Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient

From The Ancient Laws of Unintended Consequences by Victor Davis Hanson.
The classical idea of a divine Nemesis (“reckoning” or “downfall”) that brings unforeseen retribution for hubris (insolence and arrogance) was a recognition that there are certain laws of the universe that operated independently of human concerns.

Call Nemesis a goddess. But it was also simply an empirical observation about collective and predictable human behavior: Excess invites unexpected correction.

Something like hubris incurring Nemesis is now following the frenzied progressive effort to nullify the Trump presidency.
It is overall a good article, skewering the various pretenses and fancies of the punditry.

I wasn't an enthusiastic supporter of Trump. I was most-eager simply not to continue a dynastically corrupt and profound incompetence by either party's establishment wing.

On the other hand, the subsequent performance of the press and punditry has indicated to me that a disruptor was urgently needed. I never subscribed to the hysterical and empty accusations of bigotry, racism, anti-semitism, fascism, etc. hurled, in the absence of any grounded argument, at Trump. He was a New York businessman with a history of bipartisanship, an appreciation of eminent domain which I revile, and a track record of risk-taking, daring and success mixed with failures. More importantly, his successes were in multiple fields which argues for a certain capability. Just as I admire Arnold Schwartzenegger for his immigration, his success in body-building, in acting, and politics (three distinctly different fields), so I admire Trump for succeeding in property development, branding, TV, etc. It is rare to have the talent stack that allows you to be successful in multiple fields.

But in the whole article by Hanson, this is the sentence which leapt out at me.
We are learning that Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient; his opponents, usually deliberate and precise but disingenuous.
Trump's communication style is clearly discordant with the desires and expectations of the elite punditry. But all through the primary, all through the election campaign, and now through the initial month of the presidency, Trump has shown a capacity to upset the elite apple-cart time and again.

In the first few instances, I assumed that he was simply quick-witted and alacritous in his willingness to punch-back against the various empty accusations made against him by the press and the elite punditry.

But the longer this happened, the more I was forced to wonder - Is he playing a deep game? Is he really possessed of a deep machiavellian capacity to anticipate far in advance how his opponents will respond and is gaming them to his own ends? They keep trying to set the agenda and then he turns it on them. He doesn't control the agenda but he sure steers it towards his own ends.

It seems impossible that he, or anyone, is that capable. But it keeps happening. In the most recent incident, the press on Friday was suddenly mooting the idea that AG Sessions might have lied under oath about relationships with Russia. The charge was tissue thin. Once the transcripts became available, it was obvious that there was no there, there.

But in the meantime, Trump turns the table and makes the conversation about Obama's established habit of wire-tapping the Associated Press, Congress, and possibly Trump as a candidate.

Who knows what the facts are? What I observe, though, is that the pundits and press wanted to push their Sessions agenda and now they are having to defend past indefensible practices by Obama. We're not talking about Sessions any longer.

That is an impressive svengali-like performance on the part of Trump. Now it would be really impressive if he were able to set the agenda in the first place but I am skeptical that that is feasible. In the meantime, the press keeps putting out the rakes and in no time at all, it is they who are stepping on the rakes. I don't know what to make of it but it is an impressive capability.

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