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Trump: The Bully Pulpit Or the Bully in the Pulpit?

Image: Trump: The Bully Pulpit Or the Bully in the Pulpit?
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media prior to his departure from the South Lawn of the White House February 23, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By with Michael R. Shannon
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 09:00 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The Claremont Institute is a conservative organization that is flourishing in an undisclosed location in California. Not that Claremont is particularly secretive, it’s just that I don’t want the organization to be hit with an avalanche of snowflakes — not the kind that ends a drought — demanding it be closed.

There are only a handful of institutions in California who award a Ronald Reagan Freedom Medallion and I don’t want to be responsible for the potential loss of one of these valiant holdouts against Cultural Marxism.

Recently Claremont teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to offer a panel discussion on “Trump, Executive Power and the Bully Pulpit.”

Charles Kesler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, stole the show, as is his wont. Kesler analyzed Trump’s use of the "Bully Pulpit" through the prism provided by Aristotle, who is not someone you normally finding sharing a sentence with Donald Trump.

While most contemporary observers from the Opposition Media and academia evaluate Trump speeches through the lens of how much racism it contains, how many "dog whistles" are present and who in particular has taken offense, Kesler prefers the classic ethos, pathos, and logos.

According to Kesler, ethos is ethics and proof of the speaker’s character. He is personally amazed by how little effect the character-related invective against Trump by the left and its Opposition Media outlets has had on the president. This may be because Trump doesn’t present himself as pure as the driven snow.

Instead, Trump relies on ethos as starting from and returning to defense of one’s own people.

That doesn’t require either purity or high-mindedness, Kesler observes, and is a perfect fit for Trump. It also helps that Trump lacks the typical establishment Republican’s self-imposed guilt over race and civil rights. He positions himself as “aggressive” and “masculine.”

“Trump is closer to Clarence Thomas than Jeb Bush,” Kesler explains.

Pathos, or passion, for Trump is “greatness.” Make America Great Again, for short. He attacks a GOP establishment that has attempted to define and “monopolize honor.” An establishment that denigrates and looks down on the non-elite or the people who elected Trump. For Kesler, Trump’s attitude is “the disdain of the disdainers.”

Logos, or reason, is where Trump is weakest, simply because he is a non-politician or an amateur. He’s not programmed with policy answers like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. What Trump believes in is the basic “integrity” of nations. For him it’s more “being Americans first, rather than America First.” When looking at the world situation, Kesler contends Trump believes charity, like justice, should begin at home.

All the panel’s speakers believe Trump has changed the Republican Party, the question is, how deep is the change and will it continue after he departs from the stage?

None of the panel had the answer for that.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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Recently Claremont teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to offer a panel discussion on “Trump, Executive Power and the Bully Pulpit.”
president trump, bully pulpit, claremont institute
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2018-00-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 09:00 AM
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