Who is the historical leader most like Donald Trump?

by on February 13, 2017 at 7:26 pm in Current Affairs, History, Political Science | Permalink

What would you think of a Western democratic leader who was populist, obsessed with the balance of trade, especially effective on television, feisty and combative with the press, and able to take over his country’s right-wing party and swing it in a more interventionist direction?

Meet Robert Muldoon, prime minister of New Zealand from 1975 to 1984. For all the comparisons of President Donald Trump to Mussolini or various unsavory Latin American leaders, Muldoon is a clearer parallel case.

Here is the full Bloomberg column, much more at the link.

1 AL February 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Unless of course Trump is being controlled by the former KGB

2 ky0te February 13, 2017 at 10:11 pm

pesky russkis with their secret telepathic mind devices.

3 Unanimous February 14, 2017 at 2:35 am

And blackmail material, and “loans” to Trump’s businesses.

4 prior_test2 February 14, 2017 at 4:50 am

Pesky Americans with their sigint.

5 JC February 14, 2017 at 10:00 am

I think Trump is over confident, uninformed and quite naïve to the point is playing Putin’s game but his madness is totally Made In America.

6 Ethan Bernard February 14, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Could be. W. was secretly controlled by Iran.

7 Barkley Rosser February 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

From here in Italy, I would say Silvio Berlusconi. Hey, both he and Trump big pals with Putin.

8 Alain February 13, 2017 at 8:54 pm


9 Alain February 13, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Idk about the Putin portion of the comment.

But clearly the closest analogy to trump is Berlusconi.

10 msgkings February 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I can’t decide if it’s Berlusconi or Jesus Christ

11 Bill February 13, 2017 at 9:01 pm


Steve Bannon did work for the Berlosconi business empire.

12 academic empire February 13, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Bill is a loyal employee

13 Bill February 14, 2017 at 12:46 am

Nah, I comment for free as a public service.

As to the Berloconi assertion, Bannon actually did work for him: “After less than four years, Mr. Bannon left Goldman to start his own firm, Bannon & Co., which Mr. Vorse soon joined. As head of a scrappy start-up going up against financial behemoths to get Hollywood deals, Mr. Bannon showed the fierce competitiveness that would later drive his politics.
“We were the underdog,” Mr. Vorse said. “We were competing for the business of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, and we did well.” Mr. Vorse said Bannon & Co. represented the Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal; the Italian media tycoon and later the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi; Samsung; Westinghouse; and other big ,,,”

Here is the NYT link: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house.html

14 Porfirio Díaz February 13, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Mr Cowen and Mr Rosser:

Another valiant attempt at character assassination to distract from the details of the policy debate, to cover up the fact that Trump’s actual words are uncontroversial but twisted into straw men and piñatas to bash (on trade, immigration, travel bans, women, you name it). New Zealand and Italy are not good comparisons. The world has changed, the USA is at a quite different stage of development, the conditions are fundamentally dissimilar.

I’ve never read anything that would suggest Trump is against free trade. He only says he is against free trade agreements as they exist. That’s why he wants to exit the existing deals and make new bilateral deals. As the former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has a pointed out, a good bilateral deal between countries with similar safety standards and levels of development need only be 1-page long — by default no exceptions, no tariffs, any exceptions need to be specifically excluded.

You know, any REAL free trader would immediately want to look at reforming the trade agreements in existence, because they are a) complex and full of exceptions and special privileges or concessions, or b) not enforced. Trump’s new man on trade is apparently and “enforcement” expert.

Beginning with NAFTA and WTO. Mexico’s entry into NAFTA and China’s accession to the WTO helped for a while to improve laws and regulatory standards in those countries, but not nearly enough. In practice a failure to create and enforce capitalist NAFTA and WTO rules has allowed China and Mexico one-sided and undeserved gains, each in their different ways.

Both Mexico and China now need to become better players in order to clean the game up and level the playing field, because after many years of tolerance the other side might be about to start playing dirty too. In the old regime of benign neglect the USA, China, and Mexico could all got some rewards. But for the US the losses (intellectual property, unfair competition, etc) were greater than the gains.

If the USA starts to play dirty it will win, Mexico and China will lose. Mercantilism is usually a zero-sum game. Can Mexico and China change fast enough to avert disaster?

I would recommend Mexico to offer to help pay for the wall, because that porous border too long represented an easy welfare lunch for the millions of poor people neglected by Mexico’s self-absorbed anti-capitalist and rent seeking ruling elites. That porous border was a safety or escape valve to avoid the build up of pressure for reform, and a disincentive to reform. Mexico as a country would benefit developmentally from much more effective rule of law sealant along the border. Building a wall would have that effect faster than yet another police reform, or customs agency reform, or army reform, and Trump would be a friend. Win win.

The attacks Mexicans now feel from Trump can be a wake up call. Mexico needs a shock. This looming crisis is best viewed as a window of opportunity for Mexico to shape its own destiny. But the fact that the US may attack by manipulating tariffs indicates that some of the factors that would previously have eased the transition to capitalism in Mexico are no longer available for use.

The USA seems now to be saying that it is fed up with countries that benefitted from their relationship without playing by OECD standard institutional rules. By delaying its institutional reforms so long Mexico postponed the day of reckoning and is unprepared for the predictable US U-Turn which was sure to come sooner of later.

It’s shameful that Mexico has languished in underdevelopment (the economy, the institutions) despite having the absolutely unique comparative advantage of a massively long border with the world’s largest and most dynamic economy. Mexico’s political elites never built on or updated my legacy, and always resented but never emulated their successful northern neighbour. Its leftwing intellectuals and its dominant ruling politicians hated the country’s dependency, but (Milton Friedman was right again, as he was also in Chile) never proactively built the liberal economy, never reformed their autarkic constitution, and never institutionalised rule of law that could have loosed the dependency and removed the national embarrassment.

In conclusion, the relationship now between the USA and its trade partners bears little if any resemblance to New Zealand’s situation in the 1970s.

Now, the ghosts of past great leaders have grown bored with the effort to balance the terms of argument, and be open-minded, and fair to Trump. So we have agreed among ourselves that you will hear no more from us. You’re on you own now. Vaya con Dios.

15 bellisaurius February 13, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Bravo, Porfirio. That was an interesting and different worldview from what I’m used to. Thank You.

16 Jeff R February 13, 2017 at 10:35 pm


17 Turkey Vulture February 13, 2017 at 10:54 pm

Yeah it was interesting. I skipped over it at first, as the first few sentences and length made me concerned about the crank level. So good thing you guys said otherwise.

18 Larry Siegel February 14, 2017 at 2:13 am

Ditto. I enjoy having my assumptions challenged by someone who is literate and thoughtful.

19 Viking February 13, 2017 at 11:03 pm

I agree with the major points, the suggested tariffs are not about free trade, but I assume in a sense an unwillingness to allow unipolar free trade by selling to the US, is not anti free trade, as you wrote above.

If your allegations are true, the sad part is that you are expressing them more clearly than the Trump team.

I personally have suggested it would be in Mexico’s interest to try an build the wall at its own cost, or negotiate to build part of it, as I expect the bill to be much higher than the cost, but I have no preconception about Mexico’s ability to build a proper wall. Did they build one on their border with Guatemala?

20 James C February 16, 2017 at 1:10 am

Mexico has actually built two successful walls, one on the border with Guatemala, the other on the border with Belize.

21 Alain February 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm

That was terrific.

22 Chip February 14, 2017 at 12:59 am

The point about the failure of Mexico is a good one. Over a decade ago it produced more oil than Canada managed to pump last year, yet despite all its natural wealth, young workforce and proximity to the world’s largest market, it’s a mess.

It’s interesting that blame for ruining the lives of Mexican citizens always seems to fall on American politicians, rather than those who are actually responsible.

These are the crazy years.

23 Ricardo February 14, 2017 at 1:16 am

“As the former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has a pointed out, a good bilateral deal between countries with similar safety standards and levels of development need only be 1-page long”

There is a lot more at issue than safety standards and levels of development. Countries differ along multiple dimensions such as attitudes toward industrial policy and subsidizing certain industries, government involvement in the health care industry, laws on intellectual property, the need to protect against invasive pests, emissions standards in vehicles, and many other things.

The U.S. has had a lot of success in getting other countries to change the rules of the game so that they are closer to the American way of doing things. Naturally, a trash-talking braggart like Trump will insist that he could do better but we have little evidence of this so far. Moreover, further concessions to the U.S. in future trade deals would almost certainly wind up making the agreements even longer and more complex as the demands on other countries to restructure their legal frameworks to resemble America’s would be that much greater.

24 Unanimous February 14, 2017 at 2:41 am

Tony Abbott has no credibilty on anything much – one of the least popular PMs the world has seen. Removed from office by own party.

25 anon February 14, 2017 at 5:39 am

Being a simple fellow, I am not going to believe that calling company presidents, and telling them what to do, is really free trade. Nor framing taxes as punishment for specific trade actions.

But I see that essay was sufficiently up-is-down to excite the Muppets.

26 TMC February 14, 2017 at 8:59 am

I don’t like a president getting involved with a single company’s affairs, but the Carrier deal was not unprecedented. Trump did not promise them anything special, just the removal of burdensome regulations that will help all companies. I didn’t like the threat of the US not buying Carrier products, but the US has a long history of imposing its will through it’s pocketbook. It can be forcing companies to use US steel, pay union wages, or forcing citizens to buckle up in order to get highway funds. Now that Trumps does it, to save 1000 jobs, that it’s not appropriate. Whatever you think of Trump, it’s always the hypocrites that line up against him.

27 Brian Donohue February 14, 2017 at 9:20 am

I disagree. The idea that the government picks industry winners sounds like the failing French model. Or Solyndra.

28 TMC February 14, 2017 at 10:11 am

He didn’t pick an industry winner. His promise of regulatory relief will benefit Carrier’s competitors as well.

29 steveslr February 14, 2017 at 5:44 am

I’ve been amazed by how little attention Americans have paid to Mexico over the last few decades. Americans today pay far more attention to Israel than to our southern neighbor. And yet it’s one of the world’s great pieces of real estate.

I’ve often wondered whether the backwardness of Mexico isn’t a passive-aggressive ploy to keep the gringos out. Mexico would seem like the ideal retirement spot for America’s vast Baby Boom generation. I went with my parents to visit the American retirement community at Lake Chapala in 1967, 50 years ago.

But the endemic incompetence — e.g., the lack of stoplights and other basic safety amenities — means it seldom occurs to Americans to look into Mexico.

Mexican elites seem to like it that way. Having a bunch of Del Boca Vista Phase 3 gringo retirees constantly complaining about noise and pollution would be intolerable.

30 Ralph February 14, 2017 at 6:25 am

Agreed. It’s a wonderful country, and the toll roads and bridges are spectacular. The food is amazing, the climate and geography varied and interesting. A deeper appreciation of and engagement with Mexico (and Canada, similarly undervalued) would be good for the EEUU.

31 Cooper February 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Total US FDI stock in Mexico in 2014 was $108 billion. That stock of invested capital represents about 9% of Mexico’s GDP in that year.

Foreign direct investment stock in Poland from the EU was about $150 billion. That stock of invested capital exceeded 29% of Poland’s GDP.

Europe is three times more invested in Poland as the US is in Mexico.

Overall, Mexico attracts shockingly little foreign investment. Chile got more FDI in 2014 than Mexico did despite have a 75% smaller economy!

32 Ron February 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I appreciate the time you took to craft this response. I was hoping for some decent critiques and additions of information from my fellow readers. Unfortunately, what started out as a useful post quickly disintegrated.

I’m still interested in hearing well-reasoned opinions on this post.

33 Barkley Rosser February 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Wow, people are praising this pile of drivel and lunacy?

So, Mexico ought to pay for the wall. Are you aware of the fact that net migration from Mexico to the US has been basically zero for nearly a decade, Porfirio?

As for your claim that Trump’s remarks on free trade, travel bans, and women are “uncontroversial,” well, I simply note that in fact they have generated huge amounts of controversy, with his actual attempt at a travel ban inciting massive demonstratoins all over the US. This is not controversial? Just how completely out of your mind are you, Porfirio?

34 Michael G Heller February 14, 2017 at 5:45 pm

The wording could have been improved here and there, the argument could have been filled out or fine tuned here and there, but basically everything Porfirio said is correct. I’m looking at it as someone who has studied US-Mexico relations and related things like ‘rules’ of world trade and enforcement deficits on and off for 30 years. The US is getting so polarised, that’s a worry. Lunatic-sounding reactions such as your own are another indication that while the country (the western world!) is politically or philosophically polarised, the media and intellectual classes appear to be almost all of one opinion. The available field of vision is extremely narrow. Legitimate alternative world views and open-minded views of Trump like the one provided (anonymously) by Porfirio just don’t a philosophical airing. That’s a worry. Trump said “the world is a mess”, and I agree with him for the reasons just given.

35 Thomas February 15, 2017 at 12:52 am

Barkeley teaches half decades old lectures and half political propaganda. He is a lost cause, an extremely bitter and closed mind.

36 Turkey Vulture February 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

You’re quite the annoying little asshole, aren’t you, Barkley Rosser? Why do you have a stick so far up your ass, Barkley Rosser?

37 steveslr February 14, 2017 at 5:55 am

We can see now that Israel has been out ahead of the rest of the world in terms of political trends since Likud started to win 40 years ago. Israeli nationalism has been highly successful, so it’s hardly surprising that a New Yorker would try to convert one of the American parties into an American version of Likud. For a long time, the GOP dutifully served as sort of the Likud Booster Club Abroad, but Trump wants Likudism for his fellow Americans.

38 Cooper February 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Important side note, Likud does not win large majorities in the Knesset on their own. In the last election they won only 24% of the vote and 25% of the seats.

Israel’s system allows lots of tiny parties to be represented. Likud is able to stay on top by pulling together a fractious coalition.

39 JC February 14, 2017 at 10:00 am


40 Hansjörg Walther February 14, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Only Berlusconi had a better answer than “You think we’re so innocent” when talking about a killer. In 2003, he set the record straight with: “Mussolini never killed anyone.”


41 Meets February 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

I feel like Trump actually trusts experts to a good extent though. Cohn, Tillerson, Martial, Gorsuch, etc.

42 JC February 14, 2017 at 10:07 am

He did pick some good guys, but apparently only one is running the show… I can’t believe Tillerson agrees with 50% of what Trump has done so far.

43 Tarrou February 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm

I’ve been saying since the start. Berlusconi.

44 Jan February 13, 2017 at 8:19 pm

You blog groupies know damn well who Trump is most like.

45 ky0te February 13, 2017 at 10:18 pm

so coy. but i thought I was literally – well, you know. cause, I’m white, and well we are just literally – well, you know.
lolz. you dreamed us into existence, and now the monsters are coming out from under your bed, little girl. so scawy.

46 ASPC February 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm


47 Rich Berger February 13, 2017 at 8:23 pm

Trump is sui generis. And so far, I like what he is doing.

48 Jan February 13, 2017 at 9:14 pm

Whether you like him or not, he’s done almost nothing. Pretty much losing on everything. Article below goes through all he hasn’t done in painstaking detail.


49 Jonathan February 13, 2017 at 9:18 pm

And Obama closed Guantanamo in his first week….

50 The Other Jim February 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Nothing says “Obama” better than his first-week declaration that closing Club Gitmo would be his first and most important priority…. and still having it open eight freaking years later.

Eight years. That’s about 550 rounds of golf for him.

51 Jan February 13, 2017 at 9:42 pm

We should take bets on who gets more done in their first term. But Trump is off to a good start, golfing through a North Korean missile test without a peep while hanging out at at his Florida vacation club this weekend.

52 Jan February 13, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Well he did sign the order. Just like Trump signed a bunch of bullshit orders that mostly won’t do anything. I don’t know why he hasn’t ordered the Rust Belt back to work yet.

53 Anonymous February 14, 2017 at 12:12 am

In God we Trust ; with Trump we (continue to ) rust.

54 Brian Donohue February 14, 2017 at 7:55 am

Good news for Trump opponents, no? Imagine Trump as The Sound and Fury Do-Nothing President.

55 TMC February 14, 2017 at 9:02 am

Just reopening the pipeline is more than O accomplished in his first term.

56 prior_test2 February 14, 2017 at 4:56 am

‘And so far, I like what he is doing.’

So do I – the entertainment value alone has been incredible. And unlike Nixon, Trump is clearly a novice in DC’s swamp, meaning that watching how he gets taken apart by people more interested in power than he is (a group that includes both his supporters and his opponents) will likely last at least a couple of seasons. Especially considering how these days, you don’t even need the White House recorders to hear what someone says – the leaks are truly epic in scale.

Admittedly, I don’t read twitter comments (apart from what is now so liberally sprinkled into text), so that level of entertainment is something new – and not for me personally.

57 JC February 14, 2017 at 10:08 am

Yes, Trump is not a Coke, he’s a cocktail dominated by African dictators.


58 anon February 13, 2017 at 8:24 pm

I don’t know. That kind of works, but by taking a best view of Trump’s worst.

I returned this morning to this:

Donald Trump on terrorists: ‘Take out their families’

Back when that was said, the line was “take Trump seriously, but not literally.” Since then, the pundits have said “oops, take him seriously and literally.”

Well, what does this new recognition, that he doesn’t do figurative, say about that old interview?

59 Skeptic February 13, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Muh terrorist families!

Can’t act like Israel–wall, deportations, bulldoze terrorist family homes, bc — reasons!!

60 Jan February 13, 2017 at 9:32 pm

The terrorists seem to have gotten you good. You’re quite terrified by the terrorism–perhaps you lived through the Bowling Green massacre. What a frightening existence. You’re so terrified in fact that you want to blow billions of dollars on mostly symbolic efforts that would have stopped zero terror attacks since 9/11. Oh and also you want to go after otherwise innocent people because a family member does something horrific. Maybe we can light an American on fire and shove it down their throats, so they can burn with the same patriotism inside that you do. Because reasons.

61 ASPC February 13, 2017 at 10:35 pm

” mostly symbolic efforts that would have stopped zero terror attacks since 9/11.”



62 AlanW February 14, 2017 at 2:56 am

That – like everything coming out of this administration – has been debunked. I assume the goal is to simply exhaust the fact checkers.

63 prior_test2 February 14, 2017 at 4:59 am

I assume the goal is to blind us with tears of laughter.

But at least someone around Trump seems to have found out how to use a spell checker, so the Trump Administration is clearly gaining in experience.

64 TMC February 14, 2017 at 9:11 am

I googled this and the only debunking of this seems to be that just because they were convicted of terrorism doesn’t really mean they were terrorists. Kind of of a stupid statement. Not all were setting bombs, but providing support to those who were. I didn’t kill my wife, they guy who I hired to kill her did.

Seems lately the fact checking sites are the biggest bringers of fake news out there.

65 RIGHTIST February 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Why can’t we act like Israel you Hippie Libtard?!?! Build a wall around hte Middle East, I keep saying. Lock ’em up!!! Bulldoze that libtard cuckville Dubai, while we’re at it.

66 GoneWithTheWind February 13, 2017 at 8:43 pm

Often the families know and participate behind the scenes.
We better catch on to the conspiracy factor, quick.

67 anon February 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm

If they participate themselves, they are terrorists.

Still, your answer is better than Skeptic’s, who is in for killing toddlers.

68 Ricardo February 13, 2017 at 10:32 pm

Abdulmittalib (aka the underwear bomber)’s father reported him to the U.S. Embassy when he started showing jihadist sympathies. It cuts both ways.

69 ASPC February 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm
70 Judah Benjamin Hur February 14, 2017 at 1:59 am

That was written by the same guy who wrote Trump’s “Doctor’s note.” I believe his name is John Barron.

71 steveslr February 14, 2017 at 5:48 am

Trump obviously tries to model himself after Netanyahu, who has been in and out of the top job over the last 2+ decades in what’s one of the two or three competitive political systems in the world.

If Bill Clinton was America’s first black President, Donald Trump is America’s first Israeli President.

72 Mark Thorson February 13, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Salesman, populist, effective user of media, and disrupter of the party political establishment — Huey Long.

73 OneGuy February 13, 2017 at 8:47 pm

I wanted to check the comments on the post like this that you did on Obama but couldn’t find it in your archives. Can you provide a link?

74 Doug February 13, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Sometimes I wonder how predictively useful these n=1 comparison of X leader to Y historical leader. Here’s a question: when Hitler was ascending to power, which historical leader were they comparing him to at the time? How about Stalin? Lenin? Mao? Mussolini? I’m genuinely curious if anyone knows.

75 Ray Lopez February 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I think Hit ler himself compared himself to Frederick the Great.

Bonus trivia: Frederick the G was almost certainly gay. And this excellent parody rap video makes oblique reference to that, but only if you don’t read the lyrics (they deliberately state something other than what the actor is rapping) and just listen to it. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVbH1BVXywY Alexander the Great vs Ivan the Terrible – Epic Rap Battles of History Season 5 at 1:50 mark

76 So Much For Subtlety February 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Frederick the Great was almost certainly not Gay. There being no evidence of homosexuality at all.

He was just a grouch who did not get on with people. Doesn’t make him a Friend of Dorothy.

77 Ray Lopez February 13, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Read the Wikipedia link. He said so himself. It’s pretty well known, and he is a gay icon among those gays who like to say a bunch of historical people (like Alexander the Great) were gay. Are you German? Maybe I hit a sore spot… let me Google it….Yep, I was right, as usual (Wikipedia on Fred the G, G for Great not Gay, but he was gay): “Recent major biographers of Frederick, including Alings, Blanning, Burgdorf and Hahn, are unequivocal that he was predominately homosexual, and that his sexuality was central to his life and character”

78 Ray Lopez February 14, 2017 at 12:18 am

Just to show my vast erudition, I’ll relate something from Frederick the Great’s childhood that doesn’t even appear in Wikipedia, showing I am a font of knowledge: if Fred the G was not gay, why did his father force him to witness the execution of his best friend? What could Fred the G have done to warrant such a thing? Supposedly it was to “toughen up” Fred the G, but the only thing I can think of might have been Fred the G and his best friend were in a gay relationship. That’s the only thing I can think of that would set off a father to order the execution of his son’s best friend. Then again, Fred G’s father was quite a miserable fellow, Wikipedia says he had some skin condition that made him particularly prickly. But to do the above, there had to be some embarrassing fact, and Fred G’s homosexuality would fit that bill.

79 Turkey Vulture February 13, 2017 at 9:25 pm

They aren’t useful. People only want to do the comparisons to the extent they help in discrediting or flattering the leader in question.

80 Ricardo February 14, 2017 at 2:02 am

In the case of Trump, it is a useful corrective to claims about how unique and unprecedented his rise is. It isn’t, especially once you look to politics in other countries. Even within the U.S., Pat Buchanan is a clear predecessor of Trump’s in terms of policy preferences if not bizarre personality quirks.

81 Turkey Vulture February 14, 2017 at 8:27 am

That is fair. But it seems to quickly move beyond that usefulness.

82 John Dougan February 13, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Theodore Roosevelt.

83 Bill February 13, 2017 at 9:02 pm

How dare you slander this former President.

84 Thomas February 15, 2017 at 12:58 am

TR was a racist, sexist, homophobic, violent, war-mongering white, male christian. If I were Yvette Felarca or about 20% of the Democrats, including many of the students you indoctrinate, I would believe I was justified in attacking you.

85 Ricardo February 13, 2017 at 10:40 pm

TR would consider Trump to be a particularly loathsome and ridiculous example of the selfish, unmanly and immoral obsession with money. TR volunteered to serve in combat and loved the rugged outdoors; Trump dodged military service with a diagnosis of bone spurs and is a notorious germaphobe most at home in climate-controlled offices in Manhattan.

86 carlospln February 13, 2017 at 11:41 pm

I don’t think he ever had surgery for those calcaneo-navicular bars [bone spurs].

If he really did have them, and didn’t have surgery [I’ve never read that he did], he’d find it extremely difficult to walk 18 holes [I played as a youngster, and could not]

Since he does walk 18 holes, I highly doubt that he does. And, if its indeed no problem for him, he shouldn’t have received the medical deferment.

Full disclosure: I had both feet operated on when I was 12 to remove them [in the old days, chiselled out manually]. Hospitalised for 10 days, hurt like hell for a month.


87 Mondfledermaus February 13, 2017 at 9:11 pm

How about Hugo Chavez?

Disruptor of an sclerotic political system, communicating directly the message to his followers, picking phony fights with foreign goverments, redistribution of resource towards a segment of the population that had been ignored by all parties, getting everything he wants from congress by the sheer weight of his personality and use of the bully pulpit.

88 RIGHTIST February 13, 2017 at 10:37 pm

How dare you the president isn’t anything like that hippie libtard. Anyway the Obamaclone judges won’t let his will be heard.

89 Agra Brum February 15, 2017 at 4:39 pm

It certainly fits in that he is fine with corruption if it is corruption for him, ignores prior norms, and the belligerence and picking of fights with enemies.

But Chavez was actually popular, won elections with large majorities, and was able to re-write the constitution. Trump is flailing after three weeks. But perhaps success is the only real difference.

90 anon February 13, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Wow, did the deep state play it so that Trump stands by Flynn, and then they drop the hammer?


91 msgkings February 14, 2017 at 1:15 am

Flynn just resigned.

92 prior_test2 February 14, 2017 at 5:06 am

Luckily, he just used the phone, because otherwise, Flynn would have faced this – ‘In a speech at the Republican National Convention, Flynn led vitriolic attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, leading chants of “Lock Her Up” and declaring that if he had been even partly as careless as she was in her handling of sensitive material by email he would be in jail.’ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/michael-flynn-resigns-as-national-security-adviser/2017/02/13/0007c0a8-f26e-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html

Well, in Flynn’s own words, that is. Luckily, we need never take such things seriously or literally in his case, which is what happens to liars who make fools of their superiors in public.

93 anon February 14, 2017 at 5:41 am

What did the President know, and when did he know it?

Also, is the FBI still investigating coordination with Russia on hacking the election?

94 Brian Donohue February 14, 2017 at 8:04 am

Too funny.

95 anon February 14, 2017 at 8:37 am

It gets funnier. Wikileaks is critical of leaks that cost Flynn his job.


96 derek February 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Bill Vanderzalm, Premier of BC in the 80’s.

97 John Dougan February 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Nah. Trump at no time has ever lived in a castle in a place called Fantasy Gardens. And Trump has not been caught receiving a suitcase full of money in a hotel room. Though I think that if Vander Zalm had had access to modern social media his usage would indeed look a lot like Trump’s.

98 Thanatos Savehn February 13, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Fireside chats. Hero of the Little Man. FDR.

99 Floccina February 14, 2017 at 10:38 am

+1 FDR or Juan Peron.

100 CMOT February 13, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Kiwis: reject Robert Muldoon’s reign of terror and dedecimalize your currency! You have allies everywhere! Shillings are Resistance!

101 Donald Ellis February 14, 2017 at 3:03 am

Although I grew up in NZ during the Muldoon era it never occurred to me that Trump and Muldoon were similar. I guess it’s mainly because Muldoon’s formative years were spent actually in military service during WWII. For various reasons there was minimal social stratification in the NZ armed services compared to, say, Great Britain. So, for the rest of his life, Muldoon was able to move freely across social and ethnic boundaries in a way that Trump never will. Muldoon’s economic policies will be remembered forever for taking the country to the brink of bankruptcy but his populism was reasonably genuine not a media fabrication. And, lest we forget, we are talking a nation the size of Arkansas with no nuclear weapons and maybe two frigates to its name.

When we see DJT skulling a few beers with the locals in the barrio of South Los Angeles maybe we can draw a parallel but until then I suspect that Trump is in a class of his own.

102 Blair February 14, 2017 at 5:13 am

I agree there were similarities, but Muldoon drank. Here he is drunk, calling an election in 1984:


Fortunately NZ doesn’t have nuclear weapons, or indeed any weapons. Here are some more clips:


103 Horhe February 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

I think Netanyahu is the leader Trump most resembles ideologically!

104 Gvaerg February 14, 2017 at 10:44 am

Traian Băsescu (President of Romania between 2004 and 2014)

105 Horhe February 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm

I’m Romanian and I find it a weak comparison. Elena Basescu is a poor match for Ivanka Trump.

106 The Anti-Gnostic February 14, 2017 at 10:44 am

Obviously, Hitler.

107 Li Zhi February 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Qianfei? Pol Pot? Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah? Stalin?
I note that on Monday on Charlie Rose, a “mainstream” journalist (from GQ, missed his name) accused Trump of not being sane. First time I’ve heard someone in the media state what seems to be the obvious.

108 The Anti-Gnostic February 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Yeah, it was on the tip of my tongue: Pol Pot or Stalin.

Trump is not insane. He has successfully unhinged his opponents though, and shifted the Overton frame, probably permanently, which is what really has The Right Side Of History melting down.

109 Jay February 14, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Better question, which Nobel Peace Prize winner is Barack Obama most like?

110 TMC February 14, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Jimmy Carter 🙂

111 The Anti-Gnostic February 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Hard to say. I’m not sure what he did to get it just two weeks into office, and I don’t know any other recipient who went on to drop bombs in seven different countries.

Ordering Secretary Kerry to try and broker an Israeli-Palestine deal is kind of Peace Prize-y, a la Jimmy Carter, but I’m not sure why he waited until he was practically out the door to do it.

112 Michael Reddell February 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

A few sceptical reflections on the Muldoon leg of that comparison

113 Jackson Layers February 15, 2017 at 3:23 am

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114 Ed February 15, 2017 at 9:55 am

The thread is probably now buried, but Janio Quadros is a pretty obvious answer:


115 lbc February 15, 2017 at 9:58 am

i think we know the answer… but don’t want to type it…
a guy with a very special haircut
copying the style of a guy with a very special mustache

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