Tuesday, April 11, 2017

White House AdHocracy Reflects Trump’s Own Chaotic, Disordered Thought Process And Lack Of Mental Discipline


For the last 30-40 hours, there have been media reports-- despite denials from Sp[icy Spice that anything is wrong-- that Trump told Priebus to get Kushner-in-law and Bannon to bury the hatchet. Trump doesn't want to hear reports of the discord on his favorite cable shows anymore; it's having a bad impact on his already quirky digestive system. Priebus dutifully hosted the two at a tête-à-tête in Mar-a-Lago on Friday. Do we know what happened yet? Well... Bannon called off his dogs in the media and they've been told to stop disparaging and undermining Kushner (at least for now); I bet Paul Ryan wishes there was a way for someone to get them to stop attacking him too.

Why is the Trump White House such a dysfunctional mess? No one who knows anything about Trump's career and the way he operates can possibly think there's any other way it could be. Someone with a good understanding of what Trump's all about, GOP strategist Rick Wilson, wrote a column for the DailyBeast yesterday pointing out that the White House is a snake-pit because Trump couldn't envision putting anything together that wasn't a snake-pit-- a snake pit that makes, as Wilson put it, "the Borgias look like the Brady Bunch."
Trump is faced with terrible options when it comes to rearranging the deck chairs on the SS White House, and those of us who warned you this was inevitable are ordering popcorn. The cancer in the presidency isn’t his staff-- though they reflect his shoddy intellect, his shallow impulsiveness, his loose grasp of reality, and Chinese-menu ideology. The problem is Trump himself, and nothing and no one can change that.

Let’s start with the leader of the Pepe Army sleeper cell at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Steve Bannon. If Trump keeps his chief strategist, he keeps the poisonous, post-conservative nationalism and thinly-veiled racial and religious animus that helped put him in the Oval Office. Bannon was great at running a conspiracy blog, but his political instincts are those of an arsonist, not a strategist. He has led Trump into a series of unforced political debacles, tainted relations with Congress, and alienated members of America’s new royal family.

He’s already become persona non grata in Congress for his absurdly villainous performance trying unsuccessfully to browbeat them into accepting the ludicrously unpopular Trumpcare bill, and his economic nationalism is big-government statism wrapped in populist trade and industrial policies. Bannon is a famous brawler, and like many brawlers after too many beers, he lashes out any anyone for lookin’ at him funny. A Bannon power center in the White House is as dangerous as its vacuum.

If he fires Bannon, Trump should prepare for war. The information warfare architecture Bannon built with the money of Robert and Rebekah Mercer is already restive and nervous that Trump has been co-opted by (((them))) and lured into being a more conventional president. Since the Trumpbart/Bannon/Mercer propaganda platform helped elect Trump with its lurid “reporting” and its troll army (shoutout to Putin!), it can just easily be turned against him. Trump’s social media power was always boosted by-- if not contingent upon-- this system, and the idea of a vengeful Bannon turning those tools against him should keep Donald awake at night.

If Bannon is cut loose, the old Washington adage of “better to have your enemy inside the tent pissing out” will come into play. The coverage of Trump in the Bannon/Mercer echo chamber will go from “gushing hagiography” to “more in sorrow than in anger” to “Trump is now a globalist cuck shill for the ZOG” faster than Andrew Breitbart can rotate in his grave.

Another reason firing Bannon is fraught with risk: Bannon is running the Russia pushback operation from inside the White House. He’s up to his ample ass in the Nunes shenanigan with NSC staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnik and White House Counsel’s Office staffer Mike Ellis. Bannon doesn’t just want to protect Trump over the Russia allegations; he wants to protect Russia, a nation he sees as an essential ally in his new alliance of white Christian nations against the Muslim horde. Does Trump really want Bannon, angry and in the wind, declaring his own jihad?

What about Jared Kushner, the new golden child of the Celebrity White House?

Elevating his son-in-law to Ambassador Plenipotentiary for Everything and Czar of All U.S. Government Programs is already straining credulity. Other than an accident of marriage and birth, Kushner isn’t regarded as particularly shining intellect, a masterful leader, or a man of any particularly notable ideological standards. He’s the son of a New York billionaire married to Trump’s daughter, and that’s really about all he brings to the table.

Teacher’s pet types emerge in every organization. The leader will take a shine to a person of particular talent or ability, and elevate them faster than the norm. It’s one thing when that person actually has talent and ability. In that case, other team members will see it with grumbling admiration, even if they don’t like it. In Kushner’s case, accomplished, smart people who have managed more than their daddy’s real-estate company will look at him as being elevated on the basis of his marriage, not his ability.

Kushner already has so many titles, assignments, and projects that it would be impossible for even an experienced manager and leader with a staff of hundreds to manage them. He’s never managed projects even close to the scale of what Trump has ladled onto his plate, and it’s going to show. The death will be from a thousand tiny cuts, but politically fatal in the end. In addition, Trump requires Kushner’s presence so frequently that I’m surprised Jared doesn’t have a cot outside Donald’s bedroom door.

Despite all that, Kushner is a rising force in the White House, and that’s a problem for two reasons. First, he’s also no conservative, as he and Ivanka frequently leak to friendly media. They’re New Yorkers in both social political temperament, meaning quite far to the left on social issues not only by GOP standards but by the standards of most Americans. Pushing Trump to the left on social and economic policy further harms Trump’s chances in Congress, and though Trump is no conservative, will shock the rubes who were sold on him as one. A Kushner-Goldman Sachs alliance seem to be emerging in the White House. Has anyone checked Alex Jones for signs of stroke?

Replacing Reince Priebus, a process-driven, mainline conservative before he sipped the sweet, sweet Kool-Aid of Trumpism, is another option. The chief of staff may stay. The chief of staff may go. The question is, would anyone notice?

Priebus is an administrator in an administration led by a man with little interest in his ministers and none at all in being managed himself. You can see the former party chairman desperately trying to put up guardrails and establish lanes and to staff the administration with something other than ex-Breitbart “reporters.” One of his jobs was to be the Washington Whisperer for Trump, and in the wake of the Trumpcare debacle, and the fact that Trump’s entire legislative agenda is in limbo, it’s plain that whatever he’s whispering isn’t penetrating.

...[Expect] an explosion in the Trump base is if the president who blasted Goldman Sachs relentlessly allows the Vampire Squid’s friendly takeover of the Oval Office to come to fruition. With Gary Cohn as a widely discussed replacement for Priebus, and with a host of Goldman alumni staffing senior positions, Trump will have a circle of advisers who are more liberal, more (ahem) globalist, more comfortable with regulation and crony capitalism, and who believe that what’s Good for Goldman Is Good for America. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this will play with Trump’s lower-middle class base of the economically fragile, to say nothing of the conspiracy media.

You’ll note I’ve left off hapless non-factor Kellyanne Conway from this piece. She’s already in Siberia, chewing shoe leather to survive the political winter, and it’s unlikely she can make it back into Trump’s good graces after becoming a national laughingstock with her relentlessly post-fact spin. She’s five minutes away from a well-paid sinecure as a Fox News contributor.

As long as Trump is president, there will never be a pivot. There is no better version of Trump, simply waiting for the right org chart or the right staffer.

I’m always struck with how a simple phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson captures politics over time, and how it captures the Trump administration perfectly.

That phrase? “An institution is the lengthened shadow of a man.”

The shambolic adhocracy of his White House is a perfect reflection of Trump’s own chaotic, disordered thought process and lack of mental discipline, and that’s not changing any time soon.

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At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I’m surprised Jared doesn’t have a cot outside Donald’s bedroom door."

What for? Donald's in bed with them, elbowing Jared aside so he can snuggle up closer to Ivanka. Is that any more nauseating than business as usual at the Trump White House?

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One should note that this is what third-world despots do. They put unqualified shills into positions of power based ONLY on loyalty. The first sign of any kind of disloyalty, they're out... or dead. We're in the nicer version of a despotic tyranny now.

And, frankly, almost all the voters who voted for drumpf like it that way.

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nazisand Jewish investment bankers...very schizo

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: "It looks like a felony" inset of Kushner brought to you by "American Bridge."

Presumably this is the same American Bridge as here:

Note: "American Bridge 21st Century is a progressive research and communications organization committed to holding Republicans accountable for their words and actions and helping you ascertain when Republican candidates are pretending to be something they’re not.

We understand the frustration you feel with elected officials who campaign on one set of principles but govern by another, because we feel it too. We believe you deserve better than that. We think our elected officials should have one set of principles, not one for each set of special interests they represent."

With the entire government in control of the GOP and the attorney general appointed by Kushner's father-in-law, AB needs to get real, as no such conceivable "felonies" will be considered, much less investigated.

I'd suggest that American Bridge is no more than one of the collection of manipulative groups looking for hand-outs, of the sort criticized in a previous DWT post.

American Bridge would do much better for all of us if it directed its lofty purpose (above) towards the Democratic Party.

John Puma


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