Monday, November 14, 2016

That Flushing Noise? It's the Sound of the Great "Bait and Switch"

The Gullibillies want their due from Team Anti-Establishment and it's captain, the Orange Behemoth. It's "winning" time and they know they'll soon be winning so much they'll become tired of always winning. Donald Trump told them so, he promised.

Of course president-elect Trump won't become president Trump for another two months but he's already busy putting together the winning team, what the New Yorker's John Cassidy calls "Trump's Great Bait and Switch." Oh, oh, Gullibillies, this might not be what you want to hear.

Six days into the Trump transition, one of the biggest bait-and-switch operations in recent history is already well under way. Trump campaigned as an outsider who would overthrow a hopelessly corrupt Washington establishment. Now we learn that many members of that very establishment will play key roles in a Trump Administration. On Friday, Trump announced that his soon-to-be Vice-President, Mike Pence, a former head of the Republican Study Committee on Capitol Hill, would replace New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as the chairman of his transition team. And, on Sunday, that team announced that Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, the Party’s principal fund-raising and organizational arm, will serve as Trump’s White House chief of staff, while Stephen Bannon, the former Goldman Sachs banker and head of Breitbart News, the controversial alt-right Web site, will serve as Trump’s chief strategist.

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that “at least a half dozen major Washington lobbyists and three top fundraisers for Mr. Trump’s campaign have been tasked with heading key portions of Mr. Trump’s transition team. . . . In many cases, the lobbyists are selecting administration officials for departments that will affect the interests of firms they represent.”

The Journal report helpfully listed some of the lobbyists, the special interests they represent, and the duties they have been assigned. Martin Whitmer, who shills for the Association of American Railroads and the National Asphalt Pavement Association, is leading the transition’s “transportation and infrastructure” team. In the magazine this week, my colleague Jane Mayer wrote about Michael Catanzaro, a veteran lobbyist for oil and gas firms who is overseeing “energy independence,” and Mike McKenna, the president of the lobbying firm MWR Strategies, who is overseeing appointments to the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Both men count Koch Industries as clients.

...Conservative policy experts, many of whom turned up their noses at Trump during the campaign, are also—selflessly, no doubt—prepared to help. On Saturday, the Journal reported that the Heritage Foundation, which for decades has been in the vanguard of promoting conservative policies such as privatizing Social Security and prisons, has dozens of staffers and alumni working on the transition. Have these free-market conservatives suddenly discovered the virtues of Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on China and Mexico? Hardly. But they can see much to like in his pledge to make a bonfire of financial and environmental regulations, and also approve of his tax plan, which, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, would boost the annual after-tax income of the top one per cent by $214,690, on average, and annual after-tax income of the top 0.1 percent by $1.1 million.
...And what of the great leader himself? The Times reported this weekend that Trump perhaps intends to dispense with the antiquated notion that the President should spend nearly all his time living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. According to a report by Maggie Haberman and Ashley Parker, Trump “is talking with his advisers about how many nights a week he will spend in the White House. He has told them he would like to do what he is used to, which is spending time in New York when he can.” The idea, apparently, is that Trump “might spend most of the week in Washington, much like members of Congress, and return to Trump Tower or his golf course in Bedminster, N.J., or his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on weekends.” I don’t know about you, but I missed the bit in Trump’s speeches where he promised to the turn the Presidency into a part-time commuter job.

But what happens if, during one of these weekends while Trump is away, the Russians march into Ukraine, or the Chinese occupy a disputed island in the South China Sea? Never fear. The Trump Administration will be staffed by folks as skilled at dealing with pesky foreigners as they are at draining the swamp: statesmen like Gingrich, Giuliani, and John Bolton—the veteran warmonger who has been rumored as a possible Secretary of State.

To sum up, this is the prospect we are facing. A populist but semi-engaged President who is less interested in governing than in soaking up adulation at big rallies. (He might hold more of them even though the campaign is over, the Times story said.) Meanwhile, his cronies and members of the permanent establishment may make many of the actual decisions, which will largely benefit the already rich, including the ruling family. Debt mushrooms as El Presidente approves prestige construction projects but not the taxes needed to pay for them. And skilled propagandists, like Bannon, whip up nationalist fervor to keep the masses diverted from what is really going on.

We’ve seen this movie before, many times. But not here in the United States.


Kirby Evans said...

I'm sure no one wit any sense is surprised by this bait and switch. It is so very similar to the Harper "transparency and accountability" claims which fell at the first hurdle.

The Mound of Sound said...

I would have thought "no one with any sense" would have made this creep president. Come to think of it, they didn't.

John B. said...

Now that we've got that pillow fight out of the way, let's get down to business. Charles Koch is surely laughing on the way to the bank to redeposit the half billion or more that the network saved. ALEC, Donors Trust and the state legislatures will be rolling in it.

Meanwhile, Mike Pence shouldn't find too much of a challenge in tending the swamp while the President is occupied on the golf course or schmoozing for a while at one of his "blind trusts" and then spending the rest of the day doing whatever else it occurs to him might make America great again.

Only the hicks who bought Trump's snake oil couldn't see this coming and, even now and later, most of them won't realize they've been had. They'll still be standing on 5th Avenue anxiously awaiting the main event.

Well, all I know is ...

Anonymous said...

Anyong......Donald Trump the "nunnyfudger".

Anonymous said...

Donald Trump just killed the TPP. Or rather, killed Obama's plans to foist it on the America people during the lame duck session working with Republican neocons. If Hillary had won, it would be good to go.

Most progressive action in 36 years of neoliberal/neocon government and it comes from a "fascist" Republican.

I guess when it comes to being a victim of the old "bait and switch" it takes one to know one. Will American conservatives look the other way like liberals do every time they get betrayed by their politicians? Time will tell.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well that's certainly magical thinking, Anon, to believe that Trump, two months away from even being sworn into office "just killed the TPP." Have you been paying the slightest attention to how he's been backpeddling on most of his main campaign promises less than a week after winning the election? Did you watch or at least read about the 60 Minutes interview? If, however, in your magical mind you see Trump as having killed the TPP you must also see him as having subverted the Paris climate accord. I suppose that's also to his credit. Neat trick you've got going there. Find a way to monetize it.

Anonymous said...

Rule 1 with coping with a Trump-filled world: assume EVERYTHING he says is a lie. If the Gulliibillies had gone with this premise, Trump wouldn't have wone.

Rule 2: Trump will be more impotent than ever. Career Republicans will steer him from certain disaster. Which is exactly why he'll be nothing more than a figure head.

Rule 3: Those opposed to Trump and the REAL establishment (which he is an integral part of) must start NOW structuring electoral reform and elimination of the two-party system in the US. Failure to do sets us all up for failure.

Owen Gray said...

The con continues.

rumleyfips said...

In just a week Trump has backpedalded faster than a circus bear. Evangelicals must be horrified to hear that he lied about same sex marriage and abortion. But, screw them ; he got their votes. Forget about jail for Clinton; heres a stick in the eye for you deplorables. Wall what wall; sorry racists I fooled you. 11 million deportations How about a few hundred thousand . Shut up you Hitler youth . It won├Ęt be long before he has insulted and betrayed everyone who voted for them. The worst part is they all knew what he would do. Think dog, snake, river.

Anonymous said...

Re TPP: if you had been following the news, Obama attempted to have a marathon session with Republican neocons to foist the TPP on the American people when both parties were running against it and the people just voted to kill it. Trump told Republican neocons: not happening.

If Hillary had won, she certainly would not have told Obama and other neoliberal Democrats to stop working on the TPP, now would she? Or otherwise Obama would not have been working on it in the first place. (Few people believe Hillary was actually opposed to the "gold standard" TPP. Just another opportunistic flip flop.)

As a supporter of zero emissions by 2040 or 2050 at max, I will celebrate when Trump tears up the Paris Agreement. It is a disgusting farce. Just a bunch of bribe-taking puppets and global oligarchs patting themselves on the back for doing absolutely nothing. A pretense is a step backwards, not a step forwards. Dangerous because it gives the illusion action is being taken when it is not. (Heralded by the media owned by giant corporations opposed to action on climate change because it means more regulations and higher taxes.)