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Dr. Strangelove's War Room: Starting to look familiar. Credit: WikiCommons.

So it turns out that Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate after all. Who could possibly have predicted that holing up in the Hamptons in August to fundraise wouldn’t look good?  Or that having the overwhelming support of Hollywood — for example, Cher campaigning for her in Kalamazoo a few days before the vote — wouldn’t win over workers and mobilize the poor? Or that the open embrace of the media wouldn’t create a backlash against her and, quite possibly, have cost her the election? 

 “Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him,” Will Rahn of the Daily Beast, which pumped out a stream of pro-Hillary content during the campaign, wrote in an interesting op-ed today. “They hate us, and have for some time.”

In any case, the good news is that Hillary Clinton lost, that her family’s political dynasty is almost certainly destroyed, and that the Clinton Foundation is screwed. A number of major donors, including foreign governments, are unhappily reviewing what the Foundation did with their money and, relatedly, various state and federal investigations of it will continue. “Servergate” is interesting and received the lion’s share of media attention but the Foundation was always the big scandal and now, without political protection, that fraud is going to be exposed.  

On the downside, there’s Donald Trump. How bad are things?

First, let’s look at the bright side. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead as a result of Trump’s election, New York Senator Charles Schumer told AFL-CIO officials today. The irony here, of course, is that the only way the TPP might have been revived was with Hillary’s election, which the AFL-CIO fervently campaigned for.

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, Rudy Giuliani could be the next attorney general so that’s pretty bad. Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs official, is reportedly the front runner to be treasury secretary and Jamie Dimon of J.P Morgan Chase is being floated as well. That’s godawful, too, but not so surprising either. Trump is obviously not going to take on Wall Street — Mnuchin was the finance chair of his campaign. The Supreme Court? Let’s not talk about it.

Thing are also looking bad in terms of foreign policy, an area where Trump might have been interesting. The people who have been selected to staff his administration — the vetters who make sure no one too unconventional gets picked — are long-time establishment apparatchiks.

For example, there’s James Carafano, the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, who is helping pick names for the State Department. His 2015 report, U.S. Comprehensive Strategy Toward Russia, may as well have been written by Bob Kagan, Max Boot and Dr. Strangelove. Mira Ricardel, who’s helping staff the Pentagon, is a former defense executive, Pentagon official under George W. Bush, and advocate for Star Wars, NATO expansion and regime change.

Trump’s only appeal is as the chaos candidate but so far he’s looking awfully conventional. The odds of World War III dropped significantly with Hillary’s defeat but Trump’s foreign policy may not be much different. The alleged love affair with Putin looks destined to be a short one.

 

  • Brian McKeever

    Sigh…sad but true, and entirely predictable.