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Professionalism and maturity are conservative values
The Republican base has abandoned good character as a qualification for office. This would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.
One thing that animates the "MAGA" crowd is Republicans have been far too "nice" for too long. They did not fight back when attacked or stand up for what they believe. Unfortunately, MAGA Republicans reacted to that by becoming shrill. Never stop attacking, and always attack at the loudest volume possible - even against allies who cross you in some way.
The problem with this is obvious: Being shrill all the time does not work. There is a time for a measured answer, and there is a time to go on the attack, and there is a time to not answer at all. We instinctively understand in our personal lives that there is a time to be forceful and there is a time for a more gentle tone, and we can do both without being shrill. If we understand this in our personal lives, so why do some think it works in politics?
This brings me to Donald Trump. He implemented solid conservative policy. Trump signed significant tax cuts, eliminated harmful regulations, protected due process rights and implemented an "America First" foreign policy. But Trump proved time and again that he is severely lacking in maturity and professionalism. He never came close to being Presidential, repeatedly breaking his campaign promise to improve his behavior. Trump showed that he had the ability to be mature and professional, but did not have the self-control to do it.
But we did not elect a politician, some say. We elected a business man! That answer is complete nonsense. Try being immature and unprofessional in the business world. You will not get very far. Those traits are essential to success, especially the higher up you go and the more responsibility you have. This is not an issue of a professional politician vs. a businessman. This is an issue of basic standards expected of leaders.
We have gone from being immature and unprofessional being part of the bargain for the good policy we got from Trump to bad character being celebrated. If you say Trump should have displayed maturity and professionalism, "MAGA" Republicans will attack you, compare you to George Soros, or call you a fake conservative. This was never the bargain we were given in 2016. Solid personal character is a conservative value, but it is the Republican base itself that has not only abandoned but now actually opposes basic conservative values.
The reason I was so frustrated with President Trump's childishness is that outside of increasing import taxes and reckless spending that spiked the budget deficit, I support his policy agenda. It was refreshing to have a President who was reflexively non-interventionist, even though it drove Republican "hawks" to distraction. Trump could have been much more effective had he been the adult in the room. He also would have been re-elected. But his consistent refusal to grow up shows that it is time to move on and pick a more conservative alternative to be the Republican Party's nominee in 2024.