Patterico's Pontifications


My Donald Trump Idea: Government Apprentice

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 2:17 pm

[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan]

I’m going to take a brief stab here at taking Donald Trump’s apparent presidential ambitions seriously for a moment.

The sales pitch that The Donald makes for himself over and over again is that many of the country’s problems come down to bad, ineffective negotiation. He uses our relationships with China and OPEC as two examples of where the United States is suffering because of poor negotiation. After positing this as one of our nation’s major deficiencies, he goes on to provide himself as the logical solution.

So the first question is not whether Trump is the man for the job but whether "negotiation" is actually a big a problem as he says it is. I think I’m actually open to that idea. I’m not sure I’ve gone full Trump in viewing it as the overriding issue of our times but so much of the government does seem to involve a significant amount of negotiation; everything from trade deals to foreign-policy to dealing with public sector unions to the business of passing laws. You don’t need to look much further than the healthcare debacle to see an issue where the Obama administration was clearly out negotiated by both the unions and the health insurance industry into a compromise that ended up pleasing very few people.

That being said, it’s almost certain that Trump is severely underestimating the actual task at hand. That doesn’t make him either wrong or useless which leads to another question – why doesn’t some mayor or governor give Trump a chance to come in and either show some skills or leave humiliated? Take some specific issue where negotiating skill is a prime qualification and let Trump have at it.

Political egos are a stumbling block to his idea but given the severity of the situation some of our cities and states I can’t believe there isn’t someone out there who would give it a shot.

– Lee Stranahan

35 Responses to “My Donald Trump Idea: Government Apprentice”

  1. the last thing this country needs is two liberal bull$hit artists, back to back.

    Junior needs to go and Trump needs to go away.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  2. The prevailing culture within our government is that of the “art of compormise”.
    With that, everyone is terrified of saying NO!
    Sometimes in a negotiation, you have to have the ability and the will to say NO!
    …see Ronald Reagan/Star Wars/the collapse of the Soviet Union…

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  3. Oops….”compromise”
    My tongue got in the way of my eye-teeth, and I couldn’t see what I was saying.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  4. OK, actually, it would be awesome if businessmen who were also statesmen would lend the government a hand, from time to time, in this way.

    I just don’t think Trump is that guy. I mean, he’s talking about the Chinese as Mofos, when they obviously value the concept of face.

    But hey, the government’s negotiators always act like they are playing with house money. They don’t seem to feel the pain of our debt. One way to make them feel it is to associate their success at getting a good deal with their ego.

    Anyway, I think trying to work out a compromise between Ryan’s budget and Panetta cuts and Bush’s tax cuts and the debt ceiling would be a great place for a negotiator to bring together a compromise. Just get the debt under control. Trump can’t do this, because no respects him. That’s the basic problem in politics. The right doesn’t respect Pelosi, Reid, Obama, etc, and the same is true in the converse.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  5. I don’t think Trump really understands that China’s leaders have different goals than Trump has.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. Yeah…Trump is a narcissistic clown that needs to crawl back from whence he came…

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  7. Lee, your premise in this post seems to be that Trump is a successful businessman who knows something important and useful about negotiations.

    Trump promotes those ideas, but the fact is that he’s been a moderately successful self-promoter and an inconsistent, often spectacularly UNsuccessful businessman.

    He has nothing to teach except self-promotion, and we don’t need that.

    Beldar (acb014)

  8. Grrrr.

    I’m thoroughly sick of the comments filtering at this blog. It’s a serious impediment to my desire to leave comments here.

    Beldar (acb014)

  9. Lee,

    Seriously, Trump went busted how many times?

    After his Daddy left him $500 million to get started.

    Trump is the circus clown act that the GOP so richly deserves. And Beck. And Palin. And Bachmann. No one with an ounce of sense takes any of them seriously.

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  10. The real Beldar has never had that problem.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  11. Here are the problems I have with Trump’s view that ‘negotiation’ is the issue…

    First, as is the case with its cousin, ‘diplomacy’, ‘negotiation’ is a means to an end, not an end in of itself. And no successful businessman would ever think otherwise.

    Second, how much one ends up with at the end of negotiating is usually less due to one’s skill in negotiations than it is to the underlying strength of their holdings. Put another way, if you don’t have what the other side wants, it doesn’t matter how good a negotiator you are, you aren’t going to get very far.

    Along those lines, it is critical in negotiations to convince the other side that you’re prepared to walk away if you don’t get what you want. Think of the unionized car companies in years past. No matter how much they talked, the unions knew the car companies didn’t have the ability to have a strike drag on for an extended period. The same dynamic holds for the NFL talks. Absent a court order, the winner will be the side that convinces the other that they’re prepared to do without football. If the players think the owners can’t go a full season, the players will have the upper hand. In the areas Trump talks about, we don’t have the luxury of, for example, doing without China buying our bonds… and they know it. The same with public unions: no mayor is going to withstand a long strike by teachers or firefighters… or even the workers at the DMV. So Trump can bluster all he wants, and the Chinese will simply call him on it.

    And I don’t follow your assertion that Obama was out-negotiated in the health care debate. Did he not get 90% of what he wanted? So he failed at negotiation because he didn’t get 100% of what he wanted? Or is it that he failed because it didn’t end up as you wanted it to?

    steve (254463)

  12. And I don’t follow your assertion that Obama was out-negotiated in the health care debate. Did he not get 90% of what he wanted?

    Comment by steve

    Obama wanted a public option.

    I’d say the number was closer to Obama got 25% of what he wanted. And he wasn’t out negotiated. He didn’t have the votes.

    I’m glad for Lee Stranahan that very soon he will no longer be able to denied insurance due to his diabetes.

    And it offends me that you right wingers want to deny guys like Lee health insurance.

    And Lee still supports your team. Go figure.

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  13. The man who thinks we merely need to whine at OPEC until they supply more oil, and oil prices will thereby magically go back to three dollars a gallon is not to be trusted.

    Think of it this way: his view of the oil supply problem is even more simplistic and offbase than Obama’s.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  14. AD-RtR/OS! (#9): Thanks for the belly laugh!

    Beldar (acb014)

  15. Trump burned through my Trump attention span very very quickly. He’s a douche for one and he’s a New York douche on top of it. And life is too short for New York douchebags. As long as they’re content to ponce about their grubby little island they’re fine but they have a very short shelf life out in the real world I think.

    happyfeet (760ba3)

  16. hmmm. I rather hope Mr. Bob skips this thread.

    happyfeet (760ba3)

  17. Lee, I could not agree more. Whereas Trump does have executive experience (unlike the current WH occupant) he has exhibited a irrational streak that Obama does not display (I disagree with him one most everything – but his plans are rational once one understands from whence he comes and to where he strives to go). Trading one serious deficiency for another would be a marginally different, but none the less foolish decision that put Obama in the White House.

    bains (8f7349)

  18. ___________________________________________

    Trump is severely underestimating the actual task at hand.

    He already has botched a major task related to his presidential bid. I’m referring to the supposed investigation he initiated of Obama’s birth certificate. Not too long ago, Trump said his crew of sleuths were looking into the matter. He exuded a confidence (and implied) that such work had uncovered something justifying his skepticism about Obama’s citizenship.


    Besides that, Trump is a socio-political chameleon, or a squish, probably not helped by all the NYC latte liberals that he hangs out with, or, no fault of his own, that make up a fair share of the population around his residence.

    Mark (411533)

  19. The left sure love being in the company of millionaires.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  20. He exuded a confidence (and implied) that such work had uncovered something justifying his skepticism about Obama’s citizenship.

    Yes, he most certainly did. He deliberately cast doubt on the legitimacy of the US Presidency. He did more than just ask questions, but he strongly suggested he had some evidence. Now he’s shut up completely.

    Trump sank perhaps well below Obama’s level, depending on what you think Obama’s level is. We don’t need someone with Trump’s integrity in office.

    But maybe something *like* Trump would be helpful. What if democrats and republicans relied on a few expert negotiators, motivated not by a fee, but by patriotism, to hammer out a deal on our fiscal crisis? It’s a plan.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  21. I don’t know what Trump thinks he can negotiate from the Chinese, other than to get them to flinch perhaps a tiny bit on currency valuation, which even then I’m not sure what species of “negotiation” would do the trick. The Chinese are still smarting from having been pushed around by the British all throughout the 19th century (and by the Manchus before that!) so I don’t think they’ll suddenly start to cower under threats from some doofus with a bad hairdo.

    Our main strength with regard to China at the moment is that globally speaking, we have them flanked — but that advantage may not last forever, esp. if we keep acting like jerks on the international stage and alienating everyone in sight. The long-term weaknesses we have in relation to China are these: 1) our economy has become far too reliant on consumption, services and distribution, and doesn’t have enough raw production/manufacturing power. That is the root of the recession, and that is the reason this recession may in fact be here to stay. The Chinese have the opposite type of economy, and furthermore they have the social and political tools to continue expanding their manufacturing and export base, while ours is in perpetual retreat. 2) The Chinese are playing a mercantilist long game, and we are playing a short-sighted idiot-free-trader short game based on conflicting internal interests and principles of questionable truth value. We’ve made it work to date because we have the reserve currency, the best military/navy, and status as the honest broker of last resort. But again, these advantages may not last forever, and besides, they are peripheral, not fundamental. 3) From a population/demographics perspective, the Chinese are holding a straight flush, while we are merely holding a straight. They can’t fully employ this advantage unless/until things potentially started to really go south in the Pacific militarily, but if that evil day ever happens, the US is in for the surprise of the century.

    d. in c. (0d8dec)

  22. Moderated after leaving a two-paragraph analytical comment w/ no bad language.

    Have I done something problematic?

    d. in c. (ae55d7)

  23. d in c, it’s the filter. Everybody is complaining about it.

    My uninformed guess is that some words in your comment are similar to known spam, even though it’s a coincidence.

    Casino, maybe?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  24. d in c, I just typed the word casin0, and my comment was filtered.

    Did you type that word?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  25. Nah, it was all about how Trump doesn’t understand the true situation re China, and doesn’t understand the structural sources of our current economic slump, if he thinks he can “negotiate” with the Chinese by browbeating them.

    Y’know, yer typical phishing scam.

    d. in c. (1e48bc)

  26. Nah, it was all about how Trump doesn’t understand the true situation re China, and doesn’t understand the structural sources of our current economic slump, if he thinks he can “negotiate” with the Chinese by browbeating them.

    Y’know, yer typical ph1sh1ng scam.

    d. in c. (68ff46)

  27. Well for some reason, the filter seems to eat a lot of comments lately, and it’s not you. I think it’s a pretty good indicator that I comment here wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much that I can just trigger the filter by sheer guess.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  28. Trump is a filp flopping demagogue if Palin wins he will do everything to distance himself from the repubs and become a democrap.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  29. Lee,

    I changed one word to your final sentence (“is” to “isn’t”) to more accurately convey what I thought you meant. It looked like you might have tripped on a double negative. If you truly meant to convey that nobody would send Trump on such a mission, as your words (but not the thrust of your commentary) seemed to indicate, let me know and I’ll change it back.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  30. The fact that he is a good negotiator isn’t in itself a good thing, it depends on what he is negotiating.

    I have doubts that trump can distinguish his own personal financial interests (pro business crony capitalism) from the true national interest which are limited government and pro-consumer free markets and open competition. He has to prove he will not pander to special corporate interests.

    So far he hasn’t given any indication that he is even conscious of the difference between crony capitalism policies and free market policies.

    He needs to come out with a clear statement of principles before I would consider supporting him.

    ldkjhgb9volif (482868)

  31. As a tax payer, it seems to me
    that when it comes to negotiating
    with public employee unions,
    we are getting the shaft.

    Jack (f9fe53)

  32. Piss off jharp and go touch yourself in front of your sister.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  33. When there was the big foofaraw about giving the United Nations building in New York a 3 billion dollar makeover (most of it paid by the US); Trump gave an interesting speech and discussion of how it should be done and what you had to do in taht town to avoid getting rooked.

    It’s worth a look at nowadays to see how he really does things like this. Or at least, how he really tried back then.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  34. I agree 100% with Trump, and all I’ve seen from the crybaby opposition is>
    “he’s so dumb he has no idea what he is talking about
    : he knows nothing about foreign affairs
    : yeah, his hair, no way
    : we don’t need this clown
    : he knows nothing
    :he’s bankrupt (a lie a lib started and the right now repeats)

    Looks like someone telling a GIGANTIC WAD OF TRUTHS is instantly hated by the arrogant and clueless fools who failed to see what he is pointing out for so long… even though their own gigantic self estimation of their intellect reaches far above their estimation of the SEVEN BILLION DOLLAR TO THE GOOD Trump…

    I’ve seen a few half attempted rebuttals, that only ABSOLUTELY CONFIRM what Trump has been saying – they go like this:

    What can you possibly do to OPEC !!??!! (fear and sweaty brow and complete femmy face replete)

    You’re declaring WORLD WAR 3 !!!! WITH CHINA!!! (this one elicits even bigger sweaty wimp factors and a climate of absolute fear mongering rolls across the “rebutters” puss)

    So, as far as anything being half baked, so far it’s all the PATHETIC criticisms.

    I am however, certain, that many long winded fools can cook up paragraph after paragraph that essentially states China has us in a vise-like death grip that we dare not tempt them to use (dumping dollars, etc)


    The “opposition” is as PATHETIC as the liberal left, so far… acting just like them, although they haven’t screamed racist yet, they let the left do that, which is their latest spew after the layered years late MODIFIED cert of birth (enhanced for easier reading of course)

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

  35. Take a look at the polls….or not.. guess you didn’t…

    ” I’m going to take a brief stab here at taking Donald Trump’s apparent presidential ambitions seriously for a moment.”

    Good for you, so glad you start off with a big fat attack that makes you look stupid, he is after all LEADING the republican polls.

    Talk about the smell of fear and self defeat, I’m sure the hard right neocon strategists can pull another McShame off – as the wee willie little ankle biting ranklets are certainly in a begging mode…


    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

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