Donald Trump: I Thought Being President Would Be Easy

Donald Trump discovers reality.

Donald Trump Shrug

For the second time in less than a month, President Trump is telling reporters that he didn’t realize how hard it be to be President of the United States:

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

A wealthy businessman from New York, Trump assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on Jan. 20 after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an upset.

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

As I noted, this isn’t the first time that Trump has noted publicly that the Presidency was more difficult than he thought it would be. He said much the same thing in an interview about two weeks ago when he noted that the job was harder than he thought it would be. This isn’t an uncommon observation for new Presidents, of course, it’s often the case that an incoming President will comment that they didn’t realize the full scope of the job until they were actually in the position. In Trump’s case, though, the comments are notable for two reasons. First of all, these are some of the few times we’ve seen anything approaching a moment of self-reflection from Trump during his entire time as a public figure. More so than even the most publicity conscious celebrity, he has always been a close guarding of his public image and he has always projected an air of self-confidence that borders on arrogance. Dropping that veil even slightly is interesting, and while I’d like to think that it portends a more reflective, less reactionary Trump in the future, the thirty years of his history in the public eye tells me otherwise. Second, these comments strike me as telling us something else about Trump, and it’s not a good thing. I honestly believe that he thought from the moment he entered the race for the President twenty-two months ago that Trump thought that being President would indeed be “easy” and that he’d be more than able to overcome whatever obstacles might appear in his way, even the obstacle known as reality. This is a man, after all, who has always believed his own press clippings and his own exaggerated and grandiose claims he has made about himself. He also likely believes that he is smarter than practically everyone else in the room no matter what the subject matter is, and given the fact that he spent the time from the moment he graduated from the Wharton School of Business and started working for his father surrounded by yes men and sycophants ready and willing to do his bidding, he believed that running the government and being the leader of the free world would indeed be easy when the opposite is the reality.

As Philip Bump notes, Trump also seems to be unknowingly acknowledging something that many of his have known since June 2015, that Donald Trump was in no way prepared to be President, As Bump notes in his post, throughout the 2016 campaign, a majority of Americans said that they didn’t believe Trump was ready to be President. Despite that fact, sixty-two million of them went on to vote for him and he managed to get enough votes in the right states to pull off an Electoral College victory. You can reach your own conclusions about what that says about the voters, about American politics in general, about Trump specifically, and about a seemingly better-prepared opponent who was nonetheless unable to defeat him. In any case, as they often are, the American people were right in their observation that the nominee of a major American political party was patently unprepared for the office he sought. In the meantime, I suppose we’ll have to rely on Trump’s on the job education, although perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to remind him that if he really does miss the life he left behind he could easily return to it if he really wanted to. But I suppose that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mr. Bluster says:

    test

  2. Mr. Bluster says:
  3. James Pearce says:

    In the meantime, I suppose we’ll have to rely on Trump’s on the job education

    I think it’s more likely that Trump will endeavor to make the presidency “easier” rather than rising to the difficulty level of the office. We’re already seeing that in military matters, aren’t we?

  4. michael reynolds says:

    I have a new theory of the Trump presidency: I think he may turn out to be a coping mechanism for old, white people like Guarneri and Bill and Erick Florack.

    See, old white guys believe that all problems could be solved instantly if only we had more testosterone and whiteness. More thrusting chins. More loud political incorrectness. More desperately unhappy trophy wives. OK, maybe not that last one, that’s just an extra. Their central myth is that Samson’s hair has been cut by weak women and snotty college kids.

    Now, finally, at long last they have the living, breathing avatar of loud, obnoxious white maleness, and what’s happening? The Don is being diminished. He’s shrinking. He’s being absorbed by Washington, a bacterium engulfed by a white blood cell. Their Hector is being dragged around the city.

    This is therapeutic. It’s good for them. Failure is an opportunity for growth.

  5. Mr. Bluster says:
  6. @James Pearce:

    To be honest, I have to say that Trump’s military/foreign policy team has been one of the few areas where his decision making made sense. Mattis at Dod, McMaster at NSC, and Dan Coats and Mike Pompeo at the top of the intelligence community have been largely praised by experts on both sides of the aisle. So far at least, Nikki Haley seems to be a good spokesperson for the US at the United States as well. The jury is still out on Rex Tillerson at State but he’s better than some of the other names Trump was considering for that post, such as John Bolton. The question, of course, is the extent to which Trump listens to these people.

  7. @Mr. Bluster:

    Not sure what you’re testing but your comments are going through fine if that’s what you’re wondering.

  8. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think he may turn out to be a coping mechanism for old, white people

    No, he’s a pioneer for the next generation of right-wing blowhards.

  9. James Pearce says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I have to say that Trump’s military/foreign policy team has been one of the few areas where his decision making made sense.

    Sure, but his decision making seems to have been limited to picking those guys, and while I trust Mattis, McMaster, etc much more than I trust Trump, I would prefer a less deferential (to the generals) president.

    I imagine Trump saying to General Turgidson, “Only 10-20 million killed? Let’s do it.”

  10. Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Long, long ago (like, Spring of 2016) I said that Trump was the candidate for people who started all their political comments with the words, “why don’t they just . . . .” I think Trump came to office thinking he would “just. . .” this and “just. . .” that and get things done. He may be learning a little about “why they don’t just. . . .” At the very least he’s learned from Xi why they don’t just declare China a currency manipulator. What little Trump learns, his people will never figure it out.

  11. rodney dill says:

    200 days is the new 100 days

  12. gVOR08 says:

    I honestly believe that he thought from the moment he entered the race for the President twenty-two months ago that Trump thought that being President would indeed be “easy” and that he’d be more than able to overcome whatever obstacles might appear in his way, even the obstacle known as reality.

    I honestly believe he entered the race for the free publicity. There was reporting that his goal was simply to make double digits in primary polling. I think that on election night he was the most surprised person on the planet. He is still, clearly, the dog that caught the car.

    I’ll repeat the comment I made here several times during the campaign, Trump was the perfect candidate for people with no idea what the president does, and that group included Trump. Still does.

    And yes, we’re forced to rely on his on the job training. But answer me honestly, doesn’t he strike you as a very slow learner?

  13. Mr. Bluster says:

    @Doug Mataconis:..Thank you for the report. Technical Difficulties may have to do with my DSL provider (Frontier) or my rapidly aging MacBook Air…or both.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I imagine Trump saying to General Turgidson, “Only 10-20 million killed? Let’s do it.”

    Sadly true.

    It was very common through the Obama years to say Obama should listen to his generals and just do what they say. Now Trump has apparently just handed it all off to the generals and ex generals. I very much fear we are going to get a lesson in why civilian control of the military was a good idea. If the only tool you have is a hammer…

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    I very much fear we are going to get a lesson in why civilian control of the military was a good idea.

    There is a bi-partisan movement in the House to take war-making powers back from the White House. We will see. It won’t solve the problem of Dumb-Don’s incompetence completely…but at least there will be a check on him. I hope.
    https://mcgovern.house.gov/uploadedfiles/syria_2017_-_speaker_ryan_-_must_debate_syria_4-28-17.pdf

  16. Tyrell says:

    Other “I thought it would be easy” statements: teaching 30 restless kids.
    Catching fish.
    Fixing a dripping faucet.
    Skating.
    Playing tennis.
    Finding the 7 cities of gold.
    Writing a book.
    Painting a closet.
    House training a dog.

  17. Ben Wolf says:

    A lot of the people who voted for Trump decided they had little to lose by taking a shot in the dark. Particularly when their lives are already hanging by an economic thread. Mark Blythe sums it in fifteen minutes here:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vSS4GCA__As

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    By the way…while Comb-over Donnie was whining about having to work too hard…2 of our soldiers died in Afghanistan…an action he is escalating. Oh wait…no it’s the Generals who are escalating it. Never mind…

  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Tyrell:

    Writing a book is easy. It’s getting paid to write a book that’s hard.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    I honestly believe he entered the race for the free publicity.

    I used to believe that. But the more I learn about him, the less sure I am that this is true. According to Jon Meacham’s 2015 biography of George H.W. Bush, in 1988 Trump actually asked Lee Atwater to put him into consideration for Bush’s running mate. Bush called the request “strange and unbelievable.” Needless to say, a man who will make such a request is interested in more than publicity.

    http://kylopod.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-greatest-blog-post-in-history.html

    He may or may not have been surprised on Election Day, but keep in mind that until the release of the Access Hollywood tape the polls had shown a fairly competitive race, and they would return to that level in the final week of the campaign, following the release of the Comey letter. If Mitt Romney in 2012 could convince himself he was winning, to the point of not even bothering to write a concession speech, the idea that Donald Trump in November 2016 thought an electoral victory was too unrealistic to contemplate seems unlikely. It’s one thing to argue that he got into the primaries merely for the publicity (and even that’s a questionable assumption given that he set up a real campaign operation). But once he won the nomination there’s pretty much no question he was in it to win at that point–or, to put it another way, he was intent on not being the loser.

  21. Rodney dill says:

    @Tyrell: expecting the Spanish inquisition

  22. the Q says:

    As someone who has followed politics for 70 years, I can attest there has always been stupid, ignorant voters, so what has changed?

    I believe the fundamental change is because of the rise of the right wing media made possible by the gutting of the “Fairness Doctrine” – a policy implemented because liberals felt guilty that we were killing the Republican Party into oblivion and felt that it was only fair to give them a chance to state their opinion, lest they disappear and we have a one party state.

    You see, from 1932 – 1992 (when the Dems were truly a workers party and before the Clinton led DLC destroyed the Party) we held the House for 56 years out of 60. We held the Senate 48 years out of 60 and the Presidency 44 years out of 60.

    So what happened? Reagan and the SCOTUS destroyed this doctrine paving the way for 24 hour non stop Hitler-esqe propaganda which has completely brain washed the wingnut rednecks.

    Also, as Mr. Reynolds succinctly pointed out in another post, in the battle of political elites, our liberal elite actually cared for the stupid, mindless voter while the wingnuts use their supporters gullibility and stupidity to line their own greedy pockets. Witness the current iteration of “supply side” dogma.

    Now, our lib elites are Michael Froman, Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein….all corporate whhhores. And as I warned repeatedly before Nov., the Dems were destroying themselves by running the queen B Hillary instead of Bernie. She ignored the rust belt white blue collars and did the identity politics game to her demise.

    Never before has the GOP been more unhinged and the Dems inept.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Interesting video. Rather overlooks the effects of social issues in destabilizing people’s world view, but basically it’s hard to argue with his economic conclusions. Some of are doing great, most of us are not. People don’t much enjoy being downwardly mobile. I don’t doubt that this forms a big part of so-called populism.

    But it’s more than economics. Race is a big part of it, at least in the US (and in different iterations in Europe) because race is the tool the ruling classes use to keep the underclass divided. The unemployed black machinist in LA has a lot more in common with the unemployed white miner in West Virginia than either has with the elites of Left or Right. Good luck convincing them of that.

    It’s one of the reasons I’ve been so opposed to identity politics and the campus Left. Even the most well-meaning make themselves unwitting tools of racism by defining every issue in those terms alone, often eagerly embracing the idea that this minority or that is so very special that they constitute an unknowable, alien population. This cripples the Left by demanding adherence to a racialist (not racist, but related) world view in which the underlying predicate – black and white are inevitably hostile, victims and victimizers, respectively – is different only at the margins from racist positions.

    The Left occupies itself soft-soaping the non-white aggrieved and relies on faulty notions of demographic change, as though every new Latino voter is inevitably an enthusiastic Democrat. And when the Right tunes out our insufferable lecturing and hectoring and shaming, we’re left powerless to recruit support beyond our base. Before the rise of social media SJW’s we elected the first black president; after the rise of the Social Justice Warriors we elected the least capable, most openly racist president in recent American history.

    On the other side, the Right leaps to embrace racist and misogynist ideas and hides in its Fox/Infowars cocoon and can no longer be reached by anyone at all but demagogues. So, they, too are incapable of reaching beyond their base.

    Persuasion is dead. We’re down to brute force. 45% against 45%, with the advantage to the Right by virtue of the fact that they are more spread out geographically, we are more concentrated, and we spend much of our time competing for victim status, like that’s going to help. Until we can get past race we aren’t going to change anything, because it would take unity of purpose in the working class to have any sort of chance against the powers that be.

    In the end of course there’s an elite still in charge. Because that’s the way the game inevitably ends. But we could at least have an elite that occasionally notices that they are a small, lucky minority that owes something to the less fortunate. Those are called Democrats.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    Trump is one of those doofuses that has never had to deal with reality up to now. A blowhard, a braggart, an idiot who thinks that bullying and threatening people with legal action is “managerial” and who has never met a problem he couldn’t bully or bankrupt his way around.

    Take someone with this mentality and drop him into the 20-dimensional chess game that is what is really happening around him and he is now dimly starting to realize he’s now in a situation where he can’t just fire someone and make it all better.

    The man is an ass. A total ass. Surrounded by a horde of misbegotten courtiers all of whom are trying to use him for their own purposes and playing at Byzantine politics with each other. No wonder the Chinese are laughing. (Although I think that Putin is kicking himself for the fact that his string-pulling has resulted, not in a puppet, but a chaos generator just as likely to do something detrimental to Russia as being useful. The problem with “useful idiots” is sometimes the “idiot” predominates.)

    And what is worse is the guy is a legend in his own mind. I don’t think anyone will be able to drive home to him exactly how mind-bogglingly out of his depth he now is–his ego will take precedence. The one faint hope is that Javanka realize if Trump trashes the US during his presidency there is no bloody way the Trump brand will be anything but mud, and they’re going to have to live in the world that Daddy leaves behind.

  25. the Q says:

    Extremely well put Mr. Reynolds. Where’s Mario Salvio when Berkeley needs him? The lib morons shutting down free speech by guest speakers is revolting. This is what the right wingers do, not us.

    Let that beatch Anne Coulter spew her venom, that cannot be any worse than effectively banning her from speaking. Thats what the apartheid Afrikaners would do to ANC members.

    And its bad optics when the “tolerant” crowd turns Nazi.

  26. James Pearce says:

    @gVOR08:

    I very much fear we are going to get a lesson in why civilian control of the military was a good idea.

    The MOAB was one of the lessons, I think. All my right-wing friends were gushing about it, posting footage, laughing at the snowflakes who just couldn’t handle it that we (FINALLY!) have a president that’s going to smash those Radical…Islamic…Terrorists.

    Problem, of course, is that Trump probably didn’t order or even authorize the use of the MOAB, and dropping it in Afghanistan 15 years into our war over there means things are going badly.

    This has implications that are greater than the horse race of newscycles and partisan outrage.

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @the Q: Heck, it would have been much more lowering to La Coulter if the SWJ reaction had been: “oh, Ann Coulter? Is she still alive? I thought she moved to a retirement community in Florida a long time ago….”

  28. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Trump messages his more stupid supporters that the job is complex…. Play along with it. That’s a message you’d like them to understand no? Can’t have it both ways…no egotistical sociopath makes a public show of humility (or even ineptitude) without it being advantageous somehow to him. Unless of course he’s not really an egotistical sociopath….despite decades of evidence that he is.

  29. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @michael reynolds: I would agree except with the assertion that Persuasion is dead. It isn’t. The public has numbed to the most recognizable forms of persuasion used over the past 40 years in politics. They are responding to other elements of persuasion. Obama and Trump used those elements quite proficiency. Biden is no slouch either

  30. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Before the rise of social media SJW’s we elected the first black president; after the rise of the Social Justice Warriors we elected the least capable, most openly racist president in recent American history.

    I’m Kenan Thompson during the Tom Hanks as Doug on Jeopardy SNL skit: YESSSSS!

  31. al-Alameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Despite that fact, sixty-two million of them went on to vote for him and he managed to get enough votes in the right states to pull off an Electoral College victory. You can reach your own conclusions about what that says about the voters, about American politics in general, about Trump specifically, and about a seemingly better-prepared opponent who was nonetheless unable to defeat him.

    It feels like we elected a “secular” tele-evangelist:
    the ongoing deception, and fleecing is in motion.

  32. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Pearce: The MOAB is a conventional weapon specifically designed to kill Tunnel networks. Ground commander’s shouldn’t execute the mission they’ve been ordered to prosecute? Frankly, there’s only so many places you can drop it because it’s dropped from a cargo plane…a sitting duck for a shoulder-fired or surface to air missile threat that would be prevalent in a modern country. ISIS has tunnels in Iraq and Syria as well….you won’t see the Moab dropped there. Media coverage about Moab is overblown…. so are the reactions of the Left and Right. They could have dropped other, smaller tunnel busters…but Moab and the news coverage offer a messaging opportunity to the Taliban who have become increasingly brazen now that they expect the US to be leaving.

    Civilian control of the military does not mean Presidential management of day to day operations. The Taliban has been stockpiling weapons and men in tunnels and using them to stage attacks on the Afghan military. Why does the 4-star General the President appointed to run the war need to come back and ask for permissions to drop a regular bomb to destroy that tunnel network in an area the Taliban is destabilizing Afghan government control?

    The Whitehouse has been running too many aspects of day to day combat operations since we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s the primary reason they were/are failures and huge wastes of talent and treasure. The Presidents role is to set the strategic objectives the country will pursue in military engagements. Between the SecDef and Pentagon, there are more than enough civilians to ensure the military doesn’t do things that jeopardize political options to resolve conflict. Trump and Mattis pushing more decisions down to Commanders was good….because so much had been taken away by the Bush and Obama Whitehouses.

  33. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: Much as we argue, the only real difference between us is you don’t think people are persuadable and I do. It’s not easy, and it’s not quick. Changing someone’s mind means engaging with them on a regular basis and carefully framing the pitch so they can sign on without feeling attacked or stupid.

    It’s taken years of propaganda for the Republicans to take progressive states like Kansas and turn them solid red, and bolshevik-like message discipline. But it also took Democrats turning their backs on the working class and abandoning them to a predatory party. Think of the effort required to convince the labor movement, always hostile to capitalists, that their interests coincided with those of the Koch brothers. That was an enormous effort unopposed by what used to be the party of the people and should teach us there’s nothing that can’t be undone if one is resolved.

    I expect the Democrats will move back to power in 2018 or 2020: but I don’t see them holding it for long without a major change in course. If Trump fails to deliver and then a Democrat does the same, then we’re going to see a super-Trump in the not-too-distant future, one using his strategy but competent and ideologically motivated to do truly horrible things. The Democratic Party has got to return to its roots and again be the party of the people, of workers and of the middle class.

  34. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Great points.

    A few quibbles:

    They could have dropped other, smaller tunnel busters…but Moab and the news coverage offer a messaging opportunity

    I don’t believe the military should be used to “send messages.”

    I also don’t believe using the MOAB was all that bad. It did, as you say, achieve strategic objectives, which is my view of the military’s proper role.

    Why does the 4-star General the President appointed to run the war need to come back and ask for permissions to drop a regular bomb to destroy that tunnel network in an area the Taliban is destabilizing Afghan government control?

    Not only for proportionality’s sake, but to make sure that particular action supports the larger strategy.

    I’m not arguing that the president needs to micromanage the war, but we don’t need any Jack D. Ripper’s launching first strikes, do we? (I guess I’m just stuck on Strangelove today…)

  35. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Just saw this one…

    First on CNN: Ahead of Trump’s 100th day mark, Obama says Obamacare is more popular than Trump

    Snap ! Burn !

    If Trump is seeing that on his traditional government-paid Friday holiday flight to NightMar-A-Lagoon, he must be pissed.

    Obama can troll a fool well !

    (source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/28/politics/obama-trump-100-days-obamacare/ )

  36. Yank says:

    You see, from 1932 – 1992 (when the Dems were truly a workers party and before the Clinton led DLC destroyed the Party) we held the House for 56 years out of 60. We held the Senate 48 years out of 60 and the Presidency 44 years out of 60.

    You might want to actually brush up on history. The Democrats went “third way” because the New Deal coalition ceased to exist by the 1980s. Bill Clinton saved the party from being stuck in the wilderness.

    Honestly, it is hilarious how some liberals bitch about losing WWC voters and blame Clinton for this. Even though they had been losing these type of voters since LBJ. As much as some progressives want to ignore it, these people didn’t leave because of economics (it is race, stupid!). Go look what happened to the party in the 1966 mid-term election after the Democrats passed civil rights.

    As long as the Democratic party backs policies that are inclusive to all Americans, then they aren’t going to win these people over.

  37. grumpy realist says:

    Speaking of failures carried out by idiots who don’t know what they’re doing….

    Especially good for the comments, by the way.

  38. wr says:

    @the Q: Michael Froman? The former deputy trade representative? You sound like one of those Lyndon Larouche nuts screaming about the Trilateral Commission. And who claims that Feinstein is a liberal? She’s as hawkish as they come in the Democratic party/

  39. JohnMcC says:

    @wr: I find myself thinking of our friend “Q” as performance art and our friend ‘Tyrell’ as a real person. This is based on the number of actual real people I’ve met who sound like Tyrell (more than a few and several in my family) versus the actual people I’ve met who sound like Q (zero).

    And I attend county Democratic Executive Committee meetings.

  40. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Tyrell: I’d change that to “wallpapering a closet”. God knows why anyone would want to, but we peeled four layers out of the back bedroom closet when we bought it.

  41. Facebones says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Heck, it would have been much more lowering to La Coulter if the SWJ reaction had been: “oh, Ann Coulter? Is she still alive? I thought she moved to a retirement community in Florida a long time ago….”

    This is honestly my reaction every time I hear her name. She hasn’t been relevant in a decade. Her entire schtick is goading easily-goadable people and yet people keep taking the bait.

  42. teve tory says:

    Her entire schtick is goading easily-goadable people and yet people keep taking the bait.

    Well yeah. Think of all your time on the internet–when was the last time you saw a group of commenters successfully ignore a troll? Never, that’s when.

  43. Lenoxus says:

    Jim Brown 32:

    Can’t have it both ways…no egotistical sociopath makes a public show of humility (or even ineptitude) without it being advantageous somehow to him. Unless of course he’s not really an egotistical sociopath….despite decades of evidence that he is.

    That he would explicitly admit the job is difficult was very surprising to me, since the usual Trumpian thing would be to say . I see this as a sign that his narcissism was temporarily overcome by some other factor.

    One possibility is simple dementia, which I do think has diminished his level of guile, something he once had at least an ordinary human amount of (see an analysis from the insightful Alexandra Erin). Another is that the job is sufficiently difficult that he’s helplessly expressing as much, like crying uncle. I can see that too. The perpetually low approval ratings, etc, really does sap him of energy.

    But in any event I’m confident he’s not playing 11th-dimensional chess. Others may often use him as a piece, but the words out of Trump’s mouth do not come from any larger strategy.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rodney dill: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

  45. Pch101 says:

    Trump is a con man. If he has one talent, then it is in identifying marks who he can scam and knowing what they need to hear.

    He is trying to turn himself into a sympathetic figure because he understands intuitively that he can’t simply get away with relying entirely on blaming others for his failures. The coverage of this gig is too widespread and relentless to completely control the message as he would have in the private sector.

    Notice that he isn’t apologizing or acknowledging failure. Rather, he is faulting the circumstances of the job itself while claiming some element of self-sacrifice and patting himself on the back for his previous life. This is not optimal for him, but this is really the best alternative that he has for preserving his brand.

  46. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @JohnMcC: I have friends who sound like Q, but then again I was born in Seattle and have friends who send me posts from Think Progress and Democracy Now, so your milleu might be slightly different. I also know people who sound like Tyrell, but I’m still gravitating toward performance art.

  47. Pch101 says:

    Tyrell drops plenty of hints that he is trolling you.

    Take this one: “I remember with fondness when I would play with my mother’s long hat pins. Women were not messed with by some hooligan on the street.” That’s the sort of line that you don’t utter in earnest. As far as pisstakes go, that one is actually pretty funny if you visualize it being muttered by a shrunken old man character with a touch of dementia in a comedy routine.

    Q, like Bungeghazi and Eric Florackkk, is a legend in his own shower, a top contender for a Dunning-Kruger achievement award. He wants socialism for white people, a sort of modern day Jack London but without the writing chops.

  48. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Pearce: Fair questions although most if it is due to lack of familiarity of how the US wages war. No Commander is authorized to do anything with an Order to Execute an Operation. In the order is spelled out who is considered the enemy and where on the map the Operation can geographically take place. It also spells out what the situation on th ground should look like for the Operation can be considered complete. No Commander can launch a first strike. The President and SecDef authorize all Operations with advice from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and National Security Advisor.

    For an Example, the Syrian Regime and their military forces were unauthorized targets as of a few weeks ago. Trump and Mattis lifted those restriction by Authorizing ONE Operation against the Syrian Airfield using the Tomahawk missiles. That’s it. Unless they authorize a broader campaign….That was it. No Commander is going to attack anything else related to the Syrian regime and get court maritaled and jailed. As for messaging…the military is a political tool amongst many tools. There is always messaging involved….especially when you’re talking about a warlord type culture like Afghanistan. The Talibans receptivity to diplomacy is directly proportional to their perception of the military threat against them.

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    Florackkk

    LOL, I see what you did there 🙂

  50. James Pearce says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Fair questions although most if it is due to lack of familiarity of how the US wages war.

    Take notes, pch101. This is how you say “Pearce, you’re an idiot” without saying “Pearce, you’re an idiot.”

    Jim, I didn’t mean to imply the MOAB was the work of Jack D. Ripper or his modern real-life equivalent. I was making the point that I don’t think Trump will be a moderating influence on our military commanders, and he may indulge them in ways that are, well, counter-productive.

    As for messaging…the military is a political tool amongst many tools. There is always messaging involved….especially when you’re talking about a warlord type culture like Afghanistan.

    True, but when a group of armed men use violence as a message, we call them terrorists. We should use violence as a strategy. We’re the civilized ones, no?

  51. JohnMcC says:

    @Pch101: “…A sort of modern-day Jack London…” That’s wonderful. That’s why I keep dropping in here. Good on ya!

  52. DrDaveT says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Think of the effort required to convince the labor movement, always hostile to capitalists, that their interests coincided with those of the Koch brothers.

    Except, nobody ever convinced anyone of any such thing. Instead, they convinced the labor movement that their real enemies are brown people, women, and homosexuals. Which was dead easy; they already believed those things socially, and were willing to also believe them politically.

    …and that’s why they’re not persuadable. Changing people’s prejudices has always been the hardest thing, and now those people don’t read or watch any venue that is going to carry the anti-prejudice message. What mechanism do you see whereby the truth can reach them in a form they won’t instantly switch away from?

  53. al-Ameda says:

    I expect that Trump – as he continues to realize that “because I said so” does not really work with his Republican congress, let alone congressional Democrats – will issue hundreds of Executive Orders, because: (1) they remind him of his previous CEO life, (2) E.O.s tend to go unchallenged, and (3) he’s adopted E.O.s as a measure of accomplishment.