What Putin whispered in Trump's ear: 'The Apprentice,' by Greg Miller [Books]


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/20/what-putin-whispered-in-trump.html


Cue the useful idiots and the supporters of both regimes with their historically ignorant cries of “McCarthyism”.


All the links go to Amazon except the one that goes to Miller’s author bio.

An actual link to the excerpt in the Washington Post would have been useful.


It’s paywalled if you visit there enough, but knock yourself out:


Delete/block WP cookies. No more paywall.


Thanks much!


I don’t read a lot of politically themed books, but this sounds interesting.

It’s a shame the apparent foreknowledge of Russian meddling wasn’t enough to prevent the travesty we are having to live through.

But hey! At least the Russians learned their lesson and won’t try anything like that again anytime soon! :expressionless:


“It’s all Obama’s fault because he didn’t pull out all the stops to alert the public this was happening!”

(Of course if he had announced that Russia was trying to manipulate the election it would have backfired spectacularly, with Republicans screaming bloody murder about the Administration abusing intelligence agencies and playing dirty tricks to smear their candidate.)


Right, it was a no-win situation. BUT I would rather have them frothing on the sidelines than frothing while in power.

And at least then history would say they did everything they could to avoid us having to eat this turd sandwich for (at least) four years.


On the one hand, its tempting to blame all this on Putin’s Russia. On the other, the suckers who legitimately voted for him, are closer to home, more satisfying to grump at.

On the gripping hand, the electoral system itself is an ancient, archaic thing, held together with chewing gum and baling wire and political sausage-casings. It’s hardly any wonder somebody noticed and weaponized an exploit. At what point do you blame the burglar, and at what point do you blame those who left the door wide open?

(Seriously, this nation posesses the expertise to design a much more secure and democratic electoral system, that it lacks the political will to do so, is going to be its undoing.)


private browsing.

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No-one’s really doing that, at least not here.


Russia’s primary goal wasn’t to put Trump in power, it was to undermine Americans’ confidence in the legitimacy of the election system. Given that even Republicans expected Hillary to win back then it’s hard to fault the Obama administration for making the decisions it did.


heart for using the phrase “the gripping hand” now if you could work a “grok” in there…

the solution is to get rid of the (sop to the slave holding states back in the 1700s) electoral college


Or maybe it’s a relatively unsexy explanation - the Democrats kneecapped a genuinely popular candidate in the primaries, then used “data science” to put forth a candidate who was as pro-business as they thought they could get away with. Only they forgot to take into account that people tend to not share opinions they think are shameful with pollsters, so all the polls were off.

If you go back further, gerrymandering, outright exclusion of large swathes of citizens (felons, DC residents, etc), voter ID laws - each of these also nudged a bit.

IMHO the under reported story is not “Russian interference” - it’s that the power brokers miscalculated, and thus small shifts from say, Russian funded ads were able to tip key states.

Turns out, a campaign strategy that boils down to “What are you gonna do about it divorce me vote for Trump?” doesn’t end well, especially in districts that feel like they did the “right thing” (voted for Obama) and got a candidate who shot a lot of people with robots, but didn’t do much for their situation at home.


The fact is, though, that Obama was out-maneuvered by both McConnell and Russia, and I don’t think history will (or should) judge him kindly for that. I think the guy was an above-average President, but this happened on his watch, he got caught flat-footed, and the nation is paying an incalculable price as a result.

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Fixing the electoral collage is the biggest, lowest hanging fruit on the list, but it’s still a pretty long list. Right up there, would be to stop relying on the major parties to police each other, and reign in their power with (mumble, mumble something actually democratic something oversight mumble)


Even in hindsight it’s not at all clear that Obama going public with the Russia meddling would have done more good than harm.

To this day Trump voters refuse to entertain the possibility they were manipulated into supporting him even though many of the key people presenting evidence of such (Comey, Mueller, etc) are their fellow Republicans. Imagine if the message had come from Obama while he was openly supporting Hillary’s campaign.


I’m not sure that Obama holding a unilateral press conference to announce that Russia was interfering on behalf of Trump was the only or best option.

The first and best option, of course, would have been a robust counter-intelligence effort that would have prevented as much of the interference as possible. In other words, I would have preferred effective fire prevention to an announcement that there was a fire we need to deal with.

I think an honest reckoning is necessary in the same way that an honest examination of intelligence failures that led to 9/11 was necessary. Obama was captain of the ship, and it was his responsibility when shit happened.

I also think we should recognize how thoroughly outplayed Obama was by McConnell in this. He apparently went to McConnell hat in hand asking him to make a bipartisan statement about the interference, and had no plan B for when McConnell put party ahead of country and told him to pound sand. (and I don’t consider crossing his fingers and hoping that HRC won in spite of it all to be a reasonable plan B given the stakes)

I understand what you’re saying that there is no guarantee that any specific thing Obama could have done wouldn’t have also had negative consequences, but I don’t think that relieves hims of the responsibility of this happening while he was in charge.

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I wonder if Putin feels the need to take a shower every time he deals with Trump. I know I would.