Quote Of The Day

In 2016 democracy won yet again, but America lost.   -Me

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Hmmm… Is There A Possible Strategy Here For Future Presidents?

Trump and his Presidency is going to be evaluated, autopsied, sliced, diced, and dissected for decades to come over a number of different levels, from politics to mental health.  For myself, I’ve admonished the guy since his campaign beginnings for the more obvious shortcomings as they relate to his performance (or lack thereof) while in office.  But being a bit of a behavior wonk on top of some other wonks, there’s some other take-aways to the “Trump experience”.

For the vast majority of my life the Office of the President has taken on its own mystique of elevated expectations in applying knowledge and experience in the political and diplomatic realm.. having a character of high moral standards, decisive, verbally articulate, stands out at international meetings with other world leaders, commands authority by his/her mere presence.  Typically he carries on the traditions of the office and we want our presidents to present an image as much as carrying forward the standard of all things American and American democracy to the world.  While we don’t want our president to exhibit the traits of royalty with pomp & circumstance, we do relish traits of a presidential statesman.  We want a president who is anal about just being president… yet able to loosen up on “little” occasions enough to look human like the rest of us.

While it’s a common dream for older folksto tell their kids that if they study hard that they too could grow up one day to be President, the reality is that it’s far more than just studying hard in school.  I know I had a basic picture in my own mind that to be singled out of the vast crowd of millions of Americans to be elected President meant you passed a high level of achievement to be recognized as such a leader.  A President was a master of the political stage.

Now..in reality we can all pick out former presidents that didn’t deliver on one or more of these above stated elements but most all presidents do exhibit a decorum and adherence to presidential traditions, either for appearance or practicality.  That is, up until Trump.

I’m not presenting anything new by echoing the general consensus that Trump has been in the least what most might call a maverick President.  He does things his own way, in his own time, and most often these days, without taking advice or council from those that are there with the knowledge and experience to provide it.  He uses personal bravado to fill in the gaps of having to explain detail he knows nothing about.  His Tweeting has become legendary, if not obnoxious in their content and bullying of those people he perceives are below him or are his enemies, as he perceives them.  There’s a juvenile schoolyard component when striking back against those who publicly attempt to defame him.


A Revelation

If you recall early in his administration, as the country was beginning to see how ignorance of the job and inexperience in politics was manifesting itself, there were various people of note, who were coming to the realization that “Hey… if this guy can get to be President and he pretty much knows nothing… maybe I should run in 2020.”.  You might recall Oprah remarked during one interview something to the effect that “I can do better than Trump; maybe I should consider a run.”  The nation was coming to realize that if someone of Trump’s obvious inexperience and personality flaws can win the presidency.. well, maybe the office is more attainable than we thought… and my perceptions as a kid that someone running needs to be a political genius of some sort just to run… is not fact.

I’ve taken about as much notice and observationnot just of Trump’s behavior alone, but also the reactions across the board to Trump’s behavior… be it other politicians, the media, foreigners (media and diplomats), and average folks I encounter in life… especially those who actually love his behavior with a sort of an “It about time!” opinion.  A lot of these folks just dismiss his constant lies, misguided conclusions, and historical inaccuracies because they love the media feeding frenzy and topsy-turvy perception of Liberals going wild in appalling disgust as “their world” is being turned upside down by Trump… allegedly.


So what’s the takeaway from this for someone wishing to run in 2020?

Well, Trump has done it, is doing it, and will continue doing it until he leaves office… and here’s the secret…. everyone else has to live with it until he does leave.  You, too, can be just like Trump if you so desire and no one can remove you.  The country becomes your captive audience.  This means you can be as eccentric as you want, say anything you want, do whatever you want.. and the modern world is not going to come crashing down because you are performing outside of some traditional box.  Now, you may not win friends and influence people but the public screaming their outrage over something you said or did as being contrary to presidential decorum or tradition, but no one is going to kick you out of the White House because of it.  And here’s the other big advantage Trump’s misguided performance has shed light on, there will always be a percentage of the American public who will admire you for whatever you are doing.  No matter what you do you will have a supportive base.  Now, it may not be enough of a base to get you re-elected… but maybe who cares?  Trump’s behavior has proven that a sitting president could in fact push the borders of civil morality and decency, and still remain in office.

A smart candidate will take notice of the media reactions to everything Trump.  As a candidate you CAN say things that might make the press take notice negatively… but likely if you offset it with some positives it’s ok.  Stay away from First Amendment attacks; the press is not your enemy… ever.  But as I’ve observed media reaction to Trump meanderings, you could “inspire” the press into greater respect as it relates to respect being a two-way street.  Example… it’s ok to tell the press when something is not accurate… but then make it accurate, but use far less spin.  At press conferences don’t take ‘same questions’ simply because the reporter wants his own screen time for the evening news.  It’s ok to vent your feelings.. as long as there’s respect and not name calling.  Most important, don’t let the press bait you into making a remark in response unless you want to do that… and even then only when it’s strategic to your needs and not impulsive emotion.  “No comment at this time.” is a good phrase… and far better than some Trumpian deflection into his own bravado.

Trump is a bit of a master in verbal deflection.  I hate to admit that he is a master at anything… and very likely this “skill” is more of a lifetime of playground child defensiveness in various situations.  But if you’ve said something that the media has locked onto… then toss into the chaos something else; the proverbial “shiny object” to send the media in another direction of your choosing.  Trump just blurts things out.. you should be strategic.  Mind you.. not to manipulate to deceive or cover up… but to clarify, inform, or buy time for a formal response later.

Trump said early on that he Tweets because it’s his way of by-passing the press to get out the message he wants to get out… without the media bias.  Personally I would never use Tweets to break news or to “tantalize” or tease future action.  Use it to acknowledge events quickly.. deaths, national tragedies, heroic achievement…. birthdays, etc.  A Tweet is no medium to present news, presidential actions, or calling people names.  If someone challenges you via Tweet.. let it go.

About lying…personally if you are going to outright lie Trump has shown that all the screaming and chaos pretty much means nothing other than the public’s acceptance that anything you say will be subject to fact checking rather than being taken at your word.  If you want to be a jerk President then lie.  Otherwise, guard your word as truth.

A rule of management anywhere, if you have to fire someone for performance then YOU messed up… not the person you fired.  As a manager you have to do two things.. scrutinize very well before you hire.. and if there’s doubts later then be specific to the “new hire” as to what you expect of them… set goals if necessary to measure achievement.  America’s Trump-base “hired” Trump and has performed to his base quite well.  The problem is that the majority of the country is NOT his base, hence he is not performing for the majority of the country.  Hire and appoint with the idea of not embarrassing yourself down the line in having to fire someone.  Firing someone is NOT decisive management at all.  It’s expressing a failure of the process.

If something requires blaming, assume responsibility for it.  Trump has never understood the concept of “The buck stops here.”.  People will accept that in spite of some pollster indicating otherwise.  Trump has also shown that verbal or Tweeted insults toward fellow Americans, foreign leaders and countries, etc. are ok and no one is going to get impeached over how crude or rude a president can be.  I’d not recommend you do the same… but it does suggest that you could get away with saying “less presidential” remarks and still stay on top.

Bottom line, Trump has proven that maybe a replacement president need not be of the same anal persona, and can let a more personal side come through.  Even a few “hell & damn” words in a speech or a media interview is not out of line this day and age.  Say what you mean as long as you mean what you say and people will tend to accept the persona that made you say it… even if they don’t accept what you said in context.  Likely Trump’s greatest strategic political blunder is that he was (is) constantly feeding his minority base rather than winning over Americans to broaden a new base.  Don’t make the same mistake.

I started taking notice of Joe Bidenback during the Clarence Thomas hearing.  I liked his up front say-it-like-it-is persona.  Since those days and over the years I’ve enjoyed hearing his opinions and general comments in interviews and Congressional settings.  But at no time did I ever expect that he would make a good president specifically for just that.. his comparatively brash remarks seemed to be a bit… ill-controlled.  When he was V.P. under Obama I fully expected Biden to the the Obama alter-ego… going after opposition to Obama in ways Obama couldn’t because he was president.  But Biden’s role was anything but that in the Obama administration.  That impressed me that he could maintain a measure of self-control… although he seemed to intentionally avoid the cameras during his V.P. days.  Now I would absolutely support the man, if for nothing else than he is likely the only one who is equally matched to Trump’s uncontrolled brashness.  Times surely do change.  My only apprehension is that of his age.  It’s not impossible to imagine he might not last one term much less a second term.  It’s more like if you want to vote for Biden, you’ll be voting more for his V.P.

Yes.. Trump has demonstrated that future elections, in the least the next one, will likely have campaigns of a slightly different flavor.

If you are planning to run for office against Trump in 2020 here’s a timely example of the garbage you can easily get away with to make your base all warm and comfy that you are in-charge.

The following in its entirety is an opinion piece posted by CNN’ Editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza regarding Trump’s cabinet meeting yesterday.

The 36 Wackiest Lines From Donald Trump’s totally Bizarre Cabinet Meeting

(CNN) President Donald Trump celebrated the new year with a 90+ minute Cabinet meeting on Wednesday — and cameras were rolling the entire time.

Like much of Trump’s presidency, the event felt entirely free-form — as if Trump was making all of it up as he went. He seemed to support the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, proclaimed that he would have made a good military general and spouted falsehoods at an alarming rate — even for him.
I went through the transcript of the question-and-answer portion of Trump’s Cabinet meeting and picked out the most, uh, noteworthy lines. They’re below.
1. “I’ve heard numbers as high as $275 billion, we lose on illegal immigration.”
Eh, not really. Also, away we go!
2. “And you know, it’s not all about the rich countries, because the rich countries really do take advantage of us, because they pay a very small percentage of their military, and they cheat on trade.”
So much stream of consciousness, so little time.
3. “There’s some horrible things going on in the world, and we want to help those people.”
Worth noting: Despite the CIA concluding that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman was personally involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Trump has said no one can know the truth — and even if we did know the truth it wouldn’t be worth risking our financial relationship with Saudi Arabia. So, there’s that.
4. “When they say I’m not popular in Europe, I shouldn’t be popular in Europe.”
One of the least covered but most important aspects of the Trump presidency is how he, unlike every president that has come before him, simply does not believe in the coalition built in the aftermath of Word War II.
5. “I don’t care about Europe.”
See No. 4.
6. “I know every angle.”
7. “I could be the most popular person in Europe. I could be — I could run for any office if I wanted to, but I don’t want to.”
So. Wait. Trump is saying he could run for any office in Europe? I am pretty sure that’s not true….
8. “I mean, I could give you an example where I get along very well with India and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, but he’s constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan, OK?”
India was, um, not pleased with this taunt.
9. “We’re supposed to say ‘Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan, but one of those things.”
So, Trump believes a library in Afghanistan is pointless because it’s in Afghanistan and, therefore, people won’t use it? Got it!
10. “And you know, look, I endorsed (Mitt Romney), he thanked me very profusely, he was very nice.”
This is a good dig by Trump — highlighting the fact that Romney is speaking out against him only now that the political risks for doing so are tiny.
11. “We’ve got the greatest tax cuts ever”
It’s sort of hard to quantify “greatest” but Trump has repeatedly said that his tax cut was the largest in history. It was not.
12. “The deductible is so high, unless you get hit by a tractor you can’t even use them, nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”
Do a lot of people get hit by tractors?
13. “I have great popularity in Utah”
14. “President Obama fired him and, essentially, so did I. I want results.”
Trump is talking about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. He’s not talking about him accurately, however. Mattis resigned in protest in the wake of Trump’s decision to pull US troops out Syria. Trump didn’t “essentially” fire him. At all.
15. “Russia used to be the Soviet Union, Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan — Russia.”
Looks, I’ve seen “Spies Like Us.” I know about Russia. And the Soviet Union. And all that.
16. “The problem is it was a tough fight and, literally, they went bankrupt, they went into being called Russia again as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, lot of — a lot of these places you’re reading about now are no longer a part of Russia because of Afghanistan.”
It’s impossible to overstate how little sense this makes. And how historically inaccurate it is.
17. “I think I would’ve been a good general, but who knows.”
We will never know. Mostly because Trump is not now and never was in the military. Including during the Vietnam War when he got five deferments — including one for bone spurs.
18. “We’re talking about sand and death. That’s what we’re talking about.”
The President of the United States offers his thoughts on Syria.
19. “Now, the Kurds, it’s very interesting, Turkey doesn’t like them; other people do.”
The Kurds: Some people say they are great, some say they aren’t. We may never know!
20. “I had a meeting at the Pentagon with lots of generals — they were like from a movie, better looking than Tom Cruise and stronger — and I had more generals than I’ve ever seen.”
This is so revealing. All of life is a casting call for Trump. These generals were good because they were good looking and strong. Even more than Tom Cruise!
21. “I said, this is the greatest room I’ve ever seen. I — I saw more computer boards than, I think, that they make today.”
“Computer boards.”
22. “Iran is pulling people out of Syria — they can do what they want there, frankly — but they’re pulling people out.”
This is an interesting take on the Middle East. And one that Israel likely will be interested in hearing more about.
23. “We’re getting out, and we’re getting out smart, and we’re winning. We’re winning, OK?”
Um, OK?
24. “I never saw anything so beautiful in my life.”
The birth of his child? His bride on their wedding day? Nope! He’s talking about the House vote for $5 billion in wall funding in late December.
25. “Can you imagine me having that power? Wouldn’t that be scary? Right?”
Trump is referring here to then-President Barack Obama’s decision to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, essentially allowing children brought into the country illegally to remain without fear of deportation. But man oh man, that quote out of context is really something.
26. “Could be a long time and it could be quickly. Could be a long time.”
What an answer to the question of how long the government might be shut down! Could be a while. Might not be. But could be!
27. “It’s a big, big house. Except for all the guys out on the lawn with machine guns. Nicest machine guns I’ve ever seen.”
Even when talking about the Secret Service that protect the White House, Trump has to exaggerate. These weren’t just machine guns. They were the “nicest machine guns ever.”
28. “I was waving to them. I — I never saw so many guys with machine guns in my life.”
Many people are saying it was the most — and most beautiful — machine guns ever used in one place.
29. “Secret Service and military, these are great people and they don’t play games. They don’t, like, wave. They don’t even smile.”
Secret Service: not big wavers. Also, anti-smiling.
30. “Look, look, when they say the wall’s immoral well then you — you’ve got to do something about the Vatican because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.”
Bizarrely, this is not the first time Trump or a top aide has attacked the Vatican for its wall. Back in 2016, Trump aide Dan Scavino tweeted that the Pope was a hypocrite on immigration because Vatican City was surrounded by massive walls. As CNN’s Daniel Burke wrote at the time: “Yes, the Vatican does have walls, and some are quite large. But anyone can stroll through the Pope’s front yard — St. Peter’s Square — at nearly any time.”
31. “Look at all of the countries that have walls and they work 100%.”
OK, so, according to Trump, any country with a wall around its border is totally and completely impenetrable to outsiders.
As in, no one has ever breached the wall. It can’t be breached. Unless, say, one side had an ice dragon.
32. “I could have had a lot easier presidency by doing nothing.”
33. “People see that gasoline is way down. And the reason its way down is because I called up some of the OPEC people.”
[narrator voice] That isn’t the reason.
34. “I mean, I just got rid of — I — I wouldn’t say got — they say they’re retired.”
An amazing and overlooked moment. Asked what would happen if Romney didn’t get on board with him, Trump cited the retirements of GOP Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake — threatening that Romney would find himself in the same position if he kept crossing Trump. Little mob boss-y, no?
35. “So Jeff Flake is now selling real estate, or whatever he’s doing.”
I am not sure where Trump got the idea Flake is going to be selling real estate as his post-Senate career. To the best of my searching, Flake hasn’t announced what he’s going to do after leaving the Senate. Also, isn’t “sell real estate” what Trump did his whole professional life prior to 2016?
36. “I will tell you, we have some great Republicans, and if you look at the way they’re standing up for border security, you’d be very proud of them if you’re a Republican, or if you’re a person that loves our nation.”
So, “loves our nation” = supports shutting down the government to secure $5 billion to build a border wall. This feels like a good place to end.

And THIS is our President.. and you can be one too!



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