Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Is Trump Losing His Mojo?

If, by mojo, you mean every bully's stock in trade, the ability to instill fear in others, the answer seems to be "yes." It's usually a bad day for a bully when the crowd stops fearing. The New York Times argues that is precisely what's happening to Donald J. Trump.

Richard M. Nixon once said, “People react to fear, not love; they don’t teach that in Sunday school, but it’s true.” 
No president since has deployed fear quite like Donald J. Trump. Whether it is the prospect of a crime wave at the border with Mexico or nuclear war with North Korea, President Trump has persuaded his supporters that there is plenty to fear beyond fear itself. 
In an interview as a presidential candidate in 2016 with the Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post, Mr. Trump said, “Real power is — I don’t even want to use the word — fear.”
...Few outside the Republican Party are afraid of him, and they may be less intimidated after the disastrous government shutdown.

...He could well face a challenge for the Republican nomination in 2020, and congressional Republicans from swing states could begin to distance themselves from him. 
One of the clearest signals came last week when Republicans, backing an amendment offered by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, opposed the president’s call for withdrawal of United States military forces from Syria and Afghanistan as part of a Middle East policy bill. Only three Republicans voted against it.
...there is little evidence that President Xi Jinping of China, or any other foreign leader, is cowed. 
And certainly not Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The president initially said he felt comfortable negotiating with Ms. Pelosi, but in interviews aired on Sunday, he sharpened his attacks on her and said her obstinacy on the border wall was damaging the country. 
Mr. Trump has found that his lack of experience in politics and diplomacy, which require policy knowledge, team building and nuanced negotiating ability, has left him at a decided disadvantage despite his boasts about his deal-making prowess.
“He’s surrounded in these standoffs by people who have all those boxes checked,” said Timothy O’Brien, the author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald.” “Nancy Pelosi has been doing this for quite a while, Putin has been doing this for a quite a while, Xi has been doing this quite a while. They’ve all been running circles around him.”
...American allies, diplomats said, have more a sense of resignation than fear in dealing with him. The list of threats from Mr. Trump is long, but the number of times he has followed through is exceedingly short. 
“He is playing a role, and the role, much like on ‘The Apprentice,’ was of the strong, able character, but it’s a role,” said David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. “Every foreign leader and every practicing politician has taken a measure of him and understands the basics, that he responds to strength and there’s not a lot behind the facade.”
...Even Nixon later acknowledged that he did not really believe fear was a successful prime motivator.

“Nixon said that, but he didn’t believe it and he didn’t practice it,” said Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian and author of the recent best seller “Presidents of War.” “He actually spent decades building relationships in Washington, with his party leaders, with Democrats, and around the world. So yes, there were certainly elements of fear in all those relationships, but he knew you needed both the carrot and the stick. 
... “It’s almost as if he only has one tool in his toolbox,” Mr. Beschloss said.
Curiously not mentioned in the NYT article is the recent initiative of European states to circumvent Trump's trade sanctions against Iran by facilitating European trade in non-US currency. That's a sublime act of defiance of the Mango Mussolini, one that Trump avoids mentioning.


the salamander said...

.. I had the great opportunity of producing & directing high end medical videos with KOP's - Key Opinion Leaders. Some were shrinks, psychs or mood disorder specialists. This was pre Trump but smack in the Harper era. As we cooled lights & sorted out post shoot details re review, graphics, approval stages etc.. here and there we touched on symptoms, classic examples. Holy Hell, some of them referenced Harper.. and others.. but Harper was the main reference.. I won't go into details, we all know what he was. But I suspect .. no, I am certain, Trump would have been a classic multiple syndrome - comorbidity or even multiple complex comorbidity example. For sure he and many of his enablers would be shredded by such off the record clinical discussions. Dangerous, reckless, ignorant.. sleep issues, habitual diet quirks. multiple compunctions, violent temper.. all those are triggers to sort differential diagnosis.

My point really though.. is those clinicians would have seized on the Trump cowardice & bullying. And the rudeness and crudeness as well. big big signposts. So yes.. there is much to fear from such a self important narcissistic fool.. but I don't see him having any ability to create or control or direct 'fear' .. put another way.. he could not 'scare me' or threaten me, nor would find him scary. In all reality Trump is a laughable fool. He is rude, he is crude. But intrinsically he's a fraud. A habitual liar. An ignoramus. Classless. A fat assed jerk. Yes, he has some certain manipulative superficial 'smarts' useful to his weird ways. But there's ZERO right stuff. Zero, not a shred of real strength. He's a fake, a contriver and conniver, a parasite, feeding ln his own delusions, a grifter, essentially a thief. A crooked phony.. probably the best I've ever seen..

Anonymous said...

The European attempt to circumvent SWIFT payments that used to all go through New York (and be approved or not there unilaterally) has attracted the snarling devil John Bolton. Instex is being developed because of US-demanded Iran sanctions that hamstring European companies, and threats by the US demanding the EU buy US LNG rather than natural gas from Russia through the Baltic Sea pipeline.

Bolton's threatening Europe with all and sundry if they deal with Iran, just as he threatened the International Criminal Court justices with personal ruin if they indicted an American, and arrest them if they visited the US. A German judge quit last week because of fear of Bolton.

Trump is a paper tiger, worry about the really ruthless US assholes who "work" for him.


Trailblazer said...

Trump will be emboldened by his approval rating after his State of the Union Address.
He is as dangerous as ever ,perhaps more so.

Anonymous said...

The bullies are on the Cultural Left. They are deluded into thinking they have a veto on democracy. They use all manner of despicable political rhetoric to attempt to get their way. Even though they have no idea what their way is.

They remind me of Stephen Harper. Remember all the sleazy rhetoric he used to attack Liberal leaders Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff (Count Ignominious) and Trudeau Jr.?

On the issues, Trump is the most progressive president since Eisenhower according to Neil MacDonald: "Trump is the best president the left has ever had." Except, of course, he's an EVIL RACIST BIGOT – according to corporations getting rich off of "terrible trade deals" that 'Tariff Man' is renegotiating.

MacDonald's message to the real Left: either join neoliberal globalists or you too are an EVIL RACIST BIGOT!

Talk about inciting fear to manipulate the people!

How exactly is Trump doing this? I see absolutely no evidence of it. But plenty of evidence of people doing it against him.

Purple library guy said...

But anonymous, your sarcasm is ineffective because quite evidently, Trump actually is an evil racist bigot. There's nothing subtle or politically correct or "culturally left" about it.

As to the best president the left has ever had . . . as if. Tax cuts for the rich, assaults on unions, doing his best to divide the working class by siccing the different colours of it on each other . . . and his only objective with those tariffs is to make a bargaining lever to redefine free trade to more blatantly favour selected US elite interests.

I will say this in his favour: Internationally, his hamfistedness may significantly accelerate the end of US dollar, and hence US, dominance. If so I suppose the world would owe him a vote of thanks, but on the basis of his incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Trump is an evil racist bigot? Why, then, did he free Alice Marie Johnson: a Black prisoner who got a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense? A file that came across Obama's desk, but he did nothing for her.

In fact, it was the Clintons who brought the era of mass incarceration to America. The private prison industry was throwing money at politicians for adopting "three strikes" legislation. The Clintons stepped up taking it to the federal level.

HRC was a de facto spokesperson for private prison sweatshops. She drummed up support for a po-lice crackdown on Big-City-Liberal inner-city ghettos by calling Black youth "super predators."

The Clintons stole the lives of tens of thousands of African Americans with their rotten "jobs for life" program! Michael Moore says they brought back slavery in "Where to Invade Next."

Of course, by the time Obama got in power the jig was up. The Clintons admitted their mistake. But Democrats, as always, didn't lift a finger to undo the damage they had done. There attitude was: might as well leave them in there.

Obama made a big display commuting the sentences of 1000 non-violent offenders at the end of his 8-years in office. But it barely scratched the surface.

It took Donald J Trump to spearhead the First Step initiative to begin "freeing the slaves."

One could call DJT a modern-day Abraham Lincoln. One could call DJT the first Black president. One could say he's the second coming of FDR. But only an ignoramus would call him a racist.

Anonymous said...

A more informed person would conclude Democrats are the real racists, and have always been the party of racism. Their Big Liberal Cities are segregated like Apartheid South Africa!

"If you're Black stay back. If you're Brown stick around." – A line from the 1970s. These champagne socialists and neoliberal void-worshipers don't like the colorful people. They prefer a little cream with their coffee. Or better yet, a little coffee with their cream!

THEY are the real White supremacists. THEY are the real "White privilege" systemic racists. And below their thin veneer of civilization – beneath all their empty, smarmy displays of fake virtue – (the masks the monsters wear to feed upon their prey) – must exist an actual vicious, seething racial hatred that has manifested itself in racist crimes-against-humanity across centuries.

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

Anonymous said...

Radicals say "no border, no wall." All people across the Americas are "undocumented" Americans citizens. Just walk right in and make yourself at home! – And if you disagree, you're an evil, racist bigot! What crazy fanaticism!

Cheap undocumented maids and nannies for uptdown blue bloods. Cheap undocumented factory workers to boost their investment portfolios. And when gang warfare flares up between Latinos and Blacks, more bodies for their prison sweatshops. Cha-ching! – Not to mention MOAR undocumented voters!

Instead of exporting wars on socialism and drugs, The Donald plans on exporting prosperity to the Americas via progressive Fair-Trade deals based on social tariffs that force oligarchs to pay their workers living wages.

Did you notice Trump put Canada last in the USMCA? That's because Trudeau was on the side of Mexican oligarchs outraged over having to raise auto-worker pay from $3/hr to $16/hr.

Remember when the Fake News media across the world was saying Trump was crazy for dropping bombs on free-trade globalization? But that's exactly what had to be done. And it worked. It just goes to show that Bernie would not have had the guts to do it.

Trump killing free-trade globalism is the most progressive accomplishment of any president since Eisenhower. It's been the labor position for decades! A worker's wet dream come true!

Tariff Man is a real-world super-hero!

Anonymous said...

BTW, if you do the research, you'd know the USD serving as a global reserve currency has always been bad for America. The extra demand for greenbacks makes the currency overvalued. It's terrible for exports: the equivalent of a permanent Dutch Disease. It puts pressure on American corporations to outsource production.

John Maynard Keynes believed it was a bad idea after the war. (He called the gold standard a "barbarous relic" at Bretton Woods.) He devised an independent global reserve currency called the Bancor. (Which was, of course, foolishly rejected.)

There's also the "Triffin paradox" in economic theory which states there's a conflict of economic interests that arises between short-term domestic and long-term international objectives for countries whose currencies serve as global reserve currencies.

The Donald didn't fumble this file. He made it happen!

Just like he blew up diplomatic relations between Canada and China because of Trudeau's free-trade pursuit with the totalitarian oligarchy. (Trump doesn't want a Chinese back door into the USMCA.) – Even the suffragettes cheered when Trump said he was cracking down on China's unfair trade practices.

DJT is a true progressive like Theodore Roosevelt, FDR and Eisenhower. These were leaders who sought the best compromise they could get. Art of the Deal, baby!

They were certainly not hippy, socialist revolutionaries. Or bribe-taking neoliberals. Or bribe-making neocons. They are all great leaders who actually got things done. Great things! Tremendous things!