From Kevin Williamson in NR, From Ritual to Bromance
That is because what is missing in Washington isn’t toughness. In the postwar era — the era in which the modern American welfare state as we know it was created — Washington was full of men who had seen combat, who had done hard things and had exhibited real valor. Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon not only served in wartime but all took more dangerous assignments than they had to. (Military service has not always been a norm for American presidents: There was a long run of them, from Woodrow Wilson through Franklin Roosevelt, who had no military experience.) The men who built the welfare state did not lack courage, conviction, or toughness: What they lacked was good ideas.
The fixation on “toughness” also speaks to a misunderstanding about the nature of the presidency and the nature of government in general. Trump is not alone in his belief that if we would only “get tough” with whomever needs it, then solving our national problems would be a relatively straightforward proposition: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren make essentially the same argument in favor of raising taxes and regulating businesses more heavily, as though government’s having been too soft on billionaires in Malibu is why people are poor in the Bronx. Politicians of this stripe talk as if there were a shoebox marked “solutions” sitting in a cupboard somewhere in Washington, and that these solutions have not been implemented simply because no one was willing to “get tough” enough to do the needful things. But there’s one big problem with that way of looking at things.
There aren’t any solutions.
There is no man on a horse coming to solve our problems, no matter how “tough” he is — or pretends to be. I do not necessarily blame the politicians for presenting our problems — and themselves — in these crude and primitive terms, for the same reason that I do not necessarily blame a used-car salesman for trying to sell me a used car. But if we continue to fall for the same sales pitch — if we continue to believe that This Very Special Man can save us, because he is so tough, so smart, so good, so pure, because he cares about people like us — we have no one to blame but ourselves.