At the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., delivered a speech following his defeat by Jimmy Carter for the presidential nomination. The speech was boilerplate liberalism. Kennedy criticized Republicans and Ronald Reagan for their ideas, which he said were from the past (today, the past is looking a lot better than the immediate future under Joe Biden and the Democrats).

A part of his closing line would be good for today’s Republicans to consider following the abbreviated Trump era. Kennedy said: “ ... the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

President Donald Trump has contributed mightily to the GOP, giving the party a backbone it seemed to have misplaced after the Reagan years. He also has reminded people that conservative ideas work, including tax cuts, a reduction in regulations and constitutional judges. Add to these significant accomplishments his administration’s brokering of four peace deals in the Middle East no one thought possible, much less achievable, and the development of a vaccine various “experts” said was not possible by the end of the year.

As he leaves office, where will Republicans go in 2024? The president has hinted he may run again in four years. If he wins, he and his supporters could enjoy sweet revenge. But should he be a candidate? As much as he has done for the party and the country, should Republicans put all their faith and trust in him? A lot could depend on how President-elect Biden does in office. Biden almost certainly will not seek a second term when he is 82.

Last August, Trump was questioned at a White House press briefing about polls showing his popularity was declining. Asked to explain, he responded: “Nobody likes me. It can only be my personality. That’s all.” It was a rare moment of transparency for him.

There is still a remnant of old-fashioned values my grandparents’ generation embraced and tried to instill in their descendants. One was not to belittle, demean, talk down to or call other people names. Trump has consistently ignored that advice. While a large number of Americans still support him and the number who voted for him far outpaced any other Republican presidential candidate, or incumbent president, it wasn’t enough.

The reason can only be his personality.

Most Americans expect a certain amount of dignity emanating from one who temporarily holds our highest office. Could Trump have achieved all he has without the name-calling? I think so. At a minimum, he might have resurrected a quote from a man who knew plenty about enemies, all of them domestic.

I have referenced Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address before, but it is worth remembering, even memorizing. At the dawn of the Civil War, Lincoln said: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Could such an attitude have delivered a second term for Trump? It might have swung enough votes to him from people who place a high value on deportment.

Republicans can continue to embrace Trump’s policies while getting behind someone without his baggage.

Who might that be?

My view of the perfect candidate is Vice President Mike Pence, who has been loyal to the president without the name-calling, while preserving his own personality, dignity, Christian faith and kindness.

Republicans could do a lot worse than Pence, but not much better.

– Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

(5) comments

Dr. Strangelove

LeftisRight, you are an idiot, and speak it very fluently.

Trump supporters are unified and in the 70-80 million range, not including their families. If it comes down to nut cutting, then so be it. Not interested in your BS. The time is coming soon, when words will not decide things. And I'm your Huckleberry. That's just my game.

theleftisright

Letting your emotions dictate reasonable thought is dangerous. Please try to refrain from so much anger and consider your actions are approaching notions of destructive behavior. Keeping an open mind is a trait you might try working on.

theleftisright

How laughable to assume Trump's sole loss of popularity is due to his personality. His time as president has demonstrated an anti-environmentalist attitude with a true lack of leadership with his divisive rhetoric. Not to mention his absence of properly following medical experts regarding the pandemic. While we are on the subject, Ronald Reagan instilled many to reject the patriotic idea of paying taxes to benefit the whole. His tenure resulted in defunding education, infrastructure and a general disregard for the poor. You refer to his presidency as "good ol' days" when in fact we drove up a deficit and economic disparity has yet to recover. Not a good leader, either.

Enough Already

Truly, theleftisright is an idiot.

You are much too stupid to realize that the government exists for the people, not the people for the government. We should pay no more taxes than absolutely necessary to provide for the services enumerated n the Constitution, not a nickel more. Socialist/democrat/communist wish lists don't apply. I welcome the enforcement of the Constitution. If you moron dumbocrats push this too far, you will be dealing with the insurrection act, which I also welcome to reestablish the rule of law and order. Bring it on!

theleftisright

Calling me names and stupid reflects a degree of inability to strongly make your case. Taxing the ultra rich is something that will actually help the economy by freeing stagnated enormous wealth that is not invested into business as is so incorrectly denied by Reagan economics. The tax rates upon the middle and lower economic classes will not be subject to this increase of taxes you are so vehemently against. History has proven that tax breaks for the very wealthy increases the deficit and places more burden on guys like you.

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