Must A President Be Likeable To Be Successful?

It was inevitable that the death of George H.W. Bush would lead to endearing comments by politicians and world leaders about his wonderful personality and statesmanlike demeanor. As expected, Bush’s passing has fueled comparisons of him to our current president.

The two men could not be any different. George Bush was the 41st president of the United States, Vice President to Ronald Reagan, Director of the CIA, Special Envoy to China, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, US Ambassador to the United Nations and a Member of the House of Representatives. He was also a decorated Navy pilot in World War II. No man or woman has ever been more prepared to assume the role of Commander-In-Chief than George Bush.

Trump told voters that his detachment from Washington and lack of government experience were his greatest assets (really?). He has been a real estate maven for decades and purportedly earned billions of dollars in the process. His corporate experiences did not prepare him for what happened after his election, as we all know. The administration frequently has trouble coordinating efforts, and Trump’s advisors cannot control his emotional responses to everyday life in the White House.

From a personal perspective Bush was known as a kind man who bonded with all those around him, allies and opponents alike. He’s always been known as a good friend to many of the most respected people in Washington regardless of their political affiliations. Trump is a loner whose relationships with others are based upon whether they can be helpful to him.

George Bush was a winner and a loser politically, as he was denied a second term by Bill Clinton. After being defeated he left a note in White House to his adversary (that has gone viral) wishing him great success as the new president. Trump would never be so magnanimous.

The question Americans must ask themselves is whether a president’s likeability really matters. Can we ever be happy with a self-aggrandizing, narcissistic introvert as president if he or she can get the job done?

In spite of the bad feelings regarding Trump that cover a wide spectrum including misogyny, racism, xenophobia, elitism, ethnocentrism, nationalism and much more, he has been doing a good job in many regards. Making friends is not one of his strong points. He does not think it’s critical.

Despite all of his shortcomings the president is determined to keep the promises he made two years ago as a candidate. He is ruthless with anyone who makes attaining his goals difficult. And, arguably, Trump is the most transparent president in history. He has benefited by having Twitter at his disposal to express his opinions at any time of the day in the solace of the White House. Trump is a master of making the news cycle work for him regardless of what other issues are affecting the country and the world.

The president never gives up on any mission. He continues to press forward in the wake of vicious personal and disrespectable attacks by liberals and the press. The man’s determination is second to none. It will be interesting to see how history treats Trump especially if he continues to move America forward.

What does Trump really want to accomplish? For one thing he wants America to be the strongest and most formidable force in the world. How can anyone argue with this objective in the light of what’s happening in so many places? Hasn’t America learned that might makes right? Do dangerous regimes, dictators, terrorists and criminals respond to anything other than brutal force? All Americans understand this, so why aren’t Trump’s efforts to make us stronger every day and to build a fearsome military applauded.

Domestically you cannot find a greater cheerleader than Donald Trump. He calls out American companies who are sending jobs overseas. He pleads with corporate executives to spend and hire more workers. He made it more profitable for American businesses by lowering tax rates. He encouraged Americans to buy by lowering taxes on the middle class. And he aggressively attacks trade agreements that benefit other countries at the expense of America.

For years our leaders have ignored unfair trade arrangements. Why would our leaders agree to tariffs that are less than those imposed by America? It makes no sense. Why would our leaders allow technology to be stolen by Chinese manufacturers? How can there be free trade in the world when other countries protect their domestic companies while US allows subsidized products from abroad to enter the country with no tariffs? Trump has exposed the problems and is working to make US goods more competitive.

Trump is the greatest advocate of a strong border. Our country will not be secure without proper vetting of applications for visas and citizenship. This doesn’t mean America will no longer be a melting pot of diverse nationalities. What other country has been more generous to immigrants than the US?

The problem is that for several decades our leaders have turned a blind eye to immigrants illegally crossing our border. They have ignored the incredible burden that 20 million people have put on state and local governments as they take jobs and in effect overwhelm our troubled medical and educational systems. Notwithstanding all of this, most people, even conservatives, have agreed to allow those illegals already in the country to stay with just a few conditions.

One is that they must be law abiding and pay taxes. Another is that everyone should agree that not one more illegal alien can come into the country. If this means a wall, let’s get it done. All the talk about disbanding the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency needs to end immediately. And the sanctuary city and state efforts should be abandoned. They are insulting to all Americans.

Trump has forcefully dealt with aggressive leaders of other countries while trying to maintain good relationships, a monumental task. At times this strategy seems choppy, lauding a leader while imposing sanctions on his country. But it’s a complicated world.

Trump can be that president who forsakes comity and good relations for results, if Americans give him a chance. Yet it’s doubtful that history will ever reward this unique leadership style.

 

 

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