Saturday, August 27, 2016

Trump’s Repellent Inner Circle

While Donald Trump has shaken up the management of his campaign, overall, the leadership remains driven by bigotry and misogyny.  Indeed, Trump's new campaign chair, Stephen Bannon, as reported by the Washington Post, is now being plagued by stories of (i) being registered to vote at an address where he does not live, (ii) past domestic violence, and (iii) anti-Semitism.  The Donald certainly knows how to pick winners, especially since Bannon was supposed to be an improvement over Russia linked Paul Manafort.  A column in the Washington Post (bu a conservative columnist) looks mare and Trump's  ugly inner circle.  Here are excerpts:
Donald Trump is undergoing his own “extreme vetting.” And we are learning a great deal about the quality of his public pledges. . . . Trump is undergoing a rapid, convulsive transition from Mr. Hyde into Dr. Jekyll. In the movies, this role would require hours in the chair of a highly skilled makeup artist. Trump has Sean Hannity.
For much of Trump’s fan base, these details couldn’t matter less. The Trump revolution is mainly a matter of personnel, not policy. Put the right man in charge who will hire the “best people” and fire all the corrupt, stupid failures. Trump’s primary appeal — and his main source of self-regard — is his skill as a negotiator, manager and talent scout.
Here we are also getting a good feel for the candidate. Trump’s campaign has been a roiling, noxious, dysfunctional mess from the start, characterized by public feuds, subject to sudden leadership changes and unable to fulfill key functions (like actually having a campaign apparatus in key states). And Trump’s personnel selections have been both instructive and disastrous.
Consider this list of Trump’s chosen: Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had a brutal and demeaning style that resulted in a staff revolt, and his manhandling of a female reporter overshadowed the Trump campaign for weeks. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was paid lucrative consulting fees by foreign interests and resigned after reports that Ukraine anti-corruption investigators were scrutinizing millions in alleged payments there.
Longtime adviser Roger Stone is a crackpot conspiracy theorist who asserts that Bill and Hillary Clinton are “plausibly responsible” for the deaths of roughly 40 people and that Hillary Clinton should be “executed for murder.” Confidant Roger Ailes recently stepped down from his job at Fox News under a cloud of sexual harassment claims. And Steve Bannon, Trump’s new campaign chief executive, is known for his bullying tactics and for running a website (Breitbart News) that flirts with white nationalism.
There are a few exceptions to this pattern — Kellyanne Conway and Mike Pencecome to mind — but Trump has hired and elevated some of the very worst people in American politics, known for their cruelty, radicalism, prejudice and corruption.
What does all this say about Trump as a prospective president?
First, it means that the ideal of leadership Trump displayed as a reality television star is his actual view of leadership. It is not an act. In Trump’s view, leaders elevate themselves by belittling others. They yell and abuse and bully. And their most important quality is absolute loyalty to the great leader, the star of the show. This is a view of leadership that would make H.R. Haldeman cringe.

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