Meet Donald Trump

Recently a good friend in Tasmania sent a message urging me to read Understanding Trump by Newt Gingrich. Yesterday the book arrived and as she said it is hard to put down. Fortunately it was not my turn to cook.

Gingrich has enjoyed a long association with Trump and he wrote this book to explain what enabled Trump to pull off a political miracle. Gingrich has an inside view on Trump as a friend. He also has an intimate knowledge of the way things work in Washington and he can see how Trump can succeed given the kind of person he is, where he has come from, his capacity to learn fast and his experience as a builder, TV showman and negotiator.

Above all he is a man of the people. He achieved fame and fortune at the big end of town but he came from Queens, not Manhattan, he grew in a small family building business and he went to military prep school, not an exclusive private school. Even when he fronted crowds of ten or twenty thousand people his gestures and his shout-outs were directed to individuals. One on one he is totally engaged with the person, whoever they are, a carpenter or a CEO, not looking over their shoulder for the next conversation.

He is a builder not a bean-counting financier and he makes it his business to know the nuts and bolt of building and running the business. On the site he talks to the construction crew, the painters, tilers and electricians. He knows how to relate to them and he is open to suggestions about improving the work. He learned to do all the jobs in his hotel.

He is dedicated to bringing in projects on time and under budget. When he was contemplating a run at the candidacy he asked Gingrich what it would cost. The answer was 70 to 80 million. At the end he phoned Gingrich to say it was 30 million “And I feel kinda bad”.

He hates waste of all kinds including his own time and other people’s money. He was panned for absenting himself from the regular security briefings. He found it was the same thing almost every time and he decided he just wanted to know when something changed. He slashed the budget for the White House and Gingrich claims that he beat down the cost of the Lockheed F-35 fighter by seven percent. Last week while he was in China some $250 billion in deals for US companies were finalised although there would have been some symbolism in that, Xi probably wanted to make Trumpie feel welcome!

Gingrich explained that there are four sides to the Trump ‘table’: Anti-left, Anti-stupid, Anti-political correctness and Pro-America. He is anti-Left in his DNA although that does not necessarily play out in a small state approach which is part of the rhetoric of the Republican establishment. It does result in his aim to drain the swamp. His Anti-stupid prejudice is expressed in his impatience with the red and green tape generated in Washington and the blue states. He is implacably opposed to political correctness and at the same time he is dedicated to the genuine progress of Afro Americans. From the campaign to the inauguration his Pro-America message was directed at the whole country and he reached out to include Afro-Americans among “us”.

His rhetoric flatly contradicts the perception that he is a demagogue, a bully or a threat to democracy. Unlike Obama who once managed to say “I” seventy times in a single speech, in his major speeches he always put the emphasis on us, the people and the nation. He can’t help being a large, loud and commanding presence but that is very different from being a demagogue or a bully. He communicates when he talks to one person or a crowd and that is very different from ranting and posturing.

He is an outsider to the political and academic establishment but he is still the smartest man in most rooms. That showed out in his campaigning and especially the way he used the media instead of allowing the media to use him. He made the media cycle his own, starting the day with aggressive tweets which may have appeared petulant and childish but they ensured that his antics became the news and later in the day he could call a press conference and be confident that all the press cameras would be there for a free opportunity to make his pitch to the nation. Consequently he obtained massive media coverage without spending serious money on paid ads.

He is a master of branding, both of his opponents and his own campaign. Branding Jeb Bush “low energy” drove Bush to distraction trying to demonstrate energy. Instead of putting his own name on his campaign hats he put a rallying call “Make America Great Again”. Many supporters would shed blood for America where they would not do so for an individual multibillionaire. Besides, everybody knew his name!

In the last week of the campaign, looking to boost his stakes in Wisconsin where the Republicans last won under Ronald Reagan he traveled to Minneapolis (in Minnesota). Minnesota was considered a certain Democrat state and Hilary did not follow him to match his campaign in that state (she won 46 to 45 surviving an 8 percent swing). But the money for Trump came from Wisconsin because he knew that the TV from Minneapolis transmitted deep into central Wisconsin. He won Wisconsin 47.2 to 46.5.

There is a lot more but that is enough for one post. Just read the book! Some of the ads on the site have long blurbs about the book which will tell you more about the contents.

This entry was posted in American politics, Rafe. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Meet Donald Trump

  1. Jo Smyth

    Please send this article to the Australian and dare them to print it.

  2. Strayan Drongo

    Im with Jo Smyth, would love to see just one article that isnt lampooning the bloke in The Aus

  3. Mundi

    Imagine having a leader to be proud of.

  4. Pete of Perth

    My lefty cubical neighbour at work said the IRS is a danger to Americans now that Trump is in charge.

    Retirement can’t come soon enough….

  5. BorisG

    some slightly different tune from Gingrich :

  6. BorisG

    in his major speeches he always put the emphasis on us, the people and the nation.

    Give us a break please…

  7. Jo Smyth

    Gingrich is still 100% a supporter of Trump. No harm in offering a little advice now and again Boris.

  8. Mark A

    BorisG
    #2561632, posted on November 22, 2017 at 1:02 am

    in his major speeches he always put the emphasis on us, the people and the nation.

    Give us a break please…

    Why don’t you give Trump a break? I think he is doing OK ish so far, or are your hatred of him blinding you?

  9. BorisG

    Why don’t you give Trump a break? I think he is doing OK ish so far, or are your hatred of him blinding you?

    No, and I did not criticise the entire article. But some statements are just way over the top. some balance is due. For instance how he is always full of himself, his outsized ego (100 times bigger than Obama’s), his vulgarity, etc.

    The things that Gingrich mentions in the linked article are not unfortunates slip ups but a persistent feature of his presidency.

    He is portrayed as a deal maker but he can’t even make a deal with his own party. Why? because he thinks that he is the master and everyone has to obey. But you know Congress and the country are not his own building site.

  10. Mark A

    BorisG
    #2561673, posted on November 22, 2017 at 2:03 am

    Boris it takes two to make a deal, you would never make a deal with him and neither do some of the in name only republicans in ‘his’ (sic) party.
    He is betwixt a stone and a hard place but still doing OK.

  11. BorisG

    Boris it takes two to make a deal, you would never make a deal with him and neither do some of the in name only republicans in ‘his’ (sic) party.

    I disagree. He has differences of opinion with some of these people, which can be overcome but he does not bother to negotiate. Reagan was able to make deals with Democrats let alone Republicans. so far I have seen that he makes demands to the Speaker. That is not how it works. He is not a king.

  12. Mark A

    BorisG
    #2561682, posted on November 22, 2017 at 2:14 am

    What if he genuinely believes in what he wants to achieve? And it’s in the interest of all Americans?
    Why should he compromise? Specially with the likes of McCain, a despicable individual.

  13. BorisG

    He doesn’t like McCain? then perhaps he can persuade one or two Democrats?

    Deal making means you negotiate and compromise.

  14. Mark A

    BorisG
    #2561693, posted on November 22, 2017 at 2:26 am

    I’m not the president but even in my world there are things I do not compromise on.
    Why should he?

  15. Rafe Champion

    Looking back over the record of Trump posts, a report on activity two weeks in.

  16. BorisG

    I’m not the president but even in my world there are things I do not compromise on.

    Of course there are. But I think in politics this is crucial. Of course there are always red lines. I did not see that the compromise was not reached because GOP was intransigent and Trump was defending a red line. He just dug in his heels and didn’t want to negotiate. But for god’s sake GOP as evil as it is, is not Kim Il Sung. There must be a mutually acceptable solution..,

    In the end it is good that the compromise wasn’t reached. Because as bad as ObamaCare is, what was on offer was even worse. Repealing it with no replacement is also madness (so many people suddenly denied coverage). At least now we have some sane amendments rather than wholesale repeal. And as they are executive orders they can be changed by any new president.

  17. BorisG

    Anti-left, Anti-stupid, Anti-political correctness and Pro-America.

    Anti-stupid, Anti-political correctness – sure. To his credit.

    Anti-left? to a large extent, but it depends how you define left. He is certainly not socially conservative.

    Pro-America? well every politician will say they are pro America. But isolationism and indifference to the rest of the world will not make America great again, because American interests are global.

    OK I think I already said too much. Good night.

  18. Rafe Champion

    Looking even further back to the first of a series of posts on Trump’s policies. It would be interesting to see how much of those policies are still on the table and how they pan out.

  19. Rafe Champion

    The second in the series of Trumpwatch posts Energy. Followed by: Immigration. Trade. Tax.
    Health care.

  20. OneWorldGovernment

    Boris G

    Are you American, Russian or Australian?

    What is patently obvious is the American good old boy network has worked against the American people.

    How can you have a majority in both American chambers and not even get your judges elected?

  21. Craig

    Boris,

    I think I’ve worked you out. Critics of Trump have a common factor, they have stated, wrote or indicated that they think he is not fit for office due to his vulgarity or boorishness or rudeness. You know what, who gives a shit about his vulgarity, boorishness or rudeness when he is there to do one thing and one thing only, run the American economy.

    Otherwise your personal critisisim of Trump is simply you being an emotional retard.

  22. feelthebern

    Pete of Perth, ask your cubicle neighbour about Lois Lerner.
    See what they say.

  23. hzhousewife

    I don’t find Trump vulgar or boorish, compared with vagina-costume wearing harridans who are no contributing at all to anything.
    Thanks for the heads-up on the book, one more xmas present solved.

  24. A Lurker

    Can someone clone Trump and bring him DownUnder because we’re in desperate need of decent leadership.

  25. OneWorldGovernment

    Sorry Rafe if this is too long but if half it is true then it reinforces for me why I declared America an enemy to Australia, to Americans, whilst the Indonesian President was in charge.

    You need to go to the original to get all the supporting links.

    Benghazi or Bust
    Deep-state Democrats endanger embassies, need careful investigation.

    Sgt. LaDavid Johnson, one of the four American victims of the October 4 terrorist attack in Niger, first enlisted in the Army as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic but rose through the ranks to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), qualified as a marksman and sharpshooter, and earned the Global War on Terrorism Medal. More than a month after his body was found, it emerged that the ISIS forces had captured Johnson and executed him by bashing in his head. The damage was so severe that the Army would not let Johnson’s wife Myeisha see the body.

    Also killed in the attack were U.S. Army Sgts. Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson and Dustin Wright. That did not prevent Rep. Frederica Wilson, Florida Democrat, from proclaiming that the attack was Trump’s Benghazi, or as other critics of the president put it, “Benghazi on steroids.” To say the least, the parallel is a stretch.

    In Niger, terrorists attacked uniformed soldiers in the field, and the Army acknowledged a group linked to ISIS. President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made no claim that the attack was about a video.

    In Benghazi in 2012, Islamic terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound. The victims included U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, and foreign service officer Sean Smith. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied terrorism was involved and proclaimed the attack a protest of some internet video.

    This September, Sean Smith’s mother Pat Smith told Fox News that Hillary still has not called her despite a promise to do so. Sean Smith’s uncle Michael Ingmire told Fox News Hillary “was standing, basically before the coffins of Americans, blaming a horrible anti-Islamic video, but she’s just being consistent with her psychosis. The liar, the criminal, the crooked politician—those are the three faces of Hillary.”

    Benghazi was hardly the first terrorist attack on a U.S. embassy. In August, 1998, al Qaeda terrorists bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and wounding thousands. The National Security Advisor at the time was Samuel “Sandy” Berger, a pal of the Clintons since the McGovern campaign in 1972 and deputy national security advisor during the Clintons’ first term.

    Berger had served in the State Department but none of his counsel prevented the terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. Those supposedly alerted Clinton to Osama bin Laden, but the entire U.S. intelligence community was unable to prevent bin Laden from masterminding September 11, 2001.

    That prompted the 9/11 Commission and the Clintons’ representative was Sandy Berger. In 2004, several months before his testimony, Berger slipped into the National Archives and stuffed classified documents into his jacket, pants and socks. Berger then stashed the stolen material on a construction site, where he retrieved it on the sly.

    The documents he ripped off included a sensitive after-action report on Clinton administration handing of terror threats, and documents outlining American vulnerabilities at airports and seaports. As it turned out, the Justice Department official who dealt with Berger was none other than deputy attorney general James Comey.

    “As a general matter, we take issues of classified information very seriously,” Comey told reporters. “It’s our lifeblood, those secrets. It’s against the law for anyone to intentionally mishandle classified documents either by taking it to give to somebody else or by mishandling it in a way that is outside the government regulations.” None of that severity emerged in the deal Berger struck with the Justice Department, which let Berger avoid jail, pay a $50,000 fine, and decline to reveal what he had ripped off.

    As Christopher Andersen noted in American Evita: Hillary Clinton’s Path to Power, as a U.S. attorney Comey also helped the Clintons by closing out the investigation on the New Square clemency case. Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich also drew an investigation and Andersen found it odd that the Bush administration would “help the Clinton’s out” by refusing to release documents related to the pardons. And “in accordance with his boss’s wishes, U.S Attorney James Comey gave Bill and Hillary a pass.”

    In 2007, the DC Bar began to probe Berger’s document theft but the Clinton insider chose to give up his law license rather than reveal everything he stole and destroyed. Berger passed away in 2015 and the Clintons hailed him as “a consummate National Security Advisor.” He was also Hillary’s mentor in the handling of classified material.

    On September 4, 2013, James Comey became director of the FBI. In that role, Comey oversaw the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s destruction of some 30,000 emails and the bleaching of her bootleg server. Comey was going to call it “gross negligence” but changed that to “extremely careless,” which in the style of the Berger deal avoided any recommendation for criminal charges. This took place within a single week, shortly before the Democrats’ convention. As David Horowitz said, “It was, all in all, the most breathtaking fix in American history.”

    One year after her election loss to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton told Mother Jones, “there are lots of questions about its legitimacy” and that the Russian interference “wasn’t just influencing voters—it was determining the outcome.”

    This comes as some in Congress press for a probe of Clinton’s affairs. Any such investigation should take a hard look at Benghazi, and don’t forget James Comey, the Democrats’ strategic deep-state enabler.

  26. lily

    Heaven help us if Australia ever has to go to war, all we would have to protect us is Dad’s Army. The men of today have been so feminised and brow beaten into submission it is a disgrace.
    With President Trump what you see is what you get, give me Trump any day to the pansies Trudeau, Macron etc.

  27. cuckoo

    B-but according to what I see on the news, Trump has had to be physically restrained from pushing that big red button on his desk that fires the nukes on the Norks. And it’s only brave principled generals appearing on talk shows to answer hypothetical gotchas who are keeping him from it.

  28. Slim Cognito

    according to what I see on the news

    There’s your problem right there.

  29. Viva

    Loudness and ego are part and parcel of that kind of entrpreneurial salesman personality. You might as well complain of Bob Hawke’s larrikinism in his heyday.

  30. Jef

    To all the anti-Trumpers, just think of all the economic good he has done in 12 months where Obama cannot do in 8 years !And of course we do not hear it from all the MSM, even in Australia.

  31. Rafe Champion

    Does anyone have contact with moderate Democrats in the US to assess whether there is any hope of traditional Democrats reining in the lunatic fringe that took over the party?

    Looking to 2020, where are the supporters that Trump could lose, especially if the deregulation program does generate growth and jobs?

  32. Chris M

    Can someone clone Trump and bring him DownUnder because we’re in desperate need of decent leadership.

    Yes!

    Tony A is barely 25% the Alpha that Trump he stands out above all the rest here. We have such a cluster of limp wristed lefty bedwetters and fag admirers in government, how many are even Australian.

  33. stackja

    Many Australians voted for Gough and Kev. Why?

  34. Congratulations Rafe, you wrote something even more stupid than Kates’ usual rants. Reading Gingrich will do that to you.

    LOL at the attempt to paint Trump as a battler. No, he inherited vast wealth from his very rich father. Fred Trump was a self-made man, Donald was not. One look at his massively regressive tax bill which raises taxes on all but the very rich tells you that he cares not one little bit about the little guys.

    Also, he regularly stiffed contractors on his buildings, there were a very long string of lawsuits. He doesn’t even build things any more, just puts his name on things built by others. Pretty much like his non-existent contribution to the current US economic run, which was all built by Obama.

    Gingrich’s brand of hagiography is going to look very silly in hindsight. This is a man who painted himself as an upright moral crusader in the 90s, but was cheating on his second wife with his third wife at the time, after cheating on his first wife with his second wife in the 80s.

  35. FelixKruell

    On the site he talks to the construction crew, the painters, tilers and electricians. He knows how to relate to them and he is open to suggestions about improving the work. He learned to do all the jobs in his hotel.

    Would they be the contractors he then refuses to pay for their work? That’s one way of cutting costs I guess…just not a very ethical way.

    As for the communications side, have you read his tweets?

  36. .

    One look at his massively regressive tax bill

    There will be no lying on this blog.

  37. Righto then Dot, *cracks knuckles* tell me how the GOP’s new tax bill is progressive.

  38. .

    False dichotomy monty, I suggest you read Stiglitz’s undergrad text on public finance.

  39. Faye

    Following is my entry which was almost immediately wiped off by The Australian, why?

    Is there a politician or anybody out there who can do this for Australia, preferably under a year?

    “Yup, as widely anticipated, the impact from Trump’s MAGAnomic policies are creating a massive upward dynamic on the Main Street economy. The increase in consumer confidence; the recent increases in wages; the increase in disposable income as an outcome of lowered energy costs and downward prices on high consumables (fuel, food, etc.); the increases in housing starts; the reductions in imported durables; the expansion of exports in energy products and agriculture, and the expanding domestic investment, are all factors in expanding the GDP.”
    (written by sundance at The Last Refuge 21/11/17)

  40. Dot, you’re not trying very hard. The GOP isn’t proposing a land value tax.

    Tell me how I’m lying by saying the current US tax bill is regressive.

  41. I get better arguments from my three-year-old.

  42. mh

    Trump is definitely a leftist. Iampeter said so.

  43. .

    You are wrong monty, you have been wrong on every economics issue you have trolled this site with for the last ten years. Embarrassingly so, often at times worse than cranks such as Graeme Bird or Lyndon La Rouche.

    I’m not going to waste my time with some fuckwit who admittedly turns up just to troll, cannot pass first year economics (which is pretty easy and low IQ students who are ESL can legitimately pass) and cannot be bothered to learn definitions of terms properly after being directed to an easy to read technical guide and undergraduate textbook, repeating asking questions based on these falsehoods is a waste of time.

    You will insist you are correct even are you are proven wrong.

    There is no point in educating you about your false dichotomy characterising the equity of marginal tax rates; the US will still have a progressive tax system after all is said and done.

    The sophisticated argument the left can make boils down to: “Removing very high tax rates on high-income earners might change relative equities even if the system remains progressive, therefore it is regressive even if the less well off pay less or the same rate or amount of taxes”.

    It is intellectual dishonesty par excellence.

  44. BorisG

    I think I’ve worked you out. Critics of Trump have a common factor, they have stated, wrote or indicated that they think he is not fit for office due to his vulgarity or boorishness or rudeness.

    You are partly right in a sense that in my world view these qualities are usually indicators of deeper character flaws that often lead to bigger failings. As a very basic example, in order to succeed with the economy he has to work with Congress. If he insults Congresspeople when they disagree with him, he won’t get very far.

    However there is one mistake in your analysis. The fact that I criticise Trump does not mean I condemn or reject him outright. I am saying that he has positive and negative sides to him and a rational analysis should include both sides. All I reject is one-sided assessments.

    It is obvious that respected people like Gingrich and Giuliani have big reservations about his character but hope that these will not disrupt his bigger agenda. Maybe they are right, as people have put trust in him. I hope they are right, but dangers must be spelled out.

  45. There is no point in educating you about your false dichotomy characterising the equity of marginal tax rates; the US will still have a progressive tax system after all is said and done.

    Ah, so you admit that the tax bill is regressive as per the dictionary definition, as it lowers the progressivity of the current system. Good, we have progress. 🙂

    I wasn’t talking about the tax system as a whole suddenly being turned regressive by one bill. I was talking about the effect of this set of taxes in the tax bill, which would be a mere subset of the more complex system. Don’t try to change the goalposts, Dot.

  46. BorisG

    Monty whats Newt’s personal life got to do with whether Trump will succeed in his economic agenda?

    I haven’t studied the tax bill but the whole tax system is so steeply and unsustainably progressive that any step that makes it less so should be welcomed. The only problem is that cutting taxes should be accompanied by cuts in spending.

  47. The sophisticated argument the left can make boils down to: “Removing very high tax rates on high-income earners might change relative equities even if the system remains progressive, therefore it is regressive even if the less well off pay less or the same rate or amount of taxes”.

    Going back to this, the regressivity of the tax bill comes mainly from it actually raising taxes on the lower and middle classes.

    In 2027, the poorest 40 percent of the country would see a tax increase on average. In total, slightly more than 25 percent of households would pay more in 2027 under the plan than they’re currently set to pay. That includes nearly half of households making between $225,400 and $304,600, the 90th to 95th percentiles.

  48. .

    monty is now arguing against bracket creep.

    Progress.

  49. mh

    Trump with important news on Turkey

  50. Monty whats Newt’s personal life got to do with whether Trump will succeed in his economic agenda?

    Nothing, I just brought that up as an example of Newt’s long record of hypocrisy and failure to live up to his own rhetoric.

  51. Kneel

    “that the Russian interference “wasn’t just influencing voters—it was determining the outcome.””

    Well, of course. 0.004% of Facebook posts relevant to the election were by “Russians”.
    0.5% of tweets.
    Did the content make accusations, or just repeat them? Mostly just repeat the accusations of US citizens.
    All in all a pretty pathetic effort, if they were trying to use these things to “determine the outcome”.

    You lost Hillbillary – and you did it yourself. Calling ~50% of the US population “deplorables” is hardly likely to encourage a vote for you. Calling large swathes of middle-class America “fly-over counties” doesn’t help with your “for the little people” rhetoric. Thinking that all you need to do is spend more money on advertising to win the presidency will have you lose the election. Failing to recognise going even more PC alienates the middle, sees you lose the election. Trying to divide people and make them “victims” has had it’s day. You did all of these and worse.
    Trump said “get rid of the parasites, make sure its fair trade not free trade, enforce the law on immigration, get rid of the ‘victim’ brigade” etc etc. Common sense, man in the street stuff. That appears to be working. Who knew? Well actually, Trump did. Can’t imagine how he won, eh?

Comments are closed.