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The Day Reagan Was Shot

Think about the sun, Pippin
Think about her golden glance
How she lights the world up
Well, now it’s your chance
With the guardian of splendor
Inviting you to dance
Pippin
Think about the sun
Finale, Pippin by Stephen Schwarz

We were standing near the glass doors at the back of the theatre waiting for the bell.

Bishop DuBourg High School’s theatre doubled as its theatre classroom. The last class of the day was almost over. We were waiting for the bell to ring. The last bell of the day.

At the other end of the room, the stage held the set for Pippin which opened two weeks later. I would play Pippin’s half-brother Lewis in that production. My first musical.

The bell didn’t ring on time. We could see through the glass doors that some teachers had released students early. But not Mr. Leibrecht. Jim Leibrecht, the best high school theatre teacher and director you could ask for, stood and chatted with us.

Leibrecht and I didn’t agree on politics. He was not a Reaganite. Nor a Republican. I was. I appreciated and respected Jim Leibrecht too much to talk politics with him. Not worth it. Why risk a friendship or mentorship. I don’t remember what we talked about, me and the class’s dozen students and Leibrecht, but it wasn’t politics. It was probably Pippin.

Five minutes after the bell should have rung, our principal Floyd Hacker come on the PA. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I’ll pretend I do:

“The news is reporting that President Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt in Washington DC this afternoon. This is a sad moment in our lives and in the life of the United States. We’ve been through this too many times in my life. I do not know the President’s condition, but he alive and has been taken to a hospital. The shooter is in custody. Now, let’s offer a prayer for the President’s recovery and for our country before dismissal.”

Close enough.

Then, nearly 2,000 Catholic teenagers and the faculty prayed a Hail Mary and an Our Father in unison. We were not alone. From Time magazine’s issue immediately after Reagan was shot:

When the President was shot, Americans prayed very hard, not for the life of an abstraction, but for a man, one who as leader of the democracy carries some thing of everyone in that mortal chest.

The bell rang. No one moved.

Girls were crying. Maybe I was, too. The halls were silent except for muffled yelps and sniffles. Teachers and students who had never been shy about voicing their dislike of Ronald Reagan looked shocked and sad. An attack on one was an attack on all. At 3:05 p.m. CST on March 30, 1981, we were all Reagan’s children (or grandchildren).

I don’t remember if we had Pippin rehearsal after school. I watched Nightline that night, as I did most nights. Stories were already emerging about Reagan’s remarkable humor and humility. “Does anybody know what that’ guy’s beef was?” “I hope you’re all Republicans,” the Gipper told the doctors. “I forgot to duck.”

There were stories of people cheering the news. I didn’t see anyone celebrate firsthand. I did hear people joke about it. I probably did, too. Generation X never held back except around elders we wanted to impress. Among that generation at that time, pulling punches on irreverent jokes was a crime. And, besides, Reagan sort of gave us permission to crack wise about it. He went first.

How does this memory of the day Reagan got shot make you feel now? Deep inside where the dark and light fight for attention and dominance, how does the idea of a President’s mortality fall out?

And what if Trump got shot? How would you handle the reaction from the left? From the NeverTrump establishment types?

What would happen to society if some selfish leftists or some rogue Secret Service agent attacked President Trump? Would Time magazine write about a nation praying together for his recovery?

I usually discount the notion that people have fundamentally changed. But culture does change. In the culture of 1981, we all still followed the lead of our WWII-era guides. That generation still dominated boardrooms, school administrations, and politics at every level. In 1981, Baby Boomers like the Clintons were busy climbing the culture’s social ladders. The Silent Generation had arrived and relaxed in its middle management haven. And Gen X was busy sarcastically critiquing the phoniness and pointlessness of everything like real-life Holden Caulfields.

Whatever the generational undercurrents each cohort stirred beneath, in 1981 the surface of American cultures remained firmly in the hands of the Greatest Generation

But times have changed now. The World War II generation, typified by George H. W. Bush don’t get around much anymore. The Silents are in the back half of their retirement years. Baby Boomers, desperate to hang on to the youth they misspent, cling to the last vestiges of power in politics and business and entertainment. Sober and skeptical, Generation X wields its growing power quietly as our Millennial siblings and children climb out from their parents’ basements. And the decorum imposed on our culture by the Greatest Generation has been replaced by angry hatred fomented by the clinging Boomers who encourage the worst behavior on the part of their Millennial grandchildren. David Horowitz, Boomer radical turned conservative Trump supporter, warned us in 1989 that his generation was the most destructive in US history. And they weren’t done.

David Horowitz, Boomer radical turned conservative Trump supporter, warned us in 1989 that his generation was the most destructive in US history. And they weren’t done.

Pippin, in the play by that name, wants to do something great with his life. He tries academia, sex, war, religion, and politics. All leave him empty.

In the end, Pippin is torn between two extremes of greatness: the greatness of self-immolation and the greatness of being a good husband and stepfather to a young boy.

I wanted magic shows and miracles
Mirages to touch
I wanted such a little thing from life
I wanted so much
I never came close, my love
We never came near
It never was there
I think it was here
—Finale, Pippin by Stephen Schwarz

When I reflect on that day in March 1981, before my generation even had a name, I feel like America has walked millions of miles in Pippin’s shoes. The Boomers beckon us to go out in one perfect flame that will absolve humanity, at least American humanity, of its many sins. Behind those Boomers stand these Gen Xers. We’re too chastened by life to tell the Boomers their wrong. They wouldn’t listen, anyway. But we’re also too wise to think that they’re right.

The Boomers wanted something perfect. Something shiny and pure. But, as Pippin tells us, there’s no color you can have on earth that won’t finally fade.

Maybe America isn’t perfect. But anyone who takes a look around the world will see that no one’s ever done better. No one’s even come close. But we nearly came near during that magic moment called the Eighties. Thank God that bullet missed its mark.

Maybe we can come a little closer this time. If Donald Trump, like Reagan, can survive the hatred and selfishness of that most destructive generation.

7 Questions for the Freedom Caucus

Yesterday, I placed blame for the healthcare debacle at Speaker Ryan’s feet. I also wrote that I expected the Republican establishment to blame the tea party. To blame us for aborting the Trump presidency in his first 100 days.

Today, I’m going to beat the establishment to that punch a little. Because the Freedom Caucus and some of my favorite action organizations looked a little juvenile in this debate. Juvenile and stupid. In fact, if this were an auto accident (instead of a trainwreck) I’d allocate responsibility at about 60% to Ryan and 40% to the Freedom Caucus.

But that’s my initial assessment. I could change my mind if I get some answers to these questions.

  1. Did you honestly believe that the bill you defeated was worse than Obamacare?
  2. Did you honestly believe that defeating Paul Ryan’s bill would inspire the Republican establishment to write a better bill?
  3. Did you honestly try to improve the bill, or did you decide early on to just kill it?
  4. What is your end state on health care?
  5. What is your plan to achieve that end state?
  6. Do you accept the assessment by many that you retroactively vote “aye” on Obamacare, seven years after the fact?
  7. Do you accept accountability for the consequences of defeating the new president in his first major legislative initiative?

I’d love to hear from the House Freedom Caucus members themselves. I know some of those members committed to voting “aye” on the bill yesterday. And others bargained in good faith, indicated they really wanted to vote for the bill.

Others, however, wanted to kill the bill because of the hamfisted way Ryan brought it from the dark to the light. These obstructionists intended to inflict their damage no matter how good the bill became. I direct my questionnaire to those saboteurs. I wonder if they realize how much damage they might have just done to their own cause. I wonder if they realize that people prefer incremental improvement to shock treatment.

I wrote, if this bill fails, Obamacare is here to stay. The bill failed.

Everyone who helped kill the bill helped keep Obamacare around. You said in effect, “I hate Obamacare, but it’s better than what the Republicans offered.” In other words, the 30 or so holdouts in the House own Obamacare now. As do those activist organizations who cheered on the obstructionists.

I’ve written before of my affinity for Patton’s quote:

A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances.

— George Patton

When Donald Trump won in November, circumstances changed dramatically. Leaders would have adapted their principles to these new circumstances. Both Ryan and his opponents seemed determined to adapt circumstances to their principles. They both failed.

[Read how strategy beats hyperventilation]

Maybe I’m being too pessimistic, but I have a feeling that the Freedom Caucus did what 16 Republicans, Hillary Clinton, and the entire mainstream media establishment could not. I have a feeling the Freedom Caucus destroyed Donald Trump’s chances of winning. And I’m not alone.

From Daniel Flynn at Breitbart:

Presidents never get second chances to make first impressions. So, Donald Trump’s opportunities to repeal and replace ObamaCare after this week’s failures diminish as time passes.

The late Milton Friedman in his book The Tyranny of the Status Quo noted that “a new administration has some six to nine months in which to achieve major changes; if it does not seize the opportunity to act decisively during that period, it will not have another such opportunity. Further changes come slowly or not at all, and counterattacks develop against the initial changes. The temporarily routed political forces regroup, and they tend to mobilize everyone who was adversely affected by the changes, while the proponents of the changes tend to relax after their initial victories.”

. . .

Prospects for Republicans fulfilling their seven-year-old promise to the American people now look bleak. And conservatives, once again, find themselves conserving liberal laws.

From “Freedom Caucus drives dagger into heart of young Trump presidency” by Elizabeth Peek on FoxNews.com:

It is hard to overestimate the damage the Freedom Caucus has done to the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump, and to the country. By blocking the American Health Care Act of 2017, the conservative group has guaranteed that Americans will struggle forward under the burden of Obamacare. In the next few months insurers will announce their premium hikes for the coming year; chances are, given the continuing withdrawal of major companies from the marketplaces and the ongoing failure of the bill to attract enough young and healthy participants, the new rates will not be pretty. Last year premiums went up 25%; it’s likely the increases will be higher this year.

. . .

This is the truth: the Freedom Caucus has breathed new life into the demolished Democratic Party.

We shall see if Ms. Peek’s and Mr. Flynn’s grim conclusions are correct. But their assessments of the immediate damage seems obvious. And the lack of mature leadership from the Freedom Caucus is indisputable.

When I think of leadership, I think of Patton. Paul Ryan gave us General Fredendall. The Freedom Caucus gave us even less.

UPDATE: From Peggy Noonan who sees things so clearly:

Politically it’s all obvious. For the new administration it is a loss and a significant one. It has damaged the new president’s prestige. Every president until he fails has the aura of unused power. Boy, when I use it, you’re gonna see muscle. He used it. No muscle. Fatal? No. Damaging and diminishing? Yes. It is an embarrassment too for Speaker Paul Ryan.Together they could not get a win on the board after they threw everything they have into it. This does not speak well for everything they have.

. . .

The central dynamic behind the bill’s difficulties is that the Republican conference in the House is divided between institutionalists, who support the leadership; conservatives, who found the bill too soft; and moderates, who found it too hard. By putting forward the bill, they allowed this division—which was wholly predictable and may be irreconcilable—to play out as a public breakdown rather than an impasse.

From Philip Klein in Washington Examiner:

In this case, the hardliners were playing a productive role by pointing out the real policy consequences of the piecemeal approach being pursued by the House leadership. Though we’ll never know for sure how the numbers might have looked if a vote had taken place, it’s clear that many centrist members of the Republican caucus were also prepared to vote this bill down. House conservatives, if they could be blamed for anything, it’s for having the audacity to urge leadership to actually honor seven years of pledges to voters to repeal Obamacare. If anybody was moving the goal posts, it wasn’t Freedom Caucusers, it was those who were trying to sell a bill that kept much of Obamacare’s regulatory architecture in place as a free market repeal and replace plan.

Finally, from Robert Costa, whom President Trump called immediately upon pulling the bill:

What happened with the House Freedom Caucus, the hard-line conservatives he had wooed over and over again?

“Ah, that’s the big question,” Trump said with a slight chuckle. “Don’t know. I have a good relationship with them, but I couldn’t get them. They just wouldn’t do it.”

Trump alluded to long-running, simmering dramas on Capitol Hill, which he said had little to do with him, as a reason the Freedom Caucus could not back the bill.

“Years of hatred and distrust,” he said. “Long before me.”

Was Trump saying, perhaps, that the inability of Ryan and his team to work well with that caucus was part of why talks stalled?

“Well, look, you can say what you want,” Trump said. “But there are years of problems, great hatred and distrust, and, you know, I came into the middle of it.”

“I think they made a mistake, but that’s okay,” Trump said of the Freedom Caucus.

Neediness

President Trump is teaching the world a huge lesson. That valuable lesson goes something like this:

Don’t be needy.

Jim Camp is a world-famous negotiation coach. Jim has led some enormous negotiations: labor disputes, huge multi-national buys, and mergers. This is is what Jim says about neediness in his book Start With No:

It is absolutely imperative that you as a negotiator understand the importance of this point. You do NOT need this deal, because to be needy is to lose control and make bad decisions.

Yesterday, I pointed out that most politicians, especially Republican politicians, need every deal. And they use time to get “some deal done.” They delay. They move deadlines (which were never really deadlines.) They change positions.

To politicians,  any deal is better than no deal. 

Republicans need to get any deal done leads to disasters. Big-league negotiators know this.

I’ve written many times about Chris Voss. Chris was the FBI’s lead hostage negotiator for years. Chris is also a big fan of Jim Camp’s methods. Here’s what Chris says about neediness in his great book Never Split the Difference:

NO NEEDINESS: HAVING THE READY-TO-WALK MINDSET

We’ve said previously that no deal is better than a bad deal. If you feel you can’t say “No” then you’ve taken yourself hostage. Once you’re clear on what your bottom line is, you have to be willing to walk away. Never be needy for a deal.

To Donald Trump, no deal beats a bad deal. 

Trump told Congress to vote on Friday. Pass or fail, he’s moving on.

That is leadership. And it teaches a lesson. It teaches people that the days of American neediness are over. Like when Ronald Reagan fired the PATCO workers.

If the bill passes, we have something to celebrate. Celebrate the fact that our President isn’t needy. Because the world now knows that Trump will walk away from a bad deal.

That’s an achievement worth celebrating.

Healthcare Strategy Beats Hyperventilating

Paul Ryan unveiled a health care bill two weeks ago. Ryan’s favorite lobbyists wrote it. They wrote it in secret. They dumped it on the House GOP caucus.

A lot of my friends on the right went hermatile. “Shoved down our throats!” “Obamacare two-point-oh!” “Obamacare Lite!” “Tyranny!” “Entitlements!” “Worse than Obamacare!” The most frequently used key on the keyboards of tea partiers was the exclamation point!

It’s easy to get spun up over the way Speaker Ryan handled the bill. He violated several of his own promises. He acted a lot like Nancy Pelosi.

No one should be surprised by Ryan’s behavior, though. Paul Ryan works for big corporations. He does their bidding.

Or maybe he’s a master strategist.

I want you to keep in mind two important things about replacing Obamacare:

  1. Strategy
  2. Tactics

Most of the hyperventilation from the right this week was unstrategic and anti-tactical. This post will fix that. If you follow it.

Strategy

You can’t be strategic if you don’t know what strategy is. Most people have no idea from strategy. The people who say “strategy”  a lot in business meetings understand it the least. So let’s begin with the simplest, most brilliant explanation of strategy every written.

John Braddock was a research fellow at Washington University. He worked with Murray Wiedenbaum. Then he quit academia and became a CIA agent. He wrote a great about thinking like a spy: The Spy’s Guide to Thinking. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re lucky to survive. If you go up against someone who has read it, they’ll eat your lunch.

[The Spy’s Guide to Thinking is the #1 Best-Seller on Kindle Singles]

Braddock is working on his second book: The Spy’s Guide to Strategy. He’s released some excerpts from strategy book, and one of those excerpts provides the best definition of strategy ever.

If you’re a strategist, you start at the end.

You think about where you want to be. What will be there. Who will be there.

You start at the end.

Then, you think backward.

Braddock shows us how most people think: forward.

Then he shows us how strategists think: beginning at the end.

If you’re a strategist, the first step is choosing the end. You make the end certain. Which makes the now flexible.

If you’re a strategist, you think about the end first.

Then, you think about the rest.

If you’re a strategist, you think like this:

Finally, he tells us exactly why we need to think about healthcare reform like strategists.

Here’s one thing about thinking like a strategist: You’re never hopeless.

Never

You should read those excerpts again right now. Then read them again. Look at those graphics. Those are world-class visualizations. They’re genius. You’ve probably never seen a better example of genius visualization. You want to memorize that entire excerpt. You also want to bookmark Braddock’s website. The first thousand people who read The Spy’s Guide to Strategy will probably rule the world.

Health Care Strategy

Let’s take Braddock’s advise. Let’s choose the end we want.

The end is not “repeal and replace.” That’s a slogan, not a strategy. “Repeal and replace” makes us feel good. It’s intentionally vague. It gives people a lot of latitude in implementation. Almost anything can be called a repeal. And literally anything can be a replacement.

If our end is “repeal and replace,” we should all support Ryan’s bill 100 percent. It’s better than nothing, and saying you’re for “repeal and replace” is another way of saying “I’m for anything.”

I’m not sure anyone on the right has actually defined our end. So I will.

Our end is the best health care system in the world that ordinary people can afford. We believe that the free market is the best tool for achieving that end. We are open to considering other means (other than free markets), but we’re like doctors. We must see evidence some other method works better than free markets. People who’ve looked hard haven’t found any yet. So we’ll stick with free markets for now.

That’s our end: the world’s best health care system that ordinary Americans can afford. When you think about it, that’s not too much to ask for, is it?

 What Comes Immediately Before That?

Before we get the world’s best healthcare system at prices we can afford is 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in the House. The Republicans have 52 votes. Let’s assume all 52 will vote for some bill. That’s eight votes short.

Braddock also asks “who will be there?” Paul Ryan will be there. Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the House, and nothing gets a vote in the House without Paul Ryan’s permission. Nothing. He literally owns the House. And big medicine owns Paul Ryan.

That means the bill has to appeal to eight Democrat Senators and one bought-and-paid-for Speaker of the House. And that’s the reality you need to deal with.

In Braddock’s first book, he lays out a formula: DADA.

Data –> Analysis –> Decision –> Action

Everybody wants action. But action, as Braddock points out, is expensive. Action eliminates options. If we want the best healthcare system in the world at prices ordinary Americans can afford, we better have great data, excellent analysis, and great decisions first.

[The Spy’s Guide to Thinking is the #1 Best-Seller on Kindle Singles. I do not ]

Some of the data is the reality I pointed out above: 8 Democrat Senators and a bought-and-paid-for Speaker of the House.

Now for the analysis.

Analysis

At least eight Democrat Senators will do what their big medicine handlers tell them to do. So will Speaker Ryan. Those big medicine executives, like all executives, prefer the devil they know. And the devil they know best is the devil some call “the administrative state.”

Free market reforms in medicine and insurance will disrupt that administrative state. Big league. That panics those candy-ass corporate MBAs. Spooks them, I tell you.

I’ve written before that most executives would rather know for sure they’re going out of business than be surprised by a $20 billion profit. They spook easily, and they wouldn’t recognize leadership if Patton slapped them in the face.

If you want free market reforms, you better persuade big medicine execs that free markets will provide predictable growth and substantial cost savings in the near term. If those execs come to believe the free market can be predictable and cheaper, they’ll instruct eight Democrat Senators and their Speaker to vote for the bills that deliver it.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We’ve introduced another “who.” Big medicine execs. They represent new data. We need to feed that new data back into the analysis loop.

Big Medicine Execs

Imagine that you’re a big corporate executive. Your company is in medicine. Pharma, hosptials, insurance, devices, whatever. You have a big office. And huge income. You get paid based on your company’s current stock price. Your pay and prestige have nothing to do with the quality of your company or the quality of your products. You can sell poison to kids and be treated like a hero in the business world. You can go bankrupt nineteen times in a year and get a trillion-dollar bonus. Just so your stock price stays inflated. You can cook the books, evade prosecution, and replace all your American workers with foreigners and be hailed as a Great American if your stock price goes up. In other words, there is no honor among execs.

You get paid based on your company’s current stock price. Pretend you’re a CEO. About 80 percent of your CEO pay comes bonuses and incentives mostly tied to stock performance, according to Salary.com. Your pay and prestige have nothing to do with the quality of your company or the quality of your products. You can sell poison to kids and be treated like a hero in the business world. You can go bankrupt nineteen times in a year and get a trillion-dollar bonus. Look at Wall Street after the crash. Just don’t let your stock price falter. You can cook the books, evade prosecution, and replace all your American workers with foreigners and be hailed as The Great American Leader if your stock price goes up. In other words, there is no honor among execs.

There’s no point in appealing to a business executive’s honor. They’ve been trained since childhood that the measure of a man is his total compensation relative to his peers in business. These execs have compensation plans based on stock price, and that’s the only thing they care about. That compensation is more important than anything, including their families, including their country. You can’t shame them into doing the right thing. There’s no class on shame at Harvard Business School.

Big business runs on imaginary predictability, and everyone in business knows it. Before becoming a famous cartoonist, Dilbert’s Scott Adams worked in that business-modeling world. Here’s how he describes his old job:

By the way, my educational background is in economics and business. And for years, my corporate jobs involved making complex financial projections about budgets. In other words, I was perpetuating financial fraud within the company, by order of my boss. He told me to pretend my financial projections were real, and I did. But they were not real. My predictions were in line with whatever my boss told me they would be. I “tuned” my assumptions until I got my boss’s answer.

Nothing has changed since Adams left the corporate world. Believe me.

That’s why hyperventilation about Obamacare 2.0 does no good. The most important lobbying group in the country doesn’t care. They just want stability. They want to know that they can continue to rely on their erroneous and fraudulent economic models and projects. They know their projections are bullshit. But the corporate world has spent decades erecting a facade around their fraudulent modeling techniques. They will fight like dogs to prevent those facades from coming down. Because, if the facades fall, we’ll see that they’re all naked.

So my analysis: stop shouting “no” to Ryan’s bill. Look ahead to our end, the world’s best health care system that ordinary Americans can afford. Then reason backward. What will be there? Who will be there? What happens just before that? And before that? And again until we get all the way back to now?

Once we get back to now we will know our next step. And by working backward, we can see only one future: the future we chose.

To be continued. Don’t jump to conclusions. 

Many Times Trump’s Crazy Statements Turned Out to Be Right

Almost every time Donald Trump says something crazy, something so outlandish and wrong, he later turns out to be right.

I know his critics can’t read my blog. (Literally, they can’t. They have a psychological problem that prevents their brains from processing information that’s inconsistent with their beliefs.) But for those of you who want to be right with the truth instead of just right with your own opinion, this will be a great post to forward to your friends. I’ll make it easy with clickable Twitter boxes like this one.

[Tweet “This will make you look smart.”]

I googled “Trump was right.” I got a lot of links back. I was embarrassed to realize I had forgotten most of these cases. Maybe you remember these now. Before you decide Trump’s crazy wiretap story is, well, crazy, you will want to recall all the other times Trump’s crazy assertions were true.

  • Recently, Trump talked about all the migrant-caused violence in Sweden. The media and Swedish politicians said he was crazy. But he turned out to be right. In fact, we’ve since learned that Swedish politicians routinely cover up rape, murder, and mayhem that’s perpetrated by migrants. So Trump probably knew from intelligence reports that there was more crime in Sweden than Sweden admits. But Trump was right about terrorism in Sweden.
  • Trump calls CNN and New York Times and Washington Post “fake news.” The pundits roar. But courts and journalism watchdogs agree with Trump. As The Black Sphere pointed out, a court recently fined CNN for pushing fake news that hurt someone. Washington Post claimed Russia had hacked our electric grid, which was a total lie. And New York Times published a story that the government wiretapped Trump’s aides, then another story that the government didn’t wiretap Trump’s aides. Trump was right about CNN and others being fake news.
  • When Trump said it was too early to tell who was behind a string of threats against Jewish centers, the Anti-Defamation League, and others attacked Trump, some accusing Trump supporters of the threats. But the arrest of far-left St. Louis journalist Juan Thompson, a Bernie supporter, proved Trump was right to withhold judgment until all the facts were in.
  • Trump said the Yemen raid by Navy SEALs was a success. John McCain and the media said it was a failure. Then we blew up a bunch of terrorists in Yemen using intel gained in that raid. Trump was right about Yemen.
  • General Motors flatly denied Trump’s allegation that GM was moving Chevy Cruze production to Mexico. The media jumped in on GM’s side. But on January 19, CNN Money admitted Trump was right. GM was laying off 1,200 Americans because of its move to Mexico. GM lied, Trump was right.
  • Remember when Trump said he would save thos Carrier jobs in Indiana? Everyone said he was nuts. He saved most of them, didn’t he?
  • Trump called himself a conservative person. Professional conservatives howled and called him a charlatan. Yet, so far, Trump has been the most conservative president since Calvin Coolidge. (Sorry, Mr. Reagan.) And he’s just getting started!
  • Trump said he’d appoint a conservative to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Pundits and professional conservatives said he’d pick a liberal. Cruz said he’d pick Merrick Garland. But Trump picked Neil Gorsuch, a favorite of Ted Cruz.
  • Last year, Buzzfeed found 7 crazy pop culture predictions Trump was right about. Turns out Trump is pretty good at predicting who will stay married and who will get divorced.
  • Trump was lambasted (still is) for saying a lot of drugs come into America from Mexico. But even HuffPo admits Trump was right.
  • The media and Mexican groups attacked Trump’s “crazy” assertion that 80 percent of young women crossing Mexico from Central America to reach the US were raped along the way. Turns out Trump was right and the Mexican activists were wrong.
  • Nobody believed Trump when he said he could win the Republican nomination as late as April 2016. I was in DC in April hanging out with political friends. They all expected the GOP to find some way to dump Trump and appoint Cruz or Rubio as the nominee. Trump wrapped up the nomination less than a month later.
  • None of the major media, major pollsters (save for Rasmussen), political pundits, or Hollywood celebs gave Trump a snowball’s chance in hell at winning on November 8. But Trump divested all of his stock holdings in June of 2016 because “I felt very much that we’d be winning.” As the Dallas News put it: “Trump was right, we were wrong.” Showtime calls the election the biggest political upset of all time. And until November 9th, so many people called Trump’s confidence a sign of craziness.

[Tweet “All the times Trump was right”]

(Read how Trump completed the Tea Party)

Look, there are probably another 100 cases where Trump said or tweeted something “crazy” that turned out to be right. You’re probably thinking of several that I missed. But I’m tired of writing. Almost every time Trump says something outlandish, he’s right and everyone else is wrong. I’m used to it. You might want to just start nodding your head at everything Trump says. He’s usually right. And always right about the important stuff.

Before you decide that Trump’s wiretap tweets were crazy, think about this list. And think about Scott Adams’s point: presidents have access to more information than anyone alive. It’s possible that Trump knows something about those wiretaps that you and the New York Times editorial board do not.

If history is any guide, expect to see this headline in a few days: “Trump Proven Right On Wiretaps.”

 

John McCain’s Most Evil Sin

John McCain may have done some heroic things, but he is a hero no more.

Imagine how you’d feel.

A knock on your door.

Through the deadlights around your front door, you see a car with government stencils on the side. When you get close enough, you look out and see a man in uniform. An officer. You know. You know why he’s here. Your throat tightens. You want to turn around and walk away. You can’t. You must open the door. You must let this officer recite his grim script.

“The Secretary of the Navy has asked me to inform you that your son was killed in action  . . .”

You can imagine that parents of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines pray every day that they never hear those words. Yet we never forget that we might.

If it happens to you, your greatest hope is that your son or daughter gave his or her life for the highest purposes. That your child’s death will lead to some greater good. That they did not die in vain.

The gravest sin one can commit against the fallen fighter and the fighter’s family is to denigrate the nature of their child’s service and death. Shooting a grieving parent would be more merciful and holy than telling them their child’s death was meaningless and useless.

John McCain told Ryan Owens’s family that Senior Chief Owens died in vain. McCain repeatedly called the Yemen mission a “failure.” He refused to apologize to Owens’s family. And he clumsily attempted to cover his tracks with an absurd assertion that any military operation that results in a loss of life is a failure.

By implication, McCain called D-Day a failure. By his logic, every American fighting man and fighting woman who died in combat died in vain.

The press, of course, celebrated McCain’s idiotic assertions. Yet, we know now that the “failed” raid resulted in actionable intelligence:

I hope Senior Chief Owens’s family now realizes that Senator McCain was wrong. Ryan Owens is a hero whose life and death gave material, measurable assistance to a better world and a higher purpose. He did not die in vain.

I hope all Americans now realize that Senator McCain is an emotionally crippled man who believes he betrayed his comrades in Vietnam. McCain acts out of the immense guilt his personal weakness instilled in him.

You feel no duty to treat Senator McCain as a hero. His heroic actions in the 1960s cannot excuse his many grave acts of evil since.