Now That We Have a New Administration

I had an appointment with my primary care health provider at the dot of 9 AM Wednesday morning, down at the primary care clinic at Fort Sam Houston. Some years and months ago, they moved that function from the mountainous brick pile that is the Brooke Army Medical Center, into a free-standing clinic facility on Fort Sam Houston itself. I would guess, in the manner of things, that this clinic facility will undergo some kind of mitosis in about ten years, and split into another several facilities … but in the meantime, this is where I get seen for my routine medical issues … mainly high blood pressure. So; minor, mostly – immediately after retiring, I went for years without ever laying eyes on my so-called primary care provider. A good few of them came and went without ever laying eyes or a stethoscope on me, as well. But this last-but-one moved on, just at the point where he and I recognized each other by sight and remembered each other from one yearly appointment to the next. But once yearly, I must go in and see my care provider, and get the prescriptions renewed, and Wednesday was the day …

Fort Sam Houston – what to say about that place? Historically, it was the new and shiny and built-to-purpose military establishment after the presidio of the Alamo became too cramped, run-down and overwhelmed by the urban sprawl of San Antonio in the late 1870s. I have read in several places, that if the place is ever de-accessioned and turned back to civil authority as the Presidio in San Francisco was, that the inventory of city-owned historic buildings in San Antonio would instantly double. Yes – San Antonio is and was that important. It was the US Army HQ for the Southwest from the time that Texas became a state, the main supply hub for all those forts scattered across New Mexico Territory (which was most of the Southwest, after the war with Mexico), the home of the commander and admin staff for that administrative area. Every notable Army officer from both world wars put in serious time at Fort Sam during their formative military years, and the very first aircraft bought by the Army Signal Corps did demo flights from the parade ground. (I put a description of this in the final chapter of The Quivera Trail.)

But Wednesday morning, I was interested to know if the clinic administration had changed out the pictures of the personnel in the chain of command yet. (Military custom – someplace in the foyer of many units are a set of pictures; President, SecDef, and so on, down to the unit commander and the First Shirt. Part of the materiel which has to be learned in basic training are the names of the various authorities on it. The pictures are for the edification of those of lowly rank who often go for years without ever seeing the higher-ups of their chain of command in person. I went for a year once, without ever seeing my squadron commander, although I think I might have spoken to him on the phone once.) Anyhow, there was a link going around among some of the mil- and veteran blogs to the effect that a number of units had not yet received their official photographs of President Trump and General Mattis – and had filled in with print-outs of some of the more viral meme-portraits of them: President Trump standing on a tank, rolling through a battlefield, and Saint Mattis of Quantico, patron saint of Chaos with the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch in one hand. I was looking forward in any case to seeing the new pictures, and yes, they did have the new one of President Trump on the wall, but only a sign with the name on it where General Mattis’ picture should be. Ah well – the Army is notoriously humorless and Fort Sam/BAMC is the showplace of Army medicine, but as I walked past the display, I started thinking about how bizarre it all was. I think I first read about Donald Trump in the Village Voice, in the mid-1980s, or perhaps in some other publications in the late 1980s when he and Marla Maples were huuuge tabloid and gossip-column fodder: an almost richer-than-god and bigger than-life real estate developer, flamboyant, combative, crude, even – a hound for publicity even more than for pussy.

And now he is the commander in chief. It’s been like seeing Paris Hilton, or (god save us) one of the Kardashians with a heretofore unheard of skill set, suddenly developing political ambitions, going for it … and getting there. Who on earth would have foreseen that, twenty-five years ago? It’s weirder than anything made up by an author of political novels.


25 thoughts on “Now That We Have a New Administration”

  1. So will I … weirdly, it’s working out so far. The picks for cabinet posts are awesome, especially General Mattis. The media persona turns out to be so wildly different from the “no-kidding real-world persona”. It turns out now that he is a detail-obsessed workaholic, with an unsparing eye for the best person for the best job, and savagely-uncaring for how he appears in the pages or in the broadcasts of the establishment press.

  2. The media persona turns out to be so wildly different from the “no-kidding real-world persona”. It turns out now that he is a detail-obsessed workaholic, with an unsparing eye for the best person for the best job.

    It isn’t as if he spent his life as Paris Hilton did, famous only for being famous. He could have been a trust fund baby, like the last 3 generations of Kennedys. Instead, he been working at the family business for decades, giving him plenty of managerial experience. Granted, not all his business decisions have been good ones, but he has plenty of practice in making decisions.

    Just one more reason to scorn the media.
    He wasn’t my first choice, but as I am in the “vote Democrat over my dead body” category, he had my vote. I liked the way he got the “right” people attacking him and the way he attacked right back.

    He has definitely impressed me so far as a CEO/POTUS. I wonder how long it took for President Obama to make his guest appearance on a TV show. I wager it was a lot sooner than President Trump will.

  3. “savagely-uncaring for how he appears in the pages or in the broadcasts of the establishment press”: golly, less of a narcissist than O? Not that that’s at all difficult, of course.

    Tell me, folks, now that O is out of office is there any reasonable chance that we’ll begin to learn about the stuff in his life that he’s been hiding?

  4. Tell me, folks, now that O is out of office is there any reasonable chance that we’ll begin to learn about the stuff in his life that he’s been hiding?

    Nope. He has too many protectors in high places. His dossier will stay safely hidden….

  5. It is bizarre how the MSM/Dems (but I repeat myself…) keep harping on the notion that Trump is “a reality TV star” when the fact is that he was nationally famous for decades as a real estate developer. He got The Apprentice made BECAUSE he already had rep with the audience as a businessman. You can argue about his success/failure rate, the applicability of that experience, etc., but pretending that it doesn’t exist is just another example of That’s How You Got Trump.

  6. Trump is a middle league real estate developer. Nothing wrong with that, but since he wanted to be tops he always claimed huge values for his “goodwill and brand name”. If you go to the Trump Organization Web site you see they have nine luxury hotels, 15 golf course resorts, a small winery, a small real estate brokerage, a Model Management Business and some partial ownership in office buildings. I grew up in a household in the commercial real estate business so I have some knowledge of what’s on. All of trumps businesses like Luxury Hotels are small compared to others in the same class (i.e. for luxury hotel chains look at Waldorf Astoria, St Regis, Intercontinental etc.). If he was the master negotiator why was he messing around with hotel deals in Azerbaijan? He has reduced the source of funding for his projects to one bank (Deutsche) and Russian Oligarchs due to his constant lawsuits with other partners/lenders. He claimed that Mike Bloomberg’s wealth was hyped up, yet it is based on the actual financial performance of the company he started. Bloomberg is reliably at $20B net worth which bothered Donald who is realistically worth about $3-4B.

    His master skills at business and negotiating are all “gonflage” as the French would say which is a contraction of Mongolfier makers of the first balloons. He’s all self puffery. This is not a strong skill set for any serious management task. Confidence is great, but introspection and willingness to get sound advice is also required. This will not end well.

  7. There certainly is an air of surrealism surrounding Trump as President. Like many others here, he wasn’t my first choice, but I would have voted for the proverbial syphilitic camel before Hillary Clinton. Once he was nominated, I began to pay more attention, and it became apparent that there was method to his “madness” if you looked at the larger picture, beyond his daily tactics and the hyperbole. So far, there’s little to criticize. His Cabinet appointments have been genius moves; his baiting of the press (and their inept responses) hilarious; the fact that he is actually taking his campaign promises seriously unbelievably refreshing and watching liberals heads explode especially satisfying. The Democrats and their press enablers like Paul Krugman and Charles Blow (now there’s an apropos name) are playing right into his hands with their over-the-top indignation and inane posturing.

    As they say, stock up on the popcorn; it’s going to be entertaining.

  8. “This will not end well.” But then (practically) all political careers end in failure.

    And anyway, Hellary would already be at war with Russia.

  9. “This is not a strong skill set for any serious management task.”

    I’m not so sure. How many of those huge real estate empires are run by an individual ?

    Bloomberg seems to be as big a busybody as Soros. Not a good example.

  10. DirtyJobsGuy: Are you arguing for or against the guy? Let’s put your comment into a conversation with a Trump supporter.

    Trump supporter: Trump is a huuuuge success as a businessman.
    You: Nah, he’s nothing. He’s only got nine luxury hotels, 15 golf course resorts, a small winery, a small real estate brokerage, a Model Management Business and some partial ownership in office buildings.
    Trump supporter: Sounds pretty impressive to me.
    You: Bloomberg is way richer.
    Trump supporter: The soda tax guy? Pfft. Trump’s not the richest guy in the world, but saying he hasn’t done anything is Fake News(TM). Bye.

  11. “Trump is a middle league real estate developer”

    He built the second tallest skyscraper in Chicago. It would’ve been the tallest, but so soon after 9-11 the building was knocked down in the wartime climate. The only bad thing about it is the maladroit spire on top, which was Mayor Daley’s idea. A necessary compromise with the city hegemon to secure the project. I don’t know about his golf courses or wineries, but this project worked out well reasonably well.

    Trump comes across as a lout, but he’s all business behind closed doors where the real battles take place. I would suggest that all the public pomp and puffery Trump engages in that rankles so many of his urbane critics are well thought out parts of his overall business strategy. With all the many legal hurdles to overcome that often result in litigation, trying to win the battles before they’re even fought is not a bad idea.

  12. I thought Trump was trying to get Hillary elected. Then I thought he was too much a NYC crony capitalist to be elected. Then I thought he was a blowhard. Then I thought he was a poor manager and probably not as successful in business as he claimed. Then all of my preferred candidates fell apart and Trump started looking better. Then I and most of the conservatives I know voted for him.

    At almost every point on the path to getting elected he exceeded the expectations of his critics. He learns rapidly. He chooses first-class people. Now that he is in office he has acted rapidly and decisively on important policy matters. He obviously put a lot of careful thought into what he would do. He has weaknesses that many people see but he also has significant strengths that are being revealed. Also he is optimistic and genuinely likes this country and doesn’t hesitate to say so, which is worth a lot. He won not merely because the Democrats had worse candidates but because he offers things that the other candidates didn’t. Now that he is in office most of what he has to do to be successful is follow through on at least a portion of his economic deregulation and anti-Obamacare promises and initiate a reasonable defense buildup. (Of course there will also be surprises to which he will have to respond effectively.)

    Time will tell, but the country is probably in a much better situation than it would have been if Hillary had been elected, and perhaps even if another Republican had been elected.

  13. Can any of the naysayers stand up and state that they have dealt with: Unions, Mayors, aldermen, politicians, Port Authority mavens, real estate tycoons, property owners, inspection boards, permit boards, and how many other groups, organizations, or personalities successfully?
    Being a ‘building tycoon’ in NYC, New Jersey, DC and I don’t know how many other places involves dealing with a lot of people who have their own goals and motivations. To persuade them to respond to your requests and pleadings takes talent of some sort. To juggle conflicting requirements, successfully, requires talent also.
    I make no claim of ability to do any of the above. From afar, I admit the DJT has done so, and done reasonably well.
    He finds the best people to help him attain his goal. He has done so before, and appears to be doing so as POTUS.
    I do think it will end well, contrary to some others’ opining. I hope so, at least, and am definitely of the opinion that his rival for the office would have been an absolute failure. After all, look at who she lost to the first time, and this time. She has never signed the front of a paycheck and has (apparently) left the Department of State poorly run, (See:Benghazi), and relations in the ME a shambles. JFK, Jr, did no better(see:Iran Deal).
    I’d say DJT inherited a messy world, with many on the march in Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. China in the Pacific also stirring a close-to-boiling pot.
    I do think the experience of dealing with the conflicts of NYC has given significantly better experience than being a Community Organizer (who was disbarred), a state Senate term, and 1/2 of a US Senate term, experiences his predecessor brought to the table.

  14. I’m still being surprised by Trump. I thought Tillerson was a bad choice, but then reconsidered after watching his hearing. Now that he’s draining the swamp at the State Department, I’m ecstatic. It turns out it is isn’t Trump that’s erratic but everyone else.

  15. ” It turns out it is isn’t Trump that’s erratic but everyone else.”

    I don’t know if Trump is the smartest guy around or the luckiest.

    I think it was Napoleon who said he wanted the lucky generals.

    I cringe when I listen to most Trump speeches but the inauguration was good and I watched the whole thing. Either he is getting better or I am getting used to him.

    Part of his good luck is, as Instapundit says, we have the worst ruling class in world history. Certainly our history.

    They are ignorant, incompetent blowhards. It’s as if we were at the end of a 500 year dynasty, like Austria-Hungary or France in 1789.

  16. It’s probably a combination of all of the above with President Trump, but it might also be that Former President Obama was such a disaster, that anything President Trump does is a vast improvement over the former administration.

  17. “… a middle league real estate developer”. “…realistically worth about $3-4B”. This is beyond pathetic.

  18. Mike K, I also cringe when I hear him talk because it’s so casual and folksy and unfocused that it gives the superficial appearance of a man who is not serious. And yet, his speeches are not designed for people who read policy white papers and who debate the meaning of the constitution for their enjoyment. They are aimed squarely at the only audience that counts, regular voters who aren’t too interested in politics and just want someone to stand up for their values. A pro-American president essentially. And THAT comes across in spades from Trump, like no other candidate this cycle. He loves American and Americans and that’s good enough for most people. But Trumps secret weapon is that under that unfocused public persona, he is obviously a skilled and calculating businessman with an amazing ability to read the public mood. He plans and coordinates his moves and you only see the whole picture when it is all laid out at the end. I can’t listen to him talk, but by god I love what he does.

  19. “Trump is a middle league real estate developer.” Jesus was a minor league preacher and magician, wandering about in the sticks. He did well enough in the end.

  20. “Jonathan stole my comment.” Mine too.

    So far he is exceeding my expectations and revealing more depth than I ever imagined. Perfect? No. Way better than we deserve? Yes.

    I’m sleeping better.


  21. Ah, it’s wonderful. I feel like the old man in the shack, in the rain, with cat on his lap. You know, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He is the ruler of the Universe although he does not want the job. The only real difference is that my cat, the warrior queen, is called Marsha and he calls his The Lord.

    Trump will finish the job of removing the USA from preeminence. I like that, but it’s gonna be hard on you poor fools. There will probably not be a nuclear war. I like that too.

  22. It is almost like he talks the media into sticking a finger in a light socket every day.

    Every Day ! And they never figure out that it is a bad idea to go hysterical in front of the world.

    The Soros funded mobs at airports are almost as amusing as the Planned Parenthood march. They are rent-a-mobs.

    There is a scene in Mary Renault’s novel “The Mask of Apollo” where the actor who is protagonist is supposed to play Pentheus, the king in “The Bacchae.” by Euripides, a play about pride and hubris.

    In the novel, the actor is given a mask at the last minute which is a portrait of Dion, the hero of the novel. The actor realizes the deception is intended to destroy Dion with the Syracuse audience.

    He decides to alter his role while staying within the author’s script and he even includes a claque in the audience intended to increase the hatred for the hero, Dion. He includes the claque and makes them look ridiculous.

    Trump is doing that with the media. He baits them and they respond just as he expects. They can’t help themselves. They hate him so much it is not possible for them to control themselves.

    Steve Hayward has a video of all the celebrities ridiculing Trump over at Powerline,. It is amusing to watch them all make fools of themselves.

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