-dealer and not so naive. More on this with regard to policy will be in latter posts.
I mentioned this already, but it deserves more mention: President Reagan was a man of principle***. I have no doubt about that from my readings of his biography and his own writings. I never saw Donald Trump as a principled man, as that type of personality would not have helped him as a NY big shot personality and smoozer in his business. When he came out swinging against massive immigration in the summer of '15, that didn't matter so much. The immigration issue is existential, so, no matter what else, like a somewhat Statist mindset that he has, we could live with that. I still think his lack of principles wouldn't matter right now if he'd get the right people to do the job we've expected. His heart is in the right place, on the side of the average regular American, and I could also say the same for President Reagan.
* This vinyl album is all I could find on amazon, but I'd read an entire book, from the library, of the transcripts of some of this stuff - I cannot find it now.
** When asked about being too old to be President during his campaign for the 2nd term in 1984, President Reagan retorted "I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." This is one his most famous ones, with more here.
*** ... at least, that is, until after he was shot by John Hinkley early in his 1st term (only 2 1/2 months in). Was that possibly a hint from the Deep State that he'd better play ball? The more I learn about what happened with that assassination attempt, the more I think so. That could explain some of President Reagan's latter policies. He should never have hooked up with George H.W. Bush, CIA, and no, not "hooked up" in the modern sense, but it was probably more unseemly than that would have been.
[Updated 11/30, couple hours later:] Added
3rd/4th to last paragraphs on speeches and rallies.
[Update - 12/7:] Added short paragraph on trust,
to fortell more info in Part 3.