Converting Campaign Success Into Policy Success

 

Good old AM talk radio had me going once again this morning. My favorite morning host, Dan Proft, was talking with Ross Douthat when I got into the car and started my commute. One of the first things that pierced into my consciousness, through the guy doing 25mph in a 40mph zone and the woman creeping out into the intersection of the four way stop before it was her turn, was Ross Douthat talking about how good the Trump campaign was in talking about issues that connected with the voters. He quickly went on to add, though, that Trump hasn’t been good at converting campaign success into good policy.

I pulled over. If anyone had been looking at me they probably would have thought I was having a hands-free conversation with someone on my cell phone. In reality, I was having a one-sided discussion (heated discussion) with my radio.

Now, there are several reasons I was so affected by Douthat’s analysis. I’ll stick to the main reason, though. After all of this time, after almost three years of this administration, after Michelle Fields, the Very Fine People Hoax, Russia Colluuuuusion Hoax, the attempted Borking/Thomasing of Brett Kavanaugh, and simply a general attempted gross marginalization of the president based on wild speculation and unfounded characterizations from both Democrats and Republicans, after all of that how can anyone seriously argue normal political business and negotiation was even a possibility? Seriously. I think Ross Douthat is intelligent, and I think he’s on the conservative side of the spectrum, but this was just breathtakingly out of touch with reality. Maybe you could have reasonably made that argument in October of 2018 before Democrats took control of the House, maybe (not really, but maybe), but not after all that we’ve seen and after all that we know. The truth is that Democrats were locked into “resistance” and a soft coup from the beginning. Locked. There was a window where bygones could have been bygones, but Dems took that opportunity and soiled it and destroyed it and threw it back into President Trump’s face. Many Republicans even did that too. Speaker Ryan had an opportunity to advance the ball, but he instead chose mainly to distance himself from Trump… who knows why.

There is simply no way normal political policy wrangling was going to happen, no way. And here is Ross Douthat talking on October 3rd 2019 as if, ho hum, President Trump simply failed to succeed in the normal game, as if none of the outrageous “resistance” had occurred, as if the mask hadn’t slipped off of so many people abusing power for the sake of their own narrative and power and self-interest. People like using the “calling balls and strikes” metaphor. Well, Douthat is purporting to call balls and strikes when everyone else knows that the game has been canceled so that no one even showed up to play. Instead, while Douthat is talking about Trump’s dismal ERA over a non-existent regular season the whole league is rumbling in the parking lot with chains, knives, and zip guns. Almost all, anyway. Trump and the Dems are rumbling. Who knows what the rest of the Republicans are doing.

There are 19 comments.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Dude. Stop listening to talk radio. It makes you crazy. Switch to audiobooks. If you can take .mp3 files you can find plenty of free ones at librivox.org.

    • #1
  2. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Dude. Stop listening to talk radio. It makes you crazy. Switch to audiobooks. If you can take .mp3 files you can find plenty of free ones at librivox.org.

    I know, I know. My preferred solution, though, is for talk radio to get its act together. Douthat too. It’s not too late, but time is running out. Some people are already too far gone; other people can still rejoin reality outside of the bubble even if they’re only faking it. 

    • #2
  3. MichaelKennedy Member
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Douthat is NOT a conservative.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/27/opinion/impeach-trump-republicans.html

    His column for 9/27.

    Ask an intelligent Republican staffer what they imagine awaits their party after Donald Trump, and you’ll get an interesting disquisition on the factions and figures that might shape conservatism, the political and policy arguments to come.

    Ask that same staffer what happens if Trump is re-elected, and you’ll get a heavy sigh, a thousand-yard stare and then a hopeful “Well, maybe we can just pretend he isn’t there …?”

    Just another David Brooks.

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    My preferred solution, though, is for talk radio to get its act together.

    That was my preferred solution for a long time before I switched from talk radio to audiobooks. The problem with that preferred solution is you cannot control the outcome. OTOH I can control the outcome when I listen to audiobooks.

    • #4
  5. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Ed G.: There is simply no way normal political policy wrangling was going to happen – no way

    To the extent anything was actually possible, and Trump has indicated a willingness to talk about Immigration, guns, trade deals and infrastructure with the Dems, all of that is done now. I hope all the voters who care about these issues are happy that any potential “victories” for their side and their beliefs just got cut off.

    Trump will not sign bills or talk policy when Dems are doing this. Impeachment just became all the Congress can do, and what they have to run on next November. 

    • #5
  6. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Jager (View Comment):

    Ed G.: There is simply no way normal political policy wrangling was going to happen – no way

    To the extent anything was actually possible, and Trump has indicated a willingness to talk about Immigration, guns, trade deals and infrastructure with the Dems, all of that is done now. I hope all the voters who care about these issues are happy that any potential “victories” for their side and their beliefs just got cut off.

    Trump will not sign bills or talk policy when Dems are doing this. Impeachment just became all the Congress can do, and what they have to run on next November.

    I argue they’ve been running on it since 2016.

    • #6
  7. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    Proft is the best.

    He’s only Chicago WIND 560 correct?

    • #7
  8. MichaelKennedy Member
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    OTOH I can control the outcome when I listen to audiobooks.

    That’s what I do.  We listen to them driving back and forth from CA.  We have listened to Papadopoulis book and Caro’s biography of Johnson; all of it twice. I used to commute from Tucson to Phoenix and the two hours was a good time for books. I also recommend Pat Buchanan’s two books on Nixon and his one on “The Unnecessary Wars.” I disagree with a lot of what he writes but it is stimulating.

    • #8
  9. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):

    Proft is the best.

    He’s only Chicago WIND 560 correct?

    That’s the one. It’s….. The Answer.

    • #9
  10. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    My preferred solution, though, is for talk radio to get its act together.

    That was my preferred solution for a long time before I switched from talk radio to audiobooks. The problem with that preferred solution is you cannot control the outcome. OTOH I can control the outcome when I listen to audiobooks.

    I can’t stand to be read to. If I’m on a flight or a long drive then I might listen to light fiction, some shallow pageturner. But substantive material takes careful reading. Audiobooks are maddening in that regard – I listen to twenty minutes of low-information-density drone, thoughts drifting further and further away, then something worth paying attention to goes by in ten seconds. 

    • #10
  11. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Douthat is NOT a conservative.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/27/opinion/impeach-trump-republicans.html

    His column for 9/27.

    Ask an intelligent Republican staffer what they imagine awaits their party after Donald Trump, and you’ll get an interesting disquisition on the factions and figures that might shape conservatism, the political and policy arguments to come.

    Ask that same staffer what happens if Trump is re-elected, and you’ll get a heavy sigh, a thousand-yard stare and then a hopeful “Well, maybe we can just pretend he isn’t there …?”

    Just another David Brooks.

    You could be right because I just don’t follow Douthat unless he happens to come into my range of view. My impression has always been that he is rightish if not a conservative. As bad as Brooks though? I guess I wouldn’t be shocked.

    • #11
  12. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Another part of the discussion which had my blood pressure rising is when they were talking about corruption and about how Trump is corrupt too, but less corrupt than the other guy. That such is Trump’s message. 

    The example given was having foreign visitors stay at Trump hotels. I see how you can make an argument for this as corruption. I guess. They were comparing this to Biden Jr. getting $50k per month from some Ukrainian company and who knows how much from China. My man Proft fell down on pushing back on this. He kind of agreed with it, in fact. Harrumph.

    First, let me just say that I don’t really view staying at Trump properties to be corruption. Does anyone think he’s doing that in order to enrich himself in some conventional sense? In Chicago, Aldermen and other politicos make a killing moonlighting as property tax consultants earning millions in savings for their connected clients. These are tax matters on which they legislate, certainly petitioning other officials on whose livelihood these consultants have some official say. They do it for money; they do it to reward and punish using the spoils of the public budget; they do it for personal gain. Does anyone really think that Trump is motivated in this by whatever marginal increase in revenue would accrue to the company and somehow to his or his family’s bottom line? It’s possible that the amount would be material enough to matter to a billionaire; it’s possible that he just can’t pass up a nickel lying on the street; I doubt it, though.

    Second, what other examples of corruption are there? Don’t you dare point me to anything surrounding Russia Colluuuuusion because that’s all a bust as it should have been from the start. What else is there?

    • #12
  13. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Great post. Ross is a “Yeah, but..” Republican- if he even is Republican. It takes real smarts to be able to twist your perception and logic to the levels these guys do. They’ve heard of Occam’s Razor, but have rejected it out of hand since it interferes with their daily writing  plans of how to best obfuscate and deflect.

    These pathetic poseurs thrive on surfing on nuance, and notice the waves always travel leeward towards their benefactors. It’s a ruse. Let the NYTimes readers believe there are “reasonable” Republicans in their fantasy world. Living in a bubble has its downsides, like losing elections and not knowing why.

    And these posing pundits pretend seriousness when claiming the President should possess ( trying to stop the alliteration here…) heroic legislative skills to enact perfect policy outcomes ( fail!) that they and every ‘smart’ Republican will be ecstatic about. Ridiculous on its face. 

     

     

    • #13
  14. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    It’s actually pretty amazing just how effective Trump has been in the fight considering that he is very much out there on his own. Imagine what we could accomplish with all oars pulling together. 

    • #14
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    My preferred solution, though, is for talk radio to get its act together.

    That was my preferred solution for a long time before I switched from talk radio to audiobooks. The problem with that preferred solution is you cannot control the outcome. OTOH I can control the outcome when I listen to audiobooks.

    Much of talk radio is now streamed, which usually results in the output also being packaged in podcasts. I consume “talk radio” that way, cranking the speed to 1.5 and rapidly skipping, deleting, or declining to give the “talent” a download of a podcast file that has known obnoxious/untruthful guests.

    • #15
  16. MichaelKennedy Member
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Does anyone think he’s doing that in order to enrich himself in some conventional sense?

    Being president has cost him a billion dollars last I heard.

    • #16
  17. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Does anyone think he’s doing that in order to enrich himself in some conventional sense?

    Being president has cost him a billion dollars last I heard.

    The idea he’s benefiting from hotel stays shows unfathomable economic illiteracy. The real way you make money from politics is to give speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for favors.

    The problem with selling hotel rooms is you actually have to provide a room, all the staff, maintain the property, and that presumes you have no one else who will rent the room for a similar price. Like there’s no one else in the world who wants that room.

    It would take about 100,000 hotel room rentals to ‘corrupt oligarchs’ to equal the windfall from one speech from Bill Clinton. Trump is such a pathetic chump when it comes to grifting compared to these people!

    • #17
  18. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Does anyone think he’s doing that in order to enrich himself in some conventional sense?

    Being president has cost him a billion dollars last I heard.

    Smart deal! A billion in exchange for a few thou on hotel bookings. 

    • #18
  19. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    Franco (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):
    Does anyone think he’s doing that in order to enrich himself in some conventional sense?

    Being president has cost him a billion dollars last I heard.

    The idea he’s benefiting from hotel stays shows unfathomable economic illiteracy. The real way you make money from politics is to give speeches for hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for favors.

    The problem with selling hotel rooms is you actually have to provide a room, all the staff, maintain the property, and that presumes you have no one else who will rent the room for a similar price. Like there’s no one else in the world who wants that room.

    It would take about 100,000 hotel room rentals to ‘corrupt oligarchs’ to equal the windfall from one speech from Bill Clinton. Trump is such a pathetic chump when it comes to grifting compared to these people!

    Of course the price one can charge for “speaking fees” is in direct proportion to how much political clout the “speaker” can yield.

    Bill Clinton made a fortune when HRC was Secretary of State and a shoo-in to be the next POTUS ….. then …. Trump happened.

    Today Bill is just another speaker, and the Clinton Foundation is just another foundation and neither entity is nearly the lucrative juggernauts of the pre November 8, 2016 era.

    • #19

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