Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Trump – Too Big for the Job

Posted on March 12, 2018

Henry David Thoreau famously observed “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” After 14 months in office Donald Trump has demonstrated one thing for sure…he ain’t “most men”.

The things that have burdened and constrained all of our previous presidents are, for Trump, inapplicable. We’re talking about things like facts, truthfulness, study, consultation with experts, and thoughtful implementation of policy.

Trump is way too big for that Mickey Mouse. Those are the kind of things “low energy” Jeb Bush or “crooked” Hillary or “little” Marco Rubio or “lying” Ted Cruz would be doing if they could have beaten Trump. But they couldn’t. They didn’t have the Trump formula..the Trump magic.

So what is the Trump formula? First, know yourself and know what has always worked for you. Second, never apologize, never admit a mistake, and never let them see you sweat. Third, talk like a winner…use superlatives…”disaster…it’s going to stop…best in history.” Fourth, protect the Trump brand, trust your gut, and fight to win every news cycle.

Its working so well that it leaves him almost nothing to do. He blocks out three hours every weekday morning for what the schedule refers to as “Executive Time”. Trump uses that time to watch FOX and get affirmation. Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: The Country Wants a Real Fight

Posted on February 14, 2018

That’s what a real Presidential Election is supposed to be. When it’s over the country should feel a sense of cleansing and accomplishment. The winner invariably enjoys a job approval rating over 50% on Inauguration Day.

In the the ten elections from Carter versus Ford in 1976 to Obama versus Romney in 2012, the country got the benefit of competent candidates giving it their best shot. You could say we got the benefit of a good fight in those campaigns and a sense of finality, at least for a little while.

Trump-Clinton 2016 was a horse of a different color…a tremendously dissatisfying affair. It seemed as though each candidate represented the only person that the other candidate could possibly beat. Many felt like me: Trump was a totally unqualified liar who was impossible to not watch; Hillary was an intelligent grating deceiver who was impossible to watch.

Trump entered office with a 45% job approval, topped out at 46%, and presently sits at 40%…which means he remains unpopular but Impeachment Proof and very dangerous.Trump’s 40% number represents his base’s taunt to Trump Resistance…”you ain’t got game.”

His base is right. The Resistance is diffused and, in some cases, counterproductive. Trump is given the luxury of choosing who to counter-punch against. Not good.

Time to go to Plan B. Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Nobody Knows Anything

Posted on January 9, 2018

About twelve years ago I was in Florida, somewhere between Tampa and Orlando, watching a golf tournament. I’m walking down the street in a little town with The New York Times under my arm. A lady about fifty, probably Jewish probably New Yorker, comes up to me and demands…”where did you get that New York Times?” I tell her and she says, “Finally. Nobody down here knows anything!”

The comment startled me at first…then I thought…BINGO!…the lady knows whereof she speaks.

In that part of the world it seemed to me the major preoccupations were putting together a dependable golf foursome, securing tee times, and getting to your favorite restaurant in time for the reduced price Early Bird Dinner. Political arguments were not welcome…too upsetting…might threaten one’s place in the foursome or the regular Dinner Group. Intellectual curiosity was viewed as odd…what possible purpose could it serve…what are you some sort of kook, or what?

I haven’t been in Florida since that trip. Applying Groucho Marx’s reasoning, I couldn’t envision myself joining a Golf Club that would let someone like me in it.

I was thinking about the Florida lady over the Christmas Season when I talked with friends in Washington and New England about our Maximum Leader.

Everybody has an opinion on Trump, along with their favorite adjectives and observations…”narcissist, totally unqualified, pathological liar, etc.” But then the conversation sort of trails off…nobody (with apologies to Tom Steyer the Hedge Fund guy who has thrown serious money at some TV ads calling for Impeachment) has a plan. Nobody has the kind of fire in their belly that it takes to lead a movement and take him down. Continue Reading…………….

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Back to Basics

Posted on November 15, 2017

When things get crazy slow everything down and go back to basics. The great truths have not been repealed….ignored, yes…but not repealed. Consider:

NATURE (AND POLITICS) ABHORS A VACUUM (PARMENDIES, PHILOSPHER, GREECE, 485 BC)

The Office of President of the United States is essentially vacant. The occupant is happy to spend his days at parades and lavish ceremonial occasions. He has learned how to execute a handshake. Actual leaders like Merkel in Germany, Putin in Russia, and Xi Jinping in China allow him to mug and act like a boor. They smile in a tolerant sort of way. Then, they go about the business of filling the vacuum. Others have plans for “properly directing” an easily manipulated Empty Suit in the Oval Office. Sheldon Adelson has plans for the Suit. He didn’t kick in $35 Million to the Suit’s Campaign for good government. For that kind of money one ought to be able to vaporize a Country (like Iran) for Pete’s sake.

PRIDE GOETH BEFORE THE FALL (PROVERBS 16:18)

The Suit is all about appearances. Did the other leaders really look happy to see him? Are they “strong” leaders? The Suit likes leaders who kill their dissidents and opponents. People like Duterte in the Philippines and Putin in Russia are his kind of guys. He likes to huddle and “joke” with these guys and mug for the cameras giving the implied message “we’re special people, we’re killers. We know how to get our way, we never apologize, get out of our way we’re going to another parade in our honor.”

PATRIOTISM IS THE LAST REFUGE OF SCOUNDREL (SAMUEL JOHNSON)

Politicians love to wrap themselves in the flag. Nixon was a master. He represented the “silent majority”. The people who opposed him were not, in Nixon’s view, “real Americans”. To emphasize the point, he became the first President to wear an American flag lapel pin. Now, its standard attire for conservative politicians and FOX TV hosts. The threat from an “outside enemy” is fertile ground for a politician with sagging poll numbers to mine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has done that for a long time. Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: It’s Sheldon Adelson’s Dream and We’re living It

Billionaire Casino owner Sheldon Adelson is not wracked by doubt. In Sheldon’s world there is no such thing as the Palestinian People, there was never anything to negotiate with Iran, and Israel’s Capitol is Jerusalem.

Sheldon has no trouble keeping things simple and no problem getting to the point.

In dealing with the Trump Campaign, Adelson was reluctant to come in big because, like everybody else, he didn’t think Trump could win. By late October, Adelson was sufficiently convinced that there was enough of a chance that Trump could surprise that it was better to be in than out.

So he came in to the tune of $30 Million to Trump with about 10 days to go and another $5 Million for the Trump Inaugural Committee. A total of $35 Million from a man with a net worth of $35 Billion…no strain, plenty of opportunity to gain.

Before that contribution was made I think we can safely assume that Trump and Adelson spent about 30 seconds talking about “good government” in general and a couple of hours talking about the particulars of Adelson’s latter life passion (since his marriage to his second wife, Israeli born Miriam, in 1991)…Israel.

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who know a lot about a lot and know almost nothing about Sheldon Adelson. Born into a relatively poor Jewish family in heavily Irish Catholic Dorchester, MA I’m sure he took his knocks but there is no doubt he came out with a formidable toughness and focus that have made him the most powerful private citizen in two countries…Israel and the United States.

In Israel, he helped defeat an Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, when Sheldon thought he was being too accommodative to the Palestinians and he has sustained and supported Netanyahu through his Newspaper, Israel Hayom, that has the widest circulation in Israel. Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Making Love to Madame – A Tall Story in Paris

Posted on September 26, 2017

First, it didn’t happen. Or, it probably didn’t happen. When dealing with Madame, one doesn’t know for sure. You see, Madame has this ability to make you wonder if you (meaning me)…or, in this case, I am all here or all there.

I exchanged Emails with Madame this AM. I’m in Paris and she’s in one of those straight laced New England states. I’m having my car fixed, a while back, in one of those states and I’m waiting in the sitting area, standing.

That’s Madame’s influence. Everything must be literally and provably true in all details. I, on the other hand, believe in a more generalized version of “Truthiness”. It tends to keep the conversation moving.

Meanwhile, Madame can say any goddamned thing she wants and if I so much as say “boo” she goes into one of those tiny type email tirades that I have no concept of truth, beauty, love and freedom and, furthermore, would probably “stink up the joint” in bed if it ever came to that. (That amuses the hell out of me…not because it isn’t true…but because that’s how my father would describe a sports team that played really badly…’they stunk up the joint.”).

Furthermore, my continued existence on the planet is a burden to humanity of which she is a part and me not at all. And, the fact that I continue to call my half-assed blog a website is further evidence that I am a pompous self-centered MFer and should be stuffed in a rusty woodchipper forthwith.

(Now, those of you who lack a pure heart may interpret MFer as an obscenity…not necessarily so. I happen to have played way too much poker in California, at a place called the Commerce Club. The demographics of the Club on any given night would be about 50% Asian. When something bad happened to some of the Asian players in a poker game they would sometimes exclaim “Mother Father Mother Father”…so, judge not lest ye be judged.)

Hey, so the lady has strong views, that doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. And, if she is a bad person, and has a dynamite body, who gives a shit…certainly not me. So, it appears as though I’ve set up the perfect lose, lose, lose situation…also known as the Irish Trifecta.

Continue Reading……

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Steve Bannon Gone But Not Forgotten

Posted on August 21, 2017

Friday was quite a day for Steve Bannon. From being fired in the morning from his job as Chief Strategist at the Trump White House to convening an Editorial Meeting at his old home, Breitbart News, in the afternoon.

When the news crossed the wires that Trump had let Bannon go, cheers broke out on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I’m sure that tickled the hell out of Bannon. He doesn’t do hurt feelings. He’s a warrior. He’ll use a tape of those cheers to his advantage in Central Pennsylvania, the Upper Peninsular of Michigan and the Panhandle of Florida.

I’ll bet he was singing the last lines of MLK’s historic speech as he walked out the door of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave…”Free at Last, Free at Last…Thank God Almighty…Free at Last.”

Hey, he lasted a year…measured from the day he took over the Trump Campaign, with the absolute certainty that Trump would win and that he would make it happen, until Friday. Good for him.

Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: We’d Be Better Off If He Was a Drunk

Yeah, I’m talking about Trump, our president. At least if he was a drunk, there could be an intervention. He could get help. Get in a program. AA. Something. Unfortunately, he’s stone cold sober. We’re seeing Trump at the top of his game. This is who he is. We’re on notice. How much more do we need to know?

All the adjectives describing Trump have been used. I don’t have any to add. I do, however, have a few to describe our situation here in the USA and in the world. Dire. Dangerous. Deadly Serious. Unsustainable.

Hand wringing time is over. He has to be removed by the constitutional process sooner rather than later. Preferably, no later than six months from now.

I remember when I was involved with a rag tag group pushing for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. When things looked bleak and it looked like Nixon was going to get away with it we’d sit around and bitch and moan. There was a young Jewish girl who would always chime in and say “OK, path forward?”

She made us recognize how ridiculous it was to do nothing when there was an opportunity to do something and advance the ball down the field, even if only by baby steps. Continue Reading…...

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Good News and Bad News

Published on July 18, 2017

The good news is that Trump is down to a record low in job approval for a President six months into his first term…36%. The bad news is that 36% is too high to get rid of him via impeachment in the House and removal in the Senate.

Trump is losing the smattering of democrats and a significant number of the independents who were with him in 2016. He is, however, retaining his base. That’s the core of Republican voters who like him because of the people and institutions Trump purports to hate and still campaigns against.

We’re talking Obama, Hillary and the mainstream media. Trump can’t let them go. Bashing them is his ticket to survival. It makes the base feel good. That’s the power of hate. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Do I have a whole lot of studies to cite in support of my theory on the power of hate in politics? Not really. But, I can draw your attention to a couple of savvy political operators and a sage from way back in American History.

The operators: Kevin Phillips and Ed Rendell. Phillips was one of the architects of Nixon’s southern strategy that helped Nixon win in 1968. He said that “the secret to politics is understanding who hates who.” Nixon played that truism in the south like a virtuoso violinist. Ed Rendell (no similarity to Tricky Dick) was a successful Governor of Pennsylvania, and former Chairman of the Democrat National Committee. Rendell observed “in politics hate is a far stronger motivator than love.” Continue reading “Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Good News and Bad News”

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Time to Step Up

In sports, when a star player gets injured the coach invariably says “somebody has to step up”. In other words, some player who had a lesser role has an opportunity to show he can do more.

Right now, in the USA, we don’t have a star player. The most charitable thing we can say about the Office of President of the United States is that it’s basically vacant.

We have someone living in the residential quarters of the White House (the “Occupant”). He dresses up with a clean shirt and tie. He slithers about in reptilian fashion and people come to see him. He says things like “we’ll see what happens.” His family dresses beautifully and they scurry around with massive security details. They whisper in the Occupant’s ear and it has nothing to do with anything. Its all bullshit. Nobody knows anything. There’s no there there.

The Occupant doesn’t preside over anything. So, he’s hardly the President. He’s more or less the heckler in chief. He calls his friends and complains about the ineffectiveness of his staff…people who gave their all to him when he didn’t have a snowball’s chance. He sends out tweets in the middle of the night to remind us that he’s a little bit stupider than he was the day before. Continue Reading………..