I had plenty to disapprove of in Barack Obama because of his policies and his willingness to let others be vicious on his behalf. Yet what I often said aloud during his years was how much I disliked his narcissism: his unwillingness to listen to his own chosen advisors, such as on the drawdown of troops, and his declaration “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” The disdain he had for others was palpable. He was the only intellectual in the room. This in the face of his supporter Richard Epstein's assessment “I like Obama but I reject the suggestion that he is an intellectual. He is an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual."
It just grated. It was part of what I thought was wrong with his presidency.
But I'll have to drop that now. You see, I don't much like Trump's manner and I think he's arrogant too. Yet I have been telling people to ignore that and focusing on what he is doing instead. Don't listen to what he says, watch what he does, I have said since his election. If I extend that grace to him, I have to do that retroactively for Obama as well. Personality is not entirely separable from approach and strategy, but insofar as it is possible, I have to do that. I don't think I will find it easy, even with the supposed advantage that I disagree with Obama's philosophy strongly and have plenty of room to land that helicopter even without the added space of disliking him.
Because I see how difficult this is for myself, I sort of get it why people who have a visceral dislike for this president can't easily get around that either. He made crude sexual remarks and that is therefore enough part of him that people can't forget it. I will note that he hasn't been doing any of that the last ten years - unlike some presidents even while in office - and he deserves some credit for that. Doesn't he?
Note: In my objection to Donald Trump I do recognise that he is not going for the same effect as Obama or other presidents. He is not trying to be Reagan or George H.W Bush and failing at it. He is doing something different. All presidents do, but DJT is farther from the usual. I also know that I am mostly being shown the worst of him, even by his defenders who are trying to show that this comment or that is not as bad as portrayed. When I have followed what he is actually tweeting, he spends a lot of energy praising people and encouraging them. This gets missed. Still, he does say what he says.