Sunday, September 18, 2016


My cheerfully liberal friend Al Cannistraro sent me an article from the New York Times, asking for my comment. Always obliging, here it is.

The article details the many tax breaks that Donald Trump has been able to muster in developing his Manhattan real estate empire. NYT estimates the total in the range of $885 million.

No doubt Mr. Trump’s opponents will chuckle over these revelations. Clearly, the New York Times, which is no fan of Donald Trump, fully expects to generate a lot of tongue clucking and finger scraping with its Monumental Disclosure.

Truth is, The Donald has made no secret of the fact that he has gamed the system. Whether it is the bankruptcy laws, the tax laws, the eminent domain laws or the jurisdiction of the civil courts, Trump and his minions have scrambled from the trenches and stormed the economic battlefields of private enterprise without compromise or apology.

Is Washington D.C. a cesspool of corporate lobbying, a cornucopia of cash for eager Congressional campaign committees? Trump has been in the thick of it. He knows how it works because he has worked it. He admits it. Nay, he brags about it.

And he says it is wrong. He says he is a different species of Presidential candidate; an American businessman who says “Been there, done that, and it’s not going to happen on my watch.”

Thomas Jefferson, ruminating in a philosophical mood, once observed that the two party system is dictated by the laws of human nature. Whatever names they may claim, whatever people may call them, the two parties are always the Tories and the Whigs.

The Tories are the incumbents, the power brokers, the insiders, the establishment. They are the ruling class. The folks with the money. The haves. They are the system. City Hall. Downtown. Washington, D.C.

The Whigs are the unconnected. The have nots. The outsiders. The wanna bes. The people. Main Street. The Fly over zone. Business owners, entrepreneurs, workers, the taxpayers, the Silent Majority; the faceless mass of humanity that the Tories manipulate every election year.

If Mr. Jefferson is correct, it is perhaps true that Tories are nothing more than Whigs who managed to get elected. It is certainly true that, human nature being what it is, power is a corrupting influence, and those who come to office pledging to plug loopholes are often not above boring a few new holes themselves.

Surely it would be unduly sanguine to suppose that a sweeping Republican victory in November would inaugurate a new era of spotless integrity in our nation’s capital.

Still, there has to be some comfort in knowing that the man at the head of the GOP ticket doesn’t need the money. He may even take a page from George Washington’s book and decline to accept any compensation.

Whatever. In any case, I take solice in the fact that Donald Trump sees himself as a candidate for President of the United States and not a candidate for Governor of America.

Over the last half century, we have had too many candidates from both major political parties who have offered platforms more suited to a campaign for Governor of a State than Chief Executive of of our national Republic.

I hear Donald Trump saying that education, health and welfare, criminal justice and urban housing are matters that should be addressed in places like  Albany, Lansing, and Sacramento.

The upcoming Presidential debate will present a striking contrast between a veteran insider, who has lived in the White House, served in the Senate and presided over the State Department and a consummate outsider, a novice to public office, whose principal assets are business acumen, patriotism and a determination to make America great again.

We are about to witness a classic collision between the Tories and the Whigs. Hang onto your hat. November is coming.


  1. Below is a link to the article I sent to Judge Brennan for his commentary. I enjoyed reading the commentary, and I appreciate the judge's eloquent analysis.

    It's interesting how differently the Judge and I filter the same article.

    I see it as an illustration of Trump's character, operating style, and values, none of which I find to be admirable or even desirable in a chief executive, especially POTUS. I see it as an illustration of why I and many others (of all political stripes) see Trump as definitely not presidential material. I noticed how Trump's aggressive personality drives his success. There's nothing that even hints at interest in leadership, never mind actually leading a group to achieve high goals. It's just about money, glitz, and bragging rights.

    If Trump is elected, I believe "The Old Judge" and others will be very disappointed. (For me, of course, it will be much worse than that.)

    The Judge and many others are buying what Trump is selling, and selling is what Trump mainly is doing, in my opinion.

    I see Trump is an empty vessel into which people are projecting their hopes for someone to magically "turn the clock back" to an imaginary time when America was 'great" according to the judge's and others own individually chosen views of history. That's what Trump is selling, and many are buying. I think Trump is saying what he's saying (selling what he's selling) simply because he knows that that's what people can most easily be enticed to buy. Trump does not want to "make America great (again)." Rather, he wants to substantiate his own sense of grandiosity -- and he's doing just that in this campaign. Trump is a master of selling stuff to his base. Keep it simple, keep it emotional, keep it selfish (or at least parochial). Eschew the complexity of global reality. Oversimplify. Say whatever works.

    My own view of Trump is a result, not of the current campaign, but of having observed his behavior for my (and his) entire adult life.

    Re Clinton, I certainly can see why she is unpopular with the national electorate at this time. But the funny thing is, she was seen as doing a good job connecting with and representing NYers as Senator. Her approval ratings were high and always increasing. Her image was positive and then even more positive. None of her negative character traits were in the news.

    New Yorkers, who know both Trump and Clinton, are expected according to the polls to soundly favor Clinton and reject Trump.

    1. Yesterday, Siena College Research Institute, which is operated by Siena College, a small Catholic liberal arts college in upstate NY, released its latest polls re Trump vs. Clinton.

      Clinton is favored over Trump 51-30 statewide among likely voters. In NYC, where Trump is well known in the media, the figure is 70-18.

      The Siena polls are well regarded.

      People outside of the NYC metroplolitan area have no idea how much Trump is mocked and/or reviled locally.