Friday, March 17, 2017

Has Trump Abandoned That Whole Populism Ploy That Won Him The Nomination And Then The Election?


This morning, David Brooks seemed genuinely surprised-- even shocked-- that the Trump Regime is turning into a standard Republican class warfare operation against working families. And he blamed it on the loss of clout that has befallen poor Steve Bannon. Did Brooks actually believe all the hollow Trump promises to turn things around for the unwashed (white) masses-- let alone the inner cities-- during the campaign? I had dinner the other other night with a close friend who's tight with Bannon. He told me Trump and Bannon plan to rebuild the inner cities entirely and thereby win the allegiance of "the blacks" and "the Hispanics" for for GOP for decades. Did I believe they would do it, he asked me. No, I replied, not a chance in a billion. It was maybe a passing fantasy when they were both high on Trump's Adderall. To begin with, neither of them even cares about the GOP. And it's the GOP (in Congress-- think Paul Ryan and Miss McConnell) who would have to come up with the trillions of dollars to do it. Yeah, that's going to happen-- not even in phase 103.

Brooks opined this morning that Trump's--meaning Bannon's-- "populism is being abandoned. The infrastructure and jobs plan is being put off until next year (which is to say never). Meanwhile, the Trump administration has agreed with Paul Ryan’s crazy plan to do health care first [which has] become a poisonous morass for the entire party, and a complete distraction from the populist project." Ryan is an even more unlikely populist than Trump and his-- and Pence's and Price's-- healthcare planned, dubbed TrumpCare, "punishes," in Brooks' words, "the very people Trump and Bannon had vowed to help. It would raise premiums by as much as 25 percent on people between 50 and 64, one core of the Trump voter base. It would completely hammer working-class voters whose incomes put them just above the Medicaid threshold." When confronted about this by Tucker Carlson on Fox the other day, Trump said everything is "just a negotiation." That phrase will be on his political tombstone. (Listen at around the 7 minute mark.)

[T]he Ryan health care plan punishes the very people Trump and Bannon had vowed to help. It would raise premiums by as much as 25 percent on people between 50 and 64, one core of the Trump voter base. It would completely hammer working-class voters whose incomes put them just above the Medicaid threshold.

The Trump budget is an even more devastating assault on Bannon-style populism. It eliminates or cuts organizations like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that are important to people from Tennessee and West Virginia up through Ohio and Michigan. It cuts job-training and road-building programs. It does almost nothing to help expand opportunity for the working class and almost everything to serve defense contractors and the national security state.

Why is Bannonism being abandoned? One possibility is that there just aren’t enough Trumpians in the world to staff an administration, so Trump and Bannon have filled their apparatus with old guard Republicans who continue to go about their jobs in old guard pseudo-libertarian ways.

The second possibility, raised by Rich Lowry in Politico, is that the Republican sweep of 2016 was won on separate tracks. Trump won on populism, but congressional Republicans won on the standard cut-government script. The congressional Republicans are better prepared, and so their plans are crowding out anything Bannon might have contemplated.

The third possibility is that Donald Trump doesn’t really care about domestic policy; he mostly cares about testosterone.

He wants to cut any part of government that may seem soft and nurturing, like poverty programs. He wants to cut any program that might seem emotional and airy-fairy, like the National Endowment for the Arts. He wants to cut any program that might seem smart and nerdy, like the National Institutes of Health.

But he wants to increase funding for every program that seems manly, hard, muscular and ripped, like the military and armed antiterrorism programs.

Indeed, the Trump budget looks less like a political philosophy and more like a sexual fantasy. It lavishes attention on every aspect of hard power and slashes away at anything that isn’t.

The Trump health care and budget plans will be harsh on the poor, which we expected. But they’ll also be harsh on the working class, which we didn’t.

We’re ending up with the worst of the new guard Trumpian populists and the old guard Republican libertarians. We’re building walls to close off the world while also shifting wealth from the poor to the rich.

When these two plans fail, which seems very likely, there’s going to be a holy war between the White House and Capitol Hill. I don’t have high hopes for what’s going to emerge from that war, but it would be nice if the people who voted for Trump got economic support, not punishment.

Trump thinks Paul Ryan is "on board with my presidency." It's like a mishmash of TV reality shows, like the really aggressively horrible ones: Southern Comfort and Princesses: Long Island (so unwatchable that it was actually cancelled after just one dreadful season) and, of course, Shahs of Sunset. But not as realistic as House of Cards, that's for sure.

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At 2:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an entire, long-standing cottage industry devoted to being studiously dumbfounded about David Brooks and his "inexplicable" confusion about important issues.

Said industry, as this article (and others on this site), only further achieve the strategy for his location in the position he occupies:
he is there precisely to prevent any semblance of truth reaching the general populace. (He's a kind of non-buffoon Thomas Friedman and a bit less harsh version of the entire WaPo editorial staff.)

The sooner this egregious propagandist of and for the 0.1% is no longer given gratuitous, expanded exposure, the better off will be the country.

His is a classic diversionary tactic: Newt Gingrich employed a similar ploy when he tied "the left" into self-neutralizing political knots over threats to defund PBS. The "P" in PBS is alternatively taken to mean "pentagon," "petroleum," "political pablum" or "patronizing" but NEVER "progressive." Gingrich knew that but realized that PBS fans were mesmerized by P(ompous)BS and could be distracted from meaningful political thought and action if they were preoccupied defending "their" (totally useless) media outlet.

Fast forward to chronic Brooks bashing and, OF COURSE, the latest grand diversion: devil-Putin total hysteria - to divert attention from the perniciousness of the Dems and to preempt any concerted effort to supersede them.

John Puma

At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Well, I virtually never read David Brooks until this election, when he had a few reasonable, decent things to say. He did give the appearance of country before party, at least for a little while. I have continued to check his editorials out of curiosity. His piece yesterday about Bannon, however, is pathetic and alarming, and Brooks' judgment again needs to be questioned big time. Bannon is a dangerous, apocalyptic, disturbed individual who lies with impunity just like Trump. Why Brooks would contemplate anything Bannon says as sensible and call for more of his influence is beyond, beyond. Brooks is now back in my basket of "unread" along with Thomas Friedman. Frank Rich, please return to the NY Times!! Sunday is not the same without you!

To John Puma, I always read your comments. But I would not brush off the Russia connection so fast, especially as a Dem plot to avoid holding themselves accountable. I do not believe this tack of "Putin diversion" is the way to go, John. If anything, it is a nod of support to Trump, which I doubt is your intention. Trump has been in bed with the Russians financially for at least a decade, ever since American banks said NO to him, and that sex stuff surely has a ring of truth, knowing what we know of him and his history with women. Also, there are all of those meetings with his staff and the Russians, Trump's accolades for Putin ad nauseum and Trump's life goal to become the richest man in the world, with Putin as his model to plunder his own country (us!). Trump and his children are definitely pursuing the latter, clearly already using his power and position to cash in.

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both comments above are terrific.

Yesterday's clusterfuck wrt Merkel is indicative of der fuhrer's alignment with Putin. We all (should have) assumed that Russia/putin have been $upporting drumpf in his quest to rule American whites... new reporting shows that $upport to have been many 10s of millions -- so far.

As for Bannon (and miller)... don't count the white power people out. Almost everything so far has elevated whites and suppressed nonwhites in some way.

And never misoverestimate the intellect and hatred of American voters. Hard power always plays well with this vast dumbfucktardia. They'll take cuts that kill a lot of people in exchange for a bigger hard-on (military).

One more warning: Nobody ever created a massive military and then FAILED to use it.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Hone,

I appreciate your reading my comments. I read yours.

Rather than restating all my previous points, in rebuttal to your comment of mild rebuke, I have a two questions.

1) What, exactly, is the predicted, obviously widely-feared, apparently detrimental, outcome to the US, under Herr Hair, for NOT acting as belligerently to Russia as HRC has done for years?

You cannot use any version of: "after we forced them into the KKKapitalism KKKlub, they seem to be too good at it, therefore we must destroy them since they won't obey us - like we have done to so many for so long"

2) Do you really believe that any "irregularities" in voting access, and vote counting, in the last election was more likely due to Russian hacking rather than the normal functioning of the well-oiled GOP election fraud system: most obviously the Crosscheck voter suppression system and the widespread use of electronic voting machines with corporate, proprietary software AND GOP Secretaries of State operating them? If, “yes,” would you please provide the evidence?

John Puma

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I think you really nailed it with this "manliness" fetish. That video of him sitting next to the German Chancellor and refusing to turn towards her, acknowledge her or shake her hand reads like the most basic problems with adult, competent women. It never ceases to amaze me that people don't see misogyny and homophobia as giant warning signs, not as some convenient safety valve for everyone else. Maybe they don't want to see it, but boy is it there.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:27, well said.

Bill Maher said that the measure of a man truly is how he treats women he does not want to fuck.

Also, drumpf is incapable of any kind of decorum. In short, he's a pig.

But he does reflect his quarter of the eligible electorate. So he's a more honest fuhrer than McCain or Romney would have been and obamanation was. Both would have painted a smile on the snarling misanthropic beast that is the republican (also democrap) party.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It stands to reason that a republican congress would thwart populist impulses, whether real or fake (looking like the latter... look at everyone on his team and you can't find a single one that could be called a populist).

The usa is still, pollingwise (NOT votingwise), a fairly liberal place. Populism in a western liberal society means doing shit that helps people.

Republicans across their narrow spectrum are all loathe to help people with the sole exception of the .01% who are billionaires. Helping such a tiny group is not populism.

So to keep his ignorant, stupid, racist, misogynist, cracker base engaged (filled with rage and hate), he has to focus on lies about "enemies" and "others" and generally behave like the grotesque pig he is.


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