My late husband Jerry believed in something he called “the greater shark theory”. We met up with a lot of unscrupulous real estate developers and fund managers during our time in financial services. Often they had quite a long run, bilking even sophisticated investors who should have known better — think Bernie Madoff. Usually the legal system couldn’t, or wouldn’t, touch them. But they were brought down, sooner or later, by a greater shark — someone even more canny and unscrupulous. That wasn’t necessarily better for investors, but it did mean that no one fraudulent person went on bilking the same people forever.
Two articles, one on Politico and one on CNN, struck me yesterday morning. One is about the success of the Koch network in placing people throughout the incoming Trump administration. The other is about Trump’s reported annoyance at KellyAnne Conway’s public media campaign warning him off naming Mitt Romney as Secretary of State.
Now it makes sense. Donald Trump is in the process of being eaten by a larger shark: the Koch network, in the persons of Charles and David Koch. Unlike Trump the Koch brothers really are successful business men, if you don’t look at the environmental damage caused by their heavy fossil fuel related enterprises. They are staunch libertarians, which means they think it’s every man for himself. The rich get to keep theirs. The poor should work for a living, or starve. The have been investing heavily at the local and state level, and funneling money to Republicans in Congress, since 2008 — when President Obama was first elected. Now their investment is paying off big time.
Trump is brilliant at building his own brand and convincing the poorly educated that he cares about him. But he’s not brilliant at governance. He has a notoriously short attention span, and shoots from the gut instead of mastering complex matters. He has no natural Republican political allies; he’s made them all look like fools. He’s going to be sorely dependent on other people to run the government. Here’s my message to Trump about the truth beneath KellyAnne’s apostasy:
Donald, KellyAnne doesn’t work for you. She works for Rebekah Mercer, whose fortune is largely at the disposal of the Koch network. Conway is telling you, publicly, that the Koch network doesn’t want Romney.
Trump likes Romney for Secretary of State because he looks the part, and because it allows Trump to demand that Romney — who excoriated Trump during the campaign — grovel to get the job. That satisfies Trump’s cruel streak and need for vengeance.
Trump may defy the Koch brothers and pick Mitt. But life in the oval office won’t go well for him if that happens. We’ll see if Trump figures that out before or after he names his Secretary of State pick.
I used to watch House of Cards on Netflix. No need now. The real-life seamy political drama is playing out right in front of us, and for free.