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January 6, 2018

That’s the quick and dirty read on the Michael Wolff book ( and thanks to a friend who bought it for her daughter and gave me a chance to skim it).

Perhaps this book might have worked better if released on April 5, 2017 instead of January 5, 2018.

With a year of observation of the President added to what everyone saw and heard during the campaign, “Fire and Fury”  comes across as a typical hit piece.

The entire premise of the book is that candidate Trump didn’t want to win. Indeed, according to the author the whole thing was done just to make Mr. Trump a more viable TV star and he was “surprised and dismayed” when he did win.

Given the pre-election hype, not to mention the ridiculous and histrionic meltdowns of the Hillary sycophants when he won, the Trump people were certainly not the ones surprised at the outcome, assuming they even were surprised.

There is a way to run to lose. Just don’t campaign. Don’t go to the states vital to winning the electoral college. Just sit at home instead of engaging with voters. Insult the people who should be your base.

We know that’s a good way to lose, because we saw someone do it.

It’s just that the person who did that wasn’t Donald Trump.

There are probably some scraps of truth.  It is probably fair to say that the inner circle wasn’t prepared enough to win to have laid the groundwork for an actual administration. In fact, given their collective ignorance of the fetid inner sanctum of the political world, they may not have known who to pick  to form a Cabinet.

However, it’s also true that given the people available to choose from, perhaps not using the same career politicians he had sworn to uproot didn’t leave the President many choices.

It is also crystal clear that the writer and many of the notable quotables in the book (the ones still alive anyway) were and are nonplussed to have someone in the chief executive’s office who doesn’t have to rely on currying favor with the media and the political machine to get his message out. That makes him not “normal.”

In fact, if all the power players held him in the contempt with which they are portrayed in the book, it’s truly a wonder he ever got a Cabinet together at all. But the charge that his own family thought he was ready for a rubber room doesn’t square with everything we’ve seen and heard for two and a half years.

That’s the most evident flaw in this tome. Mr. Wolff seems to have forgotten that we were all there at the time.

By now, most everyone who cares to has been able to see the President’s flaws. He does pop off on impulse on Twitter when maybe he shouldn’t, he is too easily provoked when he or his family is attacked personally, and some of his use of language is not patrician, to say the least.

It’s also true that just dismissing the whole political scene as irrelevant, is both naïve and dangerous to his presidency.

On the other hand, few people can utilize the extra 140 characters on Twitter to better advantage when he thinks through what he wants to say.

As noted on Thursday, the one real question is why in the name of all that is holy did anyone allow Bannon and his crew to give Wolff access to the White House in the first place?

Maybe it was just because they were kind of busy at the time, but it’s more likely that they underestimated or didn’t recognize their enemies.

The book sells for between $15 and $35, or you can read the long excerpt in New York Magazine if you just want to get a taste of it without wasting any cash.

One thing in the book is true.  With Donald Trump you do get what you get. What you make of that is up to you, but using “Fire and Fury” to define the man might not prove fruitful.

It is however, extremely useful to illustrate the character of the people he has had both around him and against him since he’s been elected.

From → op-ed

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