#NeverTrumps Stuck on Style over Substance

Ten months into the Trump presidency, #NeverTrumpers are still stuck in denial and anger, a long way from acceptance, the final step of grieving. Despite endless predictions that he wouldn’t be the nominee or that he wouldn’t win the election, here we are ten months into the era of Trump. Here’s a montage of the predictions if you want a laugh.

Many famous #NeverTrumpers have gone to ground since the election. Karl Rove makes only rare appearances on Fox News, only to comment on special elections. The Bushes only recently resurfaced, saying that they didn’t vote for Trump and that Pappy voted for Hillary Clinton. Bill Kristol, another famous #NeverTrumper, crawled out from under his neocon rock to tweet, “Donald Trump and Roy Moore are bringing out my inner liberal.” No surprise there. Many closet liberals have outed themselves over Trump.

Another noted #NeverTrump publication, National Review, offered up a surprising article, “This Thanksgiving, thank Donald J Trump.” Enough to make their readers choke on their turkey drumstick.

This Thanksgiving, Americans in general -- and free-market conservatives in particular -- have plenty for which to be grateful. And much of it would be absent had the White House’s current occupant not become president on November 8, 2016.

Wow! Quite the admission from one of the leading #NeverTrump publications. They listed his many accomplishments, virtually all from the conservative wish list. Concluding with, “Ten months down. Thirty-eight to go. The best is yet to come. Thank you, Mr. President!”

Indeed, he has accomplished much, despite ineptitude or sabotage from the GOP Congress, depending on how you view its lack of legislative accomplishment this year. If we had a different Republican president now, say, a President Jeb or a President Kasich, such a string of accomplishments would be lauded by all Republicans. Not so for President Trump.

Going further, if either of the past Presidents Bush had a fraction of the accomplishments of President Trump, how might things have played out differently?

George HW Bush might have won a second term, leaving Bill Clinton to grope women in Arkansas, or perhaps in the U.S. Senate along with Ted Kennedy and Al Franken. Rather than setting the stage for the sex scandals today that can be attributed to Clinton’s behavior and enabling by his wife, party and media. We would then most likely not have had his son George W, Obama or Trump as responses to previously failed presidencies.

So why the persistent resistance to and consternation over President Trump? Not his policies. Nor the economic recovery, roaring stock market, low unemployment, new found respect overseas and great judicial picks. All right out of the conservative wish list. The fuss is over his style.

Criticism from #NeverTrumpers invariably is over his “how”, not his “what”. His style. His tweets. His hitting back when attacked. Calling out hypocrisy. His honest responses, echoing what his supporters think but which a president should dare not say.

We all know about Trump’s tweets. The media is obsessed, covering each and every one, amplifying the reach of his already massive 43 million followers. Recent tweets include the dustup over the UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting sunglasses in China, begrudgingly showing gratitude to the President for saving them from a decade in a Chinese prison. Trump punching back again when one of the players father got involved.

Or his Time magazine Person of the Year turndown just days ago. As well as his frequenting opining about kneeling NFL players. His tweets reflecting what many Americans think but never hear on network or cable news. Or in local or national newspapers.

Don’t forget his name calling. Fake news CNN. Crooked Hillary. Little Rocket Man. And this week another jab at Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. Beneath the dignity of the office, they say. Senator Warren was outraged, over Trump calling her Pocahontas, yet had no problem with Bill Maher calling her the same while interviewing Warren on his TV show earlier this year.

Confirming again that the beef is with the messenger, not the message. Yet this style propelled Trump to the White House and continues to this day.

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon“ and “A good tactic is one your people enjoy“. 

It’s all about his style. As George HW Bush said, "I don't like him. I don't know much about him, but I know he's a blowhard. And I'm not too excited about him being a leader." Very telling. He doesn’t know much about him yet he doesn’t like him because he is a “blowhard”.

Sounds like the definition of prejudice, preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience.

Trump is unlike George W. Bush, who remained silent for eight years, letting the media characterize him as either Hitler or a chimp, never defending himself or his policies. Which gave us Obama and a Democrat Congress.

A Republican will never get a fair shake from the media. A successful president knows how to go around the wall of bias and fake news, as Reagan did. Would Reagan use Twitter if it existed at the time? You bet he would.

Not so Bill Clinton, who didn’t need to go around the media. The media was embedded with the Clintons. Ignoring his myriad scandals, attacking his critics. Even his “smartest woman in the world” wife observed that Bill “didn’t tweet” while in the White House. Missing the minor detail that Twitter wasn’t invented until a decade after he was president. Sort of like how she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, despite him being a New Zealand beekeeper at the time of her birth.

This is the era of social media. The new source of information, unfiltered by the “Piegate” CNN hacks. How ironic that a guy in his 70s is one of the most effective users of this new medium of communication. Going around a hostile media to speak directly to the American people.

Punching back at critics, not simply turning the other cheek. Not playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules when facing an opponent with a knife. Not the stodgy decorum of John McCain or Mitch McConnell. Though when advancing their agenda, they have no qualms about hitting below the belt. Whether McCain’s involvement in the fake Trump Russian dossier or McConnell promoting bogus allegations against Roy Moore.

Somehow that’s okay, and befitting national leaders, but using Twitter is not? Give me a break.

Their real beef with Trump is that he is effective. His tweets are on target, like a precision missile. Same with his comments about fake news or crooked Hillary or Pocahontas. What millions of Americans have been waiting for one of their elected representatives to say. Rather than hearing how undignified Trump is from the smug set at the Weekly Standard or National Review.

Republicans should learn from Trump rather than criticize him. If Ryan and McConnell had any sense, they would use social media to move their Congressional agenda, rather than play defense over media cackles of “tax cuts for the rich” and “taking away everyone’s health insurance”.

It’s a rough and tumble world. Trump understands this and is playing accordingly. #NeverTrumpers prefer to bring a water pistol to a gun fight, then wonder why they keep losing. Rather than celebrating the substance of Trump’s accomplishments, they prefer to remain in the peanut gallery, fussing over his style. Just as Bill Kristol observed about himself, Trump is bringing out the inner liberal in the NeverTrumpers.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter

Ten months into the Trump presidency, #NeverTrumpers are still stuck in denial and anger, a long way from acceptance, the final step of grieving. Despite endless predictions that he wouldn’t be the nominee or that he wouldn’t win the election, here we are ten months into the era of Trump. Here’s a montage of the predictions if you want a laugh.

Many famous #NeverTrumpers have gone to ground since the election. Karl Rove makes only rare appearances on Fox News, only to comment on special elections. The Bushes only recently resurfaced, saying that they didn’t vote for Trump and that Pappy voted for Hillary Clinton. Bill Kristol, another famous #NeverTrumper, crawled out from under his neocon rock to tweet, “Donald Trump and Roy Moore are bringing out my inner liberal.” No surprise there. Many closet liberals have outed themselves over Trump.

Another noted #NeverTrump publication, National Review, offered up a surprising article, “This Thanksgiving, thank Donald J Trump.” Enough to make their readers choke on their turkey drumstick.

This Thanksgiving, Americans in general -- and free-market conservatives in particular -- have plenty for which to be grateful. And much of it would be absent had the White House’s current occupant not become president on November 8, 2016.

Wow! Quite the admission from one of the leading #NeverTrump publications. They listed his many accomplishments, virtually all from the conservative wish list. Concluding with, “Ten months down. Thirty-eight to go. The best is yet to come. Thank you, Mr. President!”

Indeed, he has accomplished much, despite ineptitude or sabotage from the GOP Congress, depending on how you view its lack of legislative accomplishment this year. If we had a different Republican president now, say, a President Jeb or a President Kasich, such a string of accomplishments would be lauded by all Republicans. Not so for President Trump.

Going further, if either of the past Presidents Bush had a fraction of the accomplishments of President Trump, how might things have played out differently?

George HW Bush might have won a second term, leaving Bill Clinton to grope women in Arkansas, or perhaps in the U.S. Senate along with Ted Kennedy and Al Franken. Rather than setting the stage for the sex scandals today that can be attributed to Clinton’s behavior and enabling by his wife, party and media. We would then most likely not have had his son George W, Obama or Trump as responses to previously failed presidencies.

So why the persistent resistance to and consternation over President Trump? Not his policies. Nor the economic recovery, roaring stock market, low unemployment, new found respect overseas and great judicial picks. All right out of the conservative wish list. The fuss is over his style.

Criticism from #NeverTrumpers invariably is over his “how”, not his “what”. His style. His tweets. His hitting back when attacked. Calling out hypocrisy. His honest responses, echoing what his supporters think but which a president should dare not say.

We all know about Trump’s tweets. The media is obsessed, covering each and every one, amplifying the reach of his already massive 43 million followers. Recent tweets include the dustup over the UCLA basketball players caught shoplifting sunglasses in China, begrudgingly showing gratitude to the President for saving them from a decade in a Chinese prison. Trump punching back again when one of the players father got involved.

Or his Time magazine Person of the Year turndown just days ago. As well as his frequenting opining about kneeling NFL players. His tweets reflecting what many Americans think but never hear on network or cable news. Or in local or national newspapers.

Don’t forget his name calling. Fake news CNN. Crooked Hillary. Little Rocket Man. And this week another jab at Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. Beneath the dignity of the office, they say. Senator Warren was outraged, over Trump calling her Pocahontas, yet had no problem with Bill Maher calling her the same while interviewing Warren on his TV show earlier this year.

Confirming again that the beef is with the messenger, not the message. Yet this style propelled Trump to the White House and continues to this day.

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon“ and “A good tactic is one your people enjoy“. 

It’s all about his style. As George HW Bush said, "I don't like him. I don't know much about him, but I know he's a blowhard. And I'm not too excited about him being a leader." Very telling. He doesn’t know much about him yet he doesn’t like him because he is a “blowhard”.

Sounds like the definition of prejudice, preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience.

Trump is unlike George W. Bush, who remained silent for eight years, letting the media characterize him as either Hitler or a chimp, never defending himself or his policies. Which gave us Obama and a Democrat Congress.

A Republican will never get a fair shake from the media. A successful president knows how to go around the wall of bias and fake news, as Reagan did. Would Reagan use Twitter if it existed at the time? You bet he would.

Not so Bill Clinton, who didn’t need to go around the media. The media was embedded with the Clintons. Ignoring his myriad scandals, attacking his critics. Even his “smartest woman in the world” wife observed that Bill “didn’t tweet” while in the White House. Missing the minor detail that Twitter wasn’t invented until a decade after he was president. Sort of like how she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, despite him being a New Zealand beekeeper at the time of her birth.

This is the era of social media. The new source of information, unfiltered by the “Piegate” CNN hacks. How ironic that a guy in his 70s is one of the most effective users of this new medium of communication. Going around a hostile media to speak directly to the American people.

Punching back at critics, not simply turning the other cheek. Not playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules when facing an opponent with a knife. Not the stodgy decorum of John McCain or Mitch McConnell. Though when advancing their agenda, they have no qualms about hitting below the belt. Whether McCain’s involvement in the fake Trump Russian dossier or McConnell promoting bogus allegations against Roy Moore.

Somehow that’s okay, and befitting national leaders, but using Twitter is not? Give me a break.

Their real beef with Trump is that he is effective. His tweets are on target, like a precision missile. Same with his comments about fake news or crooked Hillary or Pocahontas. What millions of Americans have been waiting for one of their elected representatives to say. Rather than hearing how undignified Trump is from the smug set at the Weekly Standard or National Review.

Republicans should learn from Trump rather than criticize him. If Ryan and McConnell had any sense, they would use social media to move their Congressional agenda, rather than play defense over media cackles of “tax cuts for the rich” and “taking away everyone’s health insurance”.

It’s a rough and tumble world. Trump understands this and is playing accordingly. #NeverTrumpers prefer to bring a water pistol to a gun fight, then wonder why they keep losing. Rather than celebrating the substance of Trump’s accomplishments, they prefer to remain in the peanut gallery, fussing over his style. Just as Bill Kristol observed about himself, Trump is bringing out the inner liberal in the NeverTrumpers.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter

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