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Living with Trump

The single most important asset Australia must have to adjust to the new world order we face from next January is a government capable of dealing with the considerable challenges a Trump presidency will bring to us and to our region.

We don’t have such a government. What we have is a gaggle of at best mediocre, self-interested, belligerent geese, irreconcilably divided amongst themselves. None of them have grasped that they are no long in opposition, and none of them have shown the slightest talent for governance.

Their most observable attribute is an aptitude for wedging: this attribute has its place but when it’s the lone core strategy it’s an alarming signal that the government doesn’t actually know how to do anything else. It is also an adolescent triumph that achieves nothing of worth, but does make them feel temporarily clever. The Turnbull government’s need to feel individually and collectively clever by discovering new ways to wedge its opposition reveals a profound emptiness where vision, policies and governance should be.

It’s like being governed by teenagers whose brains have not yet fully formed.

As things stand nobody, including our man in Washington Ambassador Hockey, has the slightest idea of what is going to hit them, and how to deal with it when it does.

The lunatics in parliament such as Abbott, Bernardi, Christensen, Hanson, Roberts and the closet Trumpites (of whom there are more than a few, I hazard to guess) have not yet grasped that Trump is not of their faith. The man is not an ideologue, he will have no more interest in their brand of ideological claptrap than he does in that of his own party. Trump is an opportunist who sees himself as the leader of a movement, not an ideology, and he will cherry pick whatever he needs to maintain that movement’s momentum and his own pride of place at its head.

Indeed, it’s my opinion that he’s done this throughout the lengthy campaign: telling every group he’s addressed whatever he believes they need to hear in order to persuade them to support him. What he will actually focus on when he becomes president is anybody’s guess.

I’m not getting into hand wringing, although I was temporarily disturbed by the Trump family’s collective reluctance to genuinely embrace their patriarch when they all gathered onstage to claim victory. Nobody seemed to want their body close to his. This tells us much about the man.

There’s nothing to be done except pay serious attention as to how we’re going to negotiate this brave new world without going under. Kim Beazley, who preceded Hockey in Washington and how I wish he was still there, made the alarming judgement that our region is likely to be the most severely affected by a Trump presidency. We are ill-equipped to face our future, given the inadequate government we’ve got.

For a start, we desperately need a real foreign minister. As I heard Richard Bronowski remark last evening, Ms Bishop was very well made up and spoke calmly and collectedly, the only problem was she said absolutely nothing. I’ve been observing precisely this for years now.

Will they grow up in time? Are they capable of maturing? Because if ever we needed the adults in charge, it’s now.

As for the woman thing, I’ll leave that for another post.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

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9 comments

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  1. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Yet again the MSM let us down. Instead of asking “how” and “what then” which would highlight the vacuity of the Donald’s “policy” statements, they allowed themselves to do exactly as he wanted – to give him free advertising. Australian politicians of the right have also collectively sat on the fence – they acted with the same “political correctness” that they always accuse progressives of.

    Now its Turnbull’s shit to handle. Good luck with that. Watching Turnbull trying to be logical with a nutter will be something to behold.

  2. Adrianne Haddow

    Agreed, Steve Laing. MSM has reduced politics to a celebrity contest, with each celebrity vying to be showcased in the media for their outrageous, attention grabbing utterances and posturing.

    The use of logic with the nutters in our own parliament has fallen on deaf ears and atrophied brains, why does anyone think it will work with a Trump led Republican party?
    Like our own despised Abbot, Trump is only a puppet for the anti humanity dipsticks who really run the show.

  3. Kaye Lee

    “Ms Bishop was very well made up”

    I hate myself for this because I try never to comment on someone’s appearance but Julie has got new, very long eyelashes that cause her to blink continually. How is she going to do her death stare if she has to be fluttering her eyelashes all the time?

  4. Pamela

    I did notice the lack of warmth in Clan Trump
    They looked like a family who have just had a catastrophic row putting on a brace face at a funeral. Why was Boy Trump made to stand like a sentinel while Dad trump brayed- a caring father would have had the kid in bed- it was the middle of the night after all- just some domestic observations to delay despair occasioned by deeper thoughts about the racist misogynist neo fascist turn the west is taking.

  5. keerti

    Don’t worry Kaye Lee. Julie’s eyelashes will eventually wear out her ability to hold her eyelids up and with this will go her ability to see, resulting in an inbility to sign her name. Since she is a slow learner it will take her an inordinate amount of time to learn braille. Given the above, her ability to cause further harm to humanity will be severly curtailed!

  6. Kaye Lee

    Just read an interesting perspective on the reasons for the rise of anti-intellectualism…..

    “As a society, we never grew up beyond high school. Not being smart continues to be cool. Rejecting the collective wisdom of scientists, economists, academics, and journalists is applauded. Spurning the “establishment” (defined, it seems, as anybody with expertise on any subject) has become the new national pastime.

    What is causing this anti-intellectual populist movement? Three things are to blame.

    First, the “democratization of information” that is the direct result of the internet — perhaps the most liberating and revolutionary invention of mankind — has a darker side. Anybody with access to Google and five minutes to kill believes that he can become an expert in anything. Consequently, people believe that their opinions are just as good as anybody else’s, including those of experts.

    For instance, in the recent EU referendum, pro-Brexit politicians claimed that UK citizens “have had enough of experts,” and that the only expert that matters is the voter. A radio show caller noted, “Experts built the Titanic.” (That is indeed true. So, who should we have preferred build the Titanic? Non-experts?)

    Second, nearly every important topic has been politicized. Support for GMOs largely splits among party lines. Acceptance or rejection of climate change has become a political litmus test. And policies that were once bipartisan and widely endorsed are now opposed, merely because the opposition party is in favor of it.

    Third, it is far easier to attack the integrity of the messenger rather than the content of the message. Proponents of GMOs are called shills for Big Ag. People who support vaccines must be on the payroll of Big Pharma. Academics who speak out are know-it-all eggheads who have no idea what the real world is like.”

  7. Ill fares the land

    Firstly let’s not forget that many “experts” are self-proclaimed. In a world where building a strong “personal brand” (a legacy of the growing absurd influence of marketers; HR wankers and organisational psychologists), is seen as vital to future success, everyone is out there telling themselves and then telling the rest of us how wonderful they are – to the point where it has all become white noise. I am struck by how many “experts” are being enlisted to comment on Trump and how few of them actually appear to have anything astute to say.

    Secondly, the rise and rise of social media and opinion disguised as news means that any idiot has a forum. It doesn’t matter that their views are ridiculous or they are functionally illiterate (a la Hanson); everyone can feel like they have something that the whole world has to listen to.

    Thirdly, in America, I suspect there are a lot of very angry people. Some are rightly angry that their jobs, homes, financial security…. their futures have been lost to cheap labour overseas and to the quest for corporate profits, but many others I think are just plain angry all of the time and they just need things to hate. They carry guns and drive monster pickups, because both are their weapons for dishing out their particular form of hatred to others. Their hatred of blacks, of government, of Muslims, of Asians – the list is endless. For those people who just hate because it is part of the fabric of being them, Trump is a godsend. We are talking a country where apparently 1 in 20 think they have been abducted by aliens; where millions carry and are happy to use guns; there are thousands of doomsday preppers and many, many more who would be if they could – why should we be surprised they see Trump as their new hero.

    Clinton didn’t actually give them someone to hate – apart from her. But in reality, surely the revulsion and hatred millions feel or think they feel for Clinton is as absurd and confected as the frenzied and rabid support for Trump. Clinton has way too much baggage and in the end, she only has herself to blame to a degree, but she can’t be as vile as she is made out. What has clearly occurred on both sides is the phenomenon of “momentum”. Once a view starts to take hold and get traction, people instantly align themselvs with one side or the other.

  8. Nato

    ” mediocre, self-interested, belligerent geese, irreconcilably divided amongst themselves”
    ” need to feel individually and collectively clever by discovering new ways to wedge its opposition”
    ” teenagers whose brains have not yet fully formed”
    ” an opportunist who sees himself as the leader of a movement, not an ideology, and he will cherry pick whatever he needs to maintain that movement’s momentum and his own pride of place at its head”
    ” spoke calmly and collectedly, the only problem was she said absolutely nothing”

    Finally, a commentator at TAIMN what a politician, any politician, all politicians, are. When you finally realize that you have also described the candidates you support, come join the libertarian pack.

  9. Harquebus

    Kaye Lee
    Rejecting the collective wisdom of economists is on my list of requirements. Corporate controlled journalists should also, in my opinion, be mistrusted.

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