Ian Welsh suggests, "Maybe It Is Time To Stop Underestimating Trump?" -- and Steve Bannon too
Andy B. strikes again -- and note especially
the "Carol Foyer" fake-quote at the end
NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) -- A once-prominent political career came to a shocking end on Friday as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was arrested for keying the limo of President-elect Donald J. Trump.
The incident, which rocked political circles in Trenton and Washington, happened in full view of the midtown-Manhattan crowds outside of Trump Tower, where the vandalized limo had been parked.
“Suddenly, this guy broke through security, whipped out his keys, and made a gigantic gash along the side of the limo,” said Harland Dorrinson, a tourist from Missouri who witnessed the incident. “Police started wrestling him to the ground, and I was, like, ‘Holy crap, that’s Chris Christie.’ ”
Fellow-Republicans reacted to Christie’s arrest with sadness and sympathy. “This whole transition period has been tough on a lot of folks,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said.
Across New Jersey, residents like Carol Foyler, of Teaneck, said that they were shocked by their governor’s spectacular fall. “I never would have guessed that this would be the thing he’d go to jail for,” she said.
"Trump’s opposition will continue getting their asses handed to them if they keep assuming that he’s a boob, or that he can’t take good advice. He’s a very savvy operator, and the people he trusts most, Bannon and Kushner, are extraordinarily competent men who have proved their loyalty."
-- Ian Welsh, in "Maybe It Is Time To Stop
Underestimating Trump?" (Wednesday)
Underestimating Trump?" (Wednesday)
"Bannon, for all he is decried as a racist, is the person you want to win most of the Trump White House fights, at least if you care about ordinary people, because he’s the guy who wants ordinary Americans to do well, and he knows he needs Hispanics and Blacks to get jobs too. . . . Bannon is right that if the Trump White House can deliver for enough people, they get to rule DC and America for 50 years. . . .
"This is going to be a very interesting White House and administration, just because Trump does not have decided views on a lot of issues. Who wins the internal fights will determine the entire course of Trump’s presidency, and may well determine America’s (and the world’s) future for decades.
"Place your bets and don’t underestimate these people."
-- Ian, in "Don't Underestimate Steve Bannon" (Thursday)
Okay, enough fun with Andy B. Now down to business, in the form of Ian Welsh's posts from the last two days, referenced above. The thing to do, really, would be just to encourage you to read the whole posts at the links, in chronological order -- Trump first, then Bannon. I'm going to blunder ahead anyway, but really Ian deserves to make his case(s) his own way (and while you're on his site, don't forget pondering kicking in some $$$ to help enable him to continue giving us his distinctive perspective on, you know, stuff.)
In recommending these posts, I realize that the first danger is readers assuming that Ian is endorsing whatever it is that President The Donald decides to do, failing to make the fairly obvious distinction between saying that the guy is extremely competent and usually gets what he goes after and saying that he's an agent of goodness. So let's go first to the "qualifier":
Trump just convinced Carrier to keep some manufacturing jobs in the US (by bribing them with tax cuts, it seems). That sort of high profile personal intervention will be remembered, and has already said to his followers “I’m delivering for you”.So what is it that this is qualifying?
Trump is clearly a very flawed individual, with really questionable morals and ethics, but he isn’t incompetent by any useful definition of the word. He may well wind up betraying his followers, certainly many of his cabinet picks are of deeply dubious individuals who favor policies which will hurt the working and middle classes.
But that doesn’t make him incompetent, that makes him -- a politician and a sleazy, but very good, salesman.
I keep seeing people talking about how stupid Trump is.After making clear his feelings about Trump's principles and beliefs (whatever they are), Ian gets to the point I've already quoted above, which seems worth repeating:
It is certainly true that Trump is not book-smart. He probably wouldn’t score well on an IQ test.
But by now, it should be clear, except to functional idiots, that Trump is very good at getting what he wants.
This is a man who shits into a gold toilet. Who has slept with a succession of models. Yeah, he’s a sleazy predator, but he gets what he wants.
He won the primary and the election. He won the election spending half as much money as Clinton did. Yes, she won the popular vote total: that’s irrelevant. He won where he needed to win to get the Presidency.
He played the media like a maestro, getting a ton of coverage, of the subjects he wanted covered when he wanted them covered.
Trump’s opposition will continue getting their asses handed to them if they keep assuming that he’s a boob, or that he can’t take good advice. He’s a very savvy operator, and the people he trusts most, Bannon and Kushner, are extraordinarily competent men who have proved their loyalty."What Trump doesn’t have," Ian writes, "is very firm policy opinions,"
and wonkish centrists and lefties think that makes him stupid, and that that type of stupid is the same thing as incompetent.
Trump stands a decent chance of juicing the economy even as he chops away at is remaining underpinnings through his tax cuts. If he does so, he will be re-elected.
I’d be careful betting against him.
AS TO THOSE "EXTRAORDINARILY COMPETENT
MEN WHO HAVE PROVED THEIR LOYALTY" --
Ian cautions: "Don't underestimate these people."
In yesterday's post Ian took a closer look at Steve Bannon, and what he sees there isn't, or isn't just, what most of us have been focusing on.
First I told you not to underestimate Trump (well, I’ve told you repeatedly), now I’m going to tell you not to underestimate Bannon, his chief strategist, rewarded for supporting him thru everything from Breitbart. Here’s Bannon:"That point is important," Ian says, "but irrelevant to what Bannon is saying."
“The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get fucked over. If we deliver we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years. That’s what the Democrats missed. They were talking to these people with companies with a $9 billion market cap employing nine people. It’s not reality. They lost sight of what the world is about.”Pretty much. Now, it was not necessary to gut the American working class to create a middle class in Asia, there were win/win ways to alleviate poverty outside the developed world without fucking working class Europeans and Americans and so on over. But those ways were not possible under neoliberalism.
The way the world economy was run completely fucked a lot of people in America, the EU, Canada, Australia and elsewhere and Bannon is right that if the Trump White House can deliver for enough people, they get to rule DC and America for 50 years, like the Dems did from 1932 to 1980 (yeah, there were Republicans, they governed as Democrats.)If Ian is right about Bannon's agenda, and if he can persuade the boss to let him do it, there's a lot he can do which will be felt in a good way by voters, especially if he can take advantage of "easy money from the Fed."
Trump will get to replace most Fed governors, fairly soon, so he can certainly have a compliant Federal Reserve. Bear in mind that [following the 2008 economic meltdown] the Fed gave away trillions of dollars, and was giving away tens of billions a month for years. That money is an available slush fund for anyone smart enough to use it to do more than bail out bankers.Ian argues that there are other tools President Trump can use which may produce results noticeable in "flyover country," so dangerously undertracked by most of us during the election. "Contrary to what mainstream economists (over 90% of whom, I remind you, did not notice the housing bubble) say," he writes,
Bannon, I suspect, is smart enough. 80 billion a month can buy a lot of jobs if you use it effectively, which Obama’s Fed never did.
Trump can use tariffs to bring a lot of jobs back. The manufacturer of iPhones (FoxConn) has already said, sure, they’re willing to build them in the US. They aren’t going to kiss a market like that goodbye.But there's a crucial "but" here:
But Trump’s tax cutting instincts work against this. Cutting taxes for corporations isn’t as effective as tariffs, because corporations already pay very low taxes, and multinationals pay damn near none, since they play various jurisdictions off against each other.So Bannon's economic agenda may run up against his boss's impulses. "If you’re a partisan Democrat first," Ian concludes, "and don’t give a fuck about the working class and middle class, especially in flyover country,"
then Bannon needs to lose his fights, because if he wins them, Trump gets elected again (though, as I note, I don’t think Bannon gets his 50 years, unless he’s far more clever even than he’s so far indicated (not impossible).