January 4th, 2018

On Wolff: the latest chapter in the continuing anti-Trump effort

Of course, to call it an “anti-Trump effort” is to both understate and simplify the matter. Since the evening it became clear that Donald Trump would become president of the United States, and millions upon millions of totally shocked Americans (including me) tried to digest the startling news, some huge proportion of them (not including me) have been trying to discredit everything he does and everything he says.

The goal seems to be impeachment. But impeachment alone, although a disgrace, is practically meaningless in terms of actually removing a president. It’s conviction that does that, and though conviction is always a possibility, the bar is set so high (67 votes) that it’s highly unlikely unless something else, and something big, happens.

Democrats are hoping for that “something big” to happen. And if it doesn’t happen, they’ll uncover it because it’s already happened. And if they can’t uncover it, some of them are determined to manufacture it, because it’s just that unconscionable that Trump is president and just that necessary to remove him for the good of the nation.

I certainly was no Trump fan during the primaries—au contraire. I thought he might be a dangerous and tyrannical president. But since he took office, I’ve seen very little evidence of that sort of behavior—and (as I’ve written many times) for the most part I’ve been pleased what what he’s actually done.

So in terms of the Wolff book’s allegations, which are such huge news right now, I’m not planning a point-by-point analysis. I’ll leave that to others, and pick up the story if and when it appears that these claims end up being something more than the latest salvo in the long-continuing fight against Trump. After all, Wolff’s truth-teller credentials aren’t exactly impeccable.

Trump is uncouth, often ruthless against enemies, and more than capable of lying and/or exaggerating. He was elected with the American public knowing all of that, because he demonstrated those characteristics over and over during the primaries. But since taking office, not only has his behavior has been better than expected rather than worse, every serious post-election allegation against him (and there’ve been plenty of them) so far has come to naught despite multiple investigations by people who would dearly love to charge him with something.

The left is salivating over Wolff’s book, though. For now, anyway. The goal is not just to impeach or somehow remove Trump. The larger—and probably more realistic—goal is to discredit the entire Republican Party. That was always the danger in electing Trump—that the combination of an MSM allied against him and his own episodic outrageousness could ultimately end up tarnishing the right in a way that would result in liberal control of the reins of government. That’s the real goal of this entire crusade against Trump: the regaining of power by a left that believes it should be inevitable and permanent, and that will not and cannot rest until it has that power once again.

[NOTE: How did Wolff manage to get his interviews? Here’s the description:

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Wolff says, he was able to take up “something like a semi-permanent seat on a couch in the West Wing” — an idea encouraged by the president himself. Because no one was in a position to either officially approve or formally deny such access, Wolff became “more a constant interloper than an invited guest.” There were no ground rules placed on his access, and he was required to make no promises about how he would report on what he witnessed.

Since then, he conducted more than 200 interviews. In true Trumpian fashion, the administration’s lack of experience and disdain for political norms made for a hodgepodge of journalistic challenges. Information would be provided off-the-record or on deep background, then casually put on the record. Sources would fail to set any parameters on the use of a conversation, or would provide accounts in confidence, only to subsequently share their views widely. And the president’s own views, private as well as public, were constantly shared by others. The adaptation presented here offers a front-row view of Trump’s presidency, from his improvised transition to his first months in the Oval Office.

If that’s true, it’s pretty shocking that someone like Wolff was allowed that sort of access. Trump and company should have known it was the perfect set-up for a hit piece. Surely it’s not usual for some random member of the press to be plunked down in the middle of a transitional White House, with full access to anyone wishing to speak with him? Here’s Wolff’s Wiki entry; he’s mostly been a reporter on the media and his reliability has been questioned many times.

The White House has certainly focused on that aspect of Wolff:

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that a forthcoming book containing scathing criticism of the president and his administration from team members and allies was filled with “mistake after mistake after mistake.”

Sanders told reporters at Thursday’s press briefing that Americans “probably could care less about a book full of lying and would really like to hear about” issues on which the administration has claimed victories, including combating terrorism and the economy.

“I don’t think they really care about some trash that an author that no one had ever heard of until today or a fired employee wants to peddle,” she said.

Oh, I know plenty of people who really really care. Most of them hate Trump already, though, so I’m not sure that Wolff’s book and the coverage of it will change many minds.

Others, including former deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, have denied making statements attributed to them in the book, and Sanders on Thursday characterized the book as “complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip.”

Asked to offer examples of falsehoods in the book, Sanders pointed to one excerpt listing White House communications director Hope Hicks’s age as 26 — she is 29 — and another in which Wolff wrote that Trump responded “who?” when former Fox News chief Roger Ailes suggested John Boehner for the job of White House chief of staff.

“I’ll give you one, just because it’s really easy: The fact that there was a claim that the president didn’t know who John Boehner was is pretty ridiculous, considering the majority of you have seen photos,” Sanders said. “Frankly, several of you have even tweeted out that the president not only knows him but has played golf with him, tweeted about him. I mean, that’s pretty simple and pretty basic.”…

Sanders also disputed a portion of the book that outlines expectations from the top of Trump’s campaign, including campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Trump himself, that he would not win the 2016 election. The press secretary called it “one of the most ridiculous things” from the book.

“The president, the first lady, his family, they wouldn’t have put themselves through that process if, one, they didn’t believe they could win, and two, they didn’t want to win,” Sanders said. “It is absolutely laughable to think that somebody like this president would run for office with the purpose of losing.

Sanders also said one thing that might answer the question of how Wolff got access to his interviewees:

…that 95 percent of the interviews for Wolff’s book were conducted at the request of Bannon…

Bannon was fired last August. And I would guess he realized things were going badly between him and Trump long before that. When did Wolff interview most of his subjects?]

46 Responses to “On Wolff: the latest chapter in the continuing anti-Trump effort”

  1. JFM Says:

    “There were no ground rules placed on his access, and he was required to make no promises about how he would report on what he witnessed.”

    Does this mean that there are no records as to when and where he was in the White House? If so, how convenient for the narrative.

  2. Oldflyer Says:

    Confession: I have no idea what Wolff says, and really don’t much care. I did catch part of the Sarah H. Sanders press brief today, in which she said that Wolff–apparently contrary to claims–had no WH access, and did not talk to the the President. She commented that no one had ever heard of Wolff until today. She characterized the book as a pack of fabrications. I trust Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

    It is very odd that Donald Trump has shown more respect for the law than his predecessor did. Who would have anticipated this circumstance based on the hysterical conjecture of a year ago? Even now, the constant screeching of his enemies, supported by dishonest reporting attempts to obscure the fact. Despite constant provocation by corrupt federal courts, and other elements of the “Deep State”, he has resisted any temptation to overstep.

  3. TommyJay Says:

    I got a good laugh over the “John Boehner, who?” example; and was surprised that Sanders interpreted it seriously as a factual error by Wolff. Eye of the beholder, or art of the (mis)interpretation? I suppose Wolff delivered it seriously, in the ever popular “Republican president is a dummkopff” meme?

  4. Cornhead Says:

    Morning Joe on MSNBC had Trump impeached and convicted with Senator Romney in the 67 plus. Full feeding frenzy.

    Glad tax cuts got passed. Everything else is going to be very tough.

    Watershed event. If Gary Cohen or John Kelly resigned then a major problem. Cohen needs to have a major press interview or something.

    I was afraid of something like this. I was just surprised that Bannon did the deed. I thought he was on OUR side.

  5. kevino Says:

    RE: Impeachment without removal
    You are correct, of course, and the DNC will enter the 2018 midterms with a subtext of impeachment. They will gain tons of support from low-information voters who can’t wait to impeach President Trump, for any reason, real or imaginary. And no one will remind the angry anti-Trump mob, that impeachment is only the first step. Removing him will be much, much harder.

    I submit that the DNC won’t care:
    (1) They’ll take the support and won’t “promise” to remove Trump.
    (2) They hope to expose the GOP as people who don’t care about the country. After all, if they cared, they would join with the DNC to remove Trump. Some will because they can’t stand Trump.
    (3) There is always the outside chance that they will find something illegal.
    (4) They want revenge for the impeachment of President Clinton.

  6. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    This is an excellent post, Neo.
    It contains a lot of interesting points.

    He really is the new “Teflon Don”. Why can’t his enemies see that? They don’t have to like it but these allegedly “woke” people could at least live up to their own hype by actually waking up and dealing with reality. They have learned nothing from 2016.

    Yes, the legacy media will do their best to trumpet his downfall but nothing will stick. The man’s personal foibles are all well known by now and he’s loved by his base despite them, (and I suspect partly because of them too).

    As VDH says, that portion of the electorate who are willing to keep an open mind – and who swing elections – recognise the bias against him and will get and stay behind him as long as annual economic growth is up around 3%, (which Obama never once came close to), and which seems likely to be met by Trump. That is all that matters to sane people.

    The legacy media will be left impotently gas-bagging about this book and its dodgy claims to its audience of Trump-haters who will never give him credit no matter what he does.

    Laura Ingraham observed recently that if Trump cured cancer tomorrow, the main-stream media and their audience would complain that he hadn’t done it sooner.

    As for not knowing of Boehner, I say “garbage”! I know who the man is and I live in a different hemisphere.

    Trump can be viewed on Youtube discussing politics and political theory in an intelligent way dating back about 30 years now. It is not likely that such a man would not know who Boehner was.

    One of the best articles you’ve ever posted was the morning after Trump’s election when you noted how humble and gracious in victory he was. I agree with that analysis. He showed himself that morning to be a patriot at his core.

    I’ve watched it several times and he struck just the right note. And he was completely sincere. No one can go too far wrong when they so obviously view their tenure as president as an honor and opportunity to serve the people rather than as their right or their turn.

  7. neo-neocon Says:


    Bannon was never on anyone’s side but his own.

    I have long been suspicious of him, if you look at the posts I’ve written about him. And it turns out that Ben Shapiro had his number from the start (the following was written shortly after the 2016 election):

    Bannon has goals. One of those goals is maximization of personal power, which is why he spent the last decade and a half glomming onto powerful right-wing personalities (Bachmann, Morris, Palin), kissing their asses, and then moving on up the chain. With Breitbart and Trump, he picked two winners in a row – and that means he’s now at the pinnacle of American power.

    So, what will he do with that power? He’ll target enemies. Bannon is one of the most vicious people in politics, which is why I’ve been joking for months that should Trump win, I’d be expecting my IRS audit any moment. That wasn’t completely a joke. He likes to destroy people.

    But more importantly, Bannon’s interested in turning the Republican Party into a far-right European party…

    Bannon considers himself a wartime consigliore – always at war. Always…

    Bannon is anything but temperate to those who disagree. He’s a consummate bully to anyone who disagrees; he’s actually malevolent…

    Bannon opposes the Republican Party, hates Paul Ryan – minutes after the joint Bannon/Priebus announcement, Breitbart News approvingly tweeted about a Congressional rebellion against Speaker Ryan – and wants to watch it all “burn.” Bannon loves the firefight. The only question is which direction he’ll turn his fire.

    Right now, the direction in which Bannon is turning his fire is Trump Jr., Kushner, the GOP, and Trump (less directly). Anyone who opposed Bannon or hurt him or crossed him. I believe he may have been the one who leaked (or got someone else to leak) Don Jr.’s emails back in July, because although Bannon was still nominally working for Trump he already probably knew he (Bannon) was on the way out. He also may have been responsible for the anti-McMaster rumors.

    He’s a rat who, when cornered, will bite as hard as he can.

  8. Lee Says:

    I read an excerpt a friend linked on Facebook. It read like a bad fictionalisation of “real” people. I tried imagining it with Obama White House people — still read like total fiction.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    Neo said of Bannon: “He’s a rat who, when cornered, will bite as hard as he can.”

    Well, POTUS has plenty of vicious ratters at his disposal. It is just a question of when it becomes worth the ensuing fall-out to unleash them; or maybe it is a question of the will.

    I think there are any number of rats skating on thin ice; if you can can get your head around that fanciful analogy.,

  10. Lee Says:

    “Anna begged her husband to reconsider. Going without a coat and hat at his January inauguration was courting disaster. But William could not be dissuaded. ‘It is important for the American people to trust in the strength of their leader. Wearing a coat and hat just shows weakness. By the way, my dear Anna, do you think my speech is too long?'”

    — Making up nonsense about William Henry Harrison to illustrate how stupid Woolf’s crap reads.

  11. Shepherd Says:

    Wolff’s previous exagerations make it hard to believe that any particular thing in this book is true. The Boehner quote might be the best example, because Boehner and Trump had met not long before then, I heard. To play golf maybe? I loathe Trump but facts are more important than emotions.

    But imagine if a book like this had come out about Obama or Clinton and basically “confirmed” everything you already assumed was bad about them. You would be excited too.

    And it’s silly to suggest that Wolff went into this to write a hit piece just because the boom is critical of Trumo. It’s possible Trump wrote his own hit piece, if you will, by being a disaster of a person. If you assume that anything critical about Trump is a hit piece written with bias, then you cut yourself off from actual facts. And no one is perfect and conservatives should face with open eyes critical information about the people in office, even the ones with Rs next to their names.

  12. parker Says:

    Sillyness 10 E12. Of course this is deadly serious MSM meme.

  13. Gringo Says:

    Trump is uncouth, often ruthless against enemies, and more than capable of lying and/or exaggerating. He was elected with the American public knowing all of that, because he demonstrated those characteristics over and over during the primaries.

    Many Democrats are unable to grasp that a substantial proportion of Trump voters had an unfavorable view of him. A more unfavorable view of Hillary “trumped” their unfavorable opinion of Trump.

    For decades I have voted for the lesser evil. Last year was no different.


  14. neo-neocon Says:


    I would not have been the least bit excited about a book like that about Clinton or Obama. I never entertained the wilder theories. Nor did I jump on any bandwagon about Bill Clinton killing Vince Foster (absurd) or Broaddrick’s rape charges (suspect, as I wrote here). Hillary Clinton’s supposed Parkinson’s disease or her seizures? Highly unlikely, as I wrote here and here and here, for example).

    I try very hard to apply the same standards to both sides, and I think I usually succeed.

    Wolff has a pre-existing bad reputation for truth. It’s not as though he’s just being accused of shadiness because of writing something Trump-critical. And for you to write “If you assume that anything critical about Trump is a hit piece written with bias” is almost humorous, because there have been a ton of things written on this very blog that are plenty critical of Trump, both by me and by many many of the commenters here.

  15. Shepherd Says:

    Probably the bigger story than anything Wolff actually saw or didn’t see is what Bannon said about DJT Jr’s meeting with the Russians, that it was treasonous, and that DJT or his family were laundering money for the Russians. These are Bannon’s opinions of course (unless he knows more about either than he’s admitting) but this is a guy who was campaign ceo and White House chief strategist with an office across from the chief of staff publicly accusing the campaign of treason (in a colloquial sense, since treason as an actual crime is very specific and doesn’t apply here) and serious financial crimes. Wow. Has anything like thag happened before in modern America?

    Re Vince Foster, there was nothing in the excerpt from Wolff’s book that I read that rose to that level. It depicted Trump as self-obsessed and disinterested in reading, but those are hardly new accusations or ubreasonable flights of fancy. I said I don’t know which parts if any are true based on Wolff’s history, like the Boehner annecdote, but it’s not crazy to imagine Trump had to be talked out of appointing Kushner as chief of staff or that Kushner is a greasy weasel. These are plausible and not even really salacious anymore.

  16. Oldflyer Says:

    Shepherd, you challenge Neo at your own risk. I have commented elsewhere, and will repeat now, that she does meticulous research. I might go so far to say the most meticulous research in the blogosphere. Beyond that I believe that her honesty is above reproach.

    As we used to say, “she calls a spade a spade”. Not sure that is an allowable statement now, but the idea behind the statement is why she has so many faithful followers.

  17. Oldflyer Says:

    Addendum: Shepherd, aside from the Wolff’s highly suspect assertions, do you have any basis for calling Kushner a greasy weasel? If not, you are not only displaying weasel-like behavior, but doing so in a disgusting fashion; i.e., anonymously.

    Show your cards.

  18. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Oldflyer, agreed. 100%.

    Where I come from we go one step further and have a saying that people as candid as Neo: “Call a spade a bloody shovel”.

  19. Shepherd Says:


    I was paraphrasing from the Wolff excerpt. He certainly strikes me as a greasy weasel, but that wasn’t what I was trying to say there. I was trying to point out that the assertions I read in the Wolff excerpt don’t really rise to the level of “the Clintons murdered Vince Foster.” Wolff said Trump wanted to make Kushner his CoS. That’s plausible (he made Kushner a senior adviser instead) and not at all crazy.

    Not sure what you think I was doing to challenge her?

    For what it’s worth, a lady named Janice Min is saying she can confirm some of the statements because she was at the party Wolff hosted with Bannon and Ailes. That’s not proof but again very little of what I read strikes me as so salacious that we need to interpret Wolff’s book as a hit piece–something he set out in advance to write and possibly falsify to hurt Trump–when it COULD just be an honest reflection of what he saw and heard.

  20. neo-neocon Says:


    “Treason” isn’t “murder,” but they are both extremely serious accusations.

    But you are raising still another strawman. I never suggested that “Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons” was exactly equal to “Trump’s son-in-law committed treason.” I was responding to your statement, and I quote:

    imagine if a book like this had come out about Obama or Clinton and basically “confirmed” everything you already assumed was bad about them. You would be excited too.

    I think it is crystal clear that I was saying that I, for one, don’t believe all the bad things I hear—or get “excited” about bad stories—concerning people I am against politically. That was the context in which I brought up Vince Foster, as well as more minor rumors and memes such as the idea that Hillary had Parkinson’s or a seizure disorder when she was running for president. That isn’t an exact equivalent of anything in Wolff’s book, either, but I brought it up for the same reason that I brought up Vince Foster.

    And why on earth would most people here be challenging the idea that Trump is self-obsessed? It’s been said many many times here, and worse. Or that he’s uninterested in reading? That’s obvious, too. People here don’t need Wolff to tell them that.

    The possible falsehoods in Wolff’s book—his Trump book and others that he’s written—mainly involve the possibility that he misquotes people with some regularity. Already some people have said that Wolff has misquoted them in his book on the Trump administration. He may also have lied about how he got access to his interviewees.

    This sort of article by Wolff depicts Trump and nearly everyone around him in exceedingly unflattering terms, much worse than that he’s merely self-obsessed and uninterested in reading. For example, in addition to all the political dirt in the book, Wolff writes that Trump liked to sleep with his friends’ wives.

  21. FOAF Says:

    Wolff says Trump didn’t even want to win. That must be why he conspired with the Russians to “hack the election”, right shepherd?

  22. Shepherd Says:

    FOAF, I really don’t think Trump ever didn’t want to be president. I think Trump has a black hole in his heart that he’s been trying to fill with money and power and affairs and nothing ever fills it, so he tried filling it with the presidency. I absolutely believe he did something deeply immoral and probably illegal to become president. Not sure about his wife though. Remember the inauguration day loom?

    Neoneocon, not sure why I’m so deserving of such lengthy responses but I’m flattered. Not sure how to respond. If I write a response, then you’ll write twice as much being mad at me. But I hadn’t read the Wolff accusation about sleeping with friends’ wives. Remember when Trump said he “moved on her like a bitch” about Nancy O’Dell when she was married? Trump is pretty famous, mostly because he used to never shut up about it, about all the women and the affairs. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he also liked to cuckhold his friends.

  23. Dave Says:

    Bannon and kushner/don jr were political enemies within the same team, their relationship was like kylo ren and hux in the last jedi, bannon calling the meeting treasonous has no more merit than a typical democrat calling trump hitler, it’s just a man with a grudge lashing out against the man who got him fired, anyone who claims that bannon’s opinion for Kushner is credible just they were sort of on the same team once is simply being dishonest.

  24. GRA Says:

    Yea, heard this over the tv during breakfast. The way the tv commentator was talking about it seemed like a very, very serious issue. Or not.

  25. Ben David Says:

    To use neo’s apt phrase, the “left that believes it should be inevitable and permanent” can be parsed into sub-groups:

    The Deep State people whose livelihood is at stake, even if they are not Leftist True Believers at all. They will fight attempts to roll back Leviathan to the bitter end.

    The successful capitalists who want a competition stifling command economy and foreign workers for their own purposes – not exactly Marxists, although they look and sound the part, and were educated by more committed ideologues. Call them “Wilsonians”. These are the pearl-clutchers who use words like “uncouth” to describe Trump. But if the economy does well, how much will they object to rolling back oppressive environmental and employment legislation?

    The hard-core Marxists – nowadays mostly academics, journalists, and “social activists”. They are deeply, personally committed to the postmodern project of deconstructing the Judeo-Christian West. They are doing a good job discrediting themselves. Their threat is mostly their influence on the culture and the young – including their ability to spin the inevitable collapse of soft-socialist Europe into a scary Marxist bedtime story for gullible 20-and-30-somethings.

    The Democrats have been shedding their moderate majority
    over the past few decades, leaving behind a hard core of extreme leftists.

    If Trump continues to cut the gravy train, many of the less committed will jump ship. For example:

    – the black vote is up for grabs like never before, as topics like immigration and charter schools work in Republican’s favor.

    – speaking of charters, how many teachers now under the thumb of their union would continue to vote Dem if a nationwide policy of vouchers and tax credits offered attractive free-market opportunities? Big city, heavily unionized schools would quickly become dumping grounds for the worst kids AND teachers.

    – Speaking of unions, the Dems lost the working class long ago. They now understand that right-to-work laws benefit them and that gubmint handouts hurt them.

  26. FOAF Says:

    “not sure why I’m so deserving of such lengthy responses”

    You’re not. I’m very sorry I wasted any time responding to you at all and this will be the last.

  27. steve walsh Says:

    The more they attack him the more I support him. It helps that he is doing, and pushing the government to do, things of which I approve.

    He has so far been a Teflon Don sort. People voted for him because voting for President is a zero sum exercise: the choice was Trump or Hillary, not some imaginary ideal candidate, and Trump won as the less unlikable of the two.

    This book will sell well but won’t change any minds and will not take down Trump. The ability of the revelations in the book to aid the Democrats in politically neutering PDT will depend on how well the contents hold up to scrutiny.

  28. Michael Rosemann Says:

    One can think anything god or bad about D.Trumps political qualifications and intentions. But one thing is unquestionable: that the way he runs a country and his office would give enough material for several Shakespearean dramas. And if so, they will have a much longer lasting impact than his daily Twitter messages.

  29. kevino Says:


    I just noticed the reference to Sec. Clinton’s possible Parkinson’s, and saw your response to something I wrote.

    RE: “It would not be the least bit weird or unusual for someone who’s had a chronic cough from GERD or from allergies, and has had it for at least a year or two, to at some point also contract pneumonia.”
    (1) The odds of such coincidence are very low. Occam’s razor: Parkinson’s fits better. In particular, it explains her sleep issues and neurological symptoms. And I find the email reference to modafinil on point.
    (2) She has allergies for two solid years, and it’s not treated? Everyone I know with severe allergies like that has an allergist and is actively working on it.
    (3) Aspiration pneumonia has severe symptoms that I don’t see. I don’t think that Hillary would be up and around that fast. And she would been getting real treatment for it, or it would have gotten much worse.
    (4) If GERD and allergies were the cause then the Clintons would be telling the world that that was the cause and adding it to the list of excuses. I notice that Hillary didn’t mention her health issues in her list of excuses.

  30. DNW Says:

    “I certainly was no Trump fan during the primaries—au contraire. I thought he might be a dangerous and tyrannical president. But since he took office, I’ve seen very little evidence of that sort of behavior—and (as I’ve written many times) for the most part I’ve been pleased what what he’s actually done. “

    My guess is that most of the rage is not really at his uncouthness, or the many abrasive personality traits he is said to have, but more, or equally, a chagrin and alarm over what he actually is showing signs of being able to accomplish.

    Sensitive conservatives like crony capitalism, they made peace with ObamaCare just as they have with every other ultra vires bureaucratic, legislative or government act that transforms free citizens into social resources.

    They don’t want the bonds slackened. They like having you in the traces and tugging at the load.

    And when you die, leave the keys to the house under the door mat.

    After all, it’s only fair.

  31. expat Says:

    Maybe trump should tell the NYT to put the book in their best sellers fiction category.

  32. Irv Says:

    I learned a long time ago to judge people by their actions and not their, or anyone else’s, words. I also never judge people’s work by their personal actions or traits. I judge it by results.

    In criticisms of Trump I first ask are they criticizing his style or his actions. If it’s style I quit reading because I don’t care about style unless it affects outcome.

    I don’t know if Trump has been effective because of or in spite of his style and it doesn’t really matter as long as he’s effective.

    Trump was elected to be different so how can we criticize him for being what he was elected him to be?

  33. Kyndyll G Says:

    Basically, after a year of hysterical lying, misrepresentation and fantasy on the left, I don’t believe a word about anything – about Trump or pretty much anything else – without substantial evidence.

    I put nothing past them, including the publishing of a work of fiction that says all kinds of nasty things about Trump. As a public figure, he would be hard pressed to win any kind of slander or libel suit, so the left is very bold about saying anything they want. They believe that saying something, and wanting to believe it, makes it true, so it’s a tactic that works well with the lefty minions. They don’t care what the rest of us think – we’re evil and stupid after all.

    It’s kind of the reverse phenomenon we used to talk about with Obama – that he could kill a child and eat puppies on live TV and his apologists would brush it off. Now they basically say on a daily basis that Trump kills children and eats puppies, but without some kind of proof, I’m just going to brush it off.

  34. blert Says:

    The problem with an expose that reads like the National Inquirer is that it will not change minds.

    That’s a problem for the Left, as such extreme allegations will desensitize the American electorate.

    What’s working against the MSM: the economy.

    As long as President Trump keeps the economy ripping along, he has solved job one.


    As for my expectations, Trump is right on his trajectory.

    My 2016 concern was always electability — not governance.

    Trump is delegator — who is not so foolishly ‘loyal’ as to hang onto a loose cannon or an ineffective dud. Witness the turnover in his Campaign staff. You just don’t see that with conventional politicians.

    There is NO question that Bannon crossed swords with McMaster… and has obviously lost out. Bannon counter-attacked with endless leaks. That sealed his fate. He would become exposed.

    Early in Abe Lincoln’s administration, his Cabinet gave him no respect. ( hick from the sticks )

    However, bumbling Abe proved to be far better than any in his Cabinet — something that all finally acknowledged — usually in a state of shock.


    Trump is really putting the screws to Moscow, Tehran and Riyadh… via oil drilling policies.

    Industry experts are coming around to the view that America may well surge oil production up towards 15,000,000 bbl/day in five-years.

    If anything like that occurred, prices would never return to the halcyon days of OPEC — and Moscow.

    OPEC is facing bankruptcy — in the long term.

  35. Dave Says:

    Obama was supposed to be the epitome of a classy president and a textbook demonstration of the most appropriate way a president should behave. What had he achieved? The rise of ISIS, 10 trillions of debt, Mad men and evil regimes around the world obtaining nuclear weapons, incitement of burning down cities around the country based on lies, and a divided country beyond repair.

  36. neo-neocon Says:


    You reveal yourself more and more as a troll with nearly every comment.

    So, you “absolutely believe [Trump] did something deeply immoral and probably illegal to become president. Not sure about his wife though.” You not only think, or suspect, or believe, or want to believe because you detest Trump, but you absolutely believe. What a font of fair, logical, and critical thinking you are!

    I respond to you at length only when there are points I wish to make. Some of them are about the way you argue and the errors you make, but many of them are on the topics you introduce. If I find a topic of interest, I discuss it, whoever brings it up.

    As I said earlier, I’m a patient person but my patience is not infinite.

  37. AesopFan Says:

    “If I find a topic of interest, I discuss it, whoever brings it up.” — Neo

    Sometimes it takes a Troll’s nudges to bring up a topic that is either tangential or orthogonal to the original discussion, which is a valuable service.
    It’s Shepherd’s “aw shucks, Ma’am” rhetoric while trying to get a better opening for his knives that grates on me.

  38. neo-neocon Says:


    Shepherd is very umble.

  39. Shepherd Says:

    This is another demoralizing example of your insistence on reading everything I write in the worst possible light. You wanted me to admit there is ambiguity in what I say, so I do, but you seem so certain you know exactly what I mean every time. I didn’t say KNOW I said BELIEVE. The use of “absolutely” was for emphasis, not to convey certainty, because I was trying to distinguish what I believe from what the president’s chief strategist accused him of.

    And yes, I think the weight of evidence is against him, even if I don’t know all the details, as much as I believe the weight of evidence is against Clinton. DJT Jr and co eagerly took a meeting with someone representing the Russian govt and a Russian spy to explore derogatory info on Clinton, hid it, and lied about it. Papadapolous knew about Russian computer crimes against Americans and said nothing about it—the same crime Trump publically called on Russia to commit in his speech. Sessions, Flynn, Kushner all lied repeatedly about meetings with Russian govt. Trump dictated a response to the discovery of the DJT Jr meeing that prompted one of his lawyers to quit in protest. Trump is a con artist (Trump University) who lies constantly (more bills signed). If there’s no fire, then there’s sure a lot of smoke that needs explaining.

    But according to you, the only reasons a Never Trumper might still be against Trump are superficial (his style, don’t want to admit we were wrong). Not that we are able to objectively weigh the evidence and reach a reasonable conclusion at odds with yours. No, you know better than me what’s in my heart and mind. What this really seems to amount to is, you don’t see any room for real conservative disagreement about Trump and continually threaten to loose your patience with me (ban me?. So the guy who rants about flat earth and demons controlling the government is ok but I’m a troll because I absolutely believe something. (Ever heard of Faith?)

  40. neo-neocon Says:


    If you don’t want your statements to be interpreted exactly as you write them, then I suggest you use different words that actually express what you’re trying to convey rather than words that give a different impression, such as absolutely believe.

    I merely respond to what you write.

    You, however, have a habit of mischaracterizing what other people (me, for example) write. You say [emphasis added]:

    But according to you, the only reasons a Never Trumper might still be against Trump are superficial (his style, don’t want to admit we were wrong).

    However, I actually wrote [emphasis added]:

    I don’t buy the idea that most anti-Trump conservatives don’t really want the conservative agenda, or at least most of the conservative agenda. I think their main objections to Trump now are twofold.

    So let’s recap. I did not say that “the only reasons a Never Trumper might still be against Trump” are confined to those two reasons. I was speaking specifically of most (not all, most) of the anti-Trump conservatives, who are still against Trump, despite his having for the most part implemented a conservative set of actions as president, and of their main (not only) objections to him.

    And I was especially addressing the charge that if they didn’t support him at this point it meant they weren’t interested in implementing conservative ideas. RINOs and non-conservatives, of course, could easily have plenty of other reasons for not liking Trump, and some GOP Never-Trumpers are RINOs or at the very least non-conservatives.

  41. Frog Says:

    I will never trust any male (XY) with a degree from Vassar, as Wiki says Woolff has. I am comfortable generalizing these creatures are poseurs or are looking to root and snuffle between many thighs.

  42. AesopFan Says:

    Ben David Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 5:22 am
    To use neo’s apt phrase, the “left that believes it should be inevitable and permanent” can be parsed into sub-groups:
    * * *
    Nice start on a taxonomy of positions.
    There are an infinite number (very nearly), and yet we try to map them onto a single line of Left v. Right, and even onto two single points (Democrat v. Republican), and it really is much more complex than that.
    BUT we only (essentially) vote for the candidates controlled by the two major parties, so the myriad has to be shoe-horned in somehow.
    Which is why blog discussions are so interesting.

  43. AesopFan Says:

    Dave Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 1:39 pm
    Obama was supposed to be the epitome of a classy president and a textbook demonstration of the most appropriate way a president should behave. What had he achieved? …
    * * *
    Of course, there are people who approved of both style and substance with Mr. Obama, which only shows that people have different priorities.
    There is an interesting 4-cell matrix here (omitting the orthogonal axis of personal feelings over back-tracking, as Neo described, and any others that might be operational).

    Disapproving of Pres. Trump because of his style while approving of (most) of his substance is awkward, to say the least.

  44. AesopFan Says:

    Stephen Ippolito Says:
    January 4th, 2018 at 11:14 pm
    Oldflyer, agreed. 100%.

    Where I come from we go one step further and have a saying that people as candid as Neo: “Call a spade a bloody shovel”.
    * * *
    I wanted to check the etymology (given that there are more things called spades than just shovels) and a similar idiom goes back to the Greeks, not surprisingly.
    Wikipedia cites a Wildean twist:
    Oscar Wilde uses the phrase in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), when the character Lord Henry Wotton remarks: “It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.” [14] Wilde uses it again in The Importance of Being Earnest (1895).[15]

  45. AesopFan Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    January 5th, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Shepherd is very umble.
    * * *
    And persistent, which keeps things lively.

  46. neo-neocon Says:


    Actually, it’s only awkward if a person considers style and substance of equal importance.

    For example, I don’t like Trump’s style but I like most of what he’s done (substance). But I consider the latter far more important than the former, so it’s not awkward at all.

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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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