The Beltway Boys Still Don’t Get It

By | 2017-01-23T11:13:30+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|
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Krauthammer and other insider pundits are still missing what the voters are seeing more clearly about our politics.

Watching the news coverage of the inauguration, I was struck by how quickly the Washington establishment sets upon and locks into place a conventional wisdom on everything Trump does. On “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bob Woodward nonchalantly claimed that Donald Trump is not an ideological person. Woodward insisted that Trump comes from the world of “selling things.” Rather than viewing Trump’s excellent inaugural address as a mission statement for how he is going to run the government, Woodward implied that the speech was merely an opening bid. As far as Woodward is concerned, Trump is going to sell out his most ardent supporters to the highest Democratic bidder.

He could not be more wrong.

Since the summer of 2015, the news media consistently has been wrong in their analysis of Trump. At one point, they insisted that he was not a serious candidate at all. Then, when Trump proved them wrong about that, these brilliant people maintained that Trump would be crushed in the primaries. Wrong again. Unable to learn from their mistakes, they redoubled their rhetoric and said Trump would be no match for the awesome power of the Clinton war machine. Well, it is some months and 304 electoral votes later, and it was Trump who attended the inaugural ceremonies as president-elect while Hillary Clinton showed up as the begrudged observer.

The media have not learned their lesson.

Yes, Trump is a businessman. Trump made a career from his deal making. Because of this, the skylines of major cities around the world—from New York City to Beijing—are dotted with Trump properties. Trump (or, “The Donald,” as he became known over the years) segued his business acumen into building a media empire. For years, he reaffirmed his image in the zeitgeist as a man who knew how to get things done—at cost.

Indeed, as Trump himself stated in his first book, The Art of the Deal: “My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing to get what I’m after.”

OK, fine. It’s fair when people like Woodward point out Trump’s background as a way of extrapolating how he might formulate policies. As it happens, Trump touted his superior deal-making skills during the Republican primary in 2016.

However, Woodward’s blasé dismissal of President Trump’s background of “selling things” is a painfully reductionist assessment of The Donald. Woodward is expressing a sentiment shared by the Mainstream Media, the Democratic Party, and much of academia.

Essentially what Woodward is saying is that Trump has no real beliefs. Woodward is saying that Trump’s version of capitalism comports with both Marx and Lenin’s cynical definition that capitalists will sell out anyone and anything for short-term profit.

Indeed, the scion of the Republican Establishment, Charles Krauthammer trashed Trump’s inaugural address. He claimed on “The O’Reilly Factor” that the speech represented the ultimate victory of populism over conservatism (why do these have to be mutually exclusive, by the way?). He then lamented that Trump’s election was the official end of the Age of Reagan.

By this view, Trump is an opportunist who will lie, cajole, and trick his way into getting a deal that he believes is beneficial. But beneficial to whom? Krauthammer implies that Trump seeks to serve himself, only. But Trump has said, he seeks to represent the American people. Unlike many of the Washington intelligentsia, Trump has no use for lobbyists, the press, or for the status quo. He also cares little for the opinions of academia. His supporters get his undivided attention. His inaugural address, which repeated many of the same themes voiced routinely during the campaign, is proof that Trump is not lying to the voters.

So, what is his purpose? I believe he has been consistent from the start of the campaign: he is going to make America great again. He is going to do so by enacting an agenda that places America first.

Woodward, Krauthammer, and the rest of the Beltway Boys maintain that Trump is doing all of this for show. They think (or rather, they hope) he won’t enact any of the really “scary” pieces of the agenda (because he doesn’t believe those things himself, according to these “expert” analysts).

I beg to differ.

Even as Krauthammer and Woodward were prattling on about how Trump loyalists had better brace themselves for betrayal and disappointment by the smarmy Trump, the 45th president was seated in the Oval Office, overriding key components of the Affordable Care Act. The side-by-side comparison on TV was unbelievable, even humorous. Keep in mind, as Krauthammer and his compatriots in the establishment conservative media were dining with Obama during the Obamacare fight, the Republican Party’s base revolted and formed the Tea Party.

In fact, when writing on Obama’s infamous 2009 dinner with members of the conservative intelligentsia, the Huffington Post’s Jacob Heilbrunn observed that the dinner “indicates that Obama is completing the job of detaching the conservative intellectual elite from the GOP itself.” Judging from the commentary I’ve heard over the last year, I’d say Heilbrunn was fairly prescient.

In certain respects Trump represents the “Tea Party wing” of the Republican Party. He made headway during the primaries by campaigning to those hated populists—the silent majority, as he called them. In a stunning twist and break with precedent, he didn’t abandon them once he won the GOP nomination. What’s more, in his first day as president, he has implemented key policies that appeal directly to this voting bloc (remember Romney waffling on repealing Obamacare in 2012? Not so with Trump!).

Further, Trump’s cabinet is chock full of people who share the concerns and ideas of this Tea Party wing of the GOP. These are individuals who are uncompromising in their commitment to American-oriented education reform, legal interpretation, economic programs, and defense policies. Trump being a CEO, is used to delegating authority to his team of subordinates. Trust me, the Trump Administration is going to enact the most conservative legislation we’ve seen since the days of Reagan.

Given that Trump has a Republican-majority in Congress, the legislation that Trump signs into law will undoubtedly have the red meat that every conservative pines for in legislation.

While Trump is seeking to make deals, he’s not a mindless automaton. Trump makes a deal in order to further an agenda. He’s also not naïve. Trump understands that The People elected him to undo much of the legacy bequeathed to us by the Leftist policies of the last eight years or more.

Listening to the media’s inauguration coverage, hearing the analyses of the purported experts—from Charles Krauthammer to Bob Woodward—we should all see through the pretense by now. People need to recognize that the “experts” just don’t get it. Because they don’t get it, they resent us. This resentment blinds them from ever really understanding Trump. As such, it leads the media to negatively (and inaccurately) portray Trump.

Don’t buy the hype and don’t start listening to the media now: the Beltway Boys still don’t get it. They’ve been wrong about Trump at every juncture. The Bob Woodwards of the world are still trying to plug Trump into a system that no longer exists. At some point, they will either have to admit that they’re wrong or lose their business. Unfortunately for them, Trump means what he says and will govern accordingly.

So, my fellow Americans: here’s to the next four years! #MAGA

About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a former Republican Congressional staffer and national security expert who now runs The Weichert Report, www.theweichertreport.com, an online journal of geopolitics. He holds Master's degree in Statecraft & National Security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an Associate Member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in Political Science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.
  • tz1

    It is actually much simpler.
    Consider the Losertarians who complain about regulations but do nothing but write “scholarly papers”.
    The cuckservatives are the same trying to create some technocratic or utopian – something?, not actually doing anything

    Trump has just said he wants to cut 75% of regulations. He just out-chainsawed anything Ron Paul (!) promised.

    There is abstract, utopian principles, then there’s visionary pragmatic principles like “Make America Great Again”.

    It will be interesting if he calls in and/or he and/or pence speak to the march for life next weekend.

    • Sam LeLottis

      I like Mike Pence and have always believed he is a REAL Conservative. That is why he got out of Congress, because he got sick of RINO’s like John Boehner and Paul Ryan.

  • ricocat1

    A wonderful article by an author who truly understands why PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP won. Charles Krauthammer and the other neocons will never understand why their failed policies were rejected. IF President Trump sticks to his victorious themes America will have a great eight years.

  • Uncle Max

    Excellent article. The DC area bubble is strong. They are going to be a mess (emotionally) by July 4th.

    • Lara

      Indeed. The DC “conservatives” seem to be nothing more that Establishment RINOs who work for the press. NRO, joke. Kruthhammer, I had more respect for him in the past. O’Rilley .. I thought he softened when Obama won 8 years ago. Meagan … could not watch her … she is a sellout and obsessed with her gender.

      Hannity … he’s the real thing.

      I believe they are shocked that (and I quote from a recent article … think it was NYT) “Taken together, the orders suggest that Mr. Trump intends to pursue his campaign promises ” !

      • TwigaBob

        It’s just that nobody has ever tried to fulfill campaign promises before. Except, of course, BHO promising to “fundamentally transform America” which he did, not at all for the better.

    • kenpuck

      Krauthammer (#NeverTrump) is an omphaloskepsist idiot who is more concerned with whether The Donald uses the right fork for the salad course than whether the Republic survives the existential communist onslaught from the PC new Democrat party.

      • Thelmus

        Well that was a 25 cent word: Omphaloskepsist = a naval gazer for mystical purpose. Now it’s funny!!

      • don76550

        Kraphammer has lost any credibility with me. He is obsessed with irrelevant trivia and has no meaningful information to offer. Fox news needs to fire him.

        • The Demon Slick

          These people will just continue on as if they haven’t been completely wrong about every single thing up to now. That’s what they’ve been doing since the primaries, the election, and now they just keep going. It’s as if they think they’re relevant or something.

      • larrybudwiser

        Dude, I don’t even know what that means.

    • Thelmus

      Agreed. Pundits still operating from the past view of politics. They miss the simple truth that Trump is not a politician and he is not owned by a party. Hence, they are wrong most of the time.

  • Brother John the Deplorable

    Inasmuch as Trump comes from the world of “selling things,” Woodward isn’t strictly wrong. But Woodward, O’Reilly, all other politicians and media figures come from the world of selling bullsh!it, and it’s about time that world was put back in its place.

  • And How to Get It

    Hear! Hear!

  • qazer

    The issue isn’t that Trump doesn’t sell things; he clearly does (he also builds some of the things he sells, from the ground up). It’s that the DC types do not understand that selling things is hard and important work. Trump, like any businessman and unlike pundits, has had to learn his lessons in an arena where performance matters, where making the wrong bet or skimping on a detail can cost you your career.

    That being said, asserting that “the Trump Administration is going to enact the most conservative legislation we’ve seen since the days of Reagan” misses the mark by trying to fit Trump into the tired conservative/liberal axis, and misses the way in which Woodward was right — Trump is not going to fit himself to a received conservative ideological agenda, he’s going to redefine conservatism in a way that benefits the working and middle classes.

    In the 1970s Unions were powerful and strangled growth. In 2016, they are vastly reduced in power, and it makes more sense to work with them instead of trying to kill them. In the 1970s, free trade was a boon the the middle class; in 2016 conditions have changed. A businessman must understand what his customers want and need today, and adapt himself accordingly to survive. To dinosaurs like Woodward and Krauthammer, who don’t care what the peons want, that’s appalling.

    • Thelmus

      Well said.

    • don76550

      Uninformed people and journalists delight in calling Trump an idiot. While he may have policies you disagree with, I know of no billionaire who became a billionaire by being an idiot. However I do see examples every day how idiots become journalists and pundits.

  • Eyeball

    It sure would be nice if political analysts were replaced from time to time. I can almost always predict (as I’m sure can you all) what the guy (usually) is going to say before he opens his mouth.
    I want to hear fresh voices.

  • dannyboy116

    Spot on Billy O! I am beginning to like Trump more every day!

  • rene591

    biggest losers in 2016 elections after the democrats? the neo conservatives and globalist

  • Randy Brown

    Along with Kraut, another so-called conservative commentator who should be consigned to the dumper-fire of out-of-touch pundits is George Will. These guys are getting almost as bad and as irrelevant as the lib tard media.

    • vaccinia

      It is highly disappointing that the “conservatives” (who I thought had some logic associated with their opinions) are as delusional as the Progs…..

      • Sam LeLottis

        Just like over at the Weekly Standard the only one I could stand is that Stephen Hayes otherwise that place any longer is nothing but a Neocon Brothel. I quit subscribing like ages ago!!!

        • vaccinia

          This was a painful lesson but one I will never forget……two sides, same coin. To be honest, I didn’t realize how DC has corrupted virtually every human that comes in contact with it…

    • Thelmus

      Notice George Will got dumped by Fox.

      • vaccinia

        Glad to hear it!

    • don76550

      George Will’s contract with Fox news is not going to be renewed.

  • miketompkins52

    i’m sorry but i don’t care how big of an epiphany krauthamer supposedly had, how do you go from a speech writer for walter mondale to a conservative commentator?

    • don76550

      I didn’t know he used to be a speechwriter for Mondale. That explains a lot.

      • miketompkins52

        before that he worked in the carter administration.

  • cken

    Question. If Trump lies, cajoles, and tricks to get what he wants internationally doesn’t that make him pretty much like all the world leaders?

  • JMIII

    One of the few articles that this well thought out and accurate in the assessment of President Trump. Unlike nearly all of his predecessors, President Trump works for the bulk of the American People. They are his masters, not the lobbyists, not the US Chamber of Commerce, Unions, Banks, Wall Street or foreign governments. It was said of the election, the press takes Trump literally, but not seriously, while his supporters take him seriously, but not literally. The media’s laser like focus on inauguration crowd size estimates, popular vote count vs. illegal alien voting, and Trump’s business empire, show that they still don’t get it. They realize that they couldn’t stop him from taking office, now there focus is on trying every which way to turn President Trump into just another ordinary run-of-the-mill politician as president. Push him into the same predictable behaviours we would have had with a Clinton, or Bush as 45th President. That is what they want. To get back to the same old, same old that works great for them but really is crap for the rest of us.

  • oakhill1863

    This article is one big exaggeration.

    Discussing nuances in Trump’s reasoning, personality,and policy, and pointing out his differences with the Reagan-Kemp-Free Trade-more interventionist conservatives is not a knock on all things Trump.

    The more Republicans there are, the more differences of opinion there will be.

    I’ve never understood the desire of so many Trumpians to cut off allies who do not agree on everything lock, stock, and barrel, that is Trump. It is one reason I did not vote for him (don’t worry, not the National Security Threat runner-up, either). Maybe Trump will get an actual majority next time if he does well and his followers don’t push too many out of the tent again. And, as sound as this victory was for Trump in some ways, you’d have to be willfully ignoring the facts to think at least as of today (or last election day) Trump had an actual lock on the electorate. While it is true in many elections that a few votes here and there can produce a widely different result, Trump himself is surely not thinking his victory was not thin.

    Here’s another nuance about Donald Trump, and I disagree with him on plenty–HE doesn’t want a bunch of yes men and women around him, which doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in some things down deep or might disqualify someone for a certain post if the disagreement were too fundamental.

    • thomaswood

      Exactly. Except that you should have voted for Trump, because the alternative — having to listen to the Harangues of Hillary for the next four years — was unimaginably awful. I’m worried that in 2020 the Dems will field a better candidate. Even so, Trump can win if he keeps on with the performance of the last few days, and he manages to avoid igniting a trade war. We can afford to import a few pipes from our allies in Italy and Japan, for example, without the Republic plunging into depression. But if places like Japan and the EU are closed to our exporters we really will plunge into at least a recession. Making the US a more attractive place to invest in is a better way to boost domestic employment than kicking friendly nations in the teeth. China, on the other hand, might benefit from a good rebalancing of the one-sided relationship that we have had with Beijing for years.

  • docdave88

    The thing I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around is this – –

    The President of the United States is doing precisely what he said he would do. No waffling. No hesitation. No waiting for pollsters or focus groups. Just DOING IT!

    Thank you President Trump (I LOVE writing those words). So far I have no objections to anything you’ve done at all now that you are past that brief bromance with Romney.

    Keep up the good work sir.

    Make America Great Again and carry the largest caliber that you will carry at ALL times

  • OldGyrene

    Quick…tell me one thing Woodward has done in the last 40 years that has been of significance.
    He took down Nixon, so he gets a pass for the rest of his life to sit around and tell the rest of how we should think.
    He could well be Exhibit A in why Trump voters got fed up with the status quo and elected a REAL mover and shaker to get this country back on track.

  • vaccinia

    The eGOP and their mouthpieces have shown themselves to be just as deluded as the Progs! Reality will not change their opinions at all. Jettison them and find some pundits that don’t believe in fairies, unicorns and “conservative” dogma…..

    • Brandon Weichert

      I’m game! When will Hannity have me on? 😛

      • vaccinia

        First…..you need a blog. Then…..you have to become relevant! Call me when you get there! 😉

        • Brandon Weichert
          • vaccinia

            Good on ya! NOW, you just need to keep up your prescience (hard to do but I agree, Le Pen is going to win) and have a lot of perseverance. And I wish you luck!

          • Sam LeLottis

            Angela Merkel cracks me up! She I think honestly believes Corporate Germany, i.e. Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Bayer, BASF, Thyssen Krupp, Siemens etc. are going to SAVE her? Possible? But I am betting NOT!!!!

          • vaccinia

            They are going to jettison her like the guy in the passenger seat of Bond’s Aston Martin…..

  • LCDR

    Both Krauthammer & Woodward are cut from the same cloth. Both hate Trump, both have never been out of Washington where they met actual people who actually work for their living. It’s no surprise that neither wing of the intelligentsia are at odds with a Man of the People.

    • Sam LeLottis

      Krautslammer is simply just a OLD Washed “NEOCON” has never been a true Conservative in his whole entire life! Even admitted to being a Neocon one night on Bill O’Reilly’s TV Show!!!!

  • Sam LeLottis

    Bob Woodward is simply just a OLD Money Grubbing Whore PERIOD! I have always had more respect for his former flaming old liberal girlfriend Carl Bernstein

  • Bob Smalser

    This guy gets it. Reminds me of Walter Russell Mead.

  • kenpuck

    Krauthammer (#NeverTrump) is an omphaloskepsist idiot who is more concerned with whether The Donald uses the right fork for the salad course than whether the Republic survives the communist existential onslaught from the new Democrat party.

    • thomaswood

      He’s not THAT bad, come on. Krauthammer did some pretty good take downs on the Clintons, for example. Unfortunately, he has been wrong about Trump and can’t yet quite bring himself to admit it. The day may be coming, however, when he will.

  • longlance

    Nobody listens to crypt-keeper Krauthammer or any of the stuffed owls hooting from a rotten media limb.

    • Sam LeLottis

      I agree, he is highly intellectual but Bill O’Reilly cracks me up! He treats Charles like he is the Royal Oompah BRAIN of the whole entire universe!!! Figure Reilly will be gone in another year or two, even I no longer watch regularly every night like I had for like going on 10-12-years! He gets to me now, because any longer he is GRUMPY to everyone even to his nice friendly guests! It just gets OLD after awhile! Plus did you see Fox News had to PAY OFF another Babe for his Grabbing at her you knows what! Wish my Father-in-law were still alive because I remember like 15-years ago or so Billo had to pay that other Babe OFF like $250,000 out of his own pocket! My Father-in-law really stuck up for him O’Reilly that saying “OH THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOUR GUILTY” I always suspected it back when he always had to show those GIRL’S GONE WILD Video’s on his show! Don’t get me wrong I didn’t think there was anything wrong with them but it told me when Ole’ Billo’s Mind was pretty much!!!!!

    • Airman48

      Oh yes they do Russian troll. It’s lying Russian Fascist parasites like YOU that nobody listens to

  • AB Friedman

    MSM is Peter Keating criticizing Howard Roark. The markets are supposed to reflect all available information. What are the markets saying?

  • JHX

    More great analysis from AMGREAT! You guys just keep knocking them out of the park!

  • don76550

    I think it is time to liberalize libel laws so that some of these lying purveyors of fake news can start getting sued. I am fed up with these disciples of Joseph Goebbels constantly feeding us lies and propaganda. Indeed they regularly practice treason and have done so since the Vietnam war. Perhaps another approach would be to require journalists to obtain a professional license to practice their profession, just like other professions.

  • hamburgertoday2017

    The pundits are entertainers. Their job is to fill in the space between advertising. I do not think that they *can* appreciate the Trump/Bannon (philosophical) war machine that has entered their space. They know something is ‘not right’ but they cannot figure out the exact contours of ‘not-rightness’ so they fall back on old terminologies/categories to try to explain new conditions that don’t quite fit. These mumblings are comforting (and profitable)*to them*, but not particularly helpful to those who consume their mumbles in helping them understand what is happening. For some time now it’s seemed to me that the political categories used to describe US political positions — Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, Progressive — are not all that useful in understanding what different political actors *are actually trying to do*. I think that Trump/Bannon/Conway played on this fact. Trump did not position himself ‘ideologically’. Instead, he ‘sold’ *policy positions*. The people who voted for DJT *sense* that there is a coherent world view that connects the different parts of the Trump policy prescriptions, but good luck finding DJT explaining ‘Trumpism’. It’s not to say that there is no ‘Trumpism’ it’s just that DJT/Bannon/Conway did not present the DJT Presidency as an ‘ism’. Certainly there was a ‘vision thing’ about national renewal, but what Republican does not run on some version of that? The closest analogy to the ‘Trump method’ is some kind of martial art, like WWE wrestling. The same blow that defeats your opponent, is also one that makes your supporters cheer. It’s a very economical way of constructing and delivering a political message. Immigration reform will deal a blow to the Democratic Party *and* set you apart from all of the politician of the last 30 years *and* appeal to the working class voters who are your core constituency. It’s a three-fer.

  • damianmcglynn

    I sense Charles will be joining George Will in retirement soon. They have been GREAT leaders of the Conservative intellectual movement, but the times have passed them bye. And, Charles clever, witty, winking at you cuteness seems from a different era. I wonder if Roger, were he still there, be giving him more days off to test new talent.