Gaming out the Iowa caucuses
From Forbes, by John Zogby
“Apres moi, le deluge” are the words credited to King Louis XV sometime during his long reign. He probably never uttered those exact words but in one short phrase they seemed to embody the essence of a divine right monarch who, like his predecessor, was on the throne for a very long time and could not understand how France or the world could go on without him. But his alleged words have another meaning – his and his son’s extraordinarily long turns as heads of France ushered in many of the conditions that led to the French Revolution, the very beginning politically of their world as they knew it collapsing.
As we read about one charlatan (Michael Wolff) writing about two other charlatans – Steve Bannon and Donald Trump – it is hard not to conclude that the world as we have known it is coming apart before our very eyes. And if you watch cable television, or get a lot of your news from blogs, news aggregators or social media, it is equally difficult to not long for the simple days when news was just reported not analyzed to death. That world is gone too.
The end of our familiar world, that which gave us comfort and security for many years, is nigh and it is being replaced – but we are not quite sure with what. To be sure, things will be better. New technologies, even replacing the revolutionary communications of today that have dramatically connected us and altered our lives, will change our health care, prolong our lives, further expand our communications and connectivity, improve our educational system, as well as our incomes, our patterns of decision-making, alter our families and relationships, and expand opportunities to attain wealth. And much of it will be good.
Our political parties as they presently organized are becoming less relevant. The bloated bureaucracies will be forced to yield to more streamlined collectives for providing more personalized service. The United States is not the only nation of having to redefine its power and its own borders. Immigration will continue greater than ever before and challenge the very notions of race and nationality. Robotics, crypto-currencies, state-of-the-art infrastructure allowing goods and people to travel, trade, search for new lives and opportunities, and create new relationships and ideas – that world is here and will be further on its way. All at the same time we are experiencing the end of patriarchy in institutions, workplaces, and families. Much of this world is happening without any great single leader driving the changes. It is all happening by the efforts of business, NGO’s, leaders of larger and smaller nations alike, and creators/entrepreneurs throughout the world.
Of course, it matters if the President of the United States is not mentally competent for the job or the Congress cannot pass legislation to ameliorate the lives of economic and societal victims. But too much focus on petty things and the inside-the-Beltway insularity of reporters and pundits who often miss the meta-movements and the bigger picture cannot divert us from a future that is so promising for so many.
For the moment, this is what it is like living during revolutionary times. So many huge things are happening all at once that goofy tweets and silly behavior by our elected President and by those who purport to be the guardians of truth in the media pale in comparison. Unlike the French Revolution, we are watching all of these changes take place, it would seem, in real time and before our very lives. There are aspects of this that are downright ugly. But the deluge has begun. The day after tomorrow will be better. We don’t have to be constantly stuck in the weeds.
Weekly White House Report Card
From the Washington Examiner, by John Zogby
The private sector created 250,000** new jobs in December and the Dow Jones hit 25,000 for the first time. And President Donald Trump’s average approval rating is now up to 43% in the new year. But now the real news is that former White House counsel Steve Bannon is trashing the President, the White House, and the First Family. And of course, the media are going to jump all over Michael Wolff’s new book because they are in a petty war against the President and have not done due diligence on the author (who loves the limelight as much as the President and Mr. Bannon). Mr. Wolff appears to have a penchant for narcissism and for perhaps making up interviews and stories.
Washington DC is overwhelmed by this sensation but ultimately this whole debacle is all Mr. Trump’s fault. Stories of disarray in his White House are plenty and his own penchant for sending late night rants are designed to draw attention to himself. He knows how to make news — both real and fake –so he cannot entirely blame the media for obliging him. And he cannot blame United States Senators for meeting with a Yale psychiatrist to discuss his fitness to hold office.
Nor can his spokesperson blame the press for so much attention focused on a stupid tweet about “nuclear button being bigger than” the North Korean dictator’s button. So again the public face of his administration is his quirky personality. He would have it no other way. Except, with a growing economy and positive investment atmosphere, ending the week with growing questions about your fitness for office and how someone like Steve Bannon got there in the first place is just not good.
Trump’s Grade — F
**Please Note that Weekly White House Report Cards are written before C.O.B. every Thursday. Last week, reports anticipated 250,000 jobs created in the private sector. Friday’s official report showed 148,000.**