Monday, August 17, 2015

Trump Golf & Tower - Washington DC

[from Bill Lifka, Graphics by Ira]
Upon reflection, I may have been too hard on Donald Trump. Without question, he’s brought attention to the irritation of many conservatives with the excesses of the Obama regime and the inability of republican legislators to counter their impact. 

Thinking positively, I imagined how The Donald could win my support for the U.S. presidency. If Mr. Trump promised, as his first initiative, to remodel Washington D.C. as a theme park and resort, I’d switch my allegiance to him in a heartbeat and forget that, originally, it was my idea. 

[Read Bill Lifka's original 2010 idea American Government Theme Park on this Blog] 
Graphic by Ira - click it for larger version.


I’d even support his intent to rename the Washington monument Trump Tower II and turning the mall into a golf course. His expertise in real estate development and doing deals is ideal for pulling off this long-needed conversion of what once was swamp land into a solid money maker. 

I’m confident he could complete the transition in his first term. No doubt, he’d want a personal piece of the deal but aligning national interests with Trump’s business interests would ensure the success of the endeavor. This plan could be announced as the centerpiece of his platform late in the campaign when he feels pressure to add some substance to his message. 


Stephen F. Hayes wrote about NJ Governor Chris Christie’s encounter with an 83 year old female Trump backer at a NH town hall meeting. She took on the NJ Governor for thinking he could do better than Trump who has been successful and understands what capitalism is about and has done extremely well. 

“And,” she said, “don’t tell me it’s because you have political experience; I don’t really want to hear that.” 

Christie responded: “I love the fact that you asked the question and tell me what I have to answer.” 

“I’m like that,” she responded, “That’s the way I am.” 

He answered: “Now I understand exactly why you like Donald but it’s not possible to shout, ‘You’re fired!’ at a congressional leader who tells you he doesn’t have the votes. You can do that on a TV show but you cannot fire the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader because you don’t get what you want.” 

That seems like a perfect summary of objective objections to Trump’s objective if his real goal is to attain the presidency. Is being a successful business person a qualification or an obstacle? Does one need to have demonstrated political skills? The answer to the first question depends on the kind of business and how the business person went about becoming successful. The answer to the second question is that political skills are necessary to win a party’s primary, to win the general election and, like it or not, to succeed in the presidency. 

Donald Trump has spent his life buying and selling real estate and resorts, various entertainment businesses and, mostly, in promoting himself and his name to iconic status. The last of these endeavors may well be his most valuable asset, which he’s now risking. Great risk is routine in big time real estate dealing but not so good for rational national governance. 

Big time real estate dealing invariably
 requires paying off public officials. 

The same thing might be required to make 
political deals but is more likely to backfire. 

More to the point, The Donald runs a one man company which hardly requires him to negotiate with employees or a board. 

Governor Christie has a point. To qualify as a viable candidate, Mr. Trump must explain his governing principles (like Carly Fiorina suggested) and his plan to achieve goals like erecting a border fence paid for by Mexico.


Every day my Email delivers several dozens of requests for campaign contributions. If one was to promote a debate between Hillary and Carly, I’d contribute hugely even though I know such a monumental confrontation could never occur unless both were either presidential candidates for their respective Parties or both were vice presidential candidates. 

The first possibility is out of the question because I don’t think Carly has a shot at the top slot. The second possibility is not beyond belief because Clinton’s popularity is sagging from the weight of all her baggage; would she accept second seat to placate women? If she did, Carly would be a fine choice for Republican VP candidate and she would rip Hillary to shreds; in a feminine way, of course. 


Carly isn’t a politician; she’s spent her entire career in business, ending as CEO of a corporation ranked # 20 on the Fortune 500 listing. A long list of knocks about her performance in that last job were assembled by Democrats in her run for the U.S. Senate seat against long time Senator, Barbara Boxer. Another thing is the belief she was soundly beaten by Boxer based on the 10 percentage point margin of victory. Since CA is overwhelmingly Democratic (mostly of the far left variety) and Boxer had 28 years of granting U.S. government favors for California voters, losing by 10 points is almost a victory for a Conservative. In the prior defense of her Senate seat, Boxer won by 20 points. 

The attacks on Carly’s HP experience include: she was fired, managers hated her, she fired thousands of employees, HP lost tons of money under her leadership and the list goes on. She has good answers in one liner responses and longer, reasoned arguments but a constant drumbeat takes a toll. Here are my short answers. Many good executives have been fired including Steve Jobs and me, Bill Lifka.

Carly argued with her board constantly: a group of prima donnas which demonstrated its incompetence before and after Carly as well as during her CEO stint. Carly had to orchestrate spinning off the original HP businesses and it’s acquisitions into Agilent, a newly formed company and merging HP computer businesses with Compaq and its many acquisitions. At one point, the directors wanted to organize in 34 distinct businesses despite their focus on similar technology, similar products and similar markets; Carly argued for 4. The so-called HP way went with the spin-off. Carly wanted a management culture that matched the realities of the new computer market; old managers resisted. 

Carly’s term of office coincided with a collapse of the entire computer market; HP’s firings were in line with other companies in the industry. In the end, HP emerged bigger, stronger, more profitable and more competent technologically; at least that’s Carly’s argument. She may be right. 

If one wished to check Carly’s credentials, her history at AT&T might be of greater value. There she rose from management trainee to SVP and was, seemingly, the principal executive who orchestrated the spin-off of Bell Labs and Western Electric into Lucent. 

The question is whether she had any successful line experience in hands-on operations. Her record with Lucent and HP suggests relevant experience in moving strategic chess pieces on a huge game board but that’s not the same as experience in the trenches. 

Nevertheless, managing high tech manufacturing companies in truly public corporations is more relevant to governing a democratic nation than managing a real estate business in a dictatorial organizational structure.

Bill Lifka

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