Trumped by Woodward or Wooded by Trump

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Trumped by Woodward or Wooded by Trump

Post by Hafiz » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:21 am

Trump Woodwatd.

Bob Woodward is the famous Washington journalist, who brought down that horror, Richard Nixon.

His book on Trump’s election and the running of the White House was published in August last year. Woodward is no fan of the Republican Party let alone Trump.

The reviews are mainly positive which is more that I think of its rambling style that reads like a script for a play with 50 characters in 40 locations – and no stage directions. Its all quotes of conversations and little background, context or linking of one alleged and historical conversation to another. More Guy Fawkes ‘crackers’ than a biography/history and more anecdotes that a coherent story.

Its sold a couple of million copies – or more. I wonder how many were read to the end.

Oddly it was only No 1 on the best seller list for only 1 week whereas Michelle Obama’s biography stuck it out for 5 weeks around the same time. Maybe we live in facile times.

In the current climate loyalty to books like this overrides judgment and with the Guardian I wonder whether the reviewer has actually read the book. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/201 ... nald-trump and https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/book ... dward.html and a more critical view https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... mp/573067/ and https://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture ... r-1.770426

How the reviewers ignore the fractured/all conversation writing style escapes me. How Woodward can be certain that the precise conversations happened as reported to him by confidential sources with an axe to grind is beyond me.

Woodward was the big positive proclaimer of the ‘good’ Saudi Crown Prince and its not clear whether he was paid for that. In recent months following the Istanbul murder he’s gone a bit quiet and was always quiet on the butchers hook Saudi war in Yemen. The Atlantic article above takes a hatchet to the Crown Prince and his epochal personal spending.

If you are a keen follower of all that is wrong in the world and like your stories more black and white than grey it might be for you. If you want more than characters and incidents in bold colour then maybe not. If you want balance and a positive view then stay away.

The striking features are chaos in the White House, Trump’s terrible temper and extremely course manner. It’s difficult to describe how he treats staff because contempt is too moderate a word. His disregard for the truth and impetuosity on extremely dangerous matters are chilling. A bit like Nixon’s final days the staff are removing documents from him and keeping him out of the loop where they fear his emotions might threaten the national interest. Lets hope no mad generals get appointed because there were a few under Eisenhower and Kennedy whom those Presidents quashed. Curtis Le May and others for example who were the basis of the characters performed by Peter Sellers etc in Dr Strangelove. (a Jewish Film which is prohibited along with hundreds of Hollywood others in ‘pure’ Egypt).

Eisenhower, Kennedy and maybe Truman rejected near universal and insistent civilian and military advice to ‘blow the bomb’. Eisenhower twice. These Presidents showed almost unbelievable presence, calmness of mind as the rest panicked.

He quotes some terrible, but accurate, things that Trump said about Sisi to his personal lawyer, word perfect – ‘a f***ing killer”. He repeats that phrase several times. Presumably the confidential security briefings to the President about Egypt were clear about the ‘disappearances’, the mass shootings in that square in Cairo and lots else besides. For Trump to be disgusted really means you must be the worst of the worst. I wonder what the CIA estimates on killings are. In the whole book the most negative comments about a political leader are about Sisi.

To me the takeaway of the book, derived from more reading effort than I wanted, was why such a broken candidate, with few policies and no relevant experience, a chaotic election campaign with little money and few volunteers, opposed by all mainstream media got elected. Maybe Mrs. Clinton was really a dreadful candidate and she didn’t even get a majority of white women to vote for her. She had a fractured career, character and family. Her daughter married a boy whose father is a convicted financial felon and jailed for that – he couldn’t attend the wedding. Trump’s daughter has an identical, or worse, felonious father in law. This makes it sound like the worst of the Roman Empire.

The many Wikileaks from Russian KGB sources also damaged her campaign. An Australian contribution to narcissistic chaos.

A lot of unionists voted for Trump – basically equal and high income groups were also about equal. https://ropercenter.cornell.edu/how-groups-voted-2016.

Traditional US party loyalties also seemed to be breaking down but their system of voter registration, primaries and caucuses (a native American word) are so complex I’ve given up trying to understand. The whole methodology of opinion polling was clearly unreliable, as it was in Brexit and in the recent Australian Federal election.

Its also relevant that almost no one in his campaign expected him to win and nor did Putin according to the CIA. The Republican Party and its Congressional leadership expected him to loose and they were the professionals and he was the amateur with his cheap campaign run by outsiders. How his victory happened will require a much better journalist that the octogenarian Woodward.

I’m reading it quickly and will give it to any friend who wants it at my regular Friday drinking session. I’ll warn them first.

We need a better book that this to understand the danger we face.

A huge edit to fill it out with commentary and extend it well beyond 400 small pages with large print might have helped if there were buyers out there prepared to do the job of reading it.

If Woodward is the peak of world journalistic excellence then no wonder we are in a bad place.

Buy with low expectations – suggest better to borrow.



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Re: Trumped by Woodward or Wooded by Trump

Post by newcastle » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:32 am

I bought the kindle version last September .



It’s not a comfortable read - for the reasons you state - but corroborates the other books written on Trump’s character. It’s frightening to contemplate how such a flawed specimen of humanity can be freely elected to the most powerful position on the planet.

Of course the electoral system in America is partly responsible (he’d have lost on a first-past-the-post universal suffrage basis) .

I have a theory.

From time to time the “have nots” - who are invariably the majority in any society - get truly fed up with their masters and kick over the traces without any logical analysis or contemplation of the consequences. It’s a gut response.

It’s a sort of anarchical reaction.....let’s just throw the balls in the air and see what happens. After all, if it all goes tits up we can rectify the situation in X years time at the next election.

Unfortunately, a lot of damage - some of it irreparable - can be caused in 4 years.

The majority of economists who believe the Brexit vote was contrarian might reflect whether a similar explanation has some credence.

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