Monday, September 11, 2017

Books: Bolling Examines "The Swamp"

The Swamp: Washington's Murky Pool of Corruption, Cronyism, and Really Strange Creatures - and how Trump Can Drain It
By Eric Bolling
St. Martin's Press

Former Fox News host Eric Bolling takes a look at "the swamp" of Washington D.C., by examining a dark history of the Republican and Democratic parties.

Bolling details national political scandals, high crimes and misdemeanors, and even events that should have been a blip on the radar and mushroomed into spiraling out-of-control controversies.

A part of our political system has been bribery, blackmail, and backroom dealings, and they're getting worse. The ones that get hurt the most are the American people.
Some of the scandals Bolling looks at to illustrate some of the bad characters that have been leading politicians, including the sexual escapades of Senator Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick scandal, Wilbur Mills and the Argentinian stripper, Eliot Spitzer, also known as Client 9 and had to resign as New York governor because of an affair with an escort; and the Senator John Edwards affair in his 2008 presidential campaign.
There were rivalries, sometimes deadly, between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Governor Sam Houston and Representative William Stansburg, and Senator Charles Sumner and Congressman Preston Brooks, who wildly engaged in savage caning incidences.
Foreign entanglements, including that of Senator William Bliunt, who was tossed from the Senate in 1797 for trying to help the British take over parts of the Florida territory, are revealed.
"The Swamp" also produced ill-conceived leaks, such as the case of Representative Andrew J. May, who before being charged with bribery, gave an ill-advised press conference in 1943, in which he not only revealed strategically significant information on U.S. submarines, but also how they evaded Japanese depth charges. This episode likely led to the sinking of 10 sbs and cost the lives of 800 servicemen.
Watergate is laid out in excruciating detail, with Bolling looking into all the players involved and the crimes committed.
There is plenty on the Clintons and their hold on "The Swamp" and all their scandals, including Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, and Linda Tripp. Bolling looks at the 2011 handover of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply to Russia, which coincided with a large donation by the Russian government to the Clinton Family Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
With all this as the backdrop entering the 2016 election, the battle for the presidency featured Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Bolling sees Trump's victory as the country wanting to go in a new direction, and he writes, "Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election of 2016 would spare the nation a return to rule by the Clintons - but not before we lived through two other presidencies with scandals of their own in the interim.
"George W. Bush mass-fired seven U.S. attorneys he had himself appointed - sparking mass resignations among his staff to avoid testifying on the matter with no clear explanation for their firing ever emerging.
"Barack Obama dissembled about Benghazi, the Fast and Furious gunrunning program, IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, and bogus subsidies like those to the bankrupt Solyndra solar panel company (under the guide of creating a cleaner and more regulated - yet miraculously also more profitable - 'green economy').
"Neither right nor left seems to have satisfied the public's craving for a government that serves average citizens, a government that resists turning into a secretive, favor-granting machine. So, after decades of watching control of the Swamp lurch back and forth between two parties that were opposites on things that don't matter and all too similar on the things that do - like piling more spending on top of a $20 trillion federal debt - the voters decided to punt to a different option.
"It was a risky move. All the experts said it was the wrong one. The voters somehow eliminated establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush in the 2016 primary, then eliminated the ultimate establishment Democrat in the general election in the person of Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump was a paradox but one the voters found somehow compelling. He came from Democrat-dominated New York City. He violated rules of Republican orthodoxy on trade and the Iraq War, flirted with conspiracy theory and lewdness - yet his brazen unwillingness to bend the knee, to flatter the press, to play by the usual rules, spoke to the public's deep longing to be rid of the usual gang of idiots.
"He called the Swamp inhabitants 'stupid,' and you weren't supposed to do that - yet they are. And he did. And he got away with it. And he kept getting away with it right through the November 2016 election, even with the nation's best prognosticators giving him a scientifically validated 98 percent chance of losing."
In discussing how Trump should tackle the Swamp, Bolling makes the point that the other populist candidate in the 2016 race, Bernie Sanders, was striving for similar things as Trump.
Bolling writes, "First, I would say to Trump: Stick to your business instincts. They will not fail you.
"Liberals and conservatives alike make the mistake of entering the Swamp and immediately adjusting (or more likely abandoning) their principles in the business-as-usual habits of the Swamp, instead of making the Swamp creatures adhere to principle. Populism may be more a gut instinct rather than a clear policy agenda - but it's that instinct that warns us the elite are playing a game rigged for their own benefit, rigged against the rest of us.
"That rigging can take the form of subsidies, regulations, and court decisions that please the well connected but do little for the taxpayers whose hard work keeps the Swamp moist and vibrant. A variety of populist figures from right and left have expressed that worry, from Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot in the 1990s (both friendly with the Reform Party, which at one point encouraged an earlier Trump run for president) to Bernie Sanders at his best moments in his 2016 run. He was a hopeless old Socialist who would have made D.C. even more powerful and intrusive and utterly tanked the economy - but if you get steamrollered by a corrupt Democratic National Committee that's completely in the tank for Hillary Clinton, you're bound to gain a little wisdom about how the system serves those who are already in charge.
"How, then, to navigate the Swamp without becoming a part of it? Staying true to the commonsense principles that make business work, principles lacking in government, would be a great start."

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