Sunday, January 1, 2017

An Oops and an Insight

For my first post of the new year, I bring you the distilled essence of a supposedly conservative columnist's mea culpa. The New York Times' Ross Douthat spent the last two years dumping on Donald Trump and for the second year running has had to own up to his failed predictions.
So a year ago, I imagined that conservatism was sclerotic but ideologically committed, and that liberalism was wrong about the world but pretty good at fearmongering and voter targeting. But my intellect and experience were wrong, and Trump’s Napoleonic intuitions were correct: The Republicans were all low-energy men underneath, and the liberal elites were as vulnerable to him as the Cameron Tories and Blairites were to Brexit.

Now, having made grim predictions about what a Trump presidency might bring, I have no choice but to hope that I’ll be proven wrong again, that a few years hence I’ll have to write another mea culpa.
It wouldn't entirely surprise me if Douthat gets "to write another mea culpa."

For an amazing insight into the Trump mind, read an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd done for Politico. I find particularly fascinating the following:
One other thing that Todd thinks is odd: After several of his Sunday appearances as a candidate, Trump would lean back in his chair and request that the control room replay his appearance on a monitor — sans sound.

“There’s the amount of time he spends after the interview is over, with the sound off. He wants to see what it all looked like. He will watch the whole thing on mute,” Todd told me, sitting in his cluttered office in NBC’s nondescript, low-slung Washington headquarters on Nebraska Avenue.

“He’s a very visual guy,” says Todd. “He thinks this way, and look, it’s an important insight in just understanding him. The visual stuff is very real beyond just himself.” It’s a source of his political effectiveness, an understanding of the blunt force of imagery that Hillary Clinton, crushed by her briefing books, could never understand.
President Reagan's Mike Deaver had this visual approach to politics and it served the Reagan White House very well indeed.