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Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Instapresident

From Judge Andrew P. Napolitano: "Trump has committed the most revolutionary act I've seen in 45 years."

How did we get here? It all began in Knoxville nearly 20 years ago.

Glenn Reynolds emerged from the online chatrooms as a leader of libertarian and conservative thought on the Internet. He did this by wrapping his quick, sharp wit around very solid ideas that never made the mainstream press.

Weeks before 9/11, he began his Instapundit site, which he turned into the tallest soapbox on the right -- a rallying point for people stumbling onto the Internet to discover that, hey, they were not the only ones questioning authority.

Tallest soapbox.

Let that sink in.

Some professor in Tennessee with a laptop and a dial-up became as important in setting the right's agenda as the Wall Street Journal with all its bricks and mortar and printing presses. Certainly far fewer CEOs read Instapundit, and definitely he draws far fewer eyeballs.

But his influence exceeds his numbers.

And the Wall Street Journal has been at the forefront of technology, criss-crossing the nation (and now world) with satellite printing offices as soon as there were satellites.

Indeed, James Taranto did a great job putting the Wall Street Journal online (as did Jonah Goldberg at National Review before his recent bout with Trumphobia).

But at the grassroots, Instapundit developed a network of libertarian and conservative writers and readers who really needed one another as they resisted a better financed, better organized liberal establishment.

His site is the center of an electronic community tied together by a commonality not of nationality, race, or religion, but rather the notion that most Americans can take care of themselves with little aid or guidance from the government.

No one elected Reynolds and I doubt he sought the office. But cream rises, and a man in the heart of Jackson's America is the mayor of this invisible town we live in. The blogfather.

Physically, he lives in a town named for that chubby bookseller, Henry Knox. How appropriate.

When Washington needed cannon, Knox had the gumption to trek through three hundred miles of foot-deep snow to Ticonderoga to bring back 60 tons of artillery.

Washington ringed Boston with that cannon (and some Potemkin cannon).

On the morning of March 17, 1776, British General Howe looked up at Dorchester Heights and said, “The rebels did more in one night than my whole army would have done in one month.”

Howe then decided now would be a good time to relocate to New York City.

Such is the spirit we built this nation on -- a spirit George Lucas captured in "Star Wars" in 1977.

But just as Lucas (and now Disney) milked a plucky film of its fun and humor for a string of movies as empty as a green screen, so we have built this gigantic Death Star government that dictates how much water you can have in your toilet tank, what color your toilet paper may be (white only) and what it smells like (unscented -- no scent for you).

And you read your daily newspaper, listen to your morning news on radio, and watch the talking heads on TV at night, and they reassure you that every problem in the world can be fixed with another government program.

It's NPRism. The moral to every actuary done by public radio is more government.

The Internet challenged all that. And as Reynolds heads toward the 20th anniversary of his adopting the handle of Instapundit, readers see the change finally happen.

Follow the money. Online ads have eclipsed newspaper ads. Any blog that made money last year is more profitable than many newspapers in the nation, who are tossing staff overboard to keep from sinking -- after wasting all that time earlier rearranging the deck chairs.

Watching Reynolds and his rebel army -- read Army of Davids -- is inspirational. It also made a pretty good blueprint for a presidential run.

I am sure Donald Trump incorporated the tactics into his campaign. Be quick. Be nimble. Be everywhere.

Be Instapresident -- ninja Instapresident.

Trump spent half the money and defeated the Clinton Clan, the Republicans, the Democrats, the media, and the bureaucracy in the most entertaining election in my life

Reynolds is disciplined, amiable, and in many ways the opposite of Donald Trump's public persona.

But in dealing with Trump, you have to realize the hair is real, but the color ain't. Trump is a conservative who doesn't particularly care who you screw. He's the billionaire playboy and family man.

Contradictions don't matter. Deeds do.

He may not be able to recite any Bible verses off the top of his head, but I know of too many incidences of Christian charity to question his religion. A guy stops to help fix the flat on your limo, and you pay off his mortgage? You put a homeless woman up for years in Trump Tower? You help save a stranger's family farm in Georgia? I could go on and on, and if readers wish to share some in comments, I would appreciate it.

But as Leo Durocher said nice guys are in seventh place.

In politics and business, Trump ain't particularly nice -- to the people who deserve to be drop-kicked.

And while he seems undisciplined, the fact is he has a strict regimen each day, rising with the sun, reading a half-dozen papers, eating breakfast....

His ninja Instapresidency is off to a great start because Trump brought the private sector work ethic of 12-hour days to government. Upon election, politicians take a "well-earned vacation" after campaigning so hard. They prepare for a 9-to-5 life with 14 federal holidays and four weeks annual vacation, plus sick days.

Not Trump.

Trump got out his phone and his pen, and began running the government. He slowed for a half-day of work on Thanksgiving, but put in a full day the next.

All those things the experts said couldn't be done -- saving Carrier, getting Ford to stay, attracting foreign investments -- were done before the Electoral College convened.

Betting against The Donald is like betting against the Road Runner. Meep, meep.

By the time he got to the White House officially, he had transformed the economy back into a bustling, optimistic, thriving state. The Dow at 20,000 won't last of course. A correction will happen. But the Dow will roar back even higher.

He's playing the press for the cheap hacks they are. They deserve it.

From Glenn Reynolds:
If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.
That’s too bad. If we had a better press, we’d be much better off as a nation, and Trump’s strategy of capitalizing on the press’s flaws is good for Trump, but will probably make that problem worse, if such a thing is possible. But the truth is, we don’t have a better press. And as long as the press is mindlessly partisan and bereft of self-discipline, capitalizing on that is just good politics.
I'm with Reynolds. I would like to have a free press.

We will not have a free press until it quits the Democratic Party. That is the problem. A discredited press cannot hold a president accountable.

But there is comfort in knowing no fascist would take Trump's route to the presidency.

A fascist would not need to work around the media on the Internet, she would take millions from industrialists and foreign governments, then demonize her opponent as Hitler while using the media as her personal propaganda machine.

Trump used American cunning -- think Swamp Fox, Daniel Morgan at Cowpens, and the aforementioned Knox -- to work around the Establishment.

Form dictates function.

The rebel army form dictated the Instapresident. The results are coming in.

From Judge Andrew P. Napolitano:
When Trump promised that as president -- on “day one” -- he would begin to dismantle ObamaCare, some Republicans, many members of the press and most Democrats laughed at him. They are laughing no longer because the first executive order he signed on Jan. 20 directed those in the federal government who enforce ObamaCare to do so expecting that it will soon not exist.
He ordered that regulations already in place be enforced with a softer, more beneficent tone, and he ordered that no penalty, fine, setoff or tax be imposed by the IRS on any person or entity who is not complying with the individual mandate, because by the time taxes are due on April 15, the IRS will be without authority to impose or collect the non-tax tax, as the individual mandate will no longer exist. Why take money from people that will soon be returned?
Then he ordered a truly revolutionary act, the likes of which I have never seen in the 45 years I have studied and monitored the government’s laws and its administration of them. He ordered that when bureaucrats who are administering and enforcing the law have discretion with respect to the time, place, manner and severity of its enforcement, they should exercise that discretion in favor of individuals and against the government.
This is radical coming from any president in the modern era of government-can-do-no-wrong. It is far more Thomas Jefferson, the small-government champion with whom Trump has never been associated, than it is Theodore Roosevelt, the super-regulator whom Trump has stated he admires. It recognizes the primacy and dignity of the individual and the fallibility of the state. It acknowledges the likely demise of ObamaCare. It is utterly without precedent since Jefferson’s presidency.
Trump’s revolutionary act is a breeze of freedom on a sea of regulation. It recognizes something modern governments never admit -- that they can be and have been wrong. It is exactly as Trump promised.
We had a rebellion on November 8.

The revolution has begun.

In eight years, ninja Instapresident will have whittled the federal government to a size smaller than the one Reagan inherited.

Can't be done?
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone."
--JFK, Rice University, September 12, 1962

Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

Be deplorable. Follow me on Twitter.


  1. Here is a good video of Trump playing with the media.

    Trump is off-screen but you get the point.

  2. Will this be a chapter in your new book? I sure hope so!

  3. You are right, Don, the press just keeps biting, and Trump just keeps fishing.

  4. Just read that he Horror of Horrors did not wave to the press and people when he boarded Air Force One. Why the Nerve of That Man!

  5. It can be done if you want it badly enough.

  6. Well said Don, well said indeed.

  7. Awesome.

    Instapundit published a line I emailed to him back when Obama was putting together his first administration.

  8. Loved the reference to the Road Runner! And the MSM is the Wile E. Coyote who just doesn't get it. LOL.

    1. And like Wile E. Coyote, the MSM keeps on pulling out the same weapons provided by the Acme Co. that they've used for years and years....and finds that this time they work against themselves. LOL indeed!

  9. The Democrats and their Progressive policies have sown the wind and now they're reaping the whirlwind. Batten down the hatches! - Elric

  10. Don't know how you keep upping your game, Don- but this column is a real humdinger! Even compared to your other excellent columns!

    The "ninja Instapresident!" What a wonderful and fitting description of President Trump!

  11. Don't miss the Instapundit posting from 12:45am, 1/28/17: "Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself."

    So I’m a scoundrel because I don’t pay income taxes? Maybe so, but it also makes me smart, just like all the other billionaires who are backing your campaign. So I’m a sexist because you found a video of me bragging about how my superstar status enables me to grab women by the p—y? Maybe it does, but allow me to publically introduce four of the women who have accused your husband of everything from indecent exposure to rape. So I’m a greedy businessman who stiffs my contractors? Fine. You’re a corrupt politician who sells out our national interest to line your own pockets.

    Maybe everything they say about me is true, but at least I’m authentic, at least I’m real: you on the other hand, are a bloody, disgusting hypocrite.

  12. Why no mention of Rush Limbaugh?

  13. Alex Boyle
    "a story my father wrote about a young real estate developer in New York City some thirty two years ago"

    Before Politics, Donald Trump helped build the USFL

  14. How Trump Fought Racism and Anti-Semitism in Palm Beach Two Decades Ago

    From this April 1997 Wall Street Journal story about his Mar-a-Lago property and his roiling the old social order in the then–racist Palm Beach scene, we have this little tidbit worth bringing to your attention.

  15. That time [in 1986] when Donald Trump saved a Georgia farm

    One narrative emerging around the surprisingly resilient Donald Trump portrays the brash billionaire as a final card laid down by Republican blue-collar voters who see their way of life — and their political clout — draining away in a bathtub spiral.

    Trump has been a man of last resort before. Right here in Georgia, in fact. And if his Republican presidential machine doesn’t seize upon the tale in the next few weeks, as he and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas battle for Southern votes, then someone in the Trump campaign will be guilty of gross incompetence.

    It happened in 1986, in the midst of the worst farm crisis since the Great Depression. In Burke County, on Georgia’s eastern border, farm after farm was folding.

    On Feb. 4, Lenard Dozier Hill III, a third-generation occupant of his cotton-and-soybean acreage, was about to have his land sold out from under him. ”That morning, it was going to be auctioned off at the courthouse steps, so he committed suicide,” said Betsy Sharp, his daughter.

    In the bedroom of the Hill home, along with the .22-caliber rifle that did the work, was a neat stack of life insurance policies and other papers on the nightstand. Hill had intended for the life insurance payout to cover most of his $300,000 debt and so save the family farm for another generation.

    It was a grievous miscalculation. Most, if not all, life insurance policies include a clause that prohibits payment in cases of suicide. “He didn’t realize all that,” Sharp said.

    Hill’s desperate act struck a chord. Reporters and TV crews descended on the Waynesboro church where the funeral was held. Vandals painted “farmer killer” on the door of the local bank.

    The widow was already familiar with Frank Argenbright, a wealthy and white Atlanta businessman who had made a name for himself by organizing the successful effort to save the farm of a black farmer in Cochran named Oscar Lorick…

    Argenbright arranged a press conference for Annabel Hill in Atlanta. “It went national,” he said. Today, in the age of the Internet, we use the term “viral.”

    Argenbright was still at the airport when his assistant called. Someone claiming to be Donald Trump had just rang, offering to help Annabel Hill.

    A suspicious Argenbright called the number and demanded proof of identity from the man who answered.

    “Herschel Walker works for me,” the voice said. The former University of Georgia running back was the star of the New Jersey Generals, a United States Football League team owned by Trump. That was good enough.

    “Well, Mr. Trump, I apologize,” Argenbright said. (more)

  16. In early May 2016, CNN released the entire September 2nd, 1987 Donald Trump 19 minute interview on Larry King Live, where he discusses the $100k full-page ads he took out in the NYTimes, WaPo, & Boston Globe criticizing unfair trade practices; why he does not want to run (HINT: Next President will be a one-termer), his views on Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Japan & NATO paying their fair share for defense; plus Las Vegas & other sundry items… And surprising insights into his attitudes towards low income housing and homelessness.

    For those of you who are worried about Donald Trump's policy "inconsistencies," your mind will be put at ease: He's been saying the same damn thing for 30 years. You may not like what he had to say on that fateful day when he telegraphed his intent to run for President (I'll have a well-documented article on it in a day or three); but the Donald Trump you saw back then is the one you see today.

  17. Donald Trump's [February 2000] Advocate Interview Where He Defends Gays, Mexicans

    [NOTES: 1) This was about a month before he published "The America We Deserve," which correctly predicted Osama bin Laden successfully attacking NYC 18 months beforehand. 2) The questions were answered in writing. 3) As it turned out in 2000 Pat Buchanan hijacked the Reform Party, as they qualified for Federal matching funds based on 1992 & 1006 voter percentage. 4) Although I posted Jim Hoft's excerpt in Gateway Pundit, you may want to read the entire Advocate article which is linked.]

    Flashback Interview: Trump Defends Gays from Clintons in 2000

    Back in 2000 Donald Trump was interviewed by the gay Advocate magazine. This was after eight years of Bill and Hillary Clinton in the White House.

    Last fall Donald Trump shook up the political world by announcing he was joining the Reform Party, a major step in exploring a run for president. The pundits laughed, claiming that the real estate mogul knew more about glamour than politics, but Trump made a number of television and personal appearances that showed his proposed candidacy was no joke. Privately, friends speculated he was bored with the real estate business. In January Trump published The America We Deserve, which outlines his vision for the nation. Anyone who thinks his candidacy is a joke, he says, should read the book. For moderates in the Reform Party, Trump has emerged as their best hope of stopping Pat Buchanan from winning the party’s presidential nomination. With his name recognition and record in business, Trump could prove a wild card in the presidential race, appealing to people tired of politics as usual. Recently I put a wide-ranging set of questions to Trump concerning gay issues, to which Trump responded in writing. His answers might surprise some pundits, both for their thoroughness and for their bluntness.

    Entire Advocate article

  18. 1985: Donald Trump Donates $1 Million to NYC Vietnam Vets
    [Original title: NY Remembers Vietnam]
    AP — May 8, 1985

    NEW YORK - Thousands of Vietnam veterans who returned home to indifference or worse gathered yesterday in wheelchairs, military fatigues and business suits to help dedicate the city's memorial to those who fought in Southeast Asia.
    Today, an estimated 20,000 veterans were getting the homecoming they never received a decade ago when the last Americans left Vietnam. A tickertape parade was planned across the Brooklyn Bridge into the "Canyon of Heroes" in Wall Street.

    About 8,000 Vietnam veterans came together Monday night for the lighting of a 70-foot long, 16-foot-high glass wall etched with the names and words of some of those who served in Vietnam.

    About 50 veterans, several in wheelchairs, rushed the wall. One rested his head against it, sobbing uncontrollably. Another leaned against the wall and stared bland for several minutes as firework exploded over the East Rivers celebrate the war memorial.

    Many who descended on the new named Vietnam Veterans Plaza were wearing black armbands and black jackets to remember 2,247 American soldiers still listed as missing in action.

    Mayor Edward Koch, who lighter the wall, told the veterans, "What was do here tonight begins to undo the terrible injustice.... We have opened the eyes of a new generation to the lessons of the past."

    Said developer Donald Trump who donated $1 million to the veterans and to a jobs program set up by the city to help unemployed New York veterans, "It's a great evening I only wish it could have taken placed 10 years ago."

    1. Separately, Tom Lipscomb posted on his wall, (which I publicly reposted):
      LEST WE FORGET: Trump's work with veterans has a long history.

      Trump's interest in helping veterans is no flash in the pan. I personally can assure you he has been involved in this area for OVER 30 YEARS.

      His event at Drake University last night was no sudden PR exploitation to cover up his escape from the Fox debate. It had deep roots in Trump's behavior, which few are aware of.

      A lot of "veterans groups" are run by left wingers. A lot of us didn't join Vietnam Veterans of America for precisely that reason. THEY were the ones who tried to embarrass Trump yesterday. Their MAIN work with veterans is teaching them how to defraud the VA with fake claims of PTSD and other con games so their members can get a nice check every month and pay their dues.

      THEY KNEW there wasn't a chance in hell of their getting a penny from Trump which is why they went to work for their paymasters on the Left to try to embarrass Trump. Take a look at the sensible list Trump ended up distributing money to.

      Veterans are an OLD cause for Trump... we got a million dollars from him 30 years ago IN 1985 for our NYC Vietnam Veterans Memorial and our Welcome Home Parade I was part of. And that was a million dollars in 1985 money.

      There were no brownie points for Trump's supporting Vietnam Vets back in 1985.... every newspaper in town had set in hard type headlines reading "Crazed Vietnam Vet today..." ready to fill in the blanks with some atrocity or other "shoots up McDonalds;" "kills wife and children and commits suicide."

      Even if the guy had only been in the service and never been on active duty in Vietnam, the media couldn't wait to tar him with his service; something in our father's day had been occasions of pride.

      No yellow ribbons, no "support our troops", just lasting contempt for "baby killers" spawned in 60s by the cretins who, to our disgrace, are now running the country.

      No “thank you for your service” or handshakes for personnel in uniform in transit through airports or train or bus stations. Some of us had been warned coming home NOT to wear our uniforms and had been spit on arriving at the Oakland Army Terminal by anti-war demonstrators.

      And Trump was our LARGEST donor.

      We will never forget.

      And that memorial stands glowing in the night just a few blocks from Ground Zero to this day 31 years on.

    2. A good example of how donald uses the vets for his own personal gain can easily be seen in recent history. As you should remember, Trump, "the ratings machine" (how he describes himself) had been complaining during the primary that he alone was generating alot of money for the networks covering the debates. He publicly said he deserved a cut of that money, or else he was going to bail on their next event, which was foxnews' turn to hold one. He said he would instead hold his own event and donate the profits to "the vets". They refused to give him a cut, so he held his event and very publicly claimed he was sending a check to "the vets". (was it $1 or $5 million? i forget) The reaction was very pro trump and he realised he could get that recognition AND the money too because nobody cared enough to check on his claim - all except one. A Wapo reporter looked into it by contacting vets groups to see if any got his money? It took awhile to contact a long list, but found none who had.
      So in the interest of accuracy, the reporter contacted the trump team for inputs on which vets group(s) had received his claimed donation. He notified them on the story he was writing and wanted to get their side of the story. They at first ignored him but when he called them back, kelly anne started complaining in the media that a (choice insult description) reporter was "obsessed" with donald and "demanding" too much info (simply their take). What came next was trump bringing onstage some vets and publicly handing a golf tournament sized check as his promised donation - some months after everyone believed he already had done that, as most people believed.

      It was at that check-giving event that trump's hatred of the press and his desire to convince his unquestioning supporters of that, was ratcheted up much higher. He hates any media that simply tells the truth, with the most hatred directed at those who contradict the image donald is trying to build of himself. The media he favors most are those who dont check out any of his stories and wont challenge anything he says - like hannity and the list of blogs who love him. Trump, like all autocrats, want to be able to deny facts without annoying reporters asking for follow up questions.

      We aren't going to see and r/w pundits caring to know if this politician is arrogantly lying to them and the world. Its my theory that they dont ask any hard questions because it can only serve to discredit a story that they very much want to be true - because it FEELS So Good. Wherever questions appear, the supporters attack that messenger with ad hominem insults and (as always) very typically not contradicting with empirical evidence of their own. Lets face it, their favorite sources for news did nothing to educate on any kind of facts, so they just follow what they learn on foxnews - attack the messengers having critical inputs, with vitriol. In the bush era, very respected reagan conservatives were attacked by this crowd and labelled as "liberals". It used to be humorous but now its out of control. How are trump supporters ever going to find out how bad trump's decisions really are - or learn about anything, when their favorite media behaves like north korean media, always favoring their dear leader. Instapundit isnt helping their readers learn anything except to hate liberals. Who is going to hold trump's feet to the fire if the only accepted media avoid any critisism?

    3. Actually he disbursed $5.6 million to veteran groups. The report you cite from Paul Farenthold came days before his press conference announcing this.


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