Friday, May 05, 2017

Understanding the most clueless president in modern U.S. history ... by gimleteye

Twitter feed: @gimleteyemiami

Damien Cave, New York Times Australia bureau chief, interviews Maggie Haberman, Times White House correspondent, about how Mr. Trump was managing relations with Australia and China; about his relationship with Rupert Murdoch; and about what it’s like covering the Trump White House.

The money shot comes at the end: "Anything else you think Australia should know about Trump that I haven’t asked?"

Haberman replies, "I would strongly recommend people read Tom Wolfe’s "Bonfire of the Vanities" to better understand this president."

Here's the thing about Trump and "Bonfire of the Vanities". Tom Wolfe wrote the novel about New York City culture just before the 1987 stock market crash when, one October day, the Dow dropped more than 22%. It was called Black Friday.

In retrospect, the Wall Street excesses under Wolfe's microscope look quaint compared to the towering inferno of the 2007 implosion. Now, of course, President Trump wants to eliminate safeguards against financial risk put in place through federal legislation after the world economy's near-death experience a decade ago.

In the early 1980's though Trump was a wannabe in NYC. He was a millionaire son of a frugal low and middle income housing developer. Bad family business practices -- racial profiling and redlining minorities -- was smearing the family reputation just as Trump was trying to be a cool millionaire skipping the bouncer and red velvet line at Studio 54. (Wayne Barrett, the late journalist for the Village Voice, repeatedly documented the Trump family mess at the time.)

Trump business fiascos of the mid-90's lay in the future. Then, an airline and an Atlantic City casino put him on the razor edge of bankruptcy.

But in the 1980's, the social and financial zeitgiest Wolfe documented excluded Trump. Not only was the ego-centric Trump excluded from the A list crowd, the Barrett exposes -- repeatedly-- cast Trump in the worst possible light.

Trump aspired to be a Sherman McCoy, the lead character in the Wolfe novel. But Trump wasn't an incredibly successful, young bond trader; a "master of the universe" and model for the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio after the last financial crash, "Wolf of Wall Street".

Rather, Trump was aching at insults and indignities. To understand Trump, you can't look at his branding success, his golf courses, The Apprentice or Mar-a-Lago. To know who Trump is, you have to go back to the 1980's when he was a loser.

That is what animates Trump now, as he points to himself in front of the omni-present cameras: "I'm president of the United States, how bad could I be?" Of course, psychologists will plumb Trump's relationship with his father for the wellspring of resentments, grievance and ambition, but Maggie Haberman is right on target: Trump escaped serial professional, business, and social indignities to grab the presidency of the United States by the balls.

We are right to want to know why we are howling.


David said...

It must really hurt back there.

Anonymous said...

The point that Trump always experienced himself as an imposter is t lost on anyone paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Three months post inauguration and I'm still trying to understand why the last eight years were the most corrupt and least transparent in history. Makes me wonder if the negative Trump onslaught is to deflect and keep him playing defense.

Anonymous said...

History will tell what Obama's legacy was. Not the prejudiced who only hate him because he was half black. In my opinion history will say Obama was one of the best and most effective presidents in the past 100 years. Have the prejudiced racists ever wondered they were failed perhaps becuase of his white half.

Anonymous said...

The Obama administration’s White House counsel was directly involved in deliberations over the release of Hillary Clinton emails as early as spring 2015, according to handwritten FBI agent notes released by the bureau late Friday.