Politicians as Folk Heroes?
A few months ago, Charles Blow -- the trite, tiresome, ponderous NY Times columnist who is the poster child for clichéd, predictable liberal talking points -- wrote an article about how President Trump has become something of a folk hero to some of his supporters. The actual substance of Blow’s article is banal and forgettable, as always, but the topic he broaches is fascinating.
A “folk hero” is a figure, mythical or real, who is well known and widely admired by the people of a particular culture or nation. By that definition, it certainly could be said that President Trump qualifies, since his most devoted supporters are unusually enthusiastic. Trump’s rallies are unquestionably unique political events and the attendees definitely regard the President with far more than the usual ardor commonly accorded an elected official.
However, if President Trump is a folk hero, then President Obama was unquestionably an even bigger one. President Trump’s popularity stems from both his devil-may-care approach and his actual policy accomplishments. But President Obama’s cultlike popularity was the result of simply who he was, not what he did.
To his acolytes, the notion of Obama was by far his most appealing attribute. He was the first minority President. He was articulate and smooth-talking, in refreshingly direct contrast to his tangle-tongued predecessor, George W. Bush. He would uphold all the traditional Democratic tenets and positions, while enabling guilt-ridden limousine liberals to demonstrate their “I’m not prejudiced” bonafides. There is no question that the concept of a President Obama ended up being far more important than his actual performance and policies. GDP (looked at in an historical context as a recovery from a recession), the national poverty rate, food-stamp usage, black unemployment, energy production, Iran and North Korea's ascension to nuclear power status, our relations with Israel, military preparedness, disrespect/demonization of law enforcement, everything of major national importance declined and worsened during his eight-year tenure.
Yet, he undeniably attained "Folk Hero" status among the Left and the liberal media. Liberal MSNBC cheerleader Chris Matthews famously spoke of getting a “thrill up his leg” from Obama and called him “perfect.” Other media types were equally effusive in their never-ending praise and their complete willingness to overlook his shortcomings and outright intentional lies (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”). Even the everyday, politically-unthinking liberal on the street loved him for his image and demeanor. A friend of ours -- a perfectly fine, warm person but the most casual, uncritical follower of national political and economic matters, to put it mildly -- said to me in conversation, “Obama? By far the best President of my lifetime. No one will ever be better.” When I asked why, he simply responded with a smile and said, “Because you can just tell.”
President Trump has attained a similar status among some of his supporters as well, for his solid economic achievements, his directness, rejection of pointless, distracting PC-ism and taking on previously untouched sacred cows. But it’s nothing like the Left’s near-hysterical infatuation with Obama.
However, either way -- Trump or Obama -- the very idea of President-as-Folk-Hero, is incredibly irrelevant. It misses the mark completely. Results are all that count. Not personality.
- Is the economy better or not?
- Can your kids find good jobs or not?
- Is our military stronger or not?
- Is NATO finally paying their fair share or not?
- Are we now the world's number one oil producer or not?
- Do we lead the world -- by a mile! -- in CO2 emissions reductions or not?
- Are we finally standing up to China and refusing to let them rip us off in trade and intellectual property or not?
- Is our unemployment at a 50-year low or not?
- Is black and Hispanic unemployment at an all-time historic low or not?
- Is the Dow 26,000 now vs. 19,800 on Jan 20, 2017 or not? Remember, millions of middle-class blue-collar state and municipal workers -- teachers and firemen -- have their pensions wrapped up in the stock market. Don't fall for the clichéd ruse of, "The stock market only matters to rich Republicans."
These are actual results that affect people's lives day in and day out. They have nothing to do with "folk hero" status. Trump is a results president.
There is an unapologetically hard-hitting, unshakable truism that everyone should remember, and they should use it to evaluate the ability of the people in their daily lives to see past mere surface appearances:
"Style is the refuge of the unintellectual."
Do not be influenced by "style.” No one should be your folk hero. Results are the only thing that matters in life -- to the intellectual. Did your child get the job? Can you afford to buy sufficient food and gasoline? Do we have enough F-35s to keep us safe? Those are the products of results, not style.
People would do well to look at which side of the results/style fence they reside. If they even realize there's a fence at all.