Presidential Imperfection

This morning I scanned the news and was amused by one commentary which went to great lengths to diagnose the mental conditions held by our new president.  Just out of curiosity I checked his credentials and did not see a degree in psychology among them.

The President certainly is interesting.  However, I believe it is foolishness to expect any president to be perfect.  The common pattern of behavior by politicians is to present a façade of perfection.  Therefore, the real choice is not between perfect and imperfect, but instead between transparent and guarded.

With transparency comes a sea of criticism, but at the same time there is the chance to understand the person as an individual. With a guarded persona comes an assurance they will always be professional in public, but at the same time you may never be able to understand or trust what they are doing in private.

Given those choices I am willing to accept the president who allows his true self to be seen, even though I don’t always endorse the character displayed.

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Presidential De-Proclamation

President Barak Obama became somewhat famous for legislating with the pen. He didn’t produce as many proclamations as some presidents, but he did press the power of proclamation into the realm of putting forth as new laws. But law making is the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, not the executive.

As this happened many people across the nation were dismayed, myself included.

But as the pendulum has swung, I am now beginning to see the benefits in him having behaved in this manner.  Namely that whatever he did with the power of the presidential pen, can be undone with the same power, by the new president.

Just think how much more difficult it would be to correct these actions if they had been legally enacted by the legislature.

This should be a lesson for all of America including those who will be shortly taking control. There is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things.  If you take the time, and respect the process, by doing things right your actions may stand the test of time.  Take shortcuts and they may short lived.

Political Caricatures

Politicians have a difficult road to travel. The average voter wants assurances from the candidate that they will behave in office in certain ways. For example, a prolife voter wants him to vote in opposition to abortion. A Second Amendment voter will want him to vote against gun control.

This causes the candidate to affirm his position for them, generally in strong terms. The stronger the better, and without reference to any specifics that might muddy the water. Pretty soon the candidate begins to look like a caricature.

Just like a cartoonist might draw Richard Nixon as having a big nose, or Barack Obama as having large ears, a politician’s platform begins to look like a caricature. Bernie Sanders appears to be a caricature of a socialist giving away your property to the less fortunate and Donald Trump embodies a caricature of conservative politics sitting atop his border fence with a shotgun on his hip, keeping out illegals but bringing back jobs.

These strong characterizations might be useful on Election Day, but it will always create disappointment after the election. Politicians must become real people sooner or later. Real people must negotiate, compromise, and choose when and where to draw the line on compromise. Without these skills we will continue to have deadlock in government.

I suggest voters take the first steps to break these stalemates by refusing to be aligned with the unwavering inhumanity of the political caricatures.

Donald Trump as President

I have been watching the rise of Donald Trump’s positioning in the polls with a growing sense of dread.

Many people see him as the cure for all that ails America. I don’t. In fact, I see him as having the same problems we have with our current president. Although I come a lot closer to agreeing with him on the positions he is espousing than I have with President Obama, I see him as having the same weaknesses of methodology, which I do not want to see in the white house again.

First, I suspect that what he verbalizes as his views are mostly for the sake of getting elected. He knows how to say what the listeners want to hear. What he actually will seek to accomplish after being elected, may or may not be what he says he is going to do.

Second, I suspect that he will work around opponents rather than seeking to negotiate or compromise with them. Predictably he will do this in two fronts. Publically he will demonize his political opponents. This is made easier by the press. Since media outlets are as divided as political parties, the deceit of the tactic is never brought to light and the claims are dismissed by supporters as political rancor. While this will get things done, it will also continue to divide America.

Less publically I expect he will ignore the normal processes of government and continue expanding the power of the presidency. We don’t need an executive officer who believes he can lead the country through presidential proclamations.

We need to return to legislation and work through the processes defined in the constitution. Seen in this light, and recognizing that this is the character the candidate has presented thus far, I believe he is not the solution to our problems but will serve as the continuation of them.