Policy v Personality Trump

Policy v personality? Huh, Big Red Car?

Big Red Car here in the dark awaiting the sun’s rising. Going to be a great day in the ATX — on Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

So, the other day, the Big Red Car is reading a blog, CONTINUATIONS, which asks the question — “I am genuinely curious whether there is anyone attempting a cogent defense of the record so far.”

The author of that statement is one Albert Wenger. He is a partner of Union Square Ventures, an experienced venture capitalist, and a successful entrepreneur in his own right.

He is also a Trump hater and a Manhattan liberal. Still, he is smart as Hell and broad minded enough to have asked the question. A poorly educated chap (Harvard College econ and computer science degrees plus MIT PhD in liberal info tech — just kidding about the “liberal” part), he cannot get beyond the Manhattan elitist Trump syndrome, so I am here to assist him.

Today, the Big Red car will provide that defense — a cogent defense of the Trump record.

Policy v Personality

First, let’s be clear. The Trump record is about the policies he has enacted, not his personality. The Big Red Car never met George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but the Big Red Car understands the historic accomplishments of those men — Father of our Nation and the Great Emancipator.

Policy trumps personality. [See what I did there. Haha, the Big Red Car is on his game this morning. Maybe not.]

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

This quote is often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but I understand you can get an argument on that score.

Today, we will limit out discussion to the ideas which define the Trump administration.

OK, Big Red Car, what policies do you like?

Thank you for asking, dear reader, here are the Trump policies I like:

 1. Personnel — I am keen on his personnel decisions including his pick for SCOTUS, his national security team, and his Cabinet. I will touch on these again later.

 2. Decision making — I am pleased with his decision making methodology and his willingness to attack problems in real time.

As my exemplar for that I cite North Korea which has been a pain in the ass for three decades. The Clinton administration, famously, bribed them with $4B in aid to abandon their nuclear ambitions. When the NKs ran through our money, they rekindled their nuclear program.

Clinton, Bush, Obama — for a quarter of a century — kicked the can down the road. President Obama’s program was “strategic patience” — what total bullshit.

This dipshit and his guys with the goofy hats. How did they get so damn many medals?

I give President Donald J Trump high marks for taking this problem on in real time and for using every resource at our disposal — China, you listening? — to solve this before Kim Un Bozo has an ICBM with “Los Angeles” painted on its nose with a miniaturized nuke as a warhead. We are at a very dangerous junction in time and this has to be solved. Now.

 3. Military affairs — I like the respect that President Trump shows for the military. [Let’s be clear here. Donald J Trump was a Vietnam Era draft dodger whose dainty little feet had bone spurs, so there is a lot of compensation going on here. The Big Red Car is into reality, not hero worship. Shame on you, Donald.]

The US had fallen into a period of impotent military utterances — redlines and all that crap.

President Trump didn’t spend any time drawing red lines — he wiped out a Syrian airfield, knocked out 20% of Syria’s air force, shot down a Syrian jet, and generally made an American threat of the use of military force credible again. [North Korea, are you paying attention? Cause I’m talking to you.]

The Syrians cancelled a planned chemical attack recently when President Trump threatened further action in the even of another Syrian chemical attack. Credibility.

At the G-19+1 summit, President Trump was able to get the Russians to agree to a tentative cease fire and the idea of a no-fly zone. This is real progress because the threat of American military intervention is real again.

 4.  ISIS — I like how President Trump has taken the fight to ISIS. I love the MOAB (mother of all bombs) attack, both the symbolism and the results.

ISIS is, finally, on the run and is on the verge of being wiped from the planet. The US provided additional air support — Big League air support — as well as artillery, and Special Forces trainers, leaders, fighters which allowed the Iraqis to re-take Mosul for the third time. This is an important development.

US backed forces, receiving Big League US support, will soon take Raqqa, Syria, the home of the Caliph. In six months, ISIS will be trying to get on DWTS. [Bad joke alert.]

The US has expanded its air support policy in Afghanistan from only supporting American units to supporting the entire war effort.

It is worthy of note that none of this has been trumpeted because the Trump administration and Mad Dog Mattis don’t talk about operations — operations security is the way the pros do it. Bravo!

 5. Trade — I am particularly keen on President Trump’s moves on trade: pulling the US out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, slapping a tariff on Canadian softwoods lumber, and putting the world on notice that STEEL is a problem and that he is considering both a quota system and a tariff to fight dumping by China, S Korea, and Japan. This is long overdue.

After a decade and a half, American beef is back in China — the world’s fastest growing beef market. This ban went into effect 14 years ago on the heels of the Mad Cow Syndrome scare.

President Trump got it sorted out in the first 4 months of his administration. Give credit to Wilbur Ross of Commerce for this change. Neither President Bush nor President Obama could get this done. President Trump got it done in less than 4 months. Bravo.

President Trump gets credit for highlighting the magnitude of the US-China trade deficit — $310,000,000,000 in 2016 — which when taken together with China’s currency manipulation is stealing US jobs, particularly in the tech area. This is all about jobs. These are good jobs, not the kind of jobs which may never return to the US. Tech manufacturing jobs.

The combination of unfair competition, low labor standards, non-existent environmental controls, dumping, and currency manipulation (artificially increasing the attractiveness of Chinese goods) drives the trade deficit which steals jobs. Everything made in China and bought by an American underpins the Chinese worker at the expense of an American worker.

 6. Energy — I applaud President Trump’s focus on energy dominance — not independence, DOMINANCE. This takes the form of approving the Keystone XL pipeline after 10 years of being jerked around, commissioning the Dakota pipeline, driving the export of crude (forbidden until last year), the export of coal (including replacing North Korean coal to China), the export of LNG (liquefied natural gas) to eastern Europe thereby cutting the Russian tactical stranglehold, and the re-invigoration of Federal drilling programs.

This is huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge! It will also drive down the price of domestic gasoline which is like a tax cut for the entire country.

 7. NATO, Europe — I am ecstatic that an American President is finally telling the cheap Europeans to pay their own way, including ponying up their 2% of GDP NATO commitment.

NATO is a treaty, an agreement. Under Article V, an attack on one is an attack on all and the US is obligated to come to the defense of Europe.

At the same time, the agreement says that member nations must invest 2% of GDP in their own military forces. This way when the Germans are asked to throw in a couple of armored divisions to defend Poland, they actually have trained up and equipped armored divisions.

If the Europeans want the American military might — Article V — then pay up. It’s a damn contract, y’all. Keep your end of it.

The Europeans — two world wars, y’all — are quite content to allow the Americans to pay for, equip, man up, bleed, and conduct their defense against the Russians while using their own money to grow their own economies and compete against the Americans in the economic marketplace. Bullshit on that. President Trump has told them, “Pay up!” And, the Big Red Car says, “Bravo!”

 8. Climate accord — I am pleased that President Trump pulled out of the money sucking, wealth re-distributing Paris Accord. As soon as Turkey learned the US was not going to be fleeced and provide billions of redistribution dollars what did they do? They’re pulling out also.

 9. Veterans Administration — I particularly applaud the manner in which President Trump has already revamped the VA. The God damn VA is a cesspool of corruption. They are killing men who our enemies could not.

President Trump rammed through and signed the VA Accountability Act and, promptly, fired more than 500 bad employees and suspended more than 200. This is more internal employment discipline exerted collectively since the Clinton administration COMBINED. Think about that?

Before the Trump administration more than 30% of Suicide Hotline calls were sent to backup call centers — meaning a vet who wanted suicide counseling got a recording. Now, the number is LESS THAN 1%. The VA handles almost a million such calls annually. You do the math. That is a huge improvement. That is accountability. That is saving lives. Veterans’ lives.

 10. Thinking strategically, acting tactically — I applaud the way the US under President Trump has linked the tactical considerations of trade to deal with the strategic implications of things like North Korea. This comes directly from President Trump. This linkage will get results when other approaches have been unsuccessful.

 11. Commerce, Treasury — I am pleased to see the coordination between Commerce (Sec Ross) and Treasury (Sec Mnuchin) as it relates to tax reform. This is a great chance to give the American economy a shot in the arm.

 12. The National Security Staff — The combination of Sec Def Mad Dog Mattis, NSA HR McMaster, DNI Coats, Sec DHS Kelly, CIA Dir Pompeo is the strongest collection of talent in the history of the United States. It combines two 4-star Marine Generals, a 3-star Army General, a salty Senator, and a seasoned Congressman in critical posts.

Stronger than an acre of garlic.

Perhaps the greatest endorsement of President Trump is that these guys said “Yes, sir” when asked to serve. This is a talent pool like the US has never seen.

 13. Supreme Court — President Trump delivered on his campaign promise of appointing a serious, conservative Judge to the Supreme Court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch is an impressive jurist. This bodes well for the stability of the Court.

 14. Personal diplomacy — I love the personal touch that President Trump has taken by meeting with world leaders so early in his term.

He has forged relations with China, Russia, France, England, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, and others. His meetings with Putin at the G-19+1 may turn out to be as historic as Eisenhower and Krushchev or Reagan and Gorbachev.

I like how President Trump doesn’t pander to anybody. He is representing Pittsburgh not Paris (well, Paris, Texas, he is).

 15. Immigration — President Trump has diminished the magnitude of illegal immigration into the US, has spurred the return of illegals to their home countries, has taken definitive steps to deport illegal alien criminals, and has put the H1-B visa on the table. This progress is all without building The Wall (which he still says, “Mexico will pay for it.”).

Illegal border crossings are down dramatically. This is huge.

 16. Regulation — The Executive Order to delete two rules for every new rule enacted is brilliant. I love it.

 17. Lobbying — Lobbyists are the guys who actually run the Congress. President Trump’s five year ban on lobbying the Congress is a step in the right direction. Bravo!

What is the best thing about President Trump, Big Red Car?

OK, the Big Red Car says this:

Personality v policy

We started with a reference to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Let’s finish the same way. These were not perfect men, but they were men whose policies changed America.

George Washington was a slave owner.

Abraham Lincoln authorized the largest slaughter of Indians in the history of the US. This was the 1862 Mankato, Minnesota Incident whereat 38 Dakota Indians were hung without a trial.

Neither of these facts is able to be overlooked nor should they be. But in the end, we judge leaders by the totality of their accomplishments — not their singular high points nor their individual failings. The entire body of their work.

It will not make a bit of difference in fifty years if President Donald J Trump had hair plugs or an animosity for the media, but his policies will be important. Argue policy and forget the personal crap. Unless of course if you are a horse’s ass — then, by all means, debate the hair plugs.

So, dear reader, there you have it. What do you think?

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car, y’all. Have a great day.

 

 

 

  • kws78

    re: Trade: How is the U.S. hurt by being able to purchase all the Chinese steel it wants at a price that is less than the steel is worth? I like purchasing $1.00 bills for $0.50, don’t you? Do not tariffs merely raise the cost of doing business for everyone else in the U.S. who needs steel? I’d imagine that more than quite a few U.S. manufacturers are perfectly happy with a glut of supply i.e. pushes steel prices down.

    • sigmaalgebra

      The Chinese are not stupid: (1) They drive the US steel companies out of business and then raise their prices. That’s old predatory marketing and illegal in the US but, sure, an opportunity in foreign trade. (2) The Chinese in effect export their unemployment. (3) With no US steel industry the US is vulnerable in too many ways. (4) Let the Chinese or anyone do as much of that as they want, and they can kill off nearly all the jobs in the US.

      The above is just obvious stuff, and I’m no expert.

    • JLM

      .
      Yes, the Big Red Car likes buying $1 bills for $0.50 unless they are counterfeit in which case Big Red Car notes that is illegal and does not do it.

      Steel dumping — selling a commodity below its cost to produce — is also illegal.

      It is harmful to our economy for several reasons:

      1. When a commodity is dumped, jobs which were formerly domiciled in the US are moved to the dumper’s country. US steel jobs move to China, Japan, S Korea.

      2. When those jobs are moved, incomes in the US dry up which impacts the social safety net (unemployment is the most obvious impact), property values, the ability of income tax based governments to be able to dun and collect taxes.

      3. When #2 above happens the burden on the balance of gainfully employed and property owning citizenry is increased thereby shifting those additional costs to other innocent Americans.

      4. Steel is a “strategic commodity” meaning it is essential to the warfighting capabilities of the US.

      5. When domestic steel manufacturing capacity is diminished (by the reduction in demand caused by dumping), the steel industry’s financial matrix changes and the reduced production must carry the entire overhead and the physical plant thereby making the COGS for the production of even limited amounts of steel burdened by a substantially higher cost to produce thereby reducing profit margins thereby reducing the willingness of domestic steel companies to maintain, invest in new plant.

      6. If US domestic steel capacity were running at a higher capacity, the overhead burden and the reduced COGS/ton of steel would create greater margins resulting in better wages, higher profits driving re-investment, and the opportunity to lower prices because of fatter margins.

      Tariffs are an emotional issue. When Pres Trump imposed the Canadian softwood lumber tariff, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth threatening higher lumber prices. In fact, what happened was Canadian companies shifted their lumber production to sawmills they owned in the States (the Canadians knew they were cheating for a long time and have been buying sawmills in the US for decades), US domestic sawmills began to produce more lumber, and FUTURES PRICES WENT DOWN.

      As to outcomes, do not believe me. Believe the CFO of US Steel who after the Trump election and inklings that steel dumping would be dealt with said US Steel would be re-hiring laid off workers and investing in plant.

      http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/07/us-steel-wants-to-accelerate-investments-bring-back-jobs-ceo-says.html

      With the focused use of quotas and tariffs, domestic production of steel will increase, Americans will be put to work, investment will accelerate, and prices will be driven to the true economic cost of producing this product.

      Bear in mind that this discussion really is based on the production of “shapes” (I-beams, flat sheet), reinforcing rods, and pipe. If a domestic US company buys steel and then fabricates it — such as making steel for buildings — the only impact on them is the cost of the raw steel. Nothing else changes.

      Much of raw steel produced in foreign countries is “brokered” while domestic steel can be bought directly from companies like US Steel.

      There is a complexity to the discussion, but following the law is both mandated and beneficial to the American worker and the American economy.

      You may be aware, as an example, that the Chinese held American beef out of their country for the last 14 years based on a decade and a half ago Mad Cow scare. I note this because the Chinese, in particular, are enormous manipulators of their own economy. It is only because of the Trump admin’s threat to take a punitive, retaliatory action that the Chinese relented last month. Oh, that and the fact their internal demand for beef has gone up by a factor of 20.

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

      • This “4. Steel is a “strategic commodity” meaning it is essential to the warfighting capabilities of the US.” is a very important point. Not just for “Steel” but as a general principle of economic analysis. All imports are not equal and should not be treated equal — as the man once said – common sense is not so common.

        Did Albert respond to your post? FWIW, I can see the merit to both sides of the argument. At this point it is still at the question and 1st response stage 🙂
        It would be valuable for this debate to proceed in a civil and intellectually critical fashion (as it seems to be emerging) – thanks for engaging well 🙂

        • JLM

          .
          @amar I haven’t heard or seen anything from Albert. I don’t expect to.

          As it pertains to the “debate,” I have not really heard anything from the left other than Russia and name calling.

          What is said is inconsequential.

          It is easy to be civil when one debates policy as it is — should be — based on facts and evidence rather than emotion.

          There are a great number of things happening which the media is ignoring. As their cumulative impact builds, there will be an element of “overnight” success.

          BRC
          http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

          • It is discouraging when we switch to all or nothing mode on both sides. We need to have similar conversations across the country not just on “Steel” but also on the topics of networking and communication hardware especially in the context of “network security” and “mobile”. Assuming that is we do make it through without the North Korea, Syria and ISIS crises 🙂

            Russian continues to demonstrate a devil may care attitude as it pushes the boundaries of cyber warfare. Ukraine is a fertile test ground [1], [2]. China is moving (unintentionally?) towards a tightly self-contained economic eco-system [3] which clearly poses challenges for them as they try to fit into an interconnected global marketplace. But it also plays strategically well if a country wants to disrupt global economics without being disrupted itself. [4] for instance is almost ludicrous in its audacity. A company like MSFT cannot collaborate with its China office is VPN is prohibited for instance ….

            The (digital) complexity of the average daily problem handled by the office of POTUS continues to rise. No surprises there but it does emphasize the need for competency as much as connections when we hire people to address these problems. I am nervous what will happen when POTUS goes into full blown self-preservation mode and yes this is a pox on both houses ……

            I take hope from the examples you cited – though I must confess difficulty in envisioning president Trump alongside Washington or Lincoln. But then again I did not get to revisit or critique every one of their decisions in real time.

            tl;dr: Your narrative gives me hope and I will keep praying our president stops engaging the trolls. Policy over Personality -> i like that. Yes I am naive and it is personality not policy that won the election but I sure hope it is not what governs the country.

            [1] https://www.wired.com/story/russian-hackers-attack-ukraine/
            [2] https://www.cnet.com/news/unprecedented-cyberattack-hits-businesses-across-europe/
            [3] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/business/china-cash-smartphone-payments.html?_r=0
            [4] http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/20/china-clamping-down-on-use-of-vpns-to-evade-great-firewall.html

          • JLM

            .
            People try to “win” arguments rather than exchange ideas.

            When one party uses real evidence and the other party uses feelings, emotions, fears — there is no exchange of ideas.

            When there IS an exchange of ideas — what I like to call letting ideas “wrestle” — the result is better ideas, bridging of views, and an intellectual basis to agree/disagree.

            The world is best served by some measure of skepticism, but it has to be fact based.

            When the results come in, one knows which ideas were better. As an example, I believe that within 24 months, we will experience 4%+ GDP growth. There will not have been a single master stroke, but there will be, instead, the cumulative impact of many small things which were baked into a beautiful cake. No one ingredient made it tasty.

            I am of the opinion that no elections are really about policy. They are all about personality. In the most recent election, Donald Trump won, but, perhaps more importantly, HRC lost. She took definitive actions which alienated traditionally reliable Dem voters and they defected.

            Now, the Dems face the uphill task of reconnecting with those voters. If Trump is able to deliver nationwide good results, then there is really no reason why the former Dem stalwarts will return.

            The biggest problem DJT faces today is a feckless, unprincipled Republican Party. The Republicans cannot handle success.

            DJT cannot hold Washington’s or Lincoln’s horse, but one day he may.

            BRC
            http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

          • sigmaalgebra

            Wow!

      • sigmaalgebra

        Really NICE!

        BRC has one heck of a nice collection of facts on call!

      • kws78

        points well made and well received. the ‘strategic commodity’ is particularly compelling among several others reasons you bring up. thanks for the dialogue!

  • SFG

    He gave us Gorsuch, which really was a Godsend for this country.

    This is enough for me.

    Your forget the 1st lady in your list. Smart, classy (she likes sleeves, whew) and beautiful.

  • sigmaalgebra

    Terrific. For large positive integer n, up 2^n.

    Best article on national and international news read — in years. Good facts, historical references, judgment, insight, conclusions. BRC beats the best of NYT, LAT, WaPo, ABC, …, Politico, Breitbart, Drudge and anything Drudge linked to, Coulter, Ingraham, Limbaugh, etc.

    Yup, it’s important to have the women smiling! All that work, and maybe blood and treasure, and the women don’t smile means all that sacrifice was for what? Bummer.

    BTW, I thought that the Germans had a patent on gull wing doors, right — listen up BRC, we’re talking a little French number with gull wing doors — the car of World Championship for Constructors, J. M. Fangio, H. von Karajan, 300SLR, 8 cylinder engine, in line, connecting rods solid and crankshaft in pieces, power taken off with a gear in the center of the crankshaft (because of torsional harmonics), no valve springs and, instead, one camshaft to open the values and another one to close the valves, direct into the cylinders fuel injection, inboard brakes (lower unsprung weight and improved road contact), swing rear axle.

    Yes, at one time I was a car nut. enough (and some of what I did with FedEx airplanes) that I was made a Full Member of the SAE !

    But there the French are borrowing the gull wing doors! BRC, that little French number might be cuter than that little two seater with its top down you have your eyes on!

    Still, who wants, WHAT?, a French car!!! Wines? Sure. Food? No joke! Pretty girls? Definitely! Ballet? Sure, more pretty girls! Some really elegant pure math — surprisingly, yes. Some of the best mathematical physics long ago? Yup. Cars? LOL! I know, “air-oil” suspension; might be a clever idea, but how many of them are driving around?

    I live 70 miles north of Wall Street but actually don’t know much about Manhattan. However a friend who knows a lot about Manhattan explained some of it to me: In particular, going way back, with a lot still in place, Manhattan was redder than BRC. So, when in Rome …. Maybe Albrecht is really sensitive socially and really good at fitting in, but in time he should catch on to the Manhattan nonsense.

    Reminds me: I should write and FAX a letter to Chucky and tell him to f’get about Obama (he’s gone now), Hillary (she lost), and Nasty Nancy, The San Francisco Treat (“got to pass it to know what’s in it”, her health is going south), dry his eyes, wash and raise his glasses, f’get about left wing Manhattan cocktail parties, see clearly again, go ahead and accept and quit trying to cover up his part of the blame for ObamaCare, etc., and get to WORK, get something REALLY smart and good DONE for the citizens of the US, and be ready to stand with two dozen or so others in the Oval Office, behind seated Trump, as Trump signs the legislation. Chucky, you messed up big time; now don’t try to cover it up; instead, work with Trump to get a GREAT, very much the right word in this case, SOLUTION DONE.

    Chucky, baby, Trump actually is not a tight wad and, instead, is ready to be a big spender IF AND ONLY IF he can get the economy going at 5+% annual GDP growth rate to PAY for it. So, with better trade deals, getting rid of Obama’s many efforts, as many as he could get away with (which was darned near anything given the Obama propaganda MSM), deliberately to shoot the US economy in the gut to bring down the US as the most powerful country in the world (Obama deeply, profoundly, bitterly hates and despises the US), putting lots of the 94 million citizens now out of labor force off welfare and back to work, getting US energy, manufacturing, exporting, infrastructure, military strength, health care, innovation, finance, etc. going again, Trump CAN pay for it.

    Yup, now there is a movie, Dunkirk. I thought I already knew what happened at Dunkirk — a very bright guy, Manstein, made total, helpless fools out of the British and especially the French (“The largest, best trained, best equipped army in the world, led by the great General Guerlain” — for God’s sake get the poor guy a clean, little, frilly, scented lacy, pink hanky to dry his tears). A movie about just how the heck Manstein did that could be interesting; a movie about how the British, after they lost so badly, had to float, swim, paddle, etc. their way back to England is less interesting.

  • JLM

    .
    How does the Trump policy suite stack up? Read about it here.

    http://themusingsofthebigredcar.com/policy-v-personality-trump/

    It is illuminating.

    BRC
    http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

    #trump #policy