The Wolff Book

Look, I understand it’s the BIG NEWS now that Michael Wolff wrote a book that purports to chronicle Trump’s rise to power and first year in office. But having read excerpts from it, it crosses me as as bit … exaggerated (and frankly, sloppy). I think it’s quite likely that Trump didn’t really want to be President and I think it’s quite likely that his Administration, especially in the early days, was marked by chaos, backstabbing and incompetence. But the picture he paints is one of complete dysfunction which I’m not seeing. Like it or not, this Administration has gotten some things done. Blunderingly, haltingly and while pissing two-thirds of the country off. But they did put in a travel restriction, they did cut taxes, they did get judges appointed, they have rolled back some regulation, they are ending a lot of immigration programs and may move on trade soon. Whether you like what they’re doing or not — and I have many issues — this is not an Administration in complete paralysis.

Moreover, think it would be dangerous for Trump opponents to read this and underestimate the relative order that Kelly has brought to things. There is a tendency of the “resistance” to buy any story about Trump as long as it’s bad, to see his tweets as a diagnostic of what’s going on inside the White House. And there’s been a recent and foolish tendency to try to diagnose Trump as having a mental disease. But NeverTrumper David Brooks cautions against this:

Imagine if Trump didn’t tweet. The craziness of the past weeks would be out of the way, and we’d see a White House that is briskly pursuing its goals: the shift in our Pakistan policy, the shift in our offshore drilling policy, the fruition of our ISIS policy, the nomination for judgeships and the formation of policies on infrastructure, DACA, North Korea and trade.

It’s almost as if there are two White Houses. There’s the Potemkin White House, which we tend to focus on: Trump berserk in front of the TV, the lawyers working the Russian investigation and the press operation. Then there is the Invisible White House that you never hear about, which is getting more effective at managing around the distracted boss.

I mention these inconvenient observations because the anti-Trump movement, of which I’m a proud member, seems to be getting dumber. It seems to be settling into a smug, fairy tale version of reality that filters out discordant information. More anti-Trumpers seem to be telling themselves a “Madness of King George” narrative: Trump is a semiliterate madman surrounded by sycophants who are morally, intellectually and psychologically inferior to people like us.

Exactly. The internet has been buzzing about a recent report that Trump only works at most about 7 hours a day and spends most of his time watching television and talking on the phone. Let’s assume that’s true. And? What does this mean, exactly? Many celebrity politicians get bored with politics once they realize how limited their power is. I have long predicted that this would happen with Trump. The descriptions of Trump cross me less as a Howard Hughes type madman gradually retreating to his lair and more of a man who really doesn’t want to be President and is happy to turn as much responsibility over to his staff as possible. This is probably for the best, but it is a double-edged sword. Trump’s staff are unelected, only accountable to him and free to pursue their own agendas. Many of the policies we see being enacted are still bad ideas. And the possibility that Trump is an unstable person looms over us. So, sure, there is reason for concern. But the recent spate of articles calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked are still, one year into this Administration, premature. This is not a situation for panic. Yet.

Our friend Thrill read the book and has more detail. But my limited time has become even more limited now that I’m teaching so I will probably not find the time to slog through it. Nevertheless, I will recommend taking it a grain of salt. Hell, I recommend taking any story about the inner workings of this Administration with a grain of salt.

14 comments:

  1. West Virginia Rebel

    It seems that much of it is third hand and gossipy, and even Wolff can’t verify what he wrote. Trump is who he is and people already know that, and he’s still in the White House. Now he may be a one term president (in fact it’s pretty likely) but he won’t be impeached for anything that amounts to rumors and Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Thumb up 0

  2. richtaylor365

    For the most part I agree with your post (like you are writing for my approval, right?) and glad to see some begrudging acknowledgement of accomplishments and him not being the most serendipitous guy on the planet, but it is disappointing that you are propagating (OK, maybe not propagating but parroting) a narrative that has zero evidence;

     And the possibility that Trump is an unstable person looms over us.

    The left love to run with this narrative of mental illness, just stupid. Is narcissism a neurosis? How about paralysis of analysis to the point of  doing nothing? Yet nobody questioned Obama’s sanity. Maybe Trump has a little dick and compensates by picking ill conceived testosterone induced fights, but lack of impulse control (to the  constant consternation of anyone on his side) is not certifiable.

    This is where I wish more people were “conservative like” and not get caught up in cult of personality, view any president as your employee, not a role model, evaluate him on his performance and go live your own life.

     

     

     

    Thumb up 0

  3. Hal_10000 *

    This is where I wish more people were “conservative like” and not get caught up in cult of personality, view any president as your employee, not a role model, evaluate him on his performance and go live your own life.

    Yep. You have to be a bit of a narcissist to run for President in the first place.

    Thumb up 0

  4. richtaylor365

    Books about nazi’s, what’s the difference;

    When University of Toronto professor Randall Hanson,who wrote Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-1945, realized why there was such a sudden increase in his book’s sales, he wondered: Can people really be that dumb to be confusing these books?”

    Um…yes.

    Thumb up 0

  5. richtaylor365

    Did you see the letter Trump received back in response to his cease and desist? 

    Yes, Trump knows  as much about the First Amendment as he does about the real definition of what a “shithole” is.

    Here’s an exercise in futility, who has the thinner skin, Obama or Trump?

    Thumb up 0

  6. CM

    His mouth is the largest shithole.
    Trump has easily the thinnest skin of any leader I’ve known about in my lifetime. In fact he leads in a lot of different areas, none of them good. But I reliable you operate in some parallel universe Rich, so no doubt it’s really Obama, lol.

    Thumb up 0

  7. richtaylor365

    Trump has easily the thinnest skin of any leader I’ve known about in my lifetime.

    But of course, TDS allows no  other alternative. Where I can at least see similarities, your neurosis skews all facts one way.

    in some parallel universe Rich

    You can keep your TDS universe, the rest of us will grade him on performance.

     

     

     

    Thumb up 0

  8. CM

    Ah well, I guess what you came for then. Well done. Such added value. Good to see you’ve maintained your Obama-boner though, it’s clearly something to cling onto in such grim, desperate times.

    Thumb up 0

  9. CM

    So when you had that shit fit about the sort if private party Michelle was throwing, that was actually grading on performance. I see.
    When Trump abuses countries by calling them shitholes, how does that performance measure up? Obama was raked over the coals for minor arguable shit I recall, not even remotely as bad as that. Performance my ass.

    Thumb up 0

  10. Iconoclast

    When Trump abuses countries by calling them shitholes, how does that performance measure up?

    It’s hard to know where to begin because there is a lot to unpack.  For starters, it’s merely an unproven allegation that Trump actually used that term. We have a couple of Democrats who claim he did and a number of Republicans who claim otherwise. Also, it was a private conversation, not a public speech or other for-public-consumption event. Assuming he did use the term, leave it to the Democrats to go tattling to the press that Trump said a “mean thing” (again).

    Since it was a private conversation, anyone present should be given the right to speak his mind freely without fear of reprisal. Immigration is a real issue, and being paralyzed by political correctness is not an effective path. One reason Trump got elected is because he speaks plainly in ordinary person language, and that resonates with the electorate.

    If he did use that particular term, so f*cking what??? It happens to be the truth — some countries are empirically and unequivocally shitholes. That is an unvarnished fact, and, as Ben Shapiro likes to say, facts don’t care about our feelings. It’s funny, people bitch about how Trump lies all the time and still bitch on those occasions when he utters a true statement, just because they don’t like the way he said it.

    Finally, many of us gauge performance on deeds rather than words. Since Trump took office, our wars are being fought with the intent to win (ISIS), Syria hasn’t used chemical weapons since we bombed their airbase, the economy is doing better, the tax cuts are real and having real benefit to ordinary working Americans (idiotic dismissals by out-of-touch Dems notwithstanding), regulations are being rolled back, we’re getting a large number of Constitutionalist judges on federal benches (whines about large numbers of unqualified candidates being rejected notwithstanding), the US Embassy in Israel is moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and so on. I’m sure leftists will try to spin the credit in Obama’s direction, one way or another, or at the very least spin it away from Trump, but Trump’s performance is, for me at least, better than I expected. Then again, my bar was admittedly pretty low. Regardless, in spite of leftist claims that Obama out-performed Trump on even some of the items listed above, things still seem better than they have for the past 8 years, continued sky-is-falling doomsdaying by the left notwithstanding.

    Thumb up 1

Leave a Reply