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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A brand name in a suit

by digby

As we prepare for the big Trump speech on Clinton's "crimes" and the economy tomorrow, consider this:

Andrew Beal, a billionaire banker and investor, called me the other day to talk Trump. I had been leaving messages for every prominent business executive I could find who has publicly expressed support of the Republican candidate.

Before I could ask my first question, Beal told me he wanted to get something out of the way. He knew that I would ask about specifics. “Everybody wants to be real specific,” he said. But Beal’s support for Trump has nothing to do with specifics. He grants that he doesn’t know much about Trump’s policy goals or about whom he might choose for key economic positions. He doesn’t even think Trump knows. And that, he explained, is exactly why he supports him. “All these politicians with all these specific plans,” he said. “I think it’s total [expletive].”

His point was that business doesn’t run this way: If you’re hiring someone to be a chief executive, you don’t ask them to lay out every decision they’ll make, years ahead of when they’ll make it. You hire someone whom you trust, and you let them run things. Beal says he knows that Trump will do the right things to make the economy perform better. “You’re going to say, ‘How?’ ” he told me. “I don’t know how. I know that sounds crazy. That’s how the real world operates.”

There you have it. A lot of these guys don't know shit and this is one of them. So is Trump. I wrote about it this morning. Here's a little more from the piece linked above by Adam Davidson in the New York Times magazine:

When you try to weigh Trump’s record as a businessman, you quickly find that there’s nothing of substance. Think of the characteristics you might find noteworthy in a business leader: A vision of the future? A single-minded focus on excellence? Discrimination and judgment? He’s no visionary, no Steve Jobs who forges new things. Trump’s accomplishments have come from replicating the products and services of others. He seems to lack any instinct for righting a sinking ship. Despite the declarations of his backers that he’ll “get the best people,” his organizations have hardly been magnets for talent — as evidenced by the fact that his leadership teams so often consist of people whose last names are Trump or whose sole accomplishment is having worked for him.

Despite all this, Trump receives extremely high marks among voters for how he would supposedly handle the economy: A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in May found he outpolled Clinton by 11 points on the issue. The biggest mystery is why so many voters — apparently including, at least for now, some who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton — seem to have fallen for his act. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that in the absence of real information about Trump the businessman, Americans have spent years watching him play the part. His true calling seems to be acting like a successful businessman — a performance made all the more impressive by its distance from reality.

He inherited many millions from his father. And has been acting the part of a self-made billionaire ever since. But it's just a role. His record is clear. But many rich guys bought the con hook line and sinker and they bought it over and over again. It didn't matter how much he failed and how much they lost, they kept giving him money. They bought the hype.

If there's one thing that's become obvious over the past few years it's that few of these very rich people are Machiavellian geniuses. It turns out that once you reach a critical mass of money you can be dumb as a post and still make more. In fact, I think that's probably the rule rather than the exception.

Trump is a brand name in a suit, an actor inhabiting a role in a reality series. The problem for him is that he is miscast in the role of president. He's just not talented enough to pull it off.