Recently in Politics Election 2016 Category

Donald Trump is making the 'Great Man' theory of history great again - Business Insider

Interesting article by David A. Bell, a professor of history at Princeton. Bell begins by reciting some cases in which the personalities of world leaders appear to have been decisive in the course of world history -- Lincoln, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin are given as examples -- reinforcing the "Great Man" theory of history, a theory often dismissed by modern historians.

"Despite the vast power at the disposal of the American president, most occupants of that office, even when commanding congressional majorities, have felt constrained by a host of structural conditions of one sort or another. They want to avoid spooking the stock market, damaging their party's chances in future elections, upsetting carefully negotiated diplomatic agreements, and so on and so forth. They almost certainly have a lower estimate of their own power than almost anyone else. But these constraints, which change far more slowly than a president's moods, make the actions they take more predictable and therefore more easily subject to social scientific analysis.

"Donald Trump, however, is so willful and thin-skinned, so convinced of his own abilities, so enamored of his own unpredictability, and at the same time so unable to concentrate on any particular issue, that he is far less likely to appreciate the constraints that have weighed so heavily on his predecessors or even to understand them. He is also far less likely to listen to his advisors, and these advisers themselves are, overall, far more ignorant of their supposed areas of expertise than any other group of high-level administration officials in American history.

"Even in crisis situations, U.S. presidents have generally done their best to follow predictable, well-established decision-making protocols. The television shows that present a president making hugely consequential decisions under pressure, from the gut, with only a handful of close aides in the room, eliminate from the picture the vast bureaucratic operations that exist to provide information, to evaluate the reliability of that information, to analyze it, and to game out the possible consequences of different courses of action. Up to now, presidents have generally respected these bureaucracies in most cases. They know how important it is, in a world of nuclear weapons, for there to be steady, predictable protocols for resolving crises. They remember all too well that during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, only the steadfastness of a single Soviet military officer kept a submarine commander from launching a tactical nuclear weapon against an American destroyer, possibly provoking nuclear war (if you don't know the story, read this). Donald Trump, alas, is almost certainly less likely to follow established protocols than any of his predecessors. In a crisis situation, how is he likely to react? Can anyone know?"

The Man Who Became Donald Trump - POLITICO Magazine

"For Reines, who thought he was playing a historic role in helping elect the next president, the months he spent studying Trump's every word and gesture have transformed into something else, now that Clinton lost and Trump won: They've given him a unique perspective into the mind and behavior of the president-elect.

"Reines hasn't talked about the experience publicly until now. But nine days before Trump was set to be sworn in as the country's 45th president, he sat down with POLITICO and opened up about what living like Trump taught him about what to expect when Trump's unusual psyche collides with the unique demands of the American presidency. Looking ahead to the inauguration and beyond, Reines thinks Trump's biggest challenge is going to come from within himself....

"To attribute forethought to how and when Trump tweets, or how he comes to a decision, is to misunderstand the instinctual player who might not be strategic but certainly recognizes the upside of simply being himself, according to Reines. 'I think of it like a pinball machine, where Congress are the bumpers, the machine says tilt, no one controls where the ball goes, and the player, at best, is just playing goalie,' says Reines. 'Trump is not the player, he's the ball," he adds. "The truth is the ball doesn't know what it's about to do.'

"President Trump will be more preoccupied with being able to declare success than with actually succeeding, Reines predicts. Trump, for instance, declared victory when Sprint agreed to keep 5,000 jobs in the United States. Those jobs, however, were part of a commitment that Sprint's parent company had previously announced. Those details didn't matter much to Trump. A photo-op at the groundbreaking of a wall along the Mexican border might be all he needs to declare the fabled project successfully underway, and move on."

RELATED: Cracked: 6 Things Juggalo Culture Teaches Us about Donald Trump

Sultan Knish: How Soros Destroyed the Democratic Party

"Money poured into the fringe organizations of the left like MoveOn, which had moved on from a petition site to a PAC. In 2004, Soros was its biggest donor. He didn't manage to bring down Bush, but he helped buy the Democratic Party as a toy for his yowling dorm room of left-wing activists to play with.

"Soros hasn't had a great track record at buying presidential elections. The official $25 million he poured into this one bought him his worst defeat since 2004. But his money did transform the Democrat Party.

"And killed it....

"The left had recreated the Democrat Party and marginalized it. Much of this disaster had been funded with Soros money. Like many a theatrical villain, the old monster had been undone by his own hubris. Had Soros aided the Democrats without trying to control them, he would have gained a seat at the table in a national party. Instead he spent a fortune destroying the very thing he was trying to control.

"George Soros saw America in terms of its centers of economic and political power. He didn't care about the vast stretches of small towns and villages, of the more modest cities that he might fly over in his jet but never visit, and the people who lived in them. Like so many globalists who believe that borders shouldn't exist because the luxury hotels and airports they pass through are interchangeable, the parts of America that mattered to him were in the glittering left-wing bubble inhabited by his fellow elitists.

"Trump's victory, like Brexit, came because the left had left the white working class behind. Its vision of the future as glamorous multicultural city states was overturned in a single night. The idea that Soros had committed so much power and wealth to was of a struggle between populist nationalists and responsible internationalists. But, in a great irony, Bush was hardly the nationalist that Soros believed. Instead Soros spent a great deal of time and wealth to unintentionally elect a populist nationalist.

"Leftists used Soros money to focus on their own identity politics obsessions leaving the Dems with little ability to interact with white working class voters. The Ivy and urban leftists who made up the core of the left had come to exist in a narrow world with little room for anything and anyone else."

Transcript: Donald Trump's closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders

James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Mike Huckabee all kneel before Zod.

MORE: Steve Deace explains why Franklin Graham is wrong to equate Donald Trump to flawed heroes of the Bible.

Donald Trump Really Doesn't Want Me to Tell You This, but ... | Vanity Fair

"I spent a long, awkward weekend with Donald Trump in November 1996, an experience I feel confident neither of us would like to repeat.

"He was like one of those characters in an 18th-century comedy meant to embody a particular flavor of human folly. Trump struck me as adolescent, hilariously ostentatious, arbitrary, unkind, profane, dishonest, loudly opinionated, and consistently wrong. He remains the most vain man I have ever met. And he was trying to make a good impression....

"I was prepared to like him as I boarded his black 727 at La Guardia for the flight to Mar-a-Lago, his Florida home--prepared to discover that his over-the-top public persona was a clever pose. That underneath was an ironic wit, an ordinary but clever guy. But no. With Trump, what you see is what you get. His behavior was cringe-worthy. He showed off the gilded interior of his plane--calling me over to inspect a Renoir on its walls, beckoning me to lean in closely to see . . . what? The luminosity of the brush strokes? The masterly use of color? No. The signature. 'Worth $10 million,' he told me. Time after time the stories he told me didn't check out, from Michael Jackson's romantic weekend at Mar-a-Lago with his then wife Lisa Marie Presley (they stayed at opposite ends of the estate) to the rug in one bedroom he said was designed by Walt Disney when he was 18 (it wasn't) to the strength of his marriage to Maples (they would split months later)....

"What was clear was how fast and far one could fall from favor. The trip from 'genius' to 'idiot' was a flash.... I watched as Trump strutted around the beautifully groomed clay tennis courts on his estate, managed by noted tennis pro Anthony Boulle. The courts had been prepped meticulously for a full day of scheduled matches. Trump took exception to the design of the spaces between courts. In particular, he didn't like a small metal box--a pump and cooler for the water fountain alongside--which he thought looked ugly. He first questioned its placement, then crudely disparaged it, then kicked the box, which didn't budge, and then stooped--red-faced and fuming--to tear it loose from its moorings, rupturing a water line and sending a geyser to soak the courts. Boulle looked horrified, a weekend of tennis abruptly drowned. Catching a glimpse of me watching, Trump grimaced."

The meaningless Donald Trump Supreme Court list - The Washington Post

"I think the list is meaningless for that. First, Trump's press release does not commit to choosing from this list. Rather, it states: 'The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.' So Trump has a 'plan' to use the list as a 'guide.' That's nice, but it's not a commitment to choosing from the list....

"Say what you want about Trump, but he is more than willing to change his mind when new circumstances arise. And actually being elected would count as a changed circumstance. You can imagine President Trump's tweet when he explains why he didn't pick from his list: 'List of 11 was ideal, but had to compromise with Senate. My nephew John Trump is smart. Be a great judge!'

"Finally, if you take the list seriously, it includes a very wide mix of judges. It includes moderates, conservatives and libertarians. It includes those more committed to judicial restraint and those more committed to judicial activism. It includes some distinguished judges and some with less of a national reputation. I assume Trump is counting on conservative and libertarian lawyers to look at the list, see at least one person they like, and decide to support Trump and just hope for the best. But if that happens, I think it will reflect wishful thinking rather than sound judgment."

Trump Solo - The New Yorker

From 1997, and Donald Trump doesn't seem to have changed all that much (emphasis added):

"Trump's vaunted art of the deal has given way to the art of 'image ownership.' By appearing to exert control over assets that aren't necessarily his--at least not in ways that his pronouncements suggest--he exercises his real talent: using his name as a form of leverage....

"Of course, the 'comeback' Trump is much the same as the Trump of the eighties; there is no 'new' Trump, just as there was never a 'new' Nixon. Rather, all along there have been several Trumps: the hyperbole addict who prevaricates for fun and profit; the knowledgeable builder whose associates profess awe at his attention to detail; the narcissist whose self-absorption doesn't account for his dead-on ability to exploit other people's weaknesses; the perpetual seventeen-year-old who lives in a zero-sum world of winners and 'total losers,' loyal friends and 'complete scumbags'; the insatiable publicity hound who courts the press on a daily basis and, when he doesn't like what he reads, attacks the messengers as 'human garbage'; the chairman and largest stockholder of a billion-dollar public corporation who seems unable to resist heralding overly optimistic earnings projections, which then fail to materialize, thereby eroding the value of his investment--in sum, a fellow both slippery and naïve, artfully calculating and recklessly heedless of consequences.

Why Pro-Trump Conservative Media Should Worry | PJ Media

Christian Toto writes:

"I didn't give up on print newspapers even when the web starting delivering all the news I needed to my laptop.

"I kept buying the daily paper, tucking it under my arm and taking it everywhere I went that day. Sure, I could find it all online, but I loved the feel of the paper in my hands. It also connected me to my early days as a newspaper reporter, eager to read my colleagues' work.

"Not anymore.

"Now, when I see the newspaper on our front lawn, cocooned in its pristine orange wrapper, I just keep on walking. I'll pick it up later. Maybe.

"What day is recycling again?

"Consider that a warning to conservative media outlets serving as Donald Trump's de facto campaign arm. You're destroying habits that have been in places for years. In some cases, decades....

"For roughly 25 years if I was near a radio from noon to 3 p.m. I turned on "The Rush Limbaugh Show." I first heard Limbaugh through my dad. We'd sit in the car together, wolfing down Sabrett hot dogs and listening to "talent ... on loan ... from Gawd."

"I was hooked. Like father, like son.

"As I got older, listening to Limbaugh became instinctual. It was like walking into a darkened room and reaching for the light switch.

"No more.

"Months of hearing Limbaugh, THE voice of conservatism, downplay, ignore or somehow spin Trump's antics changed all that. Now, I turn the radio to a competitor. Or I don't turn it on at all.

"Twenty-plus years of entrenched behavior? Gone, unlikely to return."

John Boehner Revealed His Character At Stanford - The Stanford Review

"Many conservatives would tell you that this is not the first time John Boehner has sold out the cause. I have always defended Boehner from these criticisms, but he has now made it impossible for me to do so. At Stanford, Boehner revealed his character. And it wasn't pretty....

"Besides, Boehner is a conservative. He likely agrees with Cruz on most key questions of policy and principle, from the size of government to federalism to defending life. However, these are evidently secondary concerns for the former Speaker of the House. Boehner puts his own petty personal and procedural differences with Cruz first, and unleashes with the type of vile criticism that he has never directed at Barack Obama, John Kerry, or anyone else....

"Now more than ever, the Republican Party and conservatives need to be united in an all-out effort to save the party and country from Trump. Conservatives from George Will to Charles Krauthammer to Bill Kristol to the whole National Review have stood firm against Trump on principle, but Republican elites are giving in. John Boehner divides us because he personally dislikes Ted Cruz. While the fire rages, Boehner misses the forest for the trees.

"At Stanford, Boehner made it clear that his critics have been right. Trump stands against everything for which Boehner has worked during his 25 years in Washington, but when it matters most, Boehner is unwilling to fight a shifting tide. At Stanford, we saw Boehner uncut, uncensored, and unprincipled."

Conventional Wisdom | The Weekly Standard

"Party conventions are open processes. Delegates to these gatherings are not handpicked by party bosses. They are regular Republicans who participate because they have the time and interest to do so. The Cruz team put in the effort to organize regulars loyal to its candidate; the Trump campaign failed to do so. Consider, for instance, the Colorado convention held earlier this month. Delegates to that convention were chosen at precinct caucuses held on Super Tuesday--and any registered Republican was invited to attend. That the Trump campaign failed to get its supporters to those caucuses is not the fault of the Cruz campaign, the Colorado Republican party, or anybody else except the Trump campaign.

"The Republican party does not belong to its presidential candidates in the way that Trump presumes. In important respects, it still belongs to the party regulars who attend these conventions. Starting in the 1970s, the party organization began sharing authority with voters to select the presidential nominee, but sovereignty was never handed over to the electorate lock, stock, and barrel. The delegates to the national convention, chosen mostly by these state and district conventions, have always retained a role--not only to act when the voters fail to reach a consensus, but to conduct regular party business.

"This is hardly antidemocratic, by the way. Party organizations such as these are a vital, albeit overlooked part of our nation's democratic machinery. The party regulars at the district, state, and national conventions do the quotidian work of holding the party together between elections: They establish its rules, arbitrate disputes, formulate platforms to present to the voters, and so on. It would be impossible to have a party without these sorts of people doing work the average voter doesn't care about.

"And these people are hardly the "establishment" in any meaningful sense of the word. Consider the process in Colorado.... But the process was open to any registered Republican, and more than a thousand people served as delegates at the state convention. There were some big political players involved, naturally, but by and large they were just average people. The same goes for the state conventions in places like Wyoming and North Dakota. These meetings in Cheyenne and Bismarck are in no way beholden to, or the equivalent of, the power players working on K Street."