Monday, February 24, 2020

Review of Bob Woodward's Book: "Fear"

I finally found time to read Bob Woodward's book "Fear: Trump in the White House." While avoiding sensationalism, the legendary Woodward instead focuses on the day-to-day operations of the Trump administration.  In his portrayal of the 45th President, Woodward paints the picture of someone who is ignorant and uneducated (not the same thing), especially when it comes to basic economics.  Impulsive and highly temperamental, Trump is depicted as lacking in any management skills, a person incapable of putting together a team to advance an agenda...not that Trump has a coherent or consistent agenda to advance.   Woodward makes it clear he does not.

Frankly, Woodward's book has been a snoozefest.  Nothing he reports about President Donald Trump
is any different from what I knew about candidate Donald Trump. What is surprising though is the degree - how bad it is. I knew Donald Trump was unfit to be elected to be President of the United States, but I assumed though Trump's incompetence would be softened by his learning on the job and having competent people around him.  Indeed Woodward's book talks at length about the "guardrails," advisers who worked behind the scenes to prevent the worse excesses of the President.

Unfortunately, since Woodward's book was released, most of those advisers have been fired or quit, replaced by Trump sycophants, like Attorney General Bill Barr and scores of officials who are so bad they are appointed in an "acting" capacity because even a Republican-majority Senate would not confirm them.

But it is not just Trump's ignorance, incompetence and his administration of sycophants.  Rather than "drain the swamp," Trump has taken D.C. corruption to an unprecedented level.   Trump, aided by a Republicans in Congress, has seized power from that branch.  Trump has repeatedly demonstrated he has no respect for American institutions, democratic norms or the Constitution, which he defecates on on a daily basis.   Trump has also shown he is willing to, again, cheat to win a Presidential election, by accepting help from a foreign country to defeat the Democratic nominee.  The notion that Trump is a "patriot" or has a foreign policy which puts "America first" is laughable.  Sucking up to brutal dictators and enemies while undermining our American allies at every turn, is not a pro-American foreign policy.   It's a foreign policy that Vietnam-era Jane Fonda would have been proud of.

Unfortunately, Woodward's book came too early, missing the dark turn the Trump presidency has taken during the last 18 months.

Trump insisted the 2018 election was a referendum on him and the GOP took it on the chin as a result.  In the mid-terms, Democrats made historic gains in the House and state legislatures.  With Trump's poor approval rate, Democrats are poised to win again in 2020.  All the Democrats have to do is run the same playbook the party ran in 2018, i.e. moderate the Democrats' message and reach out to suburban and highly educated voters who have been leaving the GOP in droves during the Trump era.  So simple.

Enter Democratic stupidity.  Democrats appear to be weeks away from throwing  away those 2018 gains by nominating a socialist, someone who is not even a Democrat!, as their presidential nominee.  While Trump is one of the few Republicans candidates who could actually lose to a socialist, the odds are those suburbanites and college educated voters are not going to be sold on Trumpism being replaced by socialism.  They will instead hold their noses and vote for four more years of Trump or stay home. Few will vote for Sanders.  Even if Sanders beats Trump (which is highly unlikely but not impossible), having a socialist at the top of the ticket will almost certainly mean the Democrats fail to win the Senate and possibly lose the House.

The 2020 election appears to be a contest between Trump incompetence and corruption and Democratic stupidity.   Who wins remains to be seen.


leon dixon said...

WOODWARD was long ago exposed in Silent Coup. He is legendary for inventing stuff.
But, it is good to see you wasting your time on his garbage.

Paul K. Ogden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul K. Ogden said...

You know, Leon, this would be a more credible statement if it wasn't coming from someone who has no problem with a President who constantly lies to the public. "Alternative facts," anyone? Bob Woodward at his worst is about a 1000 times more honest and credible than Donald J. Trump.

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court will be another wildcard in 2020 as it was in 2016.
If Trump win's re-election and then Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies or retires along with Steven Beyer before 2024 then the Court will shift to the right for decades.

leon dixon said...

I understand duh media has it in for Mr. Trump and for any Republican President they did not select for us. But, I was looking around the other day to see if any "Trump Lies" existed and if so did they affect anything at all in my life. I found plenty of media lies and about three years of their fanning the HOAX you bought into. But, didn't find anything that affected me that I could attribute to Trump that was adverse. I like that people are more employed and paying taxes from useful activity. I like judges who can read and write on their own and have constant reference to the Constitution rather than Earl Warren and his Masonic crowd. I see where Bernie won Utah or Nevada with 3,777 votes....which, as the wag says, is fewer than the people waiting to get into the Men's Room at a Trump rally. I am
glad that your obsession with the polls seems to have abated and that perhaps you recognize them for what they were and are. I note you have not the courage of your convictions in that the proposed wager of Trump carrying Indiana by a greater margin than he did the last a wager you have not accepted though the cost might be significant (all the beer Adam can drink before heading to the men's room). SILENT COUP is an interesting book. The author of the book exposes Woodward for what he was and what he is. I think Len documents it quite well and so, I accept provisionally, his findings as they do fit the fabulist Woodward....of whom you remain ignorant....accepting the myths.

Anonymous said...

Leon, I don't know who the Democratic nominee will be. If it is Biden, then, of course, Trump won't carry Indiana by as much as he did in 2016. If it Sanders, then, of course, Trump will carry Indiana by a larger margin than 2016. Trump only barely won the electoral college in 2016 because Hillary was such a horrible, unpopular candidate and Trump lost the popular vote big time. You'd be hard pressed to find 2016 Hillary Clinton voters who in 2020 will be voting for Trump.

Bottom line, any other Republican President would be winning in 2020 easily. Donald Trump is such a horrible candidate which is why Democrats have a strong chance of winning the election.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 4:59 is me, Paul Ogden. Not sure why it posted that way.