Trump Fu

In the last couple of weeks, it seems that everyone has celebrated and castigated Trump, sometimes on the same day. Examining the range of opinions on Trump’s presidency so far is like looking through a kaleidoscope. No matter how gently you hold it up to your eye, you see something different than last time you looked through it. In normal times, it is easy to know where everyone stands. The Liberals think the Republican president is Hitler and they think the Democrat is Jesus. The Right adjust accordingly.

With Trump, all of the pundits are standing in the darkness, silhouetted by a wall of light and sound. We can sort of see them moving and we hear noises, but it is hard to know who is saying what about whom. Every once in a while a face from the crowd pops into view and says something good or ill about Trump. One minute Bill Kristol is sneering about Trump and then all of sudden Lindsey Graham is praising Trump. The Alt-Right is one minute hooting about Syria and then praising the new border push.

It really is exhausting, but it is part of how Trump plays the game. It is a good reminder that traditional metrics are not much use when judging Trump the politician. It’s also why he mowed down the GOP field with a cell phone and a twitter account. It was not that he broke their rules. It was that they wasted a lot of time complaining about Trump breaking their rules. Meanwhile, Trump was out giving voters a reason to support him. It is a classic form of political distraction that Trump has adopted to the modern communication age.

Similarly, Trump is wildly unpredictable, at least he seems unpredictable. That’s a big part of how he plays the game. He wants everyone to think the range of choices for him include some collection of unknown options that no one has yet to consider. That keeps foes on the defensive, making them tentative, even when they have the advantage. By appearing to have no clear strategy and routinely breaking old habits, Trump appears to be a wild man, who is capable of anything. Therefore, there’s no way to plan for him.

The big weapon Trump has in this regard is his willingness to attack unexpectedly. He always looks to attack when everyone is sure it is foolish to do so. He went to the very pro-military state of South Carolina and called John McCain a loser for getting shot down and captured by the Vietnamese. He questioned McCain’s conduct as a prisoner. The media howled about how he went too far, but his opponents suddenly got very nervous as they realized they could never relax around Trump. He could attack at any moment.

Another thing about Trump  that makes him an extreme outlier in national politics is that he is not an ideologue. Most of our politicians are quite stupid. All of their intellectual energy is focused on the endless scheming and game playing that is politics. What passes for ideology in American politics is really just a laundry list of policies aimed at buying votes from interest groups. That’s why they sound like robots. They stick to the script, even in the face of a public revolt, because that’s the safe and easy way to do it.

That’s not Trump. He is not married to any policy. In the campaign, he would regularly say something one day and then take it back two days later when it proved to be unpopular. It is safe to assume, for example, that Trump has zero interest in health care. He’ll sign off on anything that is popular with the voters. He’s also willing to dump a bad policy without worrying a bit about being called a hypocrite or inconsistent. Trump is practical about these things. If it does not work, he tosses it aside and moves onto to the next thing.

This will be terribly frustrating for partisans, but Trump is a goal oriented guy. The never ending circus has a point. In the case of the Syrian attack and the blow up with the Russians, it is looking like the point of it all was to play a little domestic politics, but a whole lot of international politics. The way he handled the Chinese leader last week is looking like a game to get the Chinese to do something about North Korea, in order to save face. The “Crazy Trump” act hurling missiles at Syria is excellent cover.

It’s easy to read way too much into these accounts, but the Chinese are now saying extremely bellicose things to the North Koreans. Bush and Obama used every trick they knew to get the Chinese to address the North Koreans and failed. Suddenly, the Chinese are issuing ultimatums. It could simply a be a coincidence and China has been planning to rid themselves of the Kim family for a while, but it is hard to imagine anything like this happening under the last four presidents. They lacked the boldness to try it.

None of this is to suggest that Trump is going to be good for our team, however you interpret that. It’s just that using the old metrics to assess Trump is a category error. He’s not a regular politician and these are not regular times. No one should have imagined Trump as their white knight. At best, Trump flips over the tables and creates enough chaos to give those outside official Washington a chance to join the fight. Trump the Destroyer of Worlds is going to be exhausting for everyone. That’s just part of the deal.

This post has already been linked to 6088 times!

Leave a Reply

79 Comments on "Trump Fu"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
coyote
Guest

He only LOOKS like a giant stay-puft marshmallow giant. AWESOME KEK CHAOS MACHINE !!

karl hungus
Guest

Zman, do you think Trump is capable of crossing the Rubicon?

John the River
Member

The God-Emperor doesn’t cross the Rubicon.

and if it’s smart, it doesn’t cross him.

Doug
Guest

Cross the Rubicon?
The guy is taking a bath in it.

karl hungus
Guest

you’re thinking of Achiles 😛

Doug
Guest

No, I’m thinking, is Trump a heel?
Or was I a heel, for voting for him?

Member

Metaphoric jujitsu of the week. Will try to use that in future.

newrouter
Guest

Trump shock and awe?

fodderwing
Guest

I suppose it could indeed get exhausting, but for now I’m thinking about how refreshing it all is.

Member

Trump is the great matodor waving the red flag at the political class bull, a bull already in pain and bleeding because it lost an election it was supposed to win easily. He keeps on twisting and twirling away each time they think they have him in their sights, maddening them more each time. His hand-picked picadors goad them from time to time into greater madness. It is a wondrous thing to watch. Trump is virtually undefinable, but the bull is: it’s an incensed, out of control beast.

Bill Robbins
Guest

With Trump, every day of the week is the beginning of a new presidency. Don’t ask me if this is good or bad, because I do not know.

LetsPlay
Member
I would say “it is all good.” Just another day at the office taking care of business and business is good! DC hasn’t seen this level of activity in who knows how long! These politicians and bureaucrats are out of shape and Trump is running circles around them. Heck, the DNC is pulling in the second stringers for photo ops. I keep asking myself “Now who the heck is this? Never seen this person before!” Can’t say the politicians deserve their vacations and breaks but I bet they certainly feel they have “earned” this one! If they are smart, they… Read more »
karl hungus
Guest

Trumphog Day, again starring Bill Murray

Member

Judge him by what he gets done or his actions. DC and the political class are all about what you say, not what you do. So they’re focusing on words while Trump does stuff. … and stuff is getting done every day. And for 2 years we’ve been told he’s gone too far or no-way will he recover, and then … He is moving so fast, the old games aren’t working in DC. I’m loving it. MAGA.

Member

I wonder what he offered the Chicoms?

newrouter
Guest

currency manipulation or …

dad29
Guest

Suddenly, the Chinese are issuing ultimatums. It could simply a be a coincidence and China has been planning to rid themselves of the Kim family for a while,

Yup. He called off the “currency manipulator” dogs with the excuse that the ChiComs have behaved themselves for the last 6 months.

newrouter
Guest

Meeting point of “low energy” and “high energy”. Hi Jeb!

John the River
Member

Happy with my vote
Happy with my vote
Happy with my vote

Happy, happy. Joy, joy.

Member

Trump has faults, many of them, but they are all over-ridden by the one Yuuuuge fact.

He loves America and Americans.

Which Hillary and most of her cronies and ‘senior’ advisors and supporters visibly do not.

LetsPlay
Member

And he reminds me of Gen. Patton when he said that “American’s love a winner!”

Doug
Guest

The other question, is Trump a gung ho balls to the wall big stick and use it, real gunboat diplomacy kind of POTUS?
The guy adores solders and cops.
And where does that lead to?
What does it get us dirt people beyond the entertainment value?
Remember, he gets 4 years, 8 years, is anyones guess, after he is out, what happens? To quote somebody unmentionable, “Elections have consequences”
We as dirt people got to start thinking the long game, or we are toast. We got into the mess we are in because we didn’t look ahead and use our collective heads.

LetsPlay
Member

Long game: Think “Ivanka 2024!” She is with him most of the time learning the game real-time. By the time she is ready to run, she will be well groomed to assume the mantle, and she is a smart business woman who is very likeable unlike any other previous woman to run for president that we know of (and who will remain nameless.) First Woman. First Republican Woman. Just one option of many but I think a very possible one regardless of the recent discussion of how women have meant the downfall of western civ.

Rod1963
Guest

I think the next couple of weeks will determine if Trump is playing his much vaunted 4D chess as Sundance likes to promote or has simply betrayed his base and become GW Bus 2.5 for whatever reason.

If we’re not at war with NK by then and he gets funding for the wall restored I’ll reconsider.

Oh one thing about NK. they probably have the world’s largest store of chemical weapons. As such I wonder if it’s a good to public state we’re planning on killing him.

james wilson
Guest

Trump isn’t planning on killing him. We couldn’t even find Sadie Hussein for months, or Obama bin Laden. Trump is emboldening the little dictator’s enemies.

LetsPlay
Member
“We” wouldn’t state that at all. Just where did that come from? Had to be the lying MSM! Anything including sedition to try to hurt this President. OTOH, it is no surprise that many would want that little piggy put down. I would say let China deal with the Norko’s. They created them. If they take Kim out, then they should deal with the NorKo population also. It would be a disaster for S. Korea to try to reunify. So many “sleeper” agents in that mess it would become another form of the EU after Germany’s reunification. Communism wearing sheep’s… Read more »
Al from da Nort
Guest

Think PRC-backed palace coup that puts a pliant placeholder on the throne. Certainly that’s what the Chubby Homicidal-Maniac-in-Chief fears. Else he wouldn’t have bothered to off his hapless half brother in the most public way possible.

The end game for endless terror is near if enough of the inner circle conclude that nobody is safe and so they have nothing to lose by taking out the tyrant. Even Stalin went down that way, according to some.

Dutch
Guest

That’s what it is looking like. We stir the pot and China does the deed. South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have been awfully quiet lately. Trump used Japan and Taiwan to get China’s attention and now the take-out play is set up. Favored trading status or Chinese currency plays, and even the acceptance of the new Chinese “islands” is a cheap trade-off, to get this psycho Korean rat parted with his bomb collection.

Iran and Russia are paying attention, too.

Member

Having an ideology implies a significant predictability. In pointing out his lack of dedication to any particular ideology you illustrate his unpredictability. This is what makes those with great stakes in the course of events uneasy. It is also that which has the potential to make this presidency more effective than some of those in the past. It is also that which deprives us of knowing how it will turn out with regards to our own interests.

Dutch
Guest
Trump is a Republican only because that party was the one most hobbled in its Presidential aspirations, the most energized at the grassroots level, and the least impeded by entrenched people and stubborn big-money backers. He is no Republican, which is actually in his favor. The Republicans stand for nothing any more. Democrats who are actually paying attention, and who are not Mesmerized by the Clintons and the Pelosis have someone to support here, too. But what you must do with all of this is buy in and go for the ride. Not comfortable, but it is looking like a… Read more »
Member

Pretty good read on things.

notsothoreau
Guest

I take it you are aware that his dad was a big Goldwater supporter? People like to call him a Democrat. If you live in a blue state and you want to get anything done, you’d better plan on giving money to the Dems. Trump is not a “true conservative”, thank God. He’s pragmatic and a deal maker. He’s not particularly liberal.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Alternative take: The Cloud Folk demand the world to be one big campus (with themselves as the tenured faculty, natch). But Trump is not following the course outline. So the press can’t keep up, and then the class notes make no sense. But, but, but it’s a required course_! Hence the existential agita in the merged DNC-MSM. My evidence: Following one of the links from a previous post you get to the linked author’s summary of ‘what is good in life’; https://medium.com/the-ferenstein-wire/silicon-valley-s-political-endgame-summarized-1f395785f3c1 Pull quote: “The ultimate goal [of Silicon Valley’s political end game] is to make life as close to… Read more »
hosswire
Guest
This makes a lot of sense. I get the feeling that a lot of the Cloud People’s enthusiasm for diversity, for instance, comes from their positive experiences with it at in Academia. So when they hear about blacks & muslims their first thought is their fellow classmates who just happened to fall into those categories. What they are forgetting is that campuses are shaped by two giant factors that are missing outside of the college gates: 1) Selectivity and 2) Rigid Codes of Conduct. Even as a Dirt Person, I will admit that diversity works great when it is practiced… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Instead of drain the swamp, send every single congress member, the entire lot of sonofabitches to the Norks, they love democracy so much.

You guys see today which RINO’s have taken up with the left in congress to defeat building The Wall?

karl hungus
Guest

The question is, will Trump trademark the name of the political party he forms for his 2020 run? because after 4 years of blitzkrieg politics, he will have pulled many dem and gop voters over to him personally; i.e. dissolved their existing party affiliations. to a large extent this has already been done as I believe the majority of people who voted for him did so without any concern for him being the GOP candidate. eight years of obamanomics has created an awful lot of low hanging fruit, economically and politically.

Doug
Guest
Looking at the long game a dirt person has to hedge his bets. Trump at best lasts 8 years. The forces of evil from the Fabian Long March to the fossilization of the corruption of the Federal Crime Syndicate aka Federal Government/federal Reserve, have existential skin in the game, they are nothing if they don’t have their long game down to a science. Trump is probably the bump of fresh road kill on that super highway of globalism both factions of world dominion are barreling down. The Great Fuck You which elected Trump against all odds has it’s potential, it… Read more »
karl hungus
Guest

in the long run Trump may or may not matter. in *our* run he very much does matter. Trump is the wave that is going to carry us all the way to the beach…

Sam J.
Guest

“…chances are the left will come back with a vengeance, and they will not be nice…”

They will be brutal.

Saml Adams
Guest
Not surprised. Have had some degree of separation encounters with Trump over the years and he plays true to form. One of the outside directors at my old firm was the senior “workout” guy for bad credits at one of the NY money center banks back in the 80s and early 90s. Over board dinner (way before Trump went political) he told the story of dealing with him on some of his casino debt. Basically the bank lent to him at senior secured rates, but when the loans went non-performing and we handed over to him to manage the workout,… Read more »
Dutch
Guest
A friend had the same experience with his legal team, representing a Fortune 500 company, sitting across the table from Carl Icahn in a bankruptcy workout. Threats and compliments, walking away and coming back, the browbeating and the simply acting like total jerks. His team got run around and walked over, and it happened at a pace that they simply could not keep up with. They got thoroughly played. A rough game, but it is how it works. Icahn and Trump play the game the same way. Good to have on our side, for a change.
TomA
Guest
Everything you say about Trump is accurate and insightful, but it fails to address the most salient issue. Had Hilliary been elected, we would be well on our way to collapse; which would happen sooner rather than later (e.g. high bottom followed by a less violent rebuild). Trump (on the other hand) is likely to be just good enough at repairing past damage that we may be kicking the can down the road for another decade or two. And with each passing year, our population devolves at an accelerating rate, with more whiners and far fewer doers. Based upon my… Read more »
Dutch
Guest

But fighting the good fight is all we have, here and now. Go with what you have. The rest will need to take care of itself, good or bad.

karl hungus
Guest

that’s just your personal negativity. my personal view is that the pendulum of history is swinging back against the progressives world wide.

Dutch
Guest

And the existential question is, are the Progs willing to try to burn it all down, Heath Ledger Joker style, when they see things going against them? They certainly seem to be working hard to set up the “indivisible, resist, BLM” dupes to do such a thing for them (Obama style, with their fingerprints all over it but have someone else do the dirty work).

TomA
Guest

Just the opposite. Liberals are man-made parasites and they desperately need an authoritarian (and collectivist) all-powerful government to ensure their continued survival via transfer of wealth from the productive. They don’t want to burn things down because then the host dies and they have nothing to feed on.

Ask yourself, can a snowflake survive in a world without government handouts? How is being really good at whining going to feed a family in that scenario?

Dutch
Guest
You are right, but the dupes like to follow orders, and those giving the orders are wealthy and insulated from the fallout (maybe). Note that many of the dupes are not long term thinkers and typically act out impulsively. It is easy to manipulate them to act out against their own best interests, and the main stream media is all ready to go to get things rolling. Have the BLM folks ever given any thought to how the ghettoes are going to function when the cops are kicked out? Have the campus snowflakes given any thought to what happens when… Read more »
Member

Dang, you must be a hoot at parties. TomA.

james wilson
Guest

If the NoKo regime collapses and flowers spout from the NoKo artillery, does Trump get a Nobel? Heh. Maybe not.

karl hungus
Guest

he get’s a third term 😛

Will
Guest

This group shows the best understanding of Trump I have seen. Kudos to you.

Rick in CO
Guest

As a Trump voter, after reading the latest from Miss Ann B, I have to wonder if we’re really going to end up in the same place as if Hitlery had won:
http://www.barnhardt.biz/2017/04/10/abu-ivanka-and-their-women-have-ruled-over-them/

Doug
Guest

Miss B comes up with some pretty salient points at times. I’ve tried to figure how Patriarchy figures into Trumps decisions and motivations. It is important. I think it plays a large part in who the man is.
Miss B’s question of Matriarchy deserves serious consideration.

LetsPlay
Member
Very interesting piece by Ann B. I did not know a lot of what she revealed about Ivanka or Jared or their faith. Just how Soros would insinuate himself in Kushner’s life given his Nazi past is a mystery to me (must just be the money again!) but I would hope that if what I said about Ivanka 2024 was to play out, that eight years under her father’s direct tutelage would count for a lot. I am assuming that growing up, she did not necessarily receive as much “face time” with dear old dad because he was busy running… Read more »
Nori
Guest

The hoofbeats of the Cossacks,grow,in the distance.

Member

Dropping bombs on people always shores up the approval ratings … until the quagmire of getting bogged down in war. Americans love it when we push weaklings around.

In this case, however, North Korea is a legitimate use of force. At least to the extent that you are resigned that we are never going to stop being policeman until the money runs out. Syria, not so much.

trackback

[…] style has worked when the professionals said it would fail. A point worth making again is that you can’t judge Trump by traditional metrics. He’s a once in a century political force who will be judged more on what he destroys than on […]

wpDiscuz