November 29, 2016

Was Donald Trump "furious" at Kellyanne Conway for speaking passionately about opposition to Mitt Romney as Secretary of State?

That's what a headline yesterday said. But later in the day there was a statement from Trump:
“Kellyanne came to me and asked whether or not she could go public with her thoughts on the matter. I encouraged her to do so. Most importantly she fully acknowledged there is only one person that makes the decision. She has always been a tremendous asset and that will continue.”
Did Kellyanne go rogue and is Trump now covering for her? Who knows? If he really was furious, I don't think he'd tell us.
Amid reports of intense closed-door deliberations over who should be secretary of state, Ms. Conway had seemed intent on committing a heretical political act by an aide: boxing in her boss. She wrote on Twitter about a “deluge” of concerns from conservatives and appeared repeatedly on television, insisting that a Romney appointment would be seen by Mr. Trump’s supporters as a “betrayal.”
As the linked NYT article suggests, it's got to be more complicated than that. I think it might have been a way for Trump to let Romney opponents know their voice has been heard and is represented in the discussions so they won't be so hostile when he actually does choose Romney. But I don't know.

And what is Conway's job title?
Her allies describe her job as “the Kellyanne role,” a position in which the precise title does not completely capture the duties she is performing or the sway she has. Ms. Conway has a direct line to Mr. Trump, and she has said that he is supportive of seeing her on television. 
He should be. She is great on TV — and not by showing off herself. She spouts clear, straightforward arguments at a fast pace and appears unshakably devoted to Trump. Based on watching her on TV many times, I can't believe that her statements about Romney were not exactly what Trump wanted. The hard question is why did he want that? My bet is: Because he's going to pick Romney.

81 comments:

Brando said...

Sounds like "Princess Bride" level of logical reasoning--Trump must want Romney so he is pretending to hate Romney while saying he did not hate Romney but Kellyanne went rogue about Romney and...

I'd be surprised if he picked Romney--what's to gain from it? Romney has no foreign policy experience (arguably a general, like Mattis, would have better qualifications) and was vocally opposed to Trump throughout the campaign (unlike say Ryan, who officially endorsed and campaigned for him, if reluctantly). And Romney doesn't really bring a big constituency with him, does he?

Conway may be testing the waters, seeing how different sides react to Romney criticism, but I don't really see why they're even seriously considering Romney at this point.

Henry said...

Her allies describe her job as “the Kellyanne role,” a position in which the precise title does not completely capture the duties she is performing or the sway she has.

My goodness! It's Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell! It's the "his girl Friday" role.

David Begley said...

But what job for Rudy? Rudy worked tirelessly for Trump. Rudy defended him during the Billy Bush episode.

Henry said...

Romney would seem to a better fit at Treasury.

Romney is probably the most gifted and experienced executive among the Republican establishment. Whatever department needs the best administration should be given to him.

readering said...

A dysfunctional operation. No reason to believe Scarborough lying about his sources for original story. Follows on heels of Trump's now it's off now it's on meeting at NY Times reportedly because fed misinformation internally.

WisRich said...

Althouse said...

"Based on watching her on TV many times, I can't believe that her statements about Romney were not exactly what Trump wanted. The hard question is why did he want that?

Conway is the Queen of message discipline.

She just doesn't go rogue.

This was Trump approved.

traditionalguy said...

OK. I can see that Trump is using Conway to perfectly frame the impossibility of Romney's appointment by Trump's Movement. But seeing that as a way planned to appoint Romney is a Wisconsin political bridge too far for me. Outside Wisconsin we do not say Fuck You to our political support unless we want to be impeached and get back to building Hotels.

rehajm said...

...it might have been a way for Trump to let Romney opponents know their voice has been heard and is represented in the discussions so they won't be so hostile when he actually does choose Romney.

Bingo.

Brando said...

"But what job for Rudy? Rudy worked tirelessly for Trump. Rudy defended him during the Billy Bush episode."

Not State--that job is all about diplomacy and relations. Rudy is a "bust heads" kind of guy. He could have been a contender for DOJ, but that went to Sessions.

"Romney is probably the most gifted and experienced executive among the Republican establishment. Whatever department needs the best administration should be given to him."

Romney's certainly qualified for a number of posts (though not so much State) but the question is why Trump would go with him. Ultimately all those posts require carrying out the POTUS's wishes.

cornroaster said...

If Donald Trump threw a pebble in a pond, the resulting ripple would be reported by the press as a tsunami that did major damage that was caused by Trump's recklessness. Thus, if he was not entirely pleased by her actions, the press reports he is "furious" so they can present a picture of dissension on the "fractured" Trump team.

Its all about the narrative.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I think it might have been a way for Trump to let Romney opponents know their voice has been heard and is represented in the discussions so they won't be so hostile when he actually does choose Romney

I think it is the opposite. Trump wants to show a face of party unity and inclusion by holding out an olive branch to Romney and dangling the carrot of Sec of State. BUT...knowing that Trump's supporters would be livid and raise a bit ruckus over it.

Trump now has cover to go back to Romney and all the other GOPe squishes and explain that he is unable to hand Romney the plum position because his supporters, to whom he owns loyalty, he will have to offer the position to someone else. So sorry.

The GOPe tried to crush him, insulted him during the whole election process. While he does want party unity...it will be on HIS terms. Romney gets thrown under the bus :-)

Henry said...

Rudy is a "bust heads" kind of guy. He could have been a contender for DOJ, but that went to Sessions.

IRS head.

Bob Ellison said...

The whole world, and especially the journalism world, seems not to understand that Trump engages in disagreement and chaos. Trump's team is not like the other teams. Who actually likes Hillary? Even the people in her camp seem to hate her. Trump's team encourages dissent, and the wages of extreme dissent might be excommunication. If you're on the team, you should understand that you might be cut.

This is the way businesses operate. I think the left wants Trump to be a cult figure like Obama. That's the framework that fits in the leftist mindset. Conway must be excommunicated, or else Trump is some kind of alien the left doesn't understand.

Sebastian said...

"Because he's going to pick Romney." Yes, he seems to lean that way. The Conway maneuver helps on balance. If he doesn't pick Romney, he gains cred with his base. "See? I listened." If he does pick Romney, in spite of the higher stakes, the opposition will have vented and the move will seem more courageous. I think Trump is still hesitant: if he wants the best possible rep for the US, clean up State, and overcome division, Romney is pretty much the perfect pick, but Romney is unlikely to stay on the reservation, so the pick is risky.

AllenS said...

If you are given a choice as to who is telling the truth, and the choice is the NYT and Trump, I'm going with Trump. NYT and the WashPost have made themselves perfectly clear that they hate Trump.

AllenS said...

Also, I agree what DBQ said at 8:19.

Virgil Hilts said...

Agree with Ann and the Bingo comment. Kellyanne is extremely talented (see appearance on Bill Maher's show) and does not make own goal mistakes (please point to something dumb that she has done in last several months). If DT not seriously considering going with Romney then why make the comments she did. Ann, this would be a good issue on which to poll your readers.

mezzrow said...

Now you're beginning to get it, Professor. You're a fast learner, too.

Who knew?

Bob Ellison said...

We have to go back to George Shultz in the late '80s to find a Secretary of State that mattered. Might as well be Secretary of Navel-Gazing these days.

Brando said...

"IRS head."

Not a bad idea! It is an important agency and it needs someone willing to do a deep dive and clean it out.

Another pick for Rudy might be HUD (if they aren't, crazily IMO, offering that to Ben Carson) because of his experience as two-term mayor of the country's largest city. He might be able to pilot some reforms to our country's housing policy and reclaiming slums.

Chris Breisch said...

As a voter, I know which pick would anger me between the known security risk and the guy who has correctly predicted pretty much everything that's happened on the international stage for the last four years.

Seriously, after months of campaigning about Hillary's blatant disregard for national security, you'd pick someone who has also been "careless" in that respect?? Yeah, that's kind of a slap in my face.

OTOH, Romney made a series of apparently controversial statements about international affairs in 2012 and was widely mocked for them. All of these statements have turned out to be 100% correct. I'll take the guy with that kind of knowledge every single time, and I don't give a crap what he's said about me personally.

Brando said...

"We have to go back to George Shultz in the late '80s to find a Secretary of State that mattered. Might as well be Secretary of Navel-Gazing these days."

Part of it though is that with modern communications there's just not that much independent activity on the part of SoS like there used to be. Job attributes include personal charm and message discipline, but essentially it's carrying out the POTUS orders (though there is the administrative aspect that gets less attention).

Romney's probably not the most qualified (someone with FP experience would be ideal) but he's likely capable of doing the job well. The problem is he and Trump had not just differences but bad blood. Just seems a surprising fit.

Ann Althouse said...

Why would he want Romney over Rudy?

Look at 1 minute of Rudy speaking and 1 minute of Romney speaking and ask yourself which one you want as the embodiment of America speaking to foreign leaders?

Romney is perfectly polished, handsome, suave, dignified, calm.

Rudy is rough, ugly, emotive, and weird.

Brando said...

"As a voter, I know which pick would anger me between the known security risk and the guy who has correctly predicted pretty much everything that's happened on the international stage for the last four years."

If you're referring to Petraeus I agree and don't understand why anyone would take his nomination seriously after he got in the same trouble that was apparently a big deal for Clinton this election cycle (even if Trump seems to want to drop it now).

Gusty Winds said...

I think the professor is right. Trump is going to pick Romney. If anything, Romney had a realistic outlook on Russia in 2012 that was made fun of by the Democrats.

It also puts the nevertrump crowd on the far outside (Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes). However I do doubt that is front and center, but an added benefit.

The best was watching Morning Joe act like he is the ultimate insider for the Trump campaign. He has become such a douchebag with all his soap box speeches.

Each day offers its own entertainment of media figures doggy paddling for relevancy.

Brando said...

"Look at 1 minute of Rudy speaking and 1 minute of Romney speaking and ask yourself which one you want as the embodiment of America speaking to foreign leaders?"

Got to agree. Rudy has his strengths but "tact and charm" are not among them. His convention speech alone was hilarious but not in a "so hilarious I'd like to see him present our side at a peace conference" sort of way. Instead, the real Secretary of State should just use Rudy as a bargaining chip: "If you don't agree to this concession, we unleash the Rudy, and we haven't fed him in days..."

Bad Lieutenant said...

My bet is: Because he's going to pick Romney.

But what could be the upside?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'm looking on in disbelief that General Petraeus is being considered for SoS.

Is mishandles classified information now a job requirement for that position?

Bob Ellison said...

Gusty Winds, we called it "dog-paddling" (the hyphen was assumed). You use "doggy paddling". I grew up in Arizona, where the water wasn't always deep enough to require paddling. Where did you learn your usage?

This could be another "soda" v. "pop" thing.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why would he want Romney over Rudy?

Why would he want either one as Secretary of State? What has either one of them done that makes them capable or experienced in international diplomacy?

I think it is still all a fake out and he will pick someone with actual experience. There are many other choices than the media stars of Romney or Guilliani. People capable of dealing diplomatically and more importantly able to navigate the morass of bureaucratic lifers at the State Department. THOSE people are the more dangerous obstacle. He needs an experienced person, not a placeholder.

There is no upside to picking Romney. Guilliani while popular with the base would be a disaster. He will pick someone else.


Deirdre Mundy said...

I look forward to watching Democrats demonize Romney again after they spent the last year making him into a secular saint and avatar for the best that the GOP has to offer America.

Hagar said...

I don't think Romney is nasty enough for State Dept.
That ulcer needs to be lanced, drained, and brought under control before it can be trusted to carry out the president's - any president's - foreign policies.

Brando said...

"But what could be the upside?"

I don't see it either, at least for Trump.

"I'm looking on in disbelief that General Petraeus is being considered for SoS."

It's got to be a trolling of the media. Not worth our attention!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm looking on in disbelief that General Petraeus is being considered for SoS.

Is mishandles classified information now a job requirement for that position?


Why not? The Democrats were/are ready to hand the Presidency to someone who has done 100 times worse. I would like to see the media twist themselves into knots trying to rationalize that.

Bob said...

The whole story smelled like a Rove turd to me.

Laslo Spatula said...

Lindsey Buckingham Has Something to Share With You.

That is just one of the many problems with being in a Band: you think you have everyone rowing the same direction — make the album, tour, shake some hands — and then a Band Member goes Rogue…

Sometimes they go Rogue in an interview, talking about how they feel they are not properly appreciated in the band or they gush about the new guy they are fucking and he is so wonderful and has his own plane, ignoring that you were the one who put up with all her candles and shit in a tourbus for so many years: sure, tell everyone you fly on Don Henley’s jet — join THAT asshole’s band for all I care…

Or they go Rogue by deciding they need to make a Solo Album. The Band isn’t big enough to display all your Growth as an Artist: by Growth I assume you mean writing the same damned song over and over — which is a song I fucking wrote in the first place. Yeah, go ahead and ’spread your wings’ — you’ve spread just about everything else, I’ve noticed…

There is a reason most bands don’t have a Chick in them: Chicks are NOT Team Players. Given a little attention and they need to be The Star, then they resent the Man who got them there. Like I’m just some guitarist or something. I know the Game you are playing. Just be ready for when I say “Checkmate”, bitch…


By the way: I fucked Stevie Nicks.

When she was Hot.

I am Laslo.

Gusty Winds said...

Bob Ellison said...

Gusty Winds, we called it "dog-paddling"

In terms of other usages it may be a regional thing as you suggest. Here is the mid-west we use the term "doggy style". Is it "dog style" in Arizona?

Laslo...any input??

We do however use the term "dog pile" as a nickname for Old Style beer, but that seems way off topic.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Look at 1 minute of Rudy speaking and 1 minute of Romney speaking and ask yourself which one you want as the embodiment of America speaking to foreign leaders?

The question is not which one I want, the question is which one Trump wants.

I could see Trump picking Rudy because we need to stop worrying about offending the rest of the world and instead have the rest of the world start worrying about offending us.

(I'm not endorsing that view, just saying I could see Trump taking that position.)

hombre said...

It seems equally probable that Trump wants cover for not picking Romney.

Why would he want his supporters to know they have been heard so they can be ignored.

As for his anger with Conway, fake news. She appears to be a "company woman" and a huge asset to the Trump camp. The mediaswine will not care what Trump says. They will continue to print what they believe will damage him regardless of what they believe to be true.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

(I'm not endorsing that view, just saying I could see Trump taking that position.)

I should clarify: I could see him presenting that as the starting point for relationships, as an opening position for further negotiations.

TreeJoe said...

Did Romney bash Trump? Yes.

So what?

Romney damn near won the Presidency. He is an experienced and trustworthy executive with a long history of public service and a good track record of bipartisanship in Mass.

I wouldn't understand SoS compared to Bolton or Petraeus, but I'd love to see Romney in the executive branch for a few years.

Mick said...

Anything that the MSM says about the Trump transition is "fake news".

traditionalguy said...

Understanding that war is an instrument of national policy, to be started or stopped for our best advantage, is the best Job description of Secretary of State. To accomplish our goals he/she plays a third party game with another country's third party game player who must stay friendly while war comes and goes.

That means Romney's treatment of Trump shows his lack of those skills. He is a stuck up twerp. While Petraeus has a double portion those necessary skills developed in the Army promotions game.

Since Trump always picks the best person for the job, it will be Petraeus.

Bob Ellison said...

Gusty Winds, thanks for the response.

It was "dog-paddling" in Phoenix in the 70s. We used to consider it basic swimming. I never understood people drowning and not using dog-paddling to at least keep their airways above water.

We do need Laslo's analysis.

Bob Boyd said...

"Romney is perfectly polished, handsome, suave, dignified, calm."

What's Thurston Howell doing these days?

rhhardin said...

The Furies were originally women.

Birkel said...

It amuses me that the conversation assumes the Secretary of State must be outwardly focused. I fail to see why that must be so. Foggy Bottom: Outside of "Mos Eisley spaceport(, y)ou will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

The State Department needs to be rid of all the Baby Boomer radicals who believe America is the source of the world's turmoil. That is the deeply held belief of way too many of them.

And that means a great deal of ass kicking is needed. They need to hire John Nada who said "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass - and I'm all out of bubblegum."

Rudy Giuliani is much more John Nada than is Mitt Romney.

Henry said...

The Democrats were/are ready to hand the Presidency to someone who has done 100 times worse.

This is actually a very interesting question. Petraeus, by his own admission, knowingly subverted security laws by passing classified information to Paula Broadwell. Petraeus initially denied the charge, but given overwhelming evidence against him, he plead guilty:

From Wikipedia:

In the 15 page statement of facts filed by the government along with the plea agreement, the government stated that Petraeus had provided Broadwell access to documents containing Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information, had later moved those documents to his personal residence and stored them in an unsecured drawer, and had deliberately and intentionally lied to Federal investigators about both providing Broadwell access to the documents and their improper storage. These facts were acknowledged to be true by Petraeus as part of his plea agreement.[201]

So Petraeus is guilty of criminal intent in a much different way than Clinton. He knowingly mishandled classified information and explicitly lied to the FBI.

Ironically, however, Clinton's egregious stupidity in using her own email server probably caused far more damage to U.S. interests, in allowing secure materials to be hacked. But that supposition, while well supported, exhibits a different level of criminal intent.

To create an Sherlock Holmesish analogy:

Petraeus bought a revolver, shot the gardener, threw the gun into a pond, and told Holmes the gardener had unexpectedly quit.

Clinton bought a case of guns, threw them in the back seat of her limousine, ran into a liquor store leaving the car running, and later told Holmes she didn't know how many guns were missing because she didn't keep count.

mockturtle said...

I don't like Romney or Petraeus. But if I had to choose, I'd pick Romney. Petraeus is a known liar and untrustworthy regarding classified information. Surely we can do better.

mccullough said...

I agree Romney is the likely pick. It's a fuck you to Russia and China. Rudy can run homeland security

viator said...

Trump and Romney having dinner together tonight.

Birches said...

This is just another season of THE APPRENTICE people. The second Petraeus entered the sweepstakes, I knew it was a giant media troll.

KellyAnne is just playing her part. I have no idea who is going to get the final rose.

M Jordan said...

@Ann: "Romney is perfectly polished, handsome, suave, dignified, calm. Rudy is rough, ugly, emotive, and weird."

Mr. Coiffed Romney stood and articulately spewed out the vilest anti-Trump message of the campaign. He, like his brainwashed father, undermined the men who beat them (George Romney stabbed Goldwater in the back a hundred different ways.). They are the sorest of losers.

Meanwhile Mr. Weird Guilliani went to virtually every fireman's funeral after 9/11, rallied New York through its darkest hours. He took down the mafia prior to that.

You can have your rotten at the core pretty boy. I'll take rough and virtuous.

mockturtle said...

M Jordan, I prefer 'rough and virtuous', too, but Giuliani, whom I greatly admire, is not the SOS type. DHS, yes.

Birkel said...

I will make the point again, this time without humorous (to me) movie quotes:

Foggy Bottom needs to get a colonoscopy. The Secretary of State should be ready to go to war against the State Department.

eric said...

The biggest problem with this story is, it's gossip. News media gossip.

There is no reason to assume anything the news media shares from "sources" is true.

I could see Romney as heading up the VA. It needs help. He is a fix it guy.

Comanche Voter said...

Kelly Anne Conway is a smart cookie. If it's sexist to say that, shoot me. Trump has made a point of hiring strong and competent people; that's one of the things he's good at. Smart people sometimes disagree with the boss--Trump knows that too. He'll also fire them when things get too bad. Conway is still working for him.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Romney is probably the most gifted and experienced executive among the Republican establishment. Whatever department needs the best administration should be given to him."

I thought that he would do well with Commerce, but Treasury would also be a good fit. OPM would be great, but wouldn't be high enough profile to tempt him. Part of how he made his mark, and his fortune, is going into failing businesses, cutting the deadwood, and turning them around. And, maybe that is the idea with the State Dept, that it has been rogue for generations, and needs to be brought to heel.

Hagar said...

Paula Broadwell until a few months previously was a military intelligence officer working with General Petraeus and then had all the necessary security clearance to see whatever he saw. She also was, shall we say, personally known to him, and loyal to both him and the country.
Thus, Petraeus broke protocol in letting her read his diaries after she had resignd from the service, but there was no real "security risk."

Hillary Clinton let 4 years of her e-mails as Secretary of State sit on an unsecured private server for anyone, anywhere, to hack and read.
That was a lot of very real "security risk."

Hagar said...

But Petraeus, "didn't run for President, did he?"

FullMoon said...

Birches said... [hush]​[hide comment]

This is just another season of THE APPRENTICE people. The second Petraeus entered the sweepstakes, I knew it was a giant media troll.

KellyAnne is just playing her part. I have no idea who is going to get the final rose.


I watched the Apprentice. Many times it was obvious Trump kept the ones he liked over the most competent. He could generally create reasons to fire anyone while overlooking defects in his favorite.

The vile Joan Rivers, who called her Jewish opponent, poker Annie "Worse than Hitler", was chosen as winner in a contest where the stated object was to raise the most money. Annie destroyed Joan in charitable dollars accumulated, and Trump picked Joan anyway. He is not deciding who to pick now, he has already made up his mind.
Picking Romney, who didn't have the strength to go after Obama hard for the most important job in the USA, if not the world, yet goes out of character to attack Trump in a James Carville sort of way seems pretty weak to a poorly educated blue collar guy like me.
And, wasn't Petreaus basically showing off for a pretty woman by sharing secrets, or something?

oopsy daisy said...

Foggy Bottom needs to get a colonoscopy. The Secretary of State should be ready to go to war against the State Department.

@ Birkel.

Exactly my point previously. The Secretary of State will need to be able to navigate through the morass of petty and vicious lifetime bureaucrats. THEY are the enemy of Trump's agenda. Cleaning the swamp should start with those entrenched lifetime petty bureaucrats who think that they are in charge. The Lois Lerners and all of that ilk. They need to go.

Only someone who has the guts (not Romney) and who has the experience can do this. It may be Giuliani or perhaps someone already familiar with the ways of the swamp. Bolton?

Henry said...

@Hagar -- what you say is true, which is why I say the comparison is interesting. The crimes are quite different in terms of intentionality. Petraeus clearly acted outside the law with intent. Yet HRC, who got off without indictment, very likely did more damage.

One of the things Petraeus admitted to was leaving confidential information unsecured around his home. The kind of information that Petraeus left unsecured was much more serious than the kind of information Clinton claimed she didn't have.

Hagar said...

The kind of information that Petraeus left unsecured was much more serious than the kind of information Clinton claimed she didn't have.
Huh?
Petraeus'"information" was his personal diaries from his past service in Afghanistan (and what VIP's - government or not - don't keep a copy of those at home?).

Hillary's "information" was her current State Dept. business mail - incoming and outgoing - including plans for future action. I would think the interest for our enemies would be greatly in favor of Hillary's trove.

Henry said...

@Hagar. The black books contained details of "covert operators, war strategies, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, etc" . They spanned the years 2010 and 2011 and were revealed to Broadbent in 2011 when all of those things would still be current. In other words, Petraeus transcribed SCI into his own private records -- which is illegal -- and within a year or two made them available to Broadbent -- which is illegal. When his affair with Broadbent became public, Patraeus told the CIA he had no classified information in his possession. He testified to the FBI that he had not provided classified information to his biographer.

This is all recorded in his guilty plea.

Unknown said...

Has Romney apologized yet?

Big Mike said...

@Henry, I think you've made the case that Petraeus isn't fit for Secretary of State, based on his getting caught mishandling classified information, but I'm still concerned about Romney as Secretary of State. As Conway notes, he was too over the top during the campaign. I think Trump wants to extend an olive branch to the GOP Establishment, but I think there are and ought to be limits.

mockturtle said...

Big Mike says: I think Trump wants to extend an olive branch to the GOP Establishment, but I think there are and ought to be limits.

Well, he did just appoint Mitch McConnell's wife to head the DOT.

Michael K said...

I don't think Romney is nasty enough for State Dept.
That ulcer needs to be lanced, drained, and brought under control before it can be trusted to carry out the president's - any president's - foreign policies.


I agree and I donated more to Romney than I have ever given to anyone else in an election.

He will sympathize with all the lefty partisans, not because he agrees with them but because he is a nice guy. Bolton would make their heads spin around like the Exorcist.

mockturtle said...

Bolton was my first choice [at least after Newt bowed out] but is maybe too hawkish for the position. More interventionist than Trump's ideas on foreign policy.

I'm not sure Romney isn't capable of nastiness. Some of the nastiest people I know are just like Romney--calm, smooth and very polite while they stab you in the belly.

Mark said...

Having a bunch of "yes" people who parrot the party line are of little use to anyone. You need those who speak contrary to the official public (diplomatic) message in order to provide plausible deniability for the real message being said.

SukieTawdry said...

Thomas Lifson makes a pretty good case for Romney today if we assume that foreign policy will emanate from the White House and believe, as Lifson does, that the State Department is badly broken and desperately needs to be fixed:

Mitt Romney as secretary of state would focus not on policy, but on doing to the State Department what he has done to poorly performing companies: close down entire segments of the organization and reorganize what the survivors do around re-thought goals and procedures. This is a formidable art, and one that Romney is an acknowledged master of, thanks to his many years at Bain Capital, buying companies and turning them around. He has deep experience in refocusing on what matters most and the most effective ways to accomplish the redefined priorities.

Why Trump is courting Romney for the State Department

Mark said...

"Romney is probably the most gifted and experienced executive among the Republican establishment. Whatever department needs the best administration should be given to him."

Must we go through this again?

Romney was a failed one-term governor and father of ObamaCare. And he was an event planner in Utah. That's it. Beyond that, he does have years and years of self-promotion. Oh, and he has tons of experience at being a weasel. But that's it. The best service he could do his country is to go the hell away and finally leave us alone.

Mark said...

Romney made a series of apparently controversial statements about international affairs in 2012 and was widely mocked for them. All of these statements have turned out to be 100% correct. I'll take the guy with that kind of knowledge every single time

Only a couple tens of millions of people said the same things as Romney regarding foreign affairs. You don't take a guy simply for voicing common knowledge, particularly if he acts as if he is all that for saying it. Instead, you tell him, NSS.

Fritz said...

Henry said...
Romney would seem to a better fit at Treasury.

Romney is probably the most gifted and experienced executive among the Republican establishment. Whatever department needs the best administration should be given to him.


An interesting notion. While there are a number of departments that should simply be dissolved (e.g. Education, HHS, Energy), which of the remaining necessary departments need the sharpest turn around? Again, it's a tough choice, but State is a decent selection

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Maybe he's just picking on Romney.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saint Croix said...

I think there's a quiet negotiation with Rand Paul and a few other Republicans who might torpedo a pick. Paul's vocal hostility to Bolton was a torpedo.

If just a few Republicans bolt, the pick at State is toast. (Assuming the Democrats are united in opposition).

What's interesting about Romney is that he is a unity pick. I imagine a lot of Democrats would confirm Romney.

Petraeus is interesting because his character flaw is identical to Hillary's character flaw. His fate is intertwined with her fate. If she is prosecuted, how can he be confirmed? If she is pardoned, or forgiven, how can Petraeus be attacked for his mistake?

My gut feeling is that Trump really wants Giuliani at the State department. I think he has the right temperament, the right focus, executive experience. Plus he and Trump have a real bro-mance. Both New Yorkers. The NYT has been harsh on the mayor, which is a big plus for Republicans. (Not only are those criticisms weak, they are almost identical to criticisms of Trump!)

Giuliani is the nominee, unless the Senate has the votes to scuttle the appointment. In which case Trump might roll the dice and nominate him anyway, having fun with a showdown. Or he might play it safe and go with Romney.

Saint Croix said...

My pick for head of the state department?

Jared Kushner.

(I discuss the legal issue on another thread.

Saint Croix said...

Politico argues LBJ is right and Bobby Kennedy the AG was a horrible idea.

I say, you suck, Politico!

I will defend mom-and-pop grocery stores from the Ivy League idiots who think family should stay at home. Idiots!

Saint Croix said...

I'm a huge fan of Jared Kushner.

1) He is unfazed by outside criticism and allowed one of his employees to write this editorial. He allowed his publisher to publish it. Wonderful, amazing boss. Kudos!

2) After a day or two of cool reflection, he published his response.

3) One of my concerns about Donald Trump has always been that he's a hot-head (like Jefferson, Hugo Black, and yours truly). Hugo Black is, in my opinion, the greatest jurist our Supreme Court has ever seen. He also once got so mad he tried to strangle Felix Frankfurter in conference. I see potential similarities between Trump and Black in terms of temperament and ability.

4) It's an interesting dynamic! Donald Trump loves his daughter. Jared Kushner loves his wife. Both of them want to avoid doing anything that would upset her. It creates tension, working closely with your father-in-law. It creates stress, family stress, personal stress. But that's how diamonds are made!

5) I'm a fun-loving guy. Damn if I want to be President of the United States of America. For that matter, damn if I want to be the son-in-law of the President of the United States of America. I wouldn't even call my rock band The Presidents of the United States of America (Although, if I was the President of the United States of America, I would invite them to play at my inaugural!) So while I don't envy them the stress of that particular relationship, it seems to have worked out very well. And putting Kushner in the cabinet stresses some strong positives I see in Donald Trump: he is open and unbiased and can be very magnanimous and respectful of minorities, individuals, and the other.