Regardless of politics, Obama is clearly the better leader. He's poised, an excellent public speaker, charismatic, and good at compromise. Trump lacks self-control, stating whatever pops into his head as his emotions dictate, undermining the efforts to compromise of both his enemies and his allies. His public speaking skills leave much to be desired, and, instead of being charismatic, he's massively unpleasant both in public and in private. Even if his policies really do make America "great" as he claims, it won't be because of his leadership skills.
While I'll agree President Obama was charismatic, he wasn't that good of a public speaker if he ever had to leave his prepared speech, and he wasn't good at compromise, look at the number of times he just ignored congress, the number of times he said that if he didn't get his way he'd act without congressional approval. That is not someone who's good at compromise.
Unlike President Obama, President Trump was never a politician he was a businessman and didn't worry about playing nice or that his words might effect things outside his world. But just because you happen to be unpleasant, arrogant, etc, doesn't mean you can't be a great leader or have leadership skills, you only have to look Steve Jobs, like President Trump, he could also be arrogant unpleasant, but he did lead apple to success.
I would argue that his interactions with Congress are a poor example of his ability to compromise, not because of any fault of his, but because he was faced with a Congress that would refuse to entertain any cooperation on his major legislation not because of its content but simply because it came from him. The ACA is the best example. Despite the fact that it was based off of a piece of Republican legislation Republicans vehemently opposed it, and now that Republicans are back in power, their solution to repeal it...has kept most of it in place.
They would repeatedly block him however he turned; his broad use of his executive power wasn't due to his lack of ability to compromise, but due to the fact that his opponents were unwilling to compromise.
And while YUNo is right that he never compromised his core ideals, from a policy perspective, Obama was somewhat of a centrist who, like Clinton, accomplished much of the Republican agenda. He was tough on terror (but not tough on Muslims), ushering in the drone strikes that are widely decried as indiscriminate killing (mostly by liberals). He tried to push through the TPP, a massive pro-globalization and pro-free trade deal (which historically has been a conservative position; the fact that the Republican party, on Trump's back, ahs now become anti-free-trade is totally bizarre). And despite the fact that he tried to improve the lives of immigrants, he also deported more of them than any other president.
And I agree, simply being unpleasant doesn't make you a bad leader. Johnson, for example, was horribly unpleasant and would use both his height and his penis to physically intimidate people into doing what he wanted. But Trump isn't only unpleasant. He's bullish and petulant. And not in a deliberate way, like Johnson. He simply seems unable to control what comes out of his mouth, which is why he constantly contradicts himself and communicates with the American people primarily in 140 characters or less. That lack of self-control, that instability, is what pushes him as a leader far below the level of Obama.
"Despite the fact that it was based off of a piece of Republican legislation." Kind of, in 1993 there was a Republican bill in the Senate that looked a whole lot like ACA, but it wasn’t the only GOP bill on health carel, it never came to a vote and plenty of Republicans didn’t like it. Now one of the big reason people oppose the ACA isn't the act, but how it was passed. Many see it as a back room deal to shut out debate, remember "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.” which to a lot of people meant "We don't trust you to read and understand the bill", or as some people saw it ,"Shut up we KNOW what's best for you." BTW there are better ways of give people health coverage.
"They would repeatedly block him however he turned" or Republicans would said they were unwilling to compromise their core principals, it just depends on who's side you're on. Someone who was good at compromise, would have found a way to bring the other side on board, not ram what they wanted down their throats. Someone once said "Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way." in this case you could as easily say "Compromise is the art of letting someone else have your way."
Free trade only works when, as the UK has found out, when the countries involved have very similar economies, if one country had a much lower standard of living, IE US vs Mexico, then you have job flight. In Mexico the auto manufactures pays between $8 and $10 an hour plus benefits, a new hire in the US will make $16 to $19 an hour, plus benefits it doesn't take an accountant to see that you can make much more profit by moving the jobs away. When the "free trade" was sold to the workers, they were told how many jobs it would create, how much better we'd have it, and even then many people where not convinced. Time has shown that we had massive job flight, life in the middle of the country didn't get better, so now there are many people who are almost anti-trade, and President Trump took advantage of that. And the illegal alien problem, liberal really missed out on that issue, even though President Obama deported more people, his stand on "dreamers" made it seem he was soft on the illegal alien problem. Many people think the law should be followed, and those breaking our immigration laws, those who are working in the US illegally should be deported. Many feel the hearing should be, "Are you here illegally, if yes then are you claiming asylum and if so on what ground?", and if asylum isn't granted they should be on the next flight out of the country.
"And I agree, simply being unpleasant doesn't make you a bad leader. Johnson,..." President Johnson, was a long time politician , he learned to keep his mouth shut and give non-answer answers, it one of the thing some people found refreshing about Trump, he spoke his mind, and sometime misspoke, said thing that people were thinking but didn't dare to say. Time will tell if he become a better politician and self edits himself, or not.
I'm not trying to argue the effectiveness or wisdom of Obama's policies; I'm only trying to show that his centrist principles left him open to Republican ideas. And no, I don't think it's valid to say that, by obstructing Obama, Republicans were only sticking to their core values. Garland is a great example. He's liberal-leaning for sure, but altogether moderate, reasonable, and relatively non-partisan. But Republicans didn't reject him. They refused to even give him a hearing. They didn't even want to talk about it, and instead kept Garland in limbo for an amount of time unprecedented in US history.
Garland is a perfect example of why Obama was forced to go over the heads of Congress. Every time he would try to move towards the middle, they would back away and try to wash their hands of him. Compromise is certainly the art of letting someone else have their way. Obama was repeatedly open to that. But compromise is impossible if one side doesn't want to compromise at all, and would rather shut down the government than have a discussion (and yes, I realize Democrats are now pulling the same threat for Trump, and I think it's equally as indefensible no matter which side you're on).
"They refused to even give him a hearing. " Vice President Biden said that President Bush should delay filling a Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, until election was over, and that it was “essential” that the Senate refuse to confirm a nominee to the court until then. Of course they never had to refuse a nominee, but they did say the Senate should refuse to confirm. Funny how opinions change when your side is in power, and yes both sides do that, one rule for them, and another for us.
The democrats and republicans have shut the government down many times in the past (I think we're up to 18 or 19 times now), but given that the Senate and House moved from Democrat control to Republican, that should have been a clue that the people felt President Obama was on the wrong track. It's also why I'm not worried about President Trump, if we the people feel he's on the wrong track, we will vote the other side in to BLOCK him. That's what many Republicans thought when they got into off, they were voted in to stop President Obama and his programs, and I'm sure if we vote Democrats in they should / will feel the same way.
The big problem isn't the President, but that there aren't any great statesmen to bring a compromise together. In the past there have almost always been a few statesmen to pull the strings to get things done. But, like many times in the past, we once again a them vs us, or we're right and know best, and they don't.
I couldn't agree more. The them vs. us mentality, the one-rule-for-us and another-for-them, dominates politics. I was unaware of what Biden did, but thank you for letting me know. I don't think his actions are any more justified than what Republicans did.
I share your sentiment about Trump as well. Although I am worried about the damage he could do, I also know that, realistically, anything he does could be undone by simply voting the other way. That being said, I'm significantly more concerned about the ways that his election has legitimized racist, fear-ridden populist rhetoric that before had been brewing under the surface. To be clear, I'm not calling Trump supporters racist, but it's hard to deny the recent resurgence of hate crimes and white supremacy that have been emboldened by his election. As a Jew whose synagogue has been defaced with Nazi symbolism before, I'm concerned not only for myself, but for my Muslim friends and Mexican friends who much of the nation seems to have turned against. I fear that that cultural shift cannot be as easily undone as a piece of legislation.
And as for our lack of great statesmen, I think part of that is the fact that our system doesn't easily accommodate centrists or people willing to compromise. The people who show up to primaries, and, for that matter, who show up to vote in the general, are the people who care enough about politics and are invested enough in politics to be there. We have a system that holds our elected officials accountable to the outspoken extremes, not to the middle-of-the-road that they mostly represent. Now, if you go in saying "I want to compromise and not conform to extremes" you're going to lose to the person saying "I will stay strong and never give in to the enemy." Even if your way would lead to better governing, nobody's going to be excited enough to show up to vote for you.
The obvious solution would be to take steps to increase voter turnout. Make it easier to vote, make it more convenient to vote by declaring voting day a holiday or moving it to a weekend, widespread efforts to get people to register, etc, could all be helpful.
But of course, that wouldn't solve the problem by itself. The internet allows us to live in a "bubble" of our own beliefs, constantly reinforcing data, true or false, with more data that fits our worldview. I tried to read a lot of conservative news outlets during this election cycle, and it's helped me understand the opposing viewpoint. While much of my community was complacent to label every Trump voter a "racist," I tried to convince them that they had legitimate grievances that needed addressing. But I'm young and my ideas are still fluid. Older people who've believed something their entire lives cannot be so easily convinced.
I had a talk with my conservative grandmother, for example (but I'm not calling out conservatives, Democrats do this too), and her answer to everything was that it must simply be biased against her. I'd give her a fact check, she'd say it was biased. I'd give her a news article, she said that the media had a liberal agenda. I'd cite a study or an economist, and she'd say that liberal academia can't be trusted. Everywhere I turned she had some reason to discount facts and evidence that didn't see the world the same way she did.
Of course, I didn't push it too much. She's my grandmother after all, and even if I disagree with her I want to be respectful. But the same story applies to both sides. See a fact you don't like? Throw it out. Although I do have to argue, as someone who tried to read news from both sides during the election, Trump-supporting conservatives did this far more. Trump convinced them that everything the media says is a lie, and only to trust him (despite the fact that he never cites his sources). So ultimately we had an election where Clinton had the reputation of being the liar while Trump had the reputation of "telling it as it is," when a quick look at any fact checker reveals the opposite to be true.
It wasn’t justified; I found it funny how the Democrats screamed when the Republican did what they suggested first. Yes congress should have had a hearing at least.
… but it's hard to deny the recent resurgence of hate crimes and white supremacy that have been emboldened by his election. As a Jew whose synagogue…”
That type of hate has always been with us, but I would contend that the PC culture that has been forced on people for years made it worst rather than better. I have a long post about this in another answer, but in a nut shell, it forced people to shut up and stopped the conversations we needed to have. It basically drove people under ground where they only met with other people who shared the same views, and who re-enforce their beliefs.
“And as for our lack of great statesmen, I think part of that is the fact that our system doesn't easily accommodate centrists or people willing to compromise…”
Personally I feel the problem is both side are listening to the extremes and pandering to them. When the Democrats lost the Senate and House, did they think they might need to compromise on some issues and move to the center; no they went even more extreme.
“.. "I want to compromise and not conform to extremes…”
It depends on how say “I want to compromise.” If, in this case, the Democrats would have come forward and said, “We need a government that works, a smaller more responsive government, one that lets our country work for the people, not against the people. A country that will give the people the most freedom, with the least amount of interference from the government.” I feel they would have had a good chance of winning, they would have had lots of room to compromise, without saying we give up.
“I tried to convince them that they had legitimate grievances that needed addressing. But I'm young and my ideas are still fluid. Older people who've believed something their entire lives cannot be so easily convinced.”
As for older people, I’m one BTW, have lived through a lot, so we have experience, we’ve heard the lies, the promises that are never fulfilled.
“..the media had a liberal agenda.”
Well, some in the media have come out and said in this last election they were basically an arm of the elect Hillary campaign. And there are studies that show the media in general is liberal, and as an older person I and I’m sure your grandmother have figured out that “studies” generally agree with whoever is paying for it. .
“ So ultimately we had an election where Clinton had the reputation of being the liar…”
Hillary would never lie, of course she was under sniper fire in Bosnia, she never sent classified E-mail from her home server, she wasn’t ill….”
Yes, Trump said a lot of stuff off the cuff, but the people saw how the press brushed over Hillary’s issues, while taking aim at Trump. Add to what people saw as a backroom deal in the DNC to run Hillary over Sanders, and all the other baggage Hillary had, plus the baggage from Bill, and you have a candidate that would have had a hard time winning.
Now do I trust Trump, no more or no less, than I trusted Obama, (I reread some of my old post and noticed that I’ve started using President Obama and President Trump lately, so to be consistent I’m dropping the title President when talking about Trump or Obama as I generally only said Obama when talking about President Obama), I’ll wait and see, and if I don’t like what I see I’ll vote to stop Trump.
"I’ll wait and see, and if I don’t like what I see I’ll vote to stop Trump."
I think that's the best, most reasonable thing that any American can do in this situation. Overall, I think we agree more than we disagree, so I'm having a tough time finding ways to continue this conversation (which is fantastic, by the way; thank you for your time).
That being said, there are still a few things that I think we could continue to talk about.
First, on your point about PC culture, I agree completely. I think that it largely arises out of a sense of white guilt for the plight of minorities, and is a way for liberals to feel better, to feel that they're not contributing to the problem, without actually doing anything substantive at all. And I think you're right; it serves little practical purpose other than pissing people off and pushing legitimate racists together.
Beyond that, PC culture is one of the main contributors to an overall sense of superiority among liberals, especially during this last election cycle, that led to an unfortunate amount of condescension and labeling towards supporters of Trump. I feel like a lot of people voted for Trump not because they wanted to, but because they wanted to strike back at the liberals who were, to be quite frank, being jerks to them.
Had liberals advocated for smaller government, then yes, it would've been much easier to compromise. But only because they would have ceased to be liberal. That highlights one of the core differences between Democrats and Republicans in this country, and one of the most difficult barriers for either side to overcome to understand their opponents.
The Republican perspective was well summarized when Reagan said "Government is the problem." Conservatives believe in a smaller government as a matter of principle and as a matter of philosophy, because they believe that more government must necessarily impede and hinder the rights of individuals and the flow of a free society. They believe that smaller government is inherently better.
But Democrats don't think like that. Democrats don't think in terms of big or small government. Democrats think in terms of helpful or not-helpful government. It's not so much a matter of philosophy (you mostly don't see Democrats attacking capital-S capital-G Small Government in the same way that Republicans attack capital-B capital-G Big Government) as it is a matter of utility. Democrats believe that the government can be a tool to improve society, to help people, and to increase people's freedoms.
So when Trump proposes a rule that two regulations must be repealed for every one created, or when Sean Spicer shows off the AHCA by comparing the page count with the ACA, Democrats get confused. For us, that seems arbitrary. If those regulations or pages are helping people, why repeal them? If they're not necessary, then why not attack them based on their content rather than saying "this is a regulation, and regulations are bad, so therefore this must be bad"? Because we are driven by utility and not philosophy, the philosophically-driven arguments of Republicans are often lost on us.
But the same story also plays in reverse. There's a not-infrequent narrative that liberals strive to take people's freedoms, to strive towards Socialism, or to peddle the narrative of Big Government. But that narrative simply misunderstands how liberals are thinking. This narrative gained more traction with Bernie Sanders, a Democratic Socialist, gaining so much momentum among Democrats. But it seems like few in both parties actually bothered to Google what "Democratic Socialism" is. Despite its misleading name, it bears little resemblance to actual Socialism.
Of course, few liberals would argue that an unnecessary or over-encumbering regulation should stay in place just for the heck of it. That's something we can both agree on. Democrats, like Republicans, believe in maximizing personal freedoms. But they believe in doing it in very different ways.
First, and unarguably, Democrats are more encouraging of freedom in the social sphere. From gay marriage to marijuana legalization, Democrats seem to more frequently advocate the "if it doesn't affect you, then who cares?" attitude. There are exceptions, of course, like gun control, but in general, there's a reason why Libertarians often describe themselves as economically conservative but socially liberal.
Second, Democrats have a somewhat different definition of freedom. If the government comes in and grabs, say, $50 million from the pocket of a rich person who makes $100 million a year...a Republican would say that this impedes upon this person's freedom to own property and to spend it how they choose. A Democrat would agree. But a Democrat would also argue that this $50 million could be used to, say, provide scholarships for 1000 poor students who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford college. This money grants these 1000 kids the freedom to pursue what they want in life, to try to get an education and a job that maximizes their potential. Their freedom to pursue the American dream was limited by a circumstance of their birth: how much money their family makes. This $50 million has "unlocked" these 1000 students, and granted them the freedom to pursue life how they wish.
Meanwhile, for that one rich person, maybe now they can't buy that resort that they wanted. Substantively, however, with their remaining income of $50 million a year, they can still buy pretty much whatever they want without worrying about it. In terms of what they are and are not able to do in life, their freedoms really haven't been restricted.
Anyway, I know that was a long tangent. Continuing on...
Some in the media have indeed said that they were an arm of the Hillary campaign (hi, Buzzfeed), but in general, though the media has a definite liberal bias, a lot of what was considered being "harsh" or "unfair" to Trump was in reality just parroting exactly what he said. Trump would say something that contradicted a previous statement, or would be blatantly false, the media would call him out on it, and he'd get mad and say they were out to get him. Again, that's not to say that the media was compeltely impartial on Trump; they certainly weren't, but let's not pretend that they were particlarly soft on Hillary. In my opinion, in order to look more unbiased, they over-compensated on covering her.
The email scandal is the best example. She was cleared by the FBI not once but twice. No charges. She was irresponsible, and she lied about, but she wasn't a criminal. End of story. But the media kept bringing it up again and again, partially because it's actually fairly tough to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton. Benghazi? Multiple Republican-led investigations cleared her of any wrongdoing, and she took responsibility anyway. Ties to Wall-Street? Ummm, yeah I guess, but there's no evidence that this "corrupted" her. Not much of a news story there. Clinton Foundation donations while Secretary of State? Again, not much evidence actually linking her to any wrongdoing, and considering the Clinton Foundation's mostly-excellent (mostly) reputation, again, not much of a story there.
And yes, Clinton did and does lie. You gave some excellent examples yourself, especially in regards to the email scandal. But when stacked up against Trump, both the number and the scale of the lies seem inconsequential. Trump was able to convince the country, for example, that our economy is in shambles and that crime is rampant, when in reality the economy is doing alright and crime has been on the decline. He was able to convince people that his inauguration had massive attendance, when there are actual ariel photos showing the opposite to be true. He was able to look facts and statistics in the face and say "No," and people believed him.
But you're right. Hillary had the "liar" reputation on her shoulders before she even began. She had the Clinton name and the robotic persona, the DNC scandal, and, most importantly, the image of the rehearsed inauthentic career politician in a political climate where we (both sides) favor the exact opposite. As you said, she was the only possible person who could lose to Trump.
As for promises unfulfilled, you're older and wiser, and obviously I can't and don't disagree with you on that. I can see why the older population, who's had experience with a system that doesn't seem to work, would want to shake it up. But it seems to me that people were so interested in a change that they didn't care how it changed. Instead of voting for the status quo (which, let's be honest, does work on a basic level; we are still the world superpower after all) and waiting four years for a better option, decided to throw a wrench into the gears of the machine and hope that, at the very least, the gears flying off in every which-way would be something different. This is tragic to me because, in their interest for pure change, a lot of Trump supporters voted a man into office who would change things against their interests, and whose policies are projected to make their lives worse.
And that's because there are some hard truths that many in his constituency didn't want to hear, and that no politician was willing to tell them. Those manufacturing jobs that supplied dignified, well-paying labor in the past? They aren't coming back. No matter what you do. A developed nation simply cannot compete in any meaningful way with a labor force willing to work for a dollar a day in squalid conditions. So out of desperation they voted for a person who said "I can fix it" and it saddens me that I think they'll be disappointed.
There are jobs in this country. But they don't exist in rural America anymore. They exist in Silicon Valley, they exist in hospitals and doctor's offices, and they exist on the internet. But the ideal of the hardworking down-to-earth American isn't sustainable in a modern economy. I can't help but think that many Americans voted for Trump out of nostalgia for that dream, to make America great (for them) like it used to be.
Don't know where I was going with this. Doesn't matter at this point, just part of the discussion. Sorry about the length of this reply, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
I thought his unwillingness to compromise his ideals was quite inspirational and something to be admired, given the circumstances.
I would be as impressed if Donald Trump would be able to find a compromise with the ones opposing his most extreme views.
But, when conservatives do the same thing they are branded as obstructionist. It depends on who's side you're on, if they are standing up for something you believe in, then they are standing on principal, if they are opposing what you want then they are obstructionist. In either case that's not someone who's good at compromise, there are ways to set things up so that both sides, win.
Take roommates for example, they are renting an apartment and agree to split everything 50/50, so far so good, but one bed room is bigger and has it own bathroom, who get that? They could fight and both say they get the nicer room, or they could compromise, one person could suggest that whoever gets the bigger room would pay 10% more then let the other person decide which room they wanted, a win, win. The person who get the bigger room pays a little more, and the other person get a little reduction in rent.
I suppose that an external factor for me in deciding whether someone is acting on principles or is being obstructionist, is their attitude towards science and facts. I find it hard to take politicians seriously when they deny the historical existence of dinosaurs, for example. To me, this is a predictor for them being obstructionist towards truth, which reflects their politics/policies/progress.
The dilemma you've proposed is clarifying but not as complex as the post-Iraq invasion and its aftermath, rendering the US into one of the most hated countries in the world (for at least a while). People were expecting improvement on so many levels; there was hardly any room/time left for compromise, should one even have considered that [as an option].
Well, once they go off the deep end of non-science ie "deny the historical existence of dinosaurs" or that the earth is only 5,000 years old and some being put the fossils there for us to find (which doesn't make any sense but there are people who think the earth is flat. But as long as they haven't drank the kook-aid and gone off the deep end there is a lot of wiggle room in science.
"...rendering the US into one of the most hated countries in the world ..."
On another board I have a long post about this, the US is damn if we do damn if we don't. If the US gets involved, the how DARE the US impose it will on another country, if the US doesn't get involved then how can the US just STAND there and do nothing. It's not a unique problem, people, counties want to blame others for their problems. If "they" would stop or if they would just step in we wouldn't be suffering. If the US stood by the didn't stop Saddam, then the US would be blamed for NOT stepping in because of it's past support for Saddam, (there are people who say that the US and Great Britain should be held responsible for the atrocities under Saddam given their past support and the fact they didn't stop him at the time), so should the US stayed out of Iraq?