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Evolution of the Trump Administration: An Op Ed

Donald Trump seems to be missing some sort of a regulator that prevents him from simply saying what temporarily happens to be on his mind. That made it inevitable that he would treat his audience to a regular stream of faux pas. However, I think both the degree and severity of the mess may be diminished going forward.

The reason has to do with how the Trump administration came into being. Simply put, unlike most candidates, he actually beat both major political parties in the US, not just the Democrats. He took the Republican nomination by beating the presumptive heir – Jeb Bush. Then he beat the back-ups who were viewed as acceptable to most establishment Republicans: Rubio and Cruz.

Now, when a new President takes office, he can usually stock his administration from think tanks and members of the political intelligentsia. Trump couldn’t. As the Republican nominee, he was never going to use left-leaning people. But he wasn’t about to bring in people from the Bush/Rubio/Cruz camps, nor were many of them willing to serve under him either. That pretty much ruled out the vast majority people with any experience in how Washington works.

So who was left? Well, there were disaffected members of the Republican establishment (those who had pissed off the neocons during the last Republican administration), some elements in the military, and people on the right who had been criticizing the Republican party for a long time. The latter group tend to be the most numerous. They also live on the fringes. And like most people on the fringes, they have no idea how the world works. Many are bombastic, like Trump himself.

So that was the well from which Trump could draw. A clown show was inevitable. And since many of the clowns were actually advising Trump himself, it was also predictable that Trump would be repeating some of their nonsense, sprinkled in with some that was homegrown.

But it seems that Trump can learn, after all. He may brag that he is the bestest Presidentiest President ever, but under it all, people he trusts remind him that he isn’t actually getting anything done. Somewhere along the way, it occurred to him to get rid of Priebus and replace him with Kelly. What Kelly himself believes – politically – isn’t entirely clear, but he is a four star general, and it seems clear he understands how organizations work. He quickly unloaded a couple of the more clown-ish actors, the Mooch and Steve Bannon, and perhaps his own predecessor.

Assuming Trump and Kelly remain in place, this should lead to something resembling professionalism in some of the corners of the administration that haven’t had such a thing in a while. That professionalism should even manifest itself in advice given to the President, reducing the amount of crazy-talk taking up valuable shelf-space in his head. That in turn might cut down on some of the more soap opera-ish activity coming from both Trump and the rest of the administration.

Is that a good thing? Well, there’s a yes and a no to that question. The yes piece is obvious, so I won’t elaborate. But as to the no… year to date, Trump was busy proposing ideas that had no support from anyone except the fringes and peddling them in ways that couldn’t possibly gain traction. As a result, those ideas went nowhere. But what happens if he starts running with garden-variety Republican tropes? Those tropes can gain the support they need to be enacted. They also didn’t generate positive outcomes the last few times we’ve seen them applied. Nor is there any real reason to expect that things will be turn out differently the next time the are tried.

I have to say, I was naive. I didn’t even think that Caligula might have an effective chief of staff.

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“Kremlin: Obama’s Trump criticism anti-Russian, won’t foster better ties”

Wow, I don’t know quite what to say here but this is an honest to God headline from Reuter’s Kremlin: Obama’s Trump criticism anti-Russian, won’t foster better ties
Now we can take it as given that none of Obama, Trump or even the Russians are responsible for writing Reuter’s headlines. So I leave it to AB commenters to see if THAT is a fair representation of THIS:

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it viewed U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent statements on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as anti-Russian and said they were unlikely to improve fragile relations between Russia and the United States.

Obama on Tuesday strongly criticized Trump for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and for appearing on a TV channel, RT, funded by the Russian government.

“Unfortunately, we see continued displays of often hard-core Russophobia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on Obama’s intervention, told a conference call with reporters. “We can only express regret in this regard.

“This rhetoric, which is being formulated in electoral campaign style … is unlikely to help fledgling fragile attempts to build at least some sort of mutual trust.”

Seems to me that Donnie’s surrogates have, in the immortal words of Desi to Lucy on “I Love Lucy” : “You got some ‘splaining to do!” Because if we trust the translation we have the Kremlin warning Obama off their boy poodle The Donald. As the kids say: WTF?

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How Trump Can Drive the Republican Establishment/1%ers to the Libertarian Party

Lot of angst out there among the Republican Establishment facing the Era of Trump. They are facing a candidate who combines a fatal toxic brew of nativism/racism with economic and foreign policy stances that (to the extent they are even coherent) go against every tenet of Conservative orthodoxy on both sides of the Reagan/Elder Bush divide: American leadership of international coalitions, hostility to taxes and the welfare state, willing submission to the power of free markets and free movement of (untaxed) capital. And so some in the #NeverTrump camp are floating the idea of an independent or third party candidate. But are faced with a fatal flaw: for practical purposes they can’t get on the ballot in enough States to be anything but a spoiler.

On the other hand there is an existing Party that has that ballot access and one that is in accord with the Republican establishment on most of the latter’s basic agenda. The Libertarian Party. And what are the main obstacle to a merger? Pot and gay marriage. And why does the Republican Establishment give a crap about either? Because they have been pandering to the Base dominated by white evangelicals. But those people have turned on the Establishment anyway and truth be told most of the 1% know plenty of gay people in New York or Silicon Valley and if they didn’t toke a little in college have kids and trusted subordinates that did.

So if they just give way on those two issues there is every prospect of forming a three way coalition of Establishment Republicans, Libertarians, and even Third Way/No Labelers. Maybe they can call it the Freedom and Property Party. Or if they have a sense of humor the Milton Friedman Property Party. Because as I have argued before classical Conservatism and classical Liberalism/Libertarianism share a common philosophical principle: that the only (or main) legitimate function of government is the protection of private property. With the main difference being that Conservatives define ‘property’ in a way that assumes patriarchal authority over the family/household.

Feel free to treat this post as a joke or snark. That is at least half of how I started it out. But I am talking myself into it.

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Oh FSM! Let your Noodly Appendages Bless Trump-Ernst 2016

Raw Story: Who will be Donald Trump’s running mate? Here are five options

Joni Ernst

The gun-totin’, Harley-ridin’, pig castratin’ Iowa farm girl burst onto the scene when she won the Iowa senate race in 2014. Ernst has shown no willingness to embrace Trump, but the 45-year-old first-term female senator would be an ideal running mate for any Republican. Ernst is an Iraq veteran who won in a swing state. And as her notorious campaign ad proved, she already has the Trumpian flair.

Militay experience to balance out Trump’s draft dodging. Plus that all important de-nutting experience for taking on The Donald’s rivals.

We have already reached the Mosh Pit of the Theatre of the Absurd, lets really let some Head Banging fly!

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Trump Trapped: RNC Snagged

I’ll make this short and then turn it over to you all.

As long as Trump is polling in the top 2 or 3 in early States he can’t drop out and the RNC can’t force or even encourage him to drop out. After all he is “Winning” by the only measure that matters this cycle. In past cycles maybe there were only three or four tickets out of Iowa, two or three out of New Hampshire, and only one or two out of South Carolina. And most of that was driven by money, if you didn’t have one of those early tickets it dried up. But this cycle not only is money not necessarily the screen that it used to be (you being one Fries, an Adelson or a fifth of two Kochs from having cash for the distance), it wouldn’t operate anyway if you actually have one of those top two tickets.

As of now Trump is Trapped. By success. Or more precisely by successful excess. And I don’t see any mechanism by which the Republican Party can chase him away. After all I saw polls today that had him leading both nationally and in North Carolina. How much of a loser do you have to be to quit while you are on top?

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