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Mike Siegel: The President Is Living Up to His Billing

Is He Going Too Far?

Mike Siegel
August 23, 2017 - 9:38 am
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The controversy surrounding the President over the past week has isolated him even further from his own party and moderates. Polling shows him at historically low levels in terms of performance and, sadly, much of this is his own doing.

His aggressive style won him the election. That same style has worked well when applied to the issues people care about: jobs, national security, veterans’ issues, immigration, health care and other powerful issues on which he was elected.

The problem the President has had is using that aggressive style on matters about which the public has little interest or concern. We all know the history of his tweets on matters that detracted from his agenda in terms of news coverage. The constant need for President Trump to respond to every criticism and take on the media in an “over the top” fashion has been the major impediment to his issues of concern to the public.

Couple that with the constant flow of criticism of Republicans, primarily in the Senate, and you have the ingredients for failure on the issues. How many Republicans will now go to the wall for this President when he chastises their leader as well as others?

That is the key point. It is not about telling the truth because what he says about the political class in D.C. is true. But, there is a way to communicate that reality without thoroughly and totally offending the political leaders you need to accomplish your agenda.

Donald Trump need go no further than George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan. Both of these presidents were eviscerated by the mainstream media, much like they are doing to Donald Trump.

Knowing this would be the case, the key is how you handle that criticism. Reagan and Bush never said a word of condemnation about the press and its left leaning bias. Instead they dealt with the issues facing their presidencies, staying above the fray perpetuated by these biased media organizations.

What happened? They were each elected twice to the presidency and succeeded in part due to their avoidance of confrontation with the press. In Fact, they won twice in spite of the press.

On the matter of Republicans in Congress, I heartily agree with the President about the elite Republican class and its denial of meaningful efforts to promote a strong conservative agenda.

The way to overcome resistance from these political elites is not by tough talk against them and insulting them, but rather going directly to the American people and encouraging them to insist that their members of Congress support the Trump Agenda.

Ronald Reagan did this and it worked. In this way, you are engaging the American people as your allies to pressure Congress to do its job, which of course it has not done to this point in the Trump Presidency.

The President must understand that isolating himself from his own party will not lead to political success. This is not The Trump Organization where he could give an order and expect it would be followed. We have 3 co-equal branches of government for the very purpose of spreading power across those branches. The President needs to understand that if he is to be successful.

He has already seen Federal Courts block part of his immigration agenda and Congress disregard his pleas to pass a health care bill. Ironically, he is totally correct on these issues, but has shown a lack of understanding of the political implications of his forceful communication style.

Trump has the right agenda with an ineffective method of trying to accomplish its results. Where is the funding for the Wall? Health Care? Tax reform and tax cuts have been delayed. Remember when we had hope it would be done by September? So much for that result.

One can win the battle and lose the war. The President now needs to suppress his own ego, be able to take the criticism without responding and carefully choose his communication responses in terms of language and style.

He can turn this isolation around if he takes the right steps. That means getting outside of himself and focusing on and absorbing himself in the issues about which he so deeply cares.

His comparison of both sides in the Charlottesville debacle was a case in point. When he made both sides equal with both good and bad people involved, it was obvious that the inflammatory phrase neo-Nazi was going to be the focus in the media. The President did then, in his second statement, come out strongly against the KKK, neo-Nazi and White Supremacists. But then, later in the week, he impromptu turned to that issue and went back to the point that there were good people and bad people on both sides.

So, what was Leader McConnell’s response? He said he did not know of or are there any “good” neo-Nazis? The President got himself back in the fray about something that should have ended with one clear statement condemning bigots.

Again, he may have been correct that there were some good people on both sides in the March, and certainly there were violent actors on the left as well as the right. But, politically, of what value was it for the President to get back into this debate? It again totally detracted from his agenda in the news cycle and his Arts Commission members all resigned, along with a number of his business committee members, after those comments.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump used clear and incisive analysis when making a business decision for The Trump Organization. What would be the outcome and economic benefit?

Here, as President, he must do the same clear and incisive analysis politically about the consequences of his actions and decisions. There may be short term gain in feeling good, but long-term loss in terms of goals and objectives.

He will be disappointing even his own base if he does not understand and apply this formula to his presidency.

 

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