I happened to be randomly making a tour of the Costco in Glendale, Arizona while my mother was having an eye exam. In the course of my aimless rambling, strolling past the books offered for sale – one hardcover book arrested my attention. It was “Understanding Trump” by none other than persistent Trump carney barker, Newt Gingrich.
That such a book had arrived on the scene a week or so ago, eluded me, given that I am not the target audience for it.
The target demo for “Understanding Trump”, is the remainder of the true believers, still rationalizing every betrayal that Trump has committed since taking office. The shrinking base that deliberately ignores inconvenient facts about their Nationalist messiah. The dedicated devotees who carefully screen themselves from any information sources that don’t package news about Trump in shiny, happy wrapping paper.
So although it was news to me that the book was out, it was in no way surprising. “Understanding Gingrich” would be a simple and short book to write as well. Newt Gingrich could be summed up as an opportunistic windbag, bang – you’re done.
It’s difficult to discern what would be the reason to purchase a book like this, but since someone has been buying the same sort of shlock from Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, there must be one. It’s just that there’s nothing in this that they can’t get on Fox News every night and are already getting free with their cable subscription.
However, I think I might have a theory. It may be that Trump supporters believe if they give a copy to the infidels, Gingrich will convince us not to trust our lying eyes anymore.
Gingrich – Trump Parasite
“B-1 Bob” Robert K. Dornan, could write a chapter or several about Gingrich, but none of it would be ‘family friendly’. I’ve heard some of it first hand.
This is the cleanest quote – Dornan referencing what a congressional page, told him about Gingrich, “That intern that said he was a dork and a geek was right. He (Gingrich) was the most arrogant person in either party that I ever served with.”
Regarding Gingrich and his book, this is not as much a ‘book review’ as it is a septic tank cleaning. We’ll start by explaining that the book is not a serious examination of Trump. Gingrich has hitched his wagon to Trump and if you didn’t “see him working” – this is his cha-ching for raking Trump’s manure into zen like patterns and endeavoring to explain how wonderful it smells.
First, and to be expected, Gingrich recruited Trump’s son, Eric to write the forward. That tells you that some of the book proceeds are going to find their way back into the Trump Organization’s coffers.
Predictably, Eric’s deep thoughts can be summed up by his assessment of his father, “There is no greater man.” Of course not, and who that actually coughed up money for the book, would disagree. If Eric doesn’t actually read the rest of the book, he will probably miss Gingrich’s conclusion that “ … Trump reminds me of Bill Clinton – another president with a grounded middle-class background.”
One scarcely needs to read past the first few paragraphs of the introduction to sense the angle of this book, which any number of people could have written, were we willing to risk our psychological well being and mental health doing so. It’s bad enough reading any of it:
“It is astonishing to me, as a historian, how the elite media and much of the political establishment refuse to try to understand Donald Trump. They have been so rabidly opposed to him, so ideologically committed to left-wing values, and so terrified of the future that they haven’t stopped and considered how extraordinary his success has been. President Trump is one of the most remarkable individuals to ever occupy the White House. His set of practical business experiences—and his lack of traditional political-governmental experiences—make him a unique president.”
Beyond this, I’ll just outline in brief, some of the almost hysterically funny narratives this book attempts to foist upon the reader – things that make it’s classification as “non-fiction” a torturous stretch of that term .
Trump, the “Regular Guy” – He’s just like you and me
Gingrich regurgitates, what at this point are such shop worn recitals that they would look shabby in a Goodwill thrift store. One such, is the absurdity that Trump is a boot strap, working class guy from Queens with ‘Queens values’, not ‘Manhattan’ values. Gingrich, unblushingly states, “This man had fought for every inch of his success in life.”
Given what we know about the wealth that surrounded Trump, the greasing of the skids and the estimated $200 to $500 million rocket launch that Trump had from his father’s banks, that nonsense can be dismissed.
The part of Queens that cannot be dismissed, is Trump’s delight in remaining ignorant, his deliberately stunted intellect, plus the obvious mannerisms on display in any setting.
Among the virtues related to this, which Gingrich claims to be impressed by, is Trump’s culinary habits of regularly consuming fast food and a mainly carbohydrate and fat laden bill of fare. We’re supposed to see that as proof that Trump, despite all the ersatz trappings of his luxury lifestyle, is always in touch with his inner slob. Oh, goodie!
Trump is not really stupid, he’s just exceptional and unconventional…
The portions of the book that don’t chronicle Gingrich’s attachment in the manner of a barnacle to Trump’s backside, are devoted to gamely, but lamely attempting to ‘mansplain’ why, although most of us think Trump is an idiot, Trump is instead, actually an unconventional genius. Gingrich says, “The ability to puncture conventional wisdom is important because much of conventional wisdom in Washington is dumb.” Excuse me, but if Trump is smarter than everyone else in Washington, we are doomed!
He also explains that Trump maintains an:
“entrepreneurial rather than academic approach to knowledge … in stark contrast to Washington intelligentsia”, making “certain he knows what he needs to know to be successful at the time he needs to know it.”
How we would translate that from outside the fish bowl is that Trump habitually flies by the seat of his pants and eschews preparation on any of his roles as President. We’ve seen how that has worked out.
As confirmation of Trump’s vigorous intellectual curiousity, Gingrich offers that, “He is a person who gets up every day and wants to know what’s really going on.” To which I would reply, compared to what – someone who has been declared brain dead or in a coma?
People asked me, during the primaries, what I thought explained so much of the headlong rush of so-called “conservatives” towards Trump’s campaign. I gave them a simple answer, which to them seemed too simple – fun rides to Trump Tower or Mar-Al-Lago. But Gingrich himself validates it, telling readers. “It occurred to me then that offering a helicopter ride was a method of building support that few candidates have.”
The rest of the book consists of Gingrich padding it by quoting copiously from Trump’s “Art Of The Deal” and pissing on our legs and telling us it’s raining:
“Trump’s election is a tremendous opportunity to tear down the walls of big government, liberalism, and elitism and set the path for a bold new direction that is once again guided by the will of the people. His approach to politics and governing can be studied as a remarkable strategy for breaking out of the Left’s intransigent power structure.”
“Guided by the will of the people”?. That’s interesting to notice. What that actually describes is Trump’s manipulative blend of nationalism and populism. Virtually no emphasis is placed on the Constitution and the rule of law, because with Trump, the political movement he spawned is centered on the cult of personality and the proposition that to question him is subversion and to oppose him is sedition.
Even the Heritage Foundation, which since the election, has shed almost all of its objectivity – refers to all of this as “Trumpism”.
“Honest Abe, George and the Donald …
Then Gingrich audaciously equates Trump with Abraham Lincoln. “Both had survived some of the most divisive campaigns in American history, and both appealed to patriotism.”
If there is a single consistent theme to this book, (a proposition that could be debated), it’s a rehashing of the tired talking point that every Trump media surrogate and all the rest of the parasites in Trump’s personal and political eco-system drag out in every engagement – the war between Trump and the liberal “elites”.
The problem is that in reality, Trump has virtually as much opposition from the center and right of center as he has from the left. It’s just that to Trump’s base, which does not recognize him as a Democrat, Trump is at war with their political enemies. Whether it’s true is of secondary importance to them.
The rest of the book is chock full of meaningless rhetoric and important sounding babble, but I will leave you with my personal favorite from Gingrich:
“Trump’s no-nonsense approach makes a lot of sense to everyone outside Washington. Trump wants to set aside the abstract establishment theories and get to what makes up the real world. In a way, I would argue that Trump’s way of thinking is a reversion to Tocqueville, Lincoln and Washington. If you look at the original American system, it was extraordinarily fact-based.”
Trump is fact based. Uh huh – and I’m a leading supermodel.