Sorry Donald — substance trumps style

Published 5:24 pm Saturday, August 22, 2015

Donald Trump’s commanding lead in the polls is a solemn reminder that if we’re not careful, another narcissistic good talker will be elected to complete the fundamental transformation President Obama began.

Choosing style and good sound bites over substance got us in the mess we’re in.

If Trump were in the race for honest reasons, would he continually threaten a third-party run, fully knowing that pulling a “Ross Perot” gives the progressive left four more years? But he sounds good, so I guess we should just take him at his word.

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I suppose we should pay no attention to the Washington Post report that not long before launching his 2016 bid, Donald’s longtime friend, Bill Clinton, told him to “play a bigger role” in the Republican Party.

Granted, Trump deserves credit for doing just that, but sorry Donald, substance trumps style. Substance helps us control our tongue, prevents us from vacillating on important issues, and wards off hobnobbing back and forth between political parties for personal gain.

Shouldn’t we require more out of our leaders than good sound bites? I am reminded of England’s King George VI, who was depicted by the press of his day as a drab and timid man with a crippling stutter whose determination and untiring devotion to his country left him bruised and battered.

Nevertheless, history shows he rose above expectations to be an extraordinary leader, rising to kingship unwillingly, on the wings of his brother’s scandal, struggling with every public word he uttered. His famous Sept. 3, 1939, prelude to war speech shows the great leader he was.

Each carefully enunciated word, between pauses and near-stammers, warned beloved countrymen of a clear and present danger should Nazism prevail. His brother and predecessor, King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to pursue personal passions, could’ve said it prettier. But not better.

We’ve learned from Barack Obama that anyone can be elected to lead, but not everyone that’s elected can lead. Obama’s lack of substance weakened us as a nation. Oh, what we would give for a side of King George’s stammering to go with a humungous portion of American patriotism.

Now we have the opportunity to right a wrong, if we demand quality and character next time around. Maybe someone with an unabashed love for America who will defend our God-given rights and freedoms?

My mind wanders to a delightful little snippet in a Hollywood movie about King George VI’s life, “The King’s Speech,” where the king’s daughter Lilibet sees a film clip of Hitler speaking and asks, “Papa, what’s he saying?” King George VI replies, “I don’t know, but he seems to be saying it rather well.”

Susan Stamper Brown is a recovering political pundit from Alaska, who does her best to make sense of current day events using her faith. Email her at