Sunday, October 29, 2017

When Will The Trump Fever Break?


Since denouncing Trump the other day, Jeff Flake has done exactly what you would expect him to do-- he's continued to support the conservative Republican agenda. That's because he's a conservative Republican and that agenda is far more his agenda than it is Trump's agenda. Trump barely understands the agenda at all, only that it's "his" team and he's their faux-leader. Flake's devotion to basic conservative tenets are far firmer than Trump's. Politically, Trump has been all over the map, not because he's "flexible," but because he has no core and no principles other than self-aggrandizement. But continuing to be the Republican he's always been doesn't make Flake's critique of Trump any less salient. In other words, enjoy it for what it is and learn from it without expecting the impossible. Ed O'Keefe published an interview with Flake in the Washington Post yesterday, one line of which has taken off online in a big way: "I couldn’t sleep at night having to embrace the president or condoning his behavior or being okay with some of his positions." Imagine how poor Melanie must feel! O'Keefe:
Flake said he found himself appalled, again and again, by the president’s boorish behavior and penchant for picking personal fights-- so much so that he felt compelled to publicly criticize Trump directly, in the press and in a best-selling book.

...[H]e held on because he is a strong supporter of most of Trump’s policies and personnel decisions. He voted for his judicial nominees, his regulatory rollbacks and the GOP health-care plan.

“I knew that when I spoke out at that time that I was out of step with a lot of the Republican primary voters, but I felt that I had to do it,” he said in an interview. “I had hoped-- and I still hope and I’m confident at some point-- that the fever will break. But it just became more and more apparent that it certainly wasn’t going to break by next year.”
Flake feels confident that "the fever will break... at some point." I'm less certain that the 30% of hardcore Trump supporters are curable-- ever. Their fever's never going away. They're crazier than Trump is and that gene should have been eliminated after the Civil War instead of trying to rehabilitate it. It didn't help when Nixon and the Dulles brothers imported thousands and thousands of Eastern European Nazis after World War II ("to balance out the Jews") and settled them in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. But you know where the fever is breaking? Successful businessmen are starting to worry that Trump really is dangerous.

Trump went after Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer on Twitter last week. You've seen the TV ads right? Steyer is spending $10 million to make sure everyone does. And Señor Trumpanzee is mighty pissed off. Watch:

But what about Republican billionaires? According to Michelle Celarier's reporting for New York Magazine yesterday from last week's Robin Hood Investment Conference, Trump may soon be tweeting against lots more billionaires than just Steyer. They still have a ways to go before they get to a Jeff Flake level of post-denialism though. Though the stock market is still roaring, the mood at this year's Robin Hood conference was mostly glum.
Less than a year ago, the financial Republican elite was making its way through the brass doors of New York City’s Trump Tower to kiss the ring of President-elect Donald Trump. Many of them had not supported their fellow billionaire-- some had even financed the #neverTrump movement-- and disdained what they deemed his retro views on such matters as immigration and trade.

But these men (and they were almost exclusively men) were hoping that a Republican agenda would give them a big tax cut, if nothing else. Now, after almost a year of congressional inaction and new fears that even the tax cut is slipping away, many are privately shunning the president. Like powerful Republicans in Washington, behind closed doors they are expressing disgust, disappointment, trepidation-- and deploying no small amount of black humor.

...Barry Sternlicht, a billionaire real-estate investor, hotel mogul, and self-described Trump friend and golf partner, seemed to have soured on the president. “I expected him to go to the middle, because I thought he wanted to be great,” he said of Trump, according to an audio of his off-the-record talk obtained by New York. “I played [golf] with Donald Trump and his golf game is like his presidency,” he said, eliciting guffaws. “He’s amusing as my friend, but he’s not very amusing as president of the United States. And I’m a Republican.”

Other conference participants sounded the alarm more loudly. Frequent GOP donor Seth Klarman, CEO of $30 billion Baupost Group hedge fund, had already warned his investors about Trump’s protectionist policies and the deficits his tax plan would produce. But at Robin Hood, Klarman-- who is widely revered in investing circles-- offered a much harsher assessment of Trump to his peers.

“The president is a threat to democracy. He has attacked journalists and he’s threatening to take away NBC’s license,” Klarman said, according to an audio recording of his remarks. “He’s attacking judges. He’s violating all sorts of democratic norms, from the emoluments clause to questioning the election and threatening to lock up his opponent. People don’t focus on this but Nazi Germany had a constitution before Hitler came to power and at the end of the war they had the exact same constitution. It lasted all the way through, but democracy didn’t.”

Klarman continued: “The country is getting divided, whether it’s immigrants, whether it’s transgender people, whether it’s blacks, whether it’s Mexicans. It’s awful.”

Seven months ago, Sternlicht was on CNBC talking about how Trump’s moves were inspiring the business community-- but that wasn’t his message last week. Sternlicht wryly noted that he was waiting for Trump’s promises to materialize, noting that “deregulation has not really taken place yet” and “we haven’t seen much in the way of infrastructure spending.” Sternlicht, whose Miami-based Starwood Capital Group is opening a new chain of high-end hotels (including One New York and One Brooklyn) with the message to visitors to “live green,” also said Trump’s “stance on the environment is just inconceivable to me.”

As a real-estate investor, Sternlicht thinks about future demographic trends, and that’s another area where Trump worries him. The president’s immigration views will hurt growth, he said, noting that the one million refugees Angela Merkel let into Germany are revitalizing the economy there. “It’s amazing; there’s no angst,” he said. “They reworking. They own soccer teams. They are in stores. That’s why Angela Merkel let them in. She needed the labor.”

Hedge-fund manager David Tepper, the CEO of Appaloosa Management, seemed skeptical on the question of whether Trump and the GOP would be able to cut taxes. Tepper-- who supported Jeb Bush in 2016 and has called Trump “selfish”-- earlier this year was optimistic about deregulation and tax cuts with the GOP in control of the White House and Congress. But at the end of his Robin Hood talk, which focused mainly on a stock pitch, Tepper asked the crowd, “Is the tax bill going to get passed? Do you know?”

The only response from the roomful of hedge-funders was nervous laughter.
My heart breaks for them (not).

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At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

trump fever, aka American naziism, won't ever break until a true left coalition forms to replace the fake left democraps.


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