January 2nd, 2017

Obama and Trump: by their books…

ye shall know them.

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.

21 Responses to “Obama and Trump: by their books…”

  1. physicsguy Says:

    “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.”

    Oh yes, but he’s probably ready for it. Here’s an interesting take on his use of tweets by a long time contributor to WUWT, Willis Eschenbach. If he continues as Eschenbach foresees, it will sideline the MSM and drive them crazy at the same time…this could be fun!


  2. expat Says:

    I have to wonder how many of these legacy actions Obama would have taken had Hillary won. It is possible that he woud have trusted her to do similar things, but it is also possible that he would not have wanted her to take credit for any of his great ideas.

    At any rate, I do feel good that Obama’s executive orders won’t last and that he won’t choose any more judges.

    Right now, I am just happy to see Obama go.

  3. Frog Says:

    The press will not just attempt, but will assuredly do whatever it can to harass Trump, misrepresent him, distort his positions and policies, malign him.
    The RINOs, like Ryan and McConnell, will work with the press to hamstring Trump. It is a very good thing Priebus is his chief of staff, if in fact Trump can trust him to deliver and not be a mole.
    The Senate is not to be trusted.
    Trump needs help.That was the campaign theme that got John Kennedy, the new (R) Senator from LA, elected. A good man, but John has got a slippery side too.

  4. Frog Says:

    Further to my point is this, from today’s Daily Caller:
    “WikiLeaks’ publication of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta revealed the close ties between prominent journalists and the Clinton campaign. Many of those same journalists will now be covering the Trump White House.”


  5. neo-neocon Says:


    The word “attempt” was in there—and in italics, as well—to convey the idea that the press will definitely try but may not succeed, because one thing Trump seems quite ready for is their attacks, and he has done quite well at deflecting them in the past. Not only that, but the press’s attempts at giving Trump a hard time have often backfired because they are too over the top and relentless.

  6. M J R Says:

    Salena Zito is highlighted in this neo-neocon post. It was she who, in an Atlantic article (dated SEP 23, 2016) on Donald J. Trump, pointed out how “the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”



  7. parker Says:

    I agree that msm criticism will not bother djt. The msm did not make him, unlike bho, and thus they can not unmake him. We’ll see what he does in the first year. IMO he has to nominate a truly conservative constitutionalist to SCOTUS and fully enforce immigration laws already on the books. Congress needs to defund sanctuary cities and tear down ocare. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    To use an old expression, “from your lips, to God’s ears”

  9. OM Says:

    Feet of clay usually unmake the man.

  10. J.J Says:

    Trump is another Teflon man, like Reagan. He knows their games and refuses to play ala Reagan. He has many ways to reach his constituency without going through the MSM.

    His work ethic and ability to pick competent people to work under him are going to be interesting to watch. I’m very hopeful that he will be able to secure the border, deport illegal immigrant criminals, defund sanctuary cities, roll back many unneeded regulations, and unleash the energy industry. Anything he accomplishes beyond that (Tax reform, military improvements, inner city uplift, infrastructure rebuilding, etc.) will be icing on the cake.

  11. Frog Says:

    Neo- the MSM will attack Trump by attacking RINOs, especially House members. Trump cannot do his tasks, achieve his goals, by himself, obviously.
    The MSM will try (“attempt”), and they will have success. The question is how much.
    As always, thanks for your italics.

  12. parker Says:


    As you well know, I am not a big djt fan. I find his bombast and outlandishness off putting. However, I do not think he is ignorant. I have been encouraged and surprised by many of his cabinet picks.and I enjoy how he drives the msm up the wall. So I will wait and see what he does in 2017.

    I advise you do the same. Ankle biting ain’t the way brother.

  13. Jim Miller Says:

    It’s funny how differently people use the same word. For me, the two biggest RINOs in recent decades are Ron Paul and, of course, the loudest of them all, Donald Trump. Both attempted what you might call hostile takeovers of the Republican Party.

    Ron Paul’s attempt failed, though he did significant damage to the Republican Party, and I think it likely that Trump’s will, too.

    I have often wished that those who use the word, which I almost never do, would give us an operational definition of the word.

    (I haven’t bothered to make an operationalal definition of “RINO”, but I don’t think it would be hard to do. You could, for example, begin by looking at which party received most of their contributions, whether they had opposed or supported Ronald Reagan, whether they thought George W. Bush should be impeached, and so on.

    For members of Congress, you could just look up how loyal to the party they are in floor votes.)

  14. Jim Miller Says:

    parker – You might find some reason for hope in the weird argument I made in December, explaining why I thought Trump might impersonate a conservative Republican.

    I linked to it today, along with my February argument that Trump can be thought of as a Bill Clinton Democrat.

  15. OM Says:


    As Neo has said “We will have to wait and see.” You are keeping your eyes open and have been aware of Trump’s characteristics. some others, not so much it seems already.

    I hope he turns out better than I expect. Time will tell, it always does,

  16. parker Says:

    I am not expecting djt to be anything other than djt. I am willing to see if I can trust him for an inch, then a foot, and then a yard. Bets are off when it comes to a mile. Patience. Wait and see. The good news is hrc will never be POTUS, the unknown unknown is exactly what djt will do.

    I supported Cruz with my own time and money in Iowa, and we won. Yet, that turned out to be a flash in the pan. I have questioned djt’s ‘vision’ all the way until he won 270. Now he will be POTUS. So I will cut him a year’s worth of slack.

  17. Frog Says:

    Let us not forget who the enemy is. Let us not turn on the Anti-Left before it is time. Think of national politics as equivalent to a season of MLB, with a lot of games to be played to reach the World Series.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    Jim Miller:

    “RINO” usually is short for “a Republican the speaker doesn’t like.” It used to have more meaning than that, but now it’s come down to that.

    I wrote about the evolution of the word here.

  19. Barry Meislin Says:

    “And another: the press will attempt to give President Trump a very, very, very hard time.”

    Very true. They’ve already been going for him, snapping at his heels at every opportunity.

    The headlines and the stories are laden with negative spin and innuendo.

    It’s a deluge of vicious reportage—no doubt because they love America?—and it should be contrasted with the headlines and stories about both Obama and Clinton.

    In fact, what the media doing is full-frontal incitement.

    (Obama, too, has this attitude. Naturally so.)

    And they’re preaching to a crowd that includes some very excitable people.

    To the point where anything, unfortunately, is possible in the fury that has been whipped up.

    If I were Trump, I would watch my back.

  20. Big Maq Says:

    “Now he will be POTUS. So I will cut him a year’s worth of slack.” – parker

    Waaaaaay too much slack, IMHO.

    trump campaigned on nearly everything and really nothing (mutable) – bet most have “forgotten” his promise to release his tax returns after being elected, as one example of probably a string of broken promises to come.

    He thrives on media attention and to maintain that he must remain an enigma.

    Problem is, an enigma as POTUS creates its own problems, with unpredictable outcomes.

    A moral man of principle might be able to navigate that, but that doesn’t seem to be the man we have (at least, that is something he has yet to prove).

    The cheers and “hope” will quickly end if (when?) we have a major trade battle (and its economic consequences), and/or we see a rogue nation take a step too far that even trump cannot ignore (and clumsily responds to).

    trump has to get this sh*t right from day one, and operate with some discipline.

    His first 90 days MAY set the tone and direction (notwithstanding what we will have already seen between Nov 8 and inaugural day), but who knows?

    That’s about as much “slack” as I’d recommend giving him, considering he seems to be the biggest “RINO” (in the original sense that Neo wrote about) in several generations, and has had more than plenty of time to give us a sense of what he would really do.

    Until then, it is not worth much commentary, as it is all speculative, likely on yet another shiny object that trump would have the media (and the rest of us) chase down to fill time and attention with.

  21. Jim Doherty Says:

    Dont take away his twitter, just force him to give the device to someone else, and make it policy that there is at least a 12 hour gap from the time he writes it, to the time its sent.

    The other thing he fails to do, and I am speaking as someone who has never tweeted, he fails to retweet crap that is over the top.

    He gets alot of ugly nasty thrown his way by lefties. He should just pass along and retweet some the worst of it. Make the left and democrats/msm own it. They created these delusional hitler hunters, let them be the ones to correct it.

    Would crack me up to see them have to cover some ugly leftist trolls, merely cause the POTUS, retweeted it.

    I still smile about the flag burning tweet. I saw the troll aspect right away, I had to spit something into the trashcan cause it came back up when I sstarted laughing, really.

    Could they resist pouncing? Nope. And they showed everyone that they are for free speech, but only if it agrees with their side, otherwise shouting down and safe spaces are employed. It was classic, and brilliant.

    Do I love Trump? nope. I did vote for him. IF he does nothing but scrap ocare, and burn down a large part of DC, I will be happy.

    He could easily put Virginia back to a red state by just cutting the govt workforce through attrition.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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