Quote Of The Day
In 2016 democracy won yet again, but America lost. -Me
Post#: 003-19 – Words: 3668 – Audio: N/A
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.
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.