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Paul Ryan

Why I’m Not Freaking Out About the Budget

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Congress is about to pass a budget. I call it a “Paul Ryan Special.” This budget lets the government spend money for four months. It expires in September.

The budget is horrible. Republicans are spinning a few “wins” in the budget, but that’s a terrible argument. It’s like telling a terminal cancer patient, “but your blood pressure’s pretty good.”

Here’s the thing: you cannot control Congress. You can only control what you focus on and what you do next. That’s it. That’s all anyone can control.

Sure, you can influence people. If you capture their attention, bypass their critical thinking, and trigger their subconscious mind. That’s how you influence. But you cannot control. What they do next is up to them. What you do next is up to you.

I’ve learned that making fun of Paul Ryan on Twitter does no good. He’s not reading my tweets.

I’m, instead, focusing on improving my work. If I improve my work, the economy might grow. If the economy grows, people will give Trump credit. If Trump gets credit for the economy, he’ll get more positive attention by September. If Trump has positive attention in Congress, he’ll have more influence over Paul Ryan and Democrats.

People want a vibrant economy. People want to choose between several good job offers. No one wants to feel trapped in a low-paying job they don’t like. People want options. You want options.

I can’t fix the economy myself, but I can do my job better. And that will make my company and its clients better. If enough other people do the same, the economy will grow.

The other thing people want is safety. People want to be safe. What good is a great job if you get shot walking into work?

If President Trump makes America safe again, he will earn more positive attention. With more positive attention, his influence in Congress will increase.

I can’t do much about safety, but my kids can. I have two sons in the Navy and one who will soon be a firefighter. They keep us safe. I can choose to support them and their careers. That’s how I can make America safer. It’s not much, but it’s in my control.

You, like me, hate this 4-month budget. But I’m not freaking out. It’ll be over in four months. That’s about the same amount of time that Trump’s been in office. See how time flies?

It will be okay.

 

Paul Ryan’s Battle of Kasserine Pass

Reading Time: 2 minutes

General George S. Patton arrived in North Africa with a single mission: lead the Allied forces to victory over the Hun.

But Patton’s assignment was also in response to a miserable and deadly failure of leadership. The failed leadership of General Lloyd Fredendall.

Fredendall was a Francophobe and an Anglophobe ill-suited to wage coalition warfare; a micromanager who bypassed the chain of command – giving orders as far down as company level; a coward, he allowed animus with subordinates to affect his judgment and undercut their authority; and finally, staring defeat in the face at Kasserine, he tried to pin the blame on others.

Abolishing Obamacare was to be the first battle of the new Republican government. For this battle, Republican forces had trained for nearly a decade. But, as we learn so often in history, peacetime generals and commanders mostly fail when the bullets start flying. For example, every US submarine commander in command on Pearl Harbor Day was relieved of command within a year. Mostly because they failed as wartime commanders.

When Trump won and the GOP retained the Senate, America transitioned to a political wartime footing. But Ryan’s boots aren’t up to that rugged turf.

Over on the news channels, the House of Representatives is about to kill Paul Ryan’s failed, horrible healthcare plan. I admit I was wrong yesterday. I expected the bill to pass. And I was okay with it passing. Yesterday.

Today, seeing Paul Ryan scramble, panic, and retreat, I’m glad the bill is failing. Like General Fredendall, Ryan arrived in his position with high expectations. Before his epic failure at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Eisenhower wrote of Fredenall: “I bless the day you urged Fredendall upon me and cheerfully acknowledge that my earlier doubts of him were completely unfounded.”

Borrowing the words of Dwight Von Zimmermann who chronicled Fredendall’s failure, consider this:

Paul Ryan is a Trumpophobe and a populophobe ill-suited to wage populist warfare; a backroom conspirator who bypassed the House order, crafting a failed bill with lobbyists and cronies; a coward, he allowed animus with the Republican President to affect his judgment and undercut Trump’s authority; and, finally, staring defeat in the face at AHCA, his establishment cronies will try to pin the blame on the tea party.

It’s time for House Republicans to show the humility, wisdom, and leadership shown by Dwight Eisenhower. After Fredendall’s epic failure, Eisenhower ordered him to return stateside and occupy a desk until the end of the war. Fredendall might destroy the desk, but at least he wouldn’t be in a position to get people killed.

I call on the House Republicans, beginning with Missouri’s delegation, to move immediately to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker. Replace him with a leader in the mold of George Patton. Replace Ryan with a Speaker of character and strength equal to this historical inflection point.

Now, on to tax reform.

Obamacare Repeal Vote Results (Prediction)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today, President Trump changed the game. He changed the Prisoner’s Dilemma (coordination) into a game of Chicken (competition).

Lifer Republicans have no experience with games of chicken. They were raised on coordination games.

By changing the game to Chicken, Donald Trump greatly increased the chances that phony Paul Ryan’s healthcare will PASS.

Here’s why briefly.

Psychologically, people always think they have more time. Republicans, in particular, believe time is limitless. Lifelong Republicans think they can delay any decision until the decision they want is a given.

But Trump said in effect, “vote tomorrow. I’m moving on.”

That’s a very strong move. And it scared the shit out of Republicans. Even Freedom Caucus snowflakes who accused the President of ignoring them. (Not all Freedom Caucusers are snowflakes. But the pansies who complained about their lack of access to the President should be driven out of the caucus and out of the Congress. They’re weak.) Enough Republicans believe that it’s this or nothing. It’s this or Obamacare forever. It’s this or total failure of the last 8 years of Republican politics.

So my prediction is that this pathetic bill will pass.

I hope, but don’t predict, that House Republicans will remove Paul Ryan from the Speakership. Paul Ryan is a weak and failed Speaker. This bill should have been ready on January 20. Ryan’s selfishness caused this crisis. 

For the record, I also hope the bill passes. Not that I like the bill. But I think it can be improved with future legislation. If it fails, we will live with Obamacare for the next 100 years. Too many people worked too hard for too many years to let that happen.

Strategy, not hyperventilation.

P.S. Nothing in this post should be construed as an endorsement of Paul Ryan. I think Paul Ryan is a disgusting, weak person. But I believe Trump. He walks away from negotiations that are going nowhere. When he says “take it or leave it,” he means. He has a history.

Forgive Paul Ryan

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A lot of people are mad at Paul Ryan. Millions of people want Mr. Ryan to step down as Speaker of the House. I am not mad at him. Paul Ryan is a victim of his circumstances, just like a lot of other Republicans.

Paul Ryan stepped up to a microphone this week and said what he was programmed to say. Essentially, Mr. Ryan said he’s not happy with Donald Trump’s statements about a La Raza judge who started issuing anti-Trump rulings after Trump called on America to enforce its immigration laws. Mr. Ryan voted for most of those laws, but he’s okay with a judge who nullifies those laws from the bench. Paul Ryan is a very forgiving guy.

I try to be forgiving, too. So I forgive Paul Ryan.

Mr. Ryan never had a real job as an adult. He worked for Washington beltway think-tanks and for Congressmen. But he never worked in the private sector. So Mr. Ryan has no idea how to make things that people want. He has not a clue how to make a profit. He knows how to tax and spend, and how to pander. Taxing, spending, and pandering were perfected in Washinton, DC, where Mr. Ryan spent most of his adult life. He’s infused, like gin.

Before you say, “but Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin,” let me say, “I know.” He went from Wisconsin straight to Washington, and I’m pretty sure he has spent most of is adult life in Washington. (Add up the hours.) So Paul Ryan is way more Washington than he is Wisconsin, don’t you agree?

Mr. Ryan is a Republican, through and through. He’s been programmed with rules on race, and he’s been programmed to talk about his indignation when a Republican breaks those rules. I know Hugh Hewitt is angry at Mr. Ryan for attacking Donald Trump, but Ryan really had no choice: he’s been programmed to ask the wrong question.

The question Paul Ryan and many other Republicans are programmed to ask is: “will this help or hurt in the election?” It’s a very selfish question.

The right question to ask is: “Who is being racist?” The answer: the racists are mad at Trump. I’ve shown how here, here, and here.

Paul Ryan will come around when he realizes that he is taking the racist position.

But I’m getting in front of this by forgiving him early.

BTW, if you think this post is racist, wait till you read my new book. There’s nothing racist about it.

 

How to Predict Trump’s Landslide Win

Reading Time: 6 minutes

You might have noticed that my predictions have been remarkably accurate lately, have you not?

For example, on Sunday, May 1, I predicted Ted Cruz would suspend his campaign after getting trounced in Indiana. Two days later, Cruz lost the Indiana primary to Donald Trump 53 to 36. At the time I wrote, many pundits and pollster still believed Cruz could win that Indiana race, and everyone believed Cruz was telling the truth when he said repeatedly he was staying in the race to Cleveland unless Trump reached 1,237 delegates before then. Turns out, those pundits were wrong and I was right. Cruz quit long before Trump won the magic number.

Then on Wednesday morning I predicted Paul Ryan and Donald Trump would end their meeting with a joint statement committing to work together to win in November. Pundits thought Ryan would use the meeting to chastise Trump and drive a permanent wedge between the two men. But the meeting ended with a joint statement that expressed precisely the intention and commitment I forecast.

You might think an ancient Sumerian god speaks to me through my dog Stella. Maybe. But more likely, I’ve been applying my day-job thinking in human behavior and persuasive design to my forecasting in politics. And it seems to work. While I’m not nearly as good at this as Scott Adams, I’m getting better.

I now predict that you would like to know my secrets for predicting outcomes. Great. I’ll tell you. In a moment.

Before that, let me tell you I have no idea if I’m right about any of this. I know just enough psychology to know that people are terrible at understanding their own motivations and errors. For example, psychologists will produce better research papers if they’re offered virtual badges for transparency and completeness. In other words, psychologists respond to incentive tactics that most psychologists consider psychological errors. If psychologists with PhDs fall for meaningless rewards, I’m pretty sure I have some blind spots, too.

Now, my secrets.

Focus on Words, Voice, Face, and Body

First, I try to focus on individuals. I can learn more about famous people like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan than I can about millions of people whose names I don’t know. Over time, I might be able to accurately predict how many people respond to a given situation. An election, for example. But for now, I’m focusing on these people with a large body of public information. I pay to attention to the words they use, their tone, tempo, and volume of voice, their facial expressions, and their body language. These four behaviors–language, voice, face, and body–told me Ted Cruz was a beaten man the Friday before the Indiana primary. Maybe he told no one, but Cruz’s brain had already decided his race would end the following Tuesday. No matter how hard he tried, he could not hide what his brain had decided as he spoke to supporters in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The key is to watch people without judging or expecting anything.

Compare to a Baseline

In predicting the Cruz announcement, I had a baseline to compare against. That baseline was Cruz’s speech to supporters in Iowa just before the Iowa caucuses. When you watch the two speeches side-by-side, it’s impossible to miss the changes in Cruz’s words, voice, face, and body. One of the strongest tells was words. In Iowa, Cruz talked about the future, but in Indiana, Cruz talked almost completely in past tense, saying things like “we ran.” The difference in tense was probably totally subconscious, but it was distinct.

An example of subconscious language tells of future behavior happens when employees are ready to quit their jobs. Employees who’ve had enough start referring to the company they work for as “it,” “they,” or “them.” Happy employees say “we” and “us.” Again, it helps to have a baseline. Some people never refer to the company they work for as “us.” But most do–until they’re ready to quit.

Consider Their End Games and Interests

Everything in life is a form of negotiation, and most people open negotiations by stating their positions. But, in the end, rational people abandon their positions and, instead, focus on their interests. I’ve written about the difference before. Crazy people sometimes sacrifice their interests for their positions, but that’s always a losing strategy. The cliché that describes choosing position over interest is cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. See #NeverTrump for more examples of people who abandon interests for positions.

Paul Ryan’s interest is remaining Speaker of the House. Ryan also wants to get some legislation passed in the Senate and signed by the President. His interests are better served with President Trump than with a Democrat in the White House. I realize Never Trumpers can’t get this through their heads, but a Trump victory in November increases the likelihood of the GOP keeping the House and keeping the Senate. Plus, while Trump’s policies are somewhat vague, Clinton’s are not. Clinton would veto every bill Republicans like. A Clinton administration would look a lot like Obama’s administration when it comes to legislation and compromise. So Ryan’s interest is to get Trump elected in November.

Remember that People Decide Emotionally and Defend with Reason

There is no such thing as a rational decision. Zero. All human decisions are emotional. The most important decision most people make is whom to marry. If you think that’s a purely rational decision, tell your wife. Then duck. If the most important decision in your life is an emotional decision, the less important decisions are even more emotional. It’s obvious.

Children with brain damage that prevents them from connecting to the emotional centers of the brain cannot choose between a black pen and a blue-black pen. There’s no rational reason to prefer one over the other, so the kids in the experiment had no information available about which pen to choose. So, even the choice of very dark blue ink or black ink is purely emotional. Understanding that we decide emotionally allowed me to see that Cruz had already decided to leave the race if he lost Indiana. It was that simple.

Reason and facts do matter but only after the decision. For people to remain committed to their decisions, they need rational evidence to defend their decision. It helps to provide facts before people make their decision because the easy available of these facts makes it easier for people to commit to their emotional decisions. Every salesperson knows this.

Be Bold and Announce What You See

The last step is important and it’s the most difficult. To get credit for predictions, you have to announce them. That means you have to be okay with being wrong. Some people would rather die than be wrong, so I don’t know what to tell you if you think people decide rationally. I don’t want you to die. For you, being wrong in public is very painful, so you probably need to keep your opinions to yourself. I am used to being wrong, so I find it easier to announce my predictions in public.

And that’s all there is to my effortless and easy formula for predicting that Cruz would quit the race and that Trump and Ryan would work together to defeat crooked Hillary Clinton and down-ballot Democrats this year. I looked at behavior of key players, determined their interests, and remembered that they decide emotionally and defend rationally. Then I wrote about it.

Expect Trump to Win in a Landslide

Now I’m pretty sure Trump will win in a landslide in November with about 400 electoral votes. Maybe more, but 400 seems about right. That means he’ll win about 40 states. I don’t know which 40, but that doesn’t matter. If Trump wins 40 states, he’ll win about 400 electoral votes. Everyone will call it Trump’s Landslide, and Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan will be very happy because President Trump will support and sign their favorite bills.

Most people expect Trump to beat crooked Hillary. I know pollsters aren’t releasing their expectation polls yet, because those polls would be a disaster for crooked Hillary. But people keep talking about “when Trump’s president” and “President Trump.” Even crooked Hillary released a “President Trump” video. These are psychological tells, just like Cruz’s “we ran.” Subconsciously, most people expect Trump to beat crooked Hillary Clinton (assuming she’s even allowed to run), and expectations trump preferences.

My only hesitation in making this prediction is that Never Trumper Glenn Beck also thinks Trump will in November. And Beck is usually wrong, but not always. So predicting the same thing Glenn Beck predicts scares me a little. Still, this time I’m going to agree with Glenn Beck and stick with what I see: a Trump landslide.

If you think “Never Trump,” you must also think “Never Cruz policies” and “Never Ryan policies.” That’s also called cutting off your nose to spite your face. And that’s crazy, folks. That’s crazy.


P.S. Your Comments: You’ll probably see a lot of people argue with me in the comments. They’ll ridicule me, then list a bunch of “facts” to prove I’m wrong about Trump winning in a landslide. Those commenters are actually proving my points. Everyone knows that facts don’t persuade, so why would people use facts to argue? Those commenters are not arguing with me; they’re arguing with their own minds. They’ve made an emotional decision, and they’re trying to defend that emotional decision with facts, exactly as I said. But the fact that they’re arguing on a public forum shows they’ve allowed some doubt to creep into their minds. Maybe some emotional trigger is urging them to believe Trump wins in a landslide. Vindicating.

Here’s How the Ryan-Trump Meeting Ends

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nothing happens in politics by accident. Every move has an angle. Some players are better than others. Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are two of the best players alive, but one is better than the other. We’ll see that tomorrow.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has set aside Thursday for meetings with his party’s nominee for President. Every nominee for president meets with the senior members of his party’s Congressional caucus, so there’s nothing odd about the meeting. What makes this nominee-speaker meeting different from all other nominee-speaker meetings is this: Ryan has not endorsed his party’s nominee.

I wrote previously that Ryan used his endorsement as leverage. Donald Trump loves negotiation, so he respects people who know what they’re doing. When Ryan said he’s not yet ready to endorse, he told Trump, “I know how to negotiate, and I’m ready.” Trump responded by saying he’s not ready to endorse the speaker’s agenda. That’s negotiation language for “I received your request to negotiate. My people will get with your people and something will be arranged.”

That “something” is a day of meetings.

Here’s what’s likely to happen:

  • Ryan will tell Trump all the things that Trump must do to win Ryan’s endorsement
  • Trump will say, “that’s not gonna happen, but here’s what I’ll do if you don’t endorse me”
  • Ryan will repeat his demands, leaving off two or three
  • Trump will say, “I’m wasting my time here. See you in Cleveland”
  • As Trump gets up to leave, Ryan will ask to speak The Donald alone
  • The lieutenants will trade concerned glances before leaving the room
  • Alone now with Trump, Ryan will reveal his real desire–his actual single “reserve price
  • Trump will promise to think about it
  • Ryan will say, “without that, no endorsement”
  • Trump will say, “I guess that’s the way it is then”
  • The two will call their lieutenants back in to draft a very friendly joint press release saying “Both the Speaker and Mr. Trump are committed to uniting the Republican Party to defeat Hillary Clinton in November”

At that point, Trump will have won. A joint statement promising to work together to defeat Clinton is as good as an endorsement to the voter’s mind. The House leaders who’ve said they’re not ready to endorse Trump will parrot the press release. They’ll also pose for photos with Donald Trump which they’ll email to their constituents, explaining how lucky their constituents are to be represented by someone who holds their own party’s nominee accountable while still looking great in a selfie with him.

Or it could go a completely different way, but it’ll end up with all the GOP leadership working to defeat the Democrats in the fall. Which is all anybody wants.

Trump wins.

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