Understanding why it happened and what it means

So the Australian uses a former speechwriter for Tony Blair to criticise Donald Trump. And his vehicle is another one of these low grade intellects, P.J. O’Rourke who was in the baggage hold for Hillary from start to end. Here is the extent of the argument contra Trump:

O’Rourke excuses his lack of narrative development by saying the reality lacked all shape. So it did, too, as Trump tore up the usual rules of a presidential campaign, getting away with everything. Yet shape is exactly what an analyst has to impose on events. The story might be chaos, but we need to know why it happened and what it means.

As it happens, there is somewhere you can find out why it happened and what it means. This is the reader book plug at Instapundit which Glenn Reynolds kindly provided:

MARCH 16, 2017
READER BOOK PLUG: From Steven Kates, The Art of the Impossible: A Blog History of the Election of Donald J. Trump as President.

I also liked the comments of which there were only two three, especially the first:

Jesse Hand Conroy •
Brilliant idea for a book

Jquip •
“The Art of the Impossible”
I just found my favorite way to refer to the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts.

kennycan •
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
THIS TIME FOR SURE!
WTF? HE WON?

It is possible that Trump’s virtues are invisible to you, but if they are, the problems we are now trying to deal with are almost certainly also invisible to you. A speechwriter for a British Labour Prime Minister is not the place from whom enlightenment should be sought.

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59 Responses to Understanding why it happened and what it means

  1. RobK

    I notice Amazon already has 7 used copies available at a discount…..I’m unsure what that means, if anything. B-)

  2. Tom

    O’Rourke’s shtick as a fake conservative was only ever a party trick to pick up chicks at liberal parties. “What The Hell Just Happened?” he asks. I’ll tell you what: half of America just sent an outsider to Washington — and you’ve never met one of them, you elitist cocksucker.

    PS: A thesis presented as a question is an admission the idiot asking it hasn’t a clue. Snowflake universities are full of them.

    What a phoney.

  3. Wal of Ipswich

    Just read the review of the book you skewer. P.J. O’Rourke has been the palatable voice of American conservatism for decades and writes with acute observation & abundant humour. Admirably, your fetish for the ludicrous Trump has remained solid while the rest of the thinking class realise populists are, after all, just grievance mongers; voters are waking up too. Hanson, Wilders, Farage and their ilk are turning into historical footnotes before they made history.

  4. Helen

    Trump keeps winning.

    Judge Watson, Hawaii?

  5. Donald Trump may turn out to be the worst president in US history; however, at the moment, he appears to be the first politician in history that’s actually trying to keep his word and do what he promised.

    So far, I haven’t seen any failures, but what is evident is that every element of the US Democratic machine and their supporters are doing their utmost to disrupt and undermine his presidency.

    If Trump fails, it’s because the US has been taken over by the Left. We may yet see a second US civil war.

  6. Malcolm

    ow grade intellects, P.J. O’Rourke

    That’s an outrageous slur against one of the funniest and most intelligent writers of our time. PJ O’Rourke has considerably more intellect and is far more accomplished than Steve Kates. PJ O’Rourke is one of my heroes.

  7. alexnoaholdmate

    The next time PJ O’Rourke speaks out about the Left’s assault on free speech, I hope you’ll damn him for it.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/us-political-satirist-pj-orourke-says-freedoms-core-is-the-right-to-offend-anyone/news-story/fa65c94549b8082ea027db9debe8d230

    Yes, he’s a former speechwriter for the Labour Party, but he has no time for Lefty fools and believes in the basic freedoms.

    I believe he even owns one of Catallaxy’s own Liberty Quotes: “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait’ll you see what it costs when it’s free…”

    He despised Barack Obama, and has no time for Malcolm Turnbull’s wishy-washying when it comes to 18C.

    He agrees with Steve Kates on almost every issue under the sun – except Donald Trump. Therefore, according to Steve Kates, he is to be anathema.

    This is not the mentality of a rational person. This is the behaviour of a brainwashed cult member.

    Cue the outraged Trumpbots telling me to kill myself, even though I would’ve voted for the guy and have been very impressed since he took office.

  8. Malcolm

    PS: putting together your blog posts into a book is neither original nor exciting. It’s lazy.

  9. Malcolm

    alexnoaholdmate is spot on. Kates is behaving like a cult member.

  10. alexnoaholdmate

    That’s an outrageous slur against one of the funniest and most intelligent writers of our time. PJ O’Rourke has considerably more intellect and is far more accomplished than Steve Kates. PJ O’Rourke is one of my heroes.

    Oh my God – you even have me agreeing with Malcolm. The doyen of Hi-Alanism, who’s been telling us every week for the last three months that Trump will be impeached by the weekend for… well, I don’t know what exactly, but Malcolm does.

    Just ask him.

  11. Malcolm

    And if you want a hagiography about Donald Trump better to buy the Art of the Deal than some derivative product like the Art of the Impossible by S. Kates.

    Really I can’t get over Kates going on about PJ O’Rourke. He really has lost the plot.

    By the way – these claims by Trump that Obama wiretapped him are false. So who is the fake news man – it’s Donald Trump.

  12. Mark A

    Malcolm
    #2330238, posted on March 18, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Just a matter of curiosity Mal, which member of your family did S Kates has done in?
    Your hatred of the man is pathological.

  13. alexnoaholdmate

    By the way – these claims by Trump that Obama wiretapped him are false. So who is the fake news man – it’s Donald Trump.

    Two requests were made by the Obama administration – though perhaps not Obama personally – to install surveillance in Trump tower.

    One of these requests was approved. That is a matter of fact and record.

    This surveillance operation found no evidence of note that Trump was engaging in a criminal act – yet continued past the date allowed by court.

    That is also a matter of fact and record.

    Yet because Joe Friday didn’t personally tap into the hard landline there – 1960’s style – Trump wasn’t actually ‘wiretapped’, and it’s all a lie.

    Sheesh.

  14. alexnoaholdmate

    Fuck, I can’t believe I’m on the same side as Malcolm.

    You know what, Kates? You’re right. PJ O’Rourke IS the devil, despite everything he’s done for our cause.

    You’ve won me over, because Fuck Malcolm.

    No, I’m serious.

  15. Malcolm

    I don’t hate Steve Kates, in fact I have long admired him. It’s just that he has lost the plot with his blind love of Trump. He seems to have changed from a small government libertarian free trade type into a protectionist, large government conspiracy theory type.

  16. Malcolm

    Don’t forget that I get criticised because I don’t like Trump.

    Well maybe I’m wrong – he may turn out to be ok. But my prediction is that he will fail. Not because of some conspiracy against him by the media, but because of his character. I don’t think the man is fit to be president.

    That doesn’t mean that some of his policies – such as appointing a ‘denier’ as head of the EPA aren’t good. I’m pleased to see the climate change lobby on the back foot.

    But his other policies are generally mad – spending billions more on the military which is already the largest by far? While withdrawing from foreign conflicts? That’s just a way to increase the cost of the military with no extra capacity.

    Being anti-free trade – protectionist – that for me is a straight out no no.

  17. Mark A

    Malcolm
    #2330255, posted on March 18, 2017 at 5:49 pm
    Being anti-free trade – protectionist – that for me is a straight out no no.

    You either missed Steve’s earlier post about free trade or I missed your comments on that thread.
    Free trade at any price and conditions is not free trade and is not desirable.

    Go back and read it.

  18. BorisG

    half of America just sent an outsider to Washington

    Trump an outsider? giggles.

  19. Malcolm

    Mark A – you probably missed Sinc’s erudite concern about Steve’s comments. I have read Steve’s posts and it is clear that he has abandoned free trade.

  20. Mark A

    Malcolm
    #2330262, posted on March 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    OK I think the points made were good.
    Luckily economics is not an exact science.
    Give me a one armed/handed economist.

  21. Malcolm

    Macroeconomics may not be exact (especially forecasting), but microeconomics theory and free trade is well established. Free, not fair, trade is vital to improved wellbeing.

  22. Shy Ted

    Tony Blair. Ten years contributing to the decline of my native land. Just shows how valuable speechwriters are.

  23. Barry 1963

    I’m politically androgynous; I’ll respect left or right wingers where intellect, wit and reason shine. O’Rourke, who is on the right in my book, commands great admiration from me. Truly funny.

  24. rickw

    Macroeconomics may not be exact (especially forecasting), but microeconomics theory and free trade is well established. Free, not fair, trade is vital to improved wellbeing.

    Free, not fair, trade….

    There’s fucking stupidity right there. Let’s do this on an individual level, being free to transact is the key, not the deal being fair?

    I get a bloke to make widgets for me that I design, he can’t design them himself because he doesn’t have a knack for it. Part of the agreement is that he respects my IP, and only makes the widgets for me. Next minute I find out that he’s flogging the widgets down at the market to my former customers.

    Who’s fucking wellbeing is looked after here? Clearly not mine, but hey, as long as we are free to transact it doesn’t matter that the deal isn’t fair!

    PS: The blokes name is China.

  25. Tezza

    I thought Steve must have read a different review than I did. It is actually quite critical of O’Rourke’s book, which he clearly finds an unsatisfactory attempt to understand why Trump won, substituting poor and rather elitist jokes where some clear analysis would have served him better.

  26. H B Bear

    O’Rourke has been on the slide for a while now.

  27. Tom

    Trump an outsider? giggles.

    You idiot, Boris. Did learn politics in kindy?

  28. Muddy

    generally mad – spending billions more on the military which is already the largest by far?

    Off topic I know, sorry, but I think that perhaps you need to broaden your horizons slightly Malcolm. The U.S. military – which we here depend on greatly for regional security – was dangerously diminished by that insurgent Obama, and the U.S. now needs to catch up. China, for example, is thought to have the capability of launching a missile with ten (yes 10) warheads, a capability which the U.S. does not have. Strength is (usually) a deterrent, but weakness an invitation.

  29. Zatara

    O’Rourke went on Chris “Thrill up my leg” Matthews’ show the other night on MSNBC to rag on Trump and plug his book.

    To say the least, MSNBC is not remotely the network of choice for a libertarian or a conservative. If you are getting kudos there you are doing something very wrong.

    The Guardian summarizes their review of his book:

    “The libertarian satirist and journalist tries to get to grips with the US election but merely shows his laziness and foolish prejudices”

    “O’Rourke has let it be known that he had to hold his nose and vote for Hillary when the time came, because he couldn’t bear the idea of such a boor and buffoon as her opponent ending up in the White House.”

    So, a Rand Paul fanboi and never-Trumper writes a book and votes for continuation of a criminal Democrat empire. No surprise there.

  30. danger mouse

    It is hardly lazy to take a position against the mainstream and argue it consistently and publicly over many months. That’s called courage.

    And to turn those arguments into a book that may well outsell all his others combined is also not lazy. That’s entrepreneurial!

    From Art of the Deal, a quote that may resonate…

    One of the problems when you become successful is that jealousy and envy inevitably follow. There are people—I categorize them as life’s losers—who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others. As far as I’m concerned, if they had any real ability they wouldn’t be fighting me, they’d be doing something constructive themselves.

  31. Nerblnob

    The value of Steve’s collection of blogs might be that he called it right at the time. Unlike every other commentator who now wants to explain to us why it happened.

  32. Sfw

    O’Rourke has never been much good at humour much less politics, he has tried to be a modern Mencken but never had the talent. He threw his lot in with Clinton and the elites, now he can go and waste away with the rest of them.

  33. john constantine

    O’Rourke has the runs on the board, he has also just had the near death experience, and has a young late-in-life family to keep well founded.

    Not many people can fight the good fight with the same intensity for seventy years.

  34. Wal of Ipswich

    Dumbfounded by the formulaic responses here. Prices for O’Rourke’s book already discounted on Amazon: bulldust. O’Rourke is on the slide. Bulldust. Never been funny; jeepers idiot did you ever read National Lampoon or any of his books? Your cult worship for the ludicrous Trump has addled your brains.

  35. BorisG

    The value of Steve’s collection of blogs might be that he called it right at the time. Unlike every other commentator who now wants to explain to us why it happened.

    This is a valid point but it does not justify idolising of Trump (or anyone else for that matter).

  36. Rob MW

    This is a valid point but it does not justify idolising of Trump (or anyone else for that matter).

    On the contrary, I can quite easily justify idolizing the inventor of Thongs. Who would have thought that a Japanese riding boot could awaken a whole southern culture to enter clubs & pubs wearing burr infected shoes or to beaches and to become standard attire for a whole industry of truck driving, binge drinking and gout relief. Oh…..did I also point out that you might need to rephrase that last bit otherwise the exponents of E=MC2 might get a little upset.

  37. Jimf

    Whilst I’m glad DT is in office I’d be disappointed if the Cat blindly lauded him and smacked down any hint of criticism when he makes mistakes . Kates – I imagine you generally despise the herd-ism type banality that infects so much of our polity these days ? So why the negativity when a very well credentialed conservative has an interesting take on things ?
    PJ O’Rourke was flying the conservative free market banner DECADES before DT decided to throw his wig into the ring .
    Get off your boring, lame and hypocritical DT loving high horse .
    Yes we’re glad he’s won office , but he’s a fucking loose cannon and anyone with a scintilla of rational reasoning knows this . I just hope his hubris doesn’t lead him to a place where his weak , bureaucratic enemies can “gotcha” him.
    PJ O’Rourke’s record on free market politics and disdain for phoney progressives over decades speaks for itself . He’s entitled to think DT is a nutcase . He is , isn’t he ? His outrageousness is what got him elected you dope.

  38. BorisG

    you might need to rephrase that last bit otherwise the exponents of E=MC2 might get a little upset.

    Not at all. Even Einstein does not need to be idolized. He was a genius yet he had some dark spots. His treatment of any hint of legitimate criticism of his work was plane rude. And his treatment of his women was a disaster.

    Yet idolizing man of the past is one thing. Idolizing active politicians is fraught with danger.

  39. Crossie

    “The libertarian satirist and journalist tries to get to grips with the US election but merely shows his laziness and foolish prejudices”

    “O’Rourke has let it be known that he had to hold his nose and vote for Hillary when the time came, because he couldn’t bear the idea of such a boor and buffoon as her opponent ending up in the White House.”

    So, a Rand Paul fanboi and never-Trumper writes a book and votes for continuation of a criminal Democrat empire. No surprise there.

    I expected the man who wrote Parliament of Whores to have more insight into Washington DC and to recognise a political revolution when he saw it. It was shocking to watch P.J. join the Whores and sneer at the little people who dared to object to the status quo.

  40. struth

    Don’t know much about O’Rourke but if someone says he’s the palatable voice of conservatism, you must assume that someone that doesn’t really understand conservatism and isn’t a conservative, finds him palatable.
    That makes him unpalatable to me.
    From reading the comments and who is making them , I come to the conclusion that this guy is elitist.
    Anyone unable to understand the rise of Trump yet calls themselves a conservative has their head firmly up their elitist arse.

  41. Yohan

    O’Rourke is definitely an elitist, and those of his ilk hated Trump most of all not because of his policies, but because of class. He was not one of them, he spoke to the rubes, he was nativist and explicitly dog whistled. All the things right minded people don’t do.

    For elitists at dinner parties with their leftist friends, this embarrassed them.

  42. johanna

    O’Rourke was funny in the past, but that was a long time ago. He became a sort of bowtie-wearing, cigar-chomping Mr Abernathy in later years, having made some money and settled down with his family in his country estate.

    He lost me for good when he said that he would rather vote for Hillary than for Trump, because Trump is vulgar or something.

    Anyone who claims to be a conservative who would even contemplate voting for that serial crook, liar and leftist is no conservative at all. He didn’t even say he would abstain, he said he would rather have Hillary.

    He is dead to me.

  43. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    O’Rourke was wonderful in those years when a lost generation of boomers needed to find a reason to believe in conservatism, because they spent their youth joining SDS in the universities of the sixties and seventies. Many changed over due to his humour, but his books have always had an edge of snipe against the ordinary workers. When I read him I was already aghast at the leftist boomer mentality of the elites against the sort of people I grew up with; ordinary workers in Sydney’s West. In one of his works I recall him being against theme parks of various sorts, especially Christian ones, and lamenting the fact that his investigating chinos were the only non-synthetic fabric that ever set foot into them. That was supposed to be funny. Similar slights thread his work in general and he certainly backed the wrong horse with Hillary and is now pedaling around in redemption mode seeking to explain Trump for an elitist audience in elitist terms. He was good though on the macro stuff, the flinging of money at fixes where money was the problem, the parliament of whores etc.

    Trump has arisen because of a renewed Islamic barbarism in the world, unfair trading deals, the dismissal by the elites of patriotism, climatic scams and a general decline in ordinary people’s sense that they are needed, valued and have a good economic future. He may be the only hope for the rescue of the West, and he may fail. Stilicho? Aetius? Are we there yet?

  44. squawkbox

    Stilicho? Aetius? Are we there yet?

    Both murdered by Ricimer, if I recall. You can’t trust goths, even when dealing with other goths 🙂

  45. squawkbox

    Yes, I loved reading PJ in the 80s too, but he has since become part of the country club cuck establishment. I don’t think he ever really wanted anything else, but to become part of the establishment. In the 70s he was a faux-Maoist, in the 80s a Reaganite, now a neverTrumper. He’s never had the guts to go against the prevailing political tradewinds. By 2020 he will be a fervent Trumpist.

  46. King Koala

    . P.J. O’Rourke has been the palatable voice of American conservatism for decades and writes with acute observation & abundant humour

    And in those decades conservatives have bent over and let liberals have their way with them while tearfully saying to themselves “at least they did not call me racist”. You can keep biting the pillow with the other ‘conservatives’ who failed to conserve anything but I will be on the winning team.

  47. Malcolm

    Steve Kates is an example of Lucius’ age of intolerance. He cannot tolerate people who don’t love Trump. It seems he thinks loving Trump is the only measure of a man.

  48. struth

    Steve Kates is an example of Lucius’ age of intolerance. He cannot tolerate people who don’t love Trump. It seems he thinks loving Trump is the only measure of a man.

    Emotional dribble.

  49. Boambee John

    Malcolm,

    Shouldn’t you be in Canberra trying to run the country, rather than trolling on blogs?

  50. Sinclair Davidson

    P.J. O’Rourke is a low-grade intellectual?

  51. Wal of Ipswich

    The Trump fellating squad will be begging for impeachment before 2020. The ludicrous one is stuttering under pressure & making as many stupid Twitter posts as POTUS as he did as a candidate. He needs to get his Congress speech writer back soon. That person made him sound presidential.

  52. mh

    P.J. O’Rourke is a low-grade intellectual

    Well said, Sinclair.

  53. Tom

    Anyone unable to understand the rise of Trump yet calls themselves a conservative has their head firmly up their elitist arse.

    Correct, Struth.

    O’Rourke has written a book about the fact that he has no idea what happened on November 8. Only an arrogant arsehole would expect people to pay money for that.

  54. mh

    Over the summer their ABC showed a repeat of P.J. O’ Rourke at the National Press Club. Even though I knew he was a Never Trumper, I was willing to see just what he had to say. I lasted 5 minutes of him bumbling and stumbling to the embarrassed sniggers of the audience. At the point of the ‘Queenslanders are sheep-shaggers’ comment I realised that I would never get that 5 minutes of my life back and switched over.

  55. mh

    Barack Obama ‘approved tapping Angela Merkel’s phone 3 years ago’

    President Barack Obama was told about monitoring of German Chancellor in 2010 and allowed it to continue, says German newspaper

  56. Indolent

    PJ O’Rourke

    I heard him interviewed on Bolt’s show a while ago (I think shortly before the election) and the condescension and superiority just dripped. My palm was itching to clip him one.

  57. Ripper

    https://www.amazon.com/Reasons-Vote-Democrats-Comprehensive-Guide/dp/1543024971/ref=zg_bs_books_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=SMKVA07R771EPFM3WZQS

    I see this one has slipped to number two on the best sellers list.

    Lefty lawyers require that we state the book is mostly blank and contains precisely 1,235 words

    LOL

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