Think about it: would you rather have an elected leader who’s nice or one who’s effective?
The answer likely depends on who you ask – and which political party they ascribe to – but in this day and age when politics is perpetually nasty and competitive, being “nice” doesn’t necessarily win a person long lasting support. Let me be clear: being “nice” doesn’t preclude anyone from being effective, but respect is often earned by leaders who are liked the least.
We don’t know who will be on the presidential ballot next year, but chances are, the establishment media will depict one of the candidates as “nice” and a “great, generous soul, grandfatherly, ol’ lunch bucket or everyone’s favorite uncle” while the other contender will be shown as difficult, temperamental, repellant, rude, obtuse, aloof, redundant and ineffective because people don’t like him or her.
And if Kamala Harris somehow ends up the Democrat nominee, she’ll enjoy an amazing personality makeover right before our electronic eyes. DC swamp creatures would never risk having a non-nice politician winning the presidency – again – so they’ll move mountains to give Harris a boost if they need to.
Conservatives have pondered this concept for a long time, and one of the reasons a #NeverTrump movement sprang up in the first place eight years ago was because the outsider first-time candidate Donald Trump didn’t try to make nice with the elites of either party. In fact, by all appearances, Trump went out of his way to present himself as a take-no-prisoners power puncher who preferred burning down the institutions to merely saving them.
The Never Trumpers are still around, but many conservatives have joined with the more contentious brand of politicking that Trump brought to the national scene. Are we done with being nice? In a piece titled “No More Mr. Nice Con”, the always aggressive Kurt Schlichter wrote at Townhall:
“It is not mean to point out that someone who sucks sucks. It might not be pretty, but it is true.
“Meanness, properly understood, is also vital to our side’s morale. It is hard to explain to many of these invertebrates how important it is to demonstrate a willingness to fight back just as hard against the people being mean to us. Look, if some commie dork calls us ‘racist’ – and they do it all the time – there’s no satisfactory rationale for not clobbering him. Yes, I know Jesus said forgive, but he also picked up a whip and drove the moneychangers out of the temple.
“And then we need to be clear about the moral calculation. We are up against bad people who wish to disenfranchise us as a minimum, and who often wish to enslave or even murder us. They support perverts who want to have sex with the kids who somehow escaped being killed in the womb. They want your money, guns, and freedom. They would happily march you off to the gulags if they could – Yah, Second Amendment! – and a lot of the nice guys who wag their fingers at us now would be standing there happily waving good-bye.”
I think we can all envision who those “nice guys” would be, too. Chances are they drive expensive electric cars and condescend to folks who value practicality over trumped-up “causes” – like climate change and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) – rather than common sense and results. They’ll happily endure a train or plane crash or two just as long as the companies they support mandate racial quotas for pilot training programs.
Most liberal establishment media personnel consider someone like former Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a sweet old lady who cares about little kids and babies and immigrants and poor people. She’s thought of as “nice” because she’s willing to spend gobs of taxpayer money to redistribute wealth and punish “mean” people who accumulate capital and fail to give it all to the homeless guy begging on the Costco street corner.
But the real world demands results, not political platitudes and phony smiles.
For those who prefer “niceness” to effectiveness, think about the last time you went to Taco Bell. If you’re like me, you live in a place where there are at least a couple Taco Bell locations to choose from. It so happens my family and I have three within a short driving range, none necessarily closer than the other two.
Over the years we’ve visited each of them on multiple occasions so as to form opinions based on first-hand experience. The franchise we visit more than nine times out of ten these days won our favor because the staff gets our order right most of the time, serves us in a reasonable amount of time (somewhat varies due to how busy they are) and the food meets our expectations of what you’d hope to receive from… Taco Bell.
That being said, one member of the crew (who is there most of the time at this location) is not exactly the friendliest guy in the world. I won’t go so far as to say he’s rude, but it appears as though he’s not real fond of us. On the few occasions where something hasn’t been right – and we go back to protest – he shoots us a look that could kill.
But, as I indicated, most times everything meets our needs and we don’t directly interact with the mean dude. He can snarl at us from afar!
The area’s two other Taco Bell sites have issues. Their staffs are lazy or prioritize the drive-through lane instead of the sit-down customers. The food takes forever to make. They aren’t real sharp, either. The old saying “Good help is hard to find” is embodied in these places. For the paying consumer who just wants a tasty if not gourmet meal for a meager price, it ain’t worth it to go there. One of them in particular has a friendly staff but they’re chronically short of help. They’re nice people, but we’d prefer that the grouchy guy make our tacos and everything else be in place, even if we’re occasionally inconvenienced by his overt insolence.
Is politics so different than a Taco Bell? Do we even need to answer the question?
Take Joe Biden for example. The current president, if you met him on the street, would flash his award worthy smile, extend his hand in greeting and then move on to the female members of your group and creep them out by massaging their shoulders and/or sniffing their finely styled coiffures. Otherwise, he wouldn’t leave the impression that he’s a jerk or unapproachable in any way.
But he’s a terrible president. When it comes to the things that matter – setting policy or representing the American people to the rest of the world – he’s a blundering fool (at best) and an accident waiting to happen (at worst). Senile Joe Biden plays the political game about as well as anyone in my lifetime, but being a back slappin’ nice guy hasn’t done his constituents – or the nation – any good despite his congenial public manner.
Then there’s Donald Trump. And some say Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis isn’t the warmest of human beings either, though this notion was sternly refuted by people who know him. Trump is a notoriously difficult man to deal with. Even his friends and close associates characterize his chronic mood swings and apparent willingness to lash out at everyone within earshot as a character flaw.
Some claim Trump has no close friends. He treats his wife and family extremely well (even his ex-wives never complained about being ill-treated, just neglected). And if his behavior of late is any indication, the former president and jilted 2020 candidate intends to spare little in the way of insults in what amounts to his final campaign.
Most conservatives and Republicans appreciated Trump’s forward-ness when it came to bloodying the noses of the DC swamp establishment creatures and the Democrats, but it remains to be seen whether his less-than-“nice” demeanor will bring results in the current campaign. Remember, Trump isn’t new and fresh any longer. If anything, his sometimes over-the-top observations, statements and criticisms of liberty-loving fellow Republicans have worn thin over the course of time.
A few weeks back I recommended that Trump take a different approach to battling Ron DeSantis, one where he complimented the Florida governor for his successes but also pointed to the 44-year-old’s comparative lack of experience in foreign policy. I also suggested Trump emphasize the fierce headwinds he encountered going up against the much-more-formidable congressional Democrat leadership and a hostile Congress.
Trump doesn’t need to be “nice”, but he won’t gain new converts by laying waste to the rest of the GOP primary field by mud-slinging and name calling. It’s my impression that conservatives will tolerate jabs at Nikki Haley or others connected to the party establishment, but what about respected and accomplished conservatives like DeSantis?
If given the choice between a leader who gets results or a “nice guy” who’s a doormat, most people would opt for the former every time. The old saying in Washington goes, “If you want a friend, get a dog” – but that only gets you so far. The delicate balance can be navigated, but only by the best of politicians. 2024 is too important to get wrong.
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