Sunday, September 3, 2017

Understanding Trump by Newt Gingrich
Book Review by William J. Skinner
First, this book gives the Newt Gingrich group’s insight into potential positive changes in the way the executive department of U.S. government can be reformed to better serve the people.  These improvements are primarily dependent on the GOP and President Donald J. Trump (PDJT) working together.  The book should give hope to anyone who has doubts about whether these ideas will ever be achieved. Readers can learn how PDJT thinks and works and it is not as scary as some main stream media writers slant the outcomes using their creative non-fiction rubrics.

            Second, the first draft was assigned to two writers and then Newt Gingrich began organizing the book with his first-hand knowledge of the way candidate interacted with him and others from meetings beginning in 2015.  The entire Trump family seems to have participated in proving data for the Gingrich team. Gingrich and Callista became friends of PDJT and the Trump family.  Eric Trump wrote a forward.  Other family members are quoted or described as having favorable input.

            Gingrich synthesizes the military’s OODA-loop method of working with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s description of IYI (Intellectual, But Idiot) in his book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, and a forthcoming book, Skin in the Game, with Charles Murray’s ideas in his book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, with security expert Dennis M. Gormley’s concept similar to IYI, with Phillip Howards’ legal concepts of how to rewrite regulations in outcome terms rather than formulaic instructions to follow into new ways of doing government business on Federal, State and local levels.

            PDJT is a businessman who follows the military principles of Observation, Orientation, Decision on action, and Loop back to Observe again as a way to get things done.  Taleb’s essay will explain why government is focused on following the ideas of very smart people who are unable to accomplish results.  Gormley talks about the difference between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge about the threat of proliferation and development of land-attack cruise missiles abroad.  All of these ideas strengthen Gingrich’s ideas of how PDJT and the GOP can succeed in improving government performance.  Ideas from others are incorporated as well.

            The book contains three parts with a total of 15 chapters.  Two of the chapters lean on Gingrich’s back and forth written discussions with Allen C. Guelzo, the Lincoln scholar at Gettysburg, who tells Gingrich that the challenges faced by PDJT are similar to those faced by Lincoln.  For example, when Lincoln was elected the southern states newspapers were writing about destruction of the Republican Party and resistance to Lincoln’s government. Gingrich writes, “Today’s Left resembles Charlestonians about to secede in defense of slavery.”

            Part Three of the book contains six chapters each discussing how PDJT and the GOP can Make America Great Again.  Gingrich writes about a “Four-Box Model for the Trump Agenda” in much detail which either means PDJT has not heard Gingrich out in their one-on-one discussions or Gingrich wants to recruit more of us to help him convince PDJT and the GOP to get with the program.  Either way, if you do not read the book, and you favor changes, you will be on the sidelines. 

            The Safety Box is about safety at home, the border, outlaw cities, safety abroad, restoring America’s reputation, reviving the military, and eliminating radical Islam.  Gingrich says PDJT has a great team put in place to accomplish these goals.  The American Competitive Box is about tax cuts for business, how a border adjustment tax will help create jobs, eliminating the capital gains tax, repatriation of US money hiding in foreign countries, cutting the income tax, regulations,  jobs, training and education, immigration, and competing for the future. 

            The Health Box is about incorporation new scientific discoveries into health care more quickly than we do now, but he cautions that passing laws for a new way to do health care will take three and a half years of Congressional hearings, speeches, rallying the public by PDJT, committee votes and a conference committee to put the parts together.  There are three main Strategies set forth here. One focus is changing topic from reforming health insurance to reforming health care. This chapter must be read now so you can discuss it with your members of Congress.  As a former Speaker of the House, Gingrich knows more than the IYIs on this subject.

            The Making-Government-Work Box says the “ahead of schedule, under budget” plan can work if we do the Federal changes with the same determination as Wisconsin and Governor Scott Walker did to change the laws in that state.  Issues include government performance, unaccountable bureaucrats, and balancing the budget.

            Once we change the Federal laws and see improvement, we have to push the same winning ideas to the states and local communities.  Bold, big and wonderful is how I would describe the plans Gingrich tells us about.   He says Republicans have government cornered in at least ten states, so they are turning out some successes already.  Gingrich sets forth 23 guiding principles showing how these will box in the left more.  As people rethink modern government and society, more principles will be adopted.  Then Gingrich lists 35 separate projects we can all work on to make the changes we want. 

            PDJT is an extraordinary figure to Gingrich who says that as the president learns more and more about the problems he will begin to solve them.  Maybe Gingrich is getting big consultant fees for saying all these nice things about PDJT.  If he is, I hope he charged enough, because there are many good ideas in this book.  Part of our problem will be to elect members of the House and Senate who will be smart enough to read and study the ideas in this book.  Some members of Congress seem satisfied to have arrived in the District of Columbia and never plan to leave. 

           The Trump speeches should be read again to see how they fit together.  Gingrich complements Steven Miller and a couple of the campaign speech writers now working in the White House for their good work. 

            Every book, no matter how many people work on it, will have a flaw.  I only found one in this book.  In a listing of early US presidents, the book lists Franklin.  This is new information to me.  If you read the book tell me where you found this listing and I will know you are a careful reader.

William J. Skinner,  September 3, 2017          

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