Should a President be loved?

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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06 February 2020 20:05
 

Never in my life have I had the sense that the sitting U.S. President was overwhelmingly loved and supported. Generally they are appreciated and tolerated by their own party and mostly hated by the opposing party. Sometimes for thoughtful reasons but often it seems like more of a sport. Particularly with recent administrations. I have my complaints to be sure but, at the same time there seems a particular subculture of strident partisan who not only hate an official of the opposing party but bend every available fact on the table, relevant or not into the service of reinforcing it. I think broadcast pundits should accept a lot of the blame for this. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it.

My dad told me once that the last President to be truly loved by a majority of Americans was Kennedy. This seems true enough from the evidence I’ve been able to gather. Many retirees that I’ve spoken with affirm as much. Say we grant that was true was he a good President for objective reasons? My own relatively uninformed opinion so far is no. I’m happy to concede this to the best available evidence.

What I’m curious is about is whether consensus support makes a leader better. Again, my basic intuition says no. I think scrutiny and resistance and disapproval are probably good for a free society given the common weaknesses of people in positions of power generally. Now, this isn’t an all or nothing affair. I don’t support grasping at straws to validate visceral hatred. I don’t endorse conspiracy thinking. I hate that so many people are comfortable making personal remarks and even attacking families. But the strident and consistent criticism of job performance, on balance, is a good thing. Shining a light on the ever present threat of power creep is a good thing. Leaders who have too much popular support are, historically the worst of all.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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07 February 2020 02:46
 

Political love is earned by some leaders and needed or required by others. It can, in both directions, inspire or wash the brain with poison.

If you haven’t seen the ad for Trumpy Bear yet, prepare yourself.

 
 
Ola
 
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Ola
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10 February 2020 03:02
 

Kennedy lived in an interesting time. Enough people who still believed in the concept of loyalty to a leader and old fashioned patriotism, and enough people who didn’t! Now America seems to me (an outside uneducated observer) to have a difficult, perhaps impossible, set up: one human, The President, is a political entity that is also supposed to act as a national emblem. How can this ever be reconciled with rational or critical thinking?

In Ireland and in the UK this has been dealt with by separating the National Figurehead from the Political Leader.

In the UK, and Commonwealth, people love their Queen. They don’t necessarily love the whole royal family, or the set up, but even some anti-monarchists respect her, and her role.

And in Ireland, where we get to elect a non-political National Figurehead every 7 years, we fall in love with our Presidents, while reserving the right to mock or even loathe our Taoiseach.

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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11 February 2020 11:39
 

Should a President be loved?  To see adoring throngs, move cursor to 1 minute - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRSwWuVtHF4

“This vulgar man has squandered our decency.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/07/this-vulgar-man-has-squandered-our-decency/

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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11 February 2020 12:40
 

Loving politicians is a terrible idea. Because loving leads to fucking, and guess who gets fucked? (Hint: not the politicians.)

 
 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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12 February 2020 11:39
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 February 2020 12:40 PM

Loving politicians is a terrible idea. Because loving leads to fucking, and guess who gets fucked? (Hint: not the politicians.)

To better understand those who love Trump . . . those hardy souls who line up outside in the cold for a chance to attend his rallies . . . those 63 million devotees who voted for him in 2016 and who stand by him . . . to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part . . . and therefore I pledge myself to you Donald.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-the-fox-news-white-house

Trump became famous, in no small part, because of Rupert Murdoch. After Murdoch bought the New York Post, in 1976, he was introduced to Trump through a mutual acquaintance, Roy Cohn, the infamous legal fixer, who, as a young man, was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel. Cohn saw the potential for tabloid synergy: Trump could attain celebrity in the pages of the Post as a playboy mogul, and Murdoch could sell papers by chronicling Trump’s exploits.

In private, Murdoch regarded Trump with disdain, seeing him as a real-estate huckster and a shady casino operator. But, for all their differences, the two men had key traits in common. They both inherited and expanded family enterprises—an Australian newspaper; an outer-borough New York City real-estate firm—but felt looked down upon by people who were richer and closer to the centers of power. As Edward Luce, of the Financial Times, has noted, both men have tapped into anti-élitist resentment to connect with the public and to increase their fortunes. Trump and Murdoch also share a transactional approach to politics, devoid of almost any ideology besides self-interest.

Murdoch could not have foreseen that Trump would become President, but he was a visionary about the niche audience that became Trump’s base.

See this article to understand how Fox News became the Voice of Trump - his own TV channel - the ‘go to’ news source for nearly half the U.S. population.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/03/11/the-making-of-the-fox-news-white-house

 

[ Edited: 12 February 2020 11:43 by unsmoked]
 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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12 February 2020 22:45
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 February 2020 12:40 PM

Loving politicians is a terrible idea. Because loving leads to fucking, and guess who gets fucked? (Hint: not the politicians.)

Agreed. Love for leaders out of proportion to love for ordinary people is a relic of primitive society. I think elected officials are better thought of as employees like any other employee. Hired to do a job. Retained or dismissed based on job performance. Neither loved nor hated.