Reflections on Fire And Fury
I don’t want to get into a big, long treatise on politics, but give a few general impressions after finishing Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury:
First of all, his view of Trump is not a mastermind trying to be the next Hitler. It’s more along the lines of what Howard Stern said many months ago, that Trump just wants to be loved.
The trouble is that Trump–in the Wolff portrayal–is so dim-witted that he fails at this and doesn’t know why, then lashes out and makes things worse. And that he’s terribly unfit for the Presidency and his whole staff knows it.
Turns out that even as a business leader, he faked his way along. He doesn’t have the acumen or the patience to read or listen to the kind of full, detailed explanations and reports that you’d expect a president to need to function in his post. Wolff says that despite bragging that he’s a great negotiator, Trump is actually a terrible negotiator. And many of his staffers are incompetent as well, knowing nothing about politics.
Instead of having some plan in mind for taking down the press, free speech, etc., he seems to bungle into making outrageous attacks on the Constitution. He doesn’t realize what he’s doing, just wants to get back at somebody who upset him, or he’s just rambling about something he knows nothing about, or–in the case of NFL knee-bending–stumbled upon a way to stir up crowds at his rallies. Because he can’t stand boring a crowd with a dull prepared speech; he needs cheers, love, adoration.
What makes this even worse is that when the leader of a country is unfit, somebody tries to step into the vacuum and be the real power behind the throne, the puppet master. And that’s exactly what has happened, with various forces–alt-right, establishment Republicans, moderates–trying to take over, and fighting amongst themselves.
Another problem is that getting rid of Trump one way or another–impeachment, 25th Amendment, resignation–wouldn’t fix the problem. If anything, his election and nominal presidency have brought into the open problems which have been there for some time. For example, the alt-right/white supremacists. They’ve been emboldened, and aren’t likely to just slink away if Trump is taken out of office. Wolff says that Richard Spencer specifically intended to link the movement with Trump in the Charlottesville rally.
Then you have the establishment GOP. They don’t want to impeach Trump because he’s their shot at finally getting their policy wishlist. The GOP doesn’t serve us, hasn’t for some time; they serve the corporations.
Just look at Wisconsin: The media stopped paying much attention to us after 2011’s furor over Act 10 died down, but we’re still suffering not just from the effects of Act 10, but from having the GOP in power. They’ve gerrymandered their way into keeping and holding onto power, so much so that a court ordered them to fix it. But instead of fixing it, they decided to fight, costing us more money. We’re lagging behind other states; I hear of some great economic recovery, but here in Wisconsin, companies still suffer and talk of closure. Walker refused the aid offered by the government for implementing the Affordable Care Act.
We had a non-partisan watchdog group keeping an eye on the state government, but because it investigated Walker, the GOP government shut it down. A GOP Supreme Court ended the investigation, saying there was no wrongdoing, despite mountains of evidence saying the opposite. Now the GOP is going after the people who were involved in the investigation, slandering them so publicly and fiercely that their targets are talking of lawsuits.
This is separate from Trump, existed before Trump, and will still be there after Trump. Trump is a malignant narcissist, but he alone will not bring us into fascism. No, the GOP as a whole, working together, and using him as a tool, can bring us into fascism.
As the last page of the book describes Bannon’s view,
The Trump presidency–however long it lasted–had created the opening that would provide the true outsiders their opportunity. Trump was just the beginning.
And yes, Kelly hates Trump, just as we all suspected.
And who is the person having a rumored affair with Trump? Wolff said to read between the lines. 😛 At first I thought it was Hope Hicks, but her affair was with Lewandowski, and Trump seems to treat her more like a daughter. And yes, that means saying she’s the best tail Lewandowski will ever get, because you know Trump talks about his real daughter like that. Which is also disrespectful to Lewandowski’s wife, who should be the “best tail” he’ll ever get. <eyeroll>
Is it Nikki Haley? In the epilogue are some hints that it might be her. But I still suspect Hicks.
Wait–Despite all the complaints that he was careless about facts, he had *three* fact-checkers. So yes, it was fact-checked.
And, oh yeah, I’ve downloaded the other Fire and Fury, the one which people kept downloading by mistake: a book about Allied bombings on Germany during WWII. This actually ties right in with the novel I’m writing, so it’s research. 🙂
Having the same name as Wolff’s book, led to a sudden jump in sales for a book which hadn’t received a whole lot of attention before this. A very confused review–saying why do liberals love it so much when there’s nothing in it about Trump–even made it to Stephen Colbert (watch here). That review is no longer there, so I think the confused reviews have all been weeded out. 🙂