Sort of, anyway.
According to Saleno Zito in the Washington Examiner:
Obama’s books defined his public image in a large part because the political class gushed and plowed their way through his words for insights into the candidate; who was he? Was there evidence in his words that pointed to the central promise of his campaign? Could he of all people reconcile a divided country?
It literally was the most vetted book in American politics.
Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”? Not so much. Which is a shame because any reporter who read the book before embarking on covering this presidential candidate, eventual nominee and now president-elect would have a much deeper understanding of who he is, how he operates and how he’ll behave going forward.
Well, yes and no; yes and no.
For starters, there is the issue of ghostwriters. Trump’s book was admittedly ghostwritten; Obama’s may have been. However, each book undoubtedly contained the ideas of each man, and expressed what each one wanted expressed about himself. That’s a very important clue, whoever wrote the actual words.
But I don’t think Trump’s book was universally ignored by reporters. It certainly was discussed a great deal on blogs, anyway, and the idea that Trump’s proposals were merely a series of audacious opening bids in a negotiating game that resembled his past deal-making in the business world, bids that were all mutable and changeable manipulable, was a point made on this blog and by many other observers.
On that issue, Zito writes:
[Voters] never took [Trump’s] statements exactly, but they did take them earnestly. They never really expected a massive wall, or massive deportations, but they did expect him to have their back, their voice, and their interest at heart.
Like Trump, they did not get too attached to everything he said he would do, they understood he was juggling different ways of approaching a problem and if he could not make one of his promises work, he’d make another promise, until something finally worked. Until a deal was finally met.
I understand what Zito’s getting at, and I certainly think some Trump supporters felt that way. But a great many others—particularly at the beginning—supported him because they thought he meant exactly what he said and that he would have the tools and the power to do it. Some other people who didn’t support him were afraid he’d do exactly what he said, and they didn’t like what he was proposing.
But many many people who voted for Trump did so for one reason only: to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president. For them, it had little to do with Trump himself, whom they neither trusted nor liked. However, they trusted him more than they trusted her, they liked him better than they liked her, and they at least agreed with quite a few of the things he proposed whereas they agreed with none of hers.
Still other voters had no particular quarrel with what Trump was proposing in the policy sense, and also saw these proposals as opening bids up for negotiation later on, but were offended by a host of other things Trump did and said and had done and said throughout his life.
But now we’re in a very different phase of the Trump adventure. We’re only two and a half weeks from the inauguration, and it’s after that day that we will begin to see exactly what is real and what is bluster, what can be done and what can’t, what will be done and what won’t, and how other events in the country and the world will play out. I have little doubt about one thing: it will be interesting. And another: the press will attempt to give President Trump a very, very, very hard time.