— by Polydamas
After Donald Trump was elected on November 8, 2016 to be the 45th President of the United States, the vanquished Democrats attempted to derail his ascent to power in a variety of ways. None of these attempts have been successful after his election just as his challengers discovered during the Republican primaries and his Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton found out during the election. Donald Trump appears to have inherited the same impervious Teflon coating as the 40th President, Ronald Wilson Reagan.
There are striking similarities between President Ronald Reagan and President Donald Trump. Both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump were political outsiders. Neither of them rose to power through the Republican political establishment. The usual establishment path to high political office runs through lower political offices, like school boards, water districts, city council, county officer, state senator or representative, state official, state governor or federal Senator or Congress Representative. Although Ronald Reagan was the President of Hollywood’s Screen Actor’s Guild for multiple terms, he did not hold any political office prior to running for Governor of California in 1966 and becoming its two-time governor from 1967 to 1975. The Presidency of the United States was the second political office he held. For Donald Trump, the Presidency of the United States will be his first political office ever.
Donald Trump is not the first man to become President without any prior political experience or public office. The other Presidents who did not serve in any public office prior to the presidency were high military officers who commanded armies, like 34th President Dwight David Eisenhower, 18th President Ulysses Grant, 14th President Franklin Pierce, 12th President Zachary Taylor, and, of course, the first President George Washington. Donald Trump is the first President without a previous pubic office and without a distinguished military career as a leader of men. However, as a business tycoon who amassed a net worth of billions of dollars, he has the necessary experience in leading and delegating responsibilities.
Like Ronald Reagan before him, Donald Trump is the only other President who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood careers of Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump enabled both of them to deal deftly with a hostile leftist press. Their many years in the public eye helped them develop a thick skin impervious to attacks that would have reduced other establishment Republican candidates to cowering and grovelling with apologies. It is difficult to imagine a conventional establishment Republican candidate like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush or like former Ohio Governor John Kasich rolling up their sleeves and bravely fighting back against the left’s accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, jingoism, etc. The affable Ronald Reagan survived vicious portrayals by his political foes as a stupid, ignorant actor and a dangerous, crazy cowboy who should not be allowed to control America’s nuclear arsenal. The pugnacious Donald Trump was depicted as a stupid, ignorant reality television buffoon crossed with an out-of-touch fat cat business tycoon, who was temperamentally unsuited to be even within the same zip code as the President’s nuclear suitcase. Trump did not flee with his tail between his legs, but, instead, fought back against his detractors like a New York street fighter.
Another similarity between outsider Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump is their choice of political insiders as their Vice-Presidents. Charles Hugh Smith capably analyzes the value of reform-minded insiders in his January 19, 2017 piece “Why Outsiders Need Insiders to Get Anything Done”, respectfully reproduced below (http://bit.ly/2jdD9zm). As Charles Smith observes, outsider Presidents who have little knowledge and experience of their own in running the federal government need competent co-pilots with the necessary insider knowledge and experience. However, this is also a double-edged sword. Invariably, the insider establishment desperately fights back to protect its power and to preserve its perquisites, often through the insider Vice-President. The outsider President’s reforms are neutralized by the administrative federal bureaucracy and hollowed out like a stately tree invisibly rotting from the inside. Then, when the insider Vice-President becomes President, the need for lip service and pretended fealty to outsider reforms vanishes and the pendulum visibly swings back to the insiders.
Ronald Reagan was regarded by the establishment as a dangerous outsider who could not be trusted without a political insider as his approved establishment minder. After Ronald Reagan had won the Republican nomination for President, the Republican establishment foisted upon him the ultimate political insider as his Vice-President, his primary opponent George Herbert Walker Bush, who was America’s former United Nations Ambassador, Congressman, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. George Herbert Walker Bush did his best to thwart Ronald Reagan’s reforms, and, when he succeeded to the Presidency, he worked tirelessly to undo his predecessor’s outsider policies and tilt them back in favor of the establishment. As he was instructed by his globalist overseers, he purposefully ran a lackluster presidential campaign in 1992, and, in boxing parlance, “took a dive” in order to transition the presidency to an establishment-approved Democrat, one William Jefferson Blythe Clinton and his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Dwight Eisenhower was looked after by his insider Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, an influential California Congressman and Senator. In stark contrast to outsider Dwight Eisenhower, his Vice-President Richard Nixon was what the 21st century would call a “crony capitalist” government official. He was a connected Congressman and Senator who represented Southern California’s branch of the military-industrial complex, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed, Martin Marietta, Northrop, McDonnell Douglas, etc. After Richard Nixon became President, his domestic and foreign policies were virtually indistinguishable from Democrats. Had Richard Nixon run for office in 2016 under the Democratic banner, the difference between him and Hillary Clinton would be mostly of style and not of substance. Richard Nixon would have set up his own foundation and sold political favors to the highest bidder just like Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump ran a populist campaign, but either chose or was assigned his establishment Vice-President Mike Pence, a former six-term Congress Representative and Governor of Indiana. We can only hope that he will be different from his insider predecessors in office. It is possible that Mike Pence is a reform-minded insider, especially, when he was an Indiana talk show host in the 1990s, he described his political leanings as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf” (http://indy.st/2jdDLoA). The proof of Mike Pence’s true and ongoing commitment to outsider reforms remains to be seen in the future.
The most serious obstacle to Trump’s outsider presidency and the success of his reforms designed to restore power to the American people will come from Arizona Senator John McCain. Despite his fawning, media-burnished reputation as a bipartisan “maverick Republican”, John McCain McCain is the very definition of a Washington insider and an establishment power.
John McCain is the son and grandson of four-star Navy admirals. He went to high school in Northern Virginia, in the most affluent county in the country, together with the children of the well-connected mandarins of American government in the Washington, D.C. Beltway. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his 900-strong class at the United States Naval Academy. Despite poor grades at the Academy and substandard abilities as a Navy pilot, he was still promoted by dint of his family personal connections, an example of the Peter Principle whereby “managers rise to the level of their incompetence”. He eventually commanded the largest A-7 squadron in the United States Navy VA-174 in Florida.
John McCain was a hard drinker, partier, heavy gambler, as well as a womanizer. His extramarital relationships caused a rift with his first wife, who had been crippled by a car accident. He admitted to the Arizona Republic newspaper that “my marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity more than it was to Vietnam, and I cannot escape blame by pointing a finger at the war. The blame was entirely mine.” His first wife explained “I attribute it more to John turning 40 and wanting to be 25 again than I do to anything else.” (http://bit.ly/2j8LF5l). He proceeded to divorce his first wife and, a month later, quickly married her replacement to tunnel his way into the Phoenix, Arizona establishment. His upgraded new wife, Cindy Hensley, was a former cheerleader 17 years his junior, and the daughter of a multimillionaire and well-connected Phoenix Anheuser-Busch distributor.
In 1982, John McCain was elected to represent Arizona in Congress. In 1984, he was re-elected to Congress, and, in 1986, he moved on to the United States Senate. In Washington, John McCain has happily served the interests of the elites for 35 years, and is thoroughly beholden to the establishment, campaign donors, lobbyists, and political operatives. In the late 1980s, Senator McCain used his office in an attempt to divert federal regulators from investigating financier Charles Keating and his bank Lincoln Savings & Loan. McCain had received from Keating hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and all-expenses paid vacation trips to the Bahamas. Senator McCain became known as one of “The Keating Five” and was rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising “poor judgment” (http://bit.ly/2jNeuW5). The New York Times reported that, as a two-time chairman of the Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee, Senator McCain is also known as “One of the founding fathers of Indian gaming”, regulated casinos, worked with many lobbyists, and collected campaign contributions. He even gambled and won large sums of money from the Indian casinos that he regulated and obtained generous campaign contributions (http://nyti.ms/2iPgj53). Over the past 35 years, Senator McCain has been the best friend in Washington that any crony capitalist could buy.
Senator McCain is not a maverick Republican. He is only nominally a Republican, but moves the levers of Washington in service of the country club elites, be they Republicans or Democrats. When the restaurant and hotel industries want cheap foreign labor to bus tables and to turn up beds, they contact Senator McCain who shortly thereafter announces that he is in favor of immigration reform and a path to citizenship for illegals. Senator McCain is the Democrats’ and the mainstream media’s favorite Republican. He is always praised by them for being bipartisan, which, in Washington, it means that he always can be counted upon to dispense with principles of limited government, loosen any restrictions on government power, vote for any bill that enlarges the powers of the federal government, and distribute pork barrel projects and federal money to the states. His infamous McCain-Feingold campaign financing legislation was nothing more than a mechanism for restraining the political speech of challengers and entrenching the media advantages of the elites, especially Democrats, which was gutted by the United States Supreme Court in its Citizens United case. Like a good establishment soldier and like George Herbert Walker Bush before him, Senator McCain “took a dive” in the 2008 Presidential elections, ran a milquetoast campaign, and practically rolled out the red carpet for Barack Obama’s breathless coronation. Despite his conservative rhetoric every six years during election season, everyone knows that Senator McCain conducts himself at all other times like a Tammany Hall Democrat politician and will vote like a Democrat politician, for the right price.
Why does this matter? When Barack Hussein Obama won the presidency, he disdained bipartisanship, stating in January of 2009 that “elections have consequences – and at the end of the day, I won”. This was Obama’s opportunity to implement leftist policies without any input from Republicans. Democrat leftists and their lapdog media outlets behaved triumphantly and not one of them felt magnanimous or compelled to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans. Democrats knew in their hearts that they were on “the right side of history” and had no desire to be inclusive. They were convinced that they were entitled to dictate the terms of the Republicans’ surrender, just like General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri. In contrast, there is no chance whatsoever these days that Republicans will quote President Obama’s words back to Democrats that the 2016 election has consequences and that, at the end of the day, Donald Trump won.
At present, in the 115th United States Congress, the Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate to the Democrats’ 48, with Republican Vice-President Mike Pence serving as President of the Senate who can cast a tie-breaking vote. During the next four years, the American people can expect to see a radicalized Democratic party and the Independents who caucus with it, thus, the vast majority if not all 48 of its Senators will cast no votes on every important bill brought before them by Republicans or requested by the Trump administration. This number of Senators will be augmented by Republican turncoats for the right inducement.
We here at The Cassandra Times predict that the elites will deploy “Maverick McCain” to thwart Donald Trump at every turn. “Maverick McCain” will proclaim himself to be a member of “The Loyal Opposition” to the adulation of the mainstream media. He will attack Donald Trump’s policies as extreme to the applause of liberals everywhere. He will be the toast of Hollywood and Tinseltown, feted at every gathering, and a fawning biographical movie or a thinly-veiled movie will highly extol all of his virtues and will sandpaper any of his flaws to nothingness.
Senator McCain, who voted for Barack Obama’s United States Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan because presidential elections that elevate leftists to power have consequences, will refuse to vote for any nominee proposed by Donald Trump who is one inch to the right of Obama’s last nominee Merrick Garland. Presidential elections that elevate Republicans to power have no consequences except to surrender and capitulate to leftists and to Hollywood. Donald Trump will have a very hard time mustering the necessary 60 votes to overcome a Democrat filibuster, especially with the defections of Senator McCain, his acolytes Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and North Carolina Senator Thomas Tillis. Mobilized and unanimous Senate Democrats, augmented by the above six Republican Senators, will move heaven and earth to ensure that Donald Trump’s eventual Supreme Court justice will be nothing like the strict constructionist that was Justice Antonin Scalia. Any attempt by Donald Trump to replace Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer or Anthony Kennedy with anyone who does not believe in a “Living Constitution” and the sublime wisdom of the United Nations and international law will be a hundredfold more fierce.
Senator John McCain is 80 years of age. He does not have more than one six-year term left to serve. The mask of “Maverick McCain” that he wore for 35 years will not be necessary any longer and he will be free to come out of the closet of military-industrial complex minions to finally show his real face. He had no qualms about secretly passing to FBI Director James Comey the woefully amateurish intelligence dossier that made sordid allegations about Donald Trump being blackmailed by Russia’s Premier Vladimir Putin. He can torpedo Donald Trump at every turn while repeatedly bowing and soliciting applause and encores from liberals everywhere.
Donald Trump came to Washington to “drain the swamp” of Beltway politics and to return power to the people. His success at draining the Beltway swamp will depend upon how successful he is at outmaneuvering “Maverick McCain” and the entrenched insider interests that the latter represents. The fate of America rests on the outcome.
Why Outsiders Need Insiders to Get Anything Done
Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds Blog
January 19, 2017
You need Insiders who are loyal to an Outsider and an Outsider agenda to accomplish any real reforms.
Readers ask a reasonable question: if Trump is a political Outsider, then why has he stuffed his staff with Insiders–Goldman Sachs alumni, generals, etc.? The question follows an understandable logic: wouldn’t an Outsider appoint other outsiders? The doubt expressed also follows a reasonable logic: if Insiders are running the Trump administration, won’t it be just another case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”?
I think there is another dynamic in play here which I have laid out in this chart: Outsiders can be effective in meeting their policy goals (i.e. “success”), but they need Insiders who know how to get things done within a self-serving Establishment that is highly resistant to Outsiders and institutional reforms.
The Insider-Outsider spectrum has several important variations. In economics, Insiders rig the system to benefit themselves at the expense of Outsiders. In religion, Insiders are trusted members of the community of the faithful, and Outsiders are not members and thus untrustworthy.
In other words, there is a push-pull dynamic to being an Insider: it’s easy to feather one’s own bed as an Insider, because you are a trusted member of the Insider Community. Insiders have security, Outsiders do not. Insiders cover up the sins and greed of other Insiders, lest their own self-serving greed be exposed.
This means Insiders have enormous opportunities to join the Establishment that resists any reforms that reduce Insiders’ private gains or the power of entrenched interests.
On the other hand, Insiders who are True Believers in reform have the trust and connections needed to bypass or overcome the inertial resistance to any change within the Establishment.
Outsiders can only effect significant reforms if they have the overwhelming political power of numbers behind them: if enough Outsiders are enraged at being exploited by Insiders, they can threaten to topple the entire Establishment.
Only when they fear the complete loss of their own power and Insider perquisites do Insiders grudgingly accept reforms that diminish their power, perquisites and security.
The measures of success also matter. If the reformer, Insider or Outsider, seeks to remake society, government and the nation, such lofty goals will fail simply because they are too grandiose to be accomplished in a short time, even with the consent of the governed.
Grandiose goals end up disappointing those who believed them possible.
In contrast, incremental goals are far more modest in scope and therefore within reach of either a mass Outsider movement or True Believer Insiders.
Let’s consider two Outsider presidencies: Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter. Lincoln’s presidency has been reported in great depth, Carter’s has received relatively little critical assessment. Nonetheless, we discern certain similarities to the Trump presidency: all three “came out of nowhere” to win the presidency by slim margins, all three entered office with a deeply divided electorate and all three were Outsiders in the power circles of Washington, D.C.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book on Lincoln’s cabinet, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, illuminates more than the rivalry: all of Lincoln’s key appointees were consummate Insiders.
Carter’s closest advisors tended to be Outsiders, while his foreign policy appointees were Insiders. Although there is ample room to debate this, as a political junkie who lived through the Carter campaign and presidency, it seems to me his presidency was doomed by an abundance of lofty goals and a paucity of Insiders who had the trust and networks to get stuff done.
I would argue the surest way to fail as a president is to stock your administration with Outsiders — especially True Believer Outsiders who view entrenched, self-serving Insiders with utter disdain.
To get anything done in a culture of entrenched interests, one must either have an overwhelming political mandate to dismantle the entire machine–Trump does not–or you need Insiders who know the pressure points of the system and its key players–in effect, Insiders who know how to slip a political stiletto into the kidneys of key players and twist the blade to get done what would otherwise be impossible.
Insiders know (or can find out) who the politicized brown-nosers and incompetents are that must be cashiered if anything is going to change for the better. Outsiders are tempted to “clean house,” a strategy that can backfire as entrenched interests hunker down and await the inevitable failure of the reforms.
It boils down to this: you need Insiders who are loyal to an Outsider and an Outsider agenda to accomplish any real reforms. Outsiders are easy prey for polished, self-serving Insiders. You need Insiders who can beat the entrenched interests at their own game, and weed out the toxic institutionalized leadership that resists reforms out of self-aggrandizement rather than principle.
We’ll just have to wait and see if Trump’s Insiders are loyal to an Outsider and an Outsider agenda or not. Time will tell.