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Why you should read The Art of the Impossible

April 26, 2017

The Sydney book launch for my blog history on the election of Donald Trump – The Art of the Impossible – is tonight. Not sure how many would show up to hear me talk about my book, but as very good luck would have it, my presentation will be preceded by Ross Cameron and Mark Latham discussing Donald Trump and my book. But then it will be me, and what a pair of tough acts to follow. However, I also have some things to say. So for those of you who cannot make it, this is a brief rundown of what I will say on the night if there is enough time.

1) I am endlessly grateful to both Ross and Mark for agreeing to help put this book on the map. I’m not sure I would have come along myself if they had not agreed to come. But there they will be and then it will be myself.

2) My aim is to explain why I wrote the book as a means to explain why others might find value and entertainment in reading it.

3) Reasons to read the book:

a) It will explain how essential for our future welfare and well being it was that DJT became president. It is not just that we don’t have Hillary, but that we don’t have any of the other Republicans who were running. The way in which Trump’s agenda is held up not just by the courts but also by the Republican Congress should be all the reminder you need that if the log jams in solving our problems is ever to be broken, Trump is the only one who might possibly do it.

b) It reminds you of how much opposition there was and is to everything DJT is trying to do, which for most of us on this side of the fence are the things we ourselves want done. Dealing with the disastrous residue of eight of the most destructive years in American politics under Obama’s terms as president have left major problems that need urgent attention.

c) The book is utterly unique in being made up entirely of blog posts that were written at the time and in the moment. There is no looking back at what happened in the knowledge that Trump became president. The posts all reflect the personal concern that some other Republican might get the nomination – which was not necessarily a catastrophe although I think no one else could have won – but more crucially once DJT became the nominee why it was essential that he won and Hillary lost. The book brings back to life some of the tension that never disappeared throughout the campaign and which reached a crescendo in that last week before the election itself.

d) It reminds you of the issues at stake. The fantastic fog and misdirection laid down by the media obscures almost everything that is essential. You are reminded of the kinds of things Trump represented, but also how if he did nothing else other than not be Hillary Clinton that he would have achieved an enormous amount. That he is carefully working to put his policy agenda in place will only come back to you if you are first reminded of that that agenda was. The book makes that agenda clear.

e) It is a primer in conservative political thought. I think of myself as conservative in the most traditional Burkean sense. I therefore think about every political issue from a conservative perspective. We in the West have a long historical tradition of doing things in particular ways with a set of values in place that have been built on our Judeo-Christian heritage. It has brought us prosperity and a measure of civic peace and tolerance unknown anywhere else across the globe. It is this world I wish to see preserved even though I know change in so many directions is inevitable. And while hardly anyone else sees Trump as a conservative, I most certainly do. It may take one to know one, but I absolutely and without question see DJT as a fellow conservative.

f) The posts are made up of three different elements each of which is interesting in their own right:

i) A description of the most important events during the campaign, discussed as they occurred
ii) My commentary on these events
iii) The various articles and posts put up by others that I thought were relevant

g) The book can therefore be read in a number of ways:

i) Starting from page 1 and finishing on page 389 (or page 2 if that’s how it strikes you)
ii) Opening the book and starting anywhere you like and then continuing anywhere else you like, either going forward or backwards into the past either sequentially or at random
iii) Reading my commentary and leaving out the rest or
iv) Reading the articles written by others and leaving out my commentary.

h) This is oddly a different kind of history. There have been personal memoirs of individuals who have been in the midst of events. But what blogging has done has been to introduce a kind of memoir by someone who was no more than a spectator but one who was nevertheless as able to remain involved with events even though living literally at the other end of the world.

i) But as far away as I might have been, I did see Donald Trump speak on the very day that finally ignited the campaign that would send him to the White House. And although having lived in Australia since 1975, I grew up in North America and have a North American understanding of the American political system, with my first political memory going back to “I like Ike” which makes it no later than 1956! Beyond just that, I have been part of the political world in Australia and tangentially internationally, having worked for the Chamber of Commerce in Canberra. And it’s by no means my first book but my ninth (with a tenth that has now come after this one). And to that we may add my interest in political and economic theory and history, all of which is the background for my blogging which is the art of the instantaneous reaction to events.

4) And if I have time after I have said all of this, I intend to read three sections from the book: (i) the first post discussing Obama’s America which was written on arriving in New York in July 2015; (ii) my reaction to hearing Trump speak ten days later; and then (iii) my post on “Sunshine Conservatives” which I wrote a month before the election in which I described and discussed the #NeverTrump crowd who are pretend conservatives at best, with no common sense and none of the grit needed to get anything done worth doing.

The book turned out to be better than I had any right to hope it would be. You can buy it here if you can’t make it on the night. I will let you know what Ross and Mark said after it is all over.

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