Monday, May 15, 2017

What We're Up Against


White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a stern warning at a recent senior staff meeting: Quit trying to secretly slip stuff to President Trump.

Just days earlier, K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, had given Trump a printout of two Time magazine covers. One, supposedly from the 1970s, warned of a coming ice age; the other, from 2008, about surviving global warming, according to four White House officials familiar with the matter.

Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an Internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.

The episode illustrates the impossible mission of managing a White House led by an impetuous president who has resisted structure and strictures his entire adult life.

The guy has spent his whole life playing outside every parameter.  It's how he's made his way in the world forever.  In confusion there is opportunity, and he believes the greater the confusion, the greater the opportunity. So he creates confusion every chance he gets.

It's part of his basic approach of playing the SmarmSpace - that little bit of daylight between making a commitment to do something and then actually doing it.

His pattern has always been to Over-Promise and Under-Deliver, which I've attributed to his being an extraordinarily bad salesman. ie: it's not about doing what needs done. It's only about saying whatever gets the other guy to commit. 

45* knows this basic concept:

You will go to great lengths to keep your word.  

Because making a promise means something to you, he gains great advantage by being not just willing to go back on his word, but building it into the plan - which is why (I think) he never tells anybody what he's planning to do. And it's not just that he doesn't want you to know - he's so completely invested in his approach, he plays the SmarmSpace with everybody around him.  They do their best to spin it as 45* being some kind of strategy genius, but they don't have one fuckin' clue what the guy will do from one minute to the next. At best, they're just guessing and that's because he wants it that way.

One of the best examples of playing the SmarmSpace was 45*'s threatening tweet about how Comey better hope there's no tape of his conversations.

That is straight-up Daddy State Basics - 45* fears (ie: he prob'ly knows) there're tapes of him talking with or about the Russians, with some damning bits that'll blow him up, so he has to turn that around and point it at Comey or whoever else comes to mind in order to get it all directed away from him. Is any of it true? Doesn't matter. He may know absolutely there's no such tape, but he also knows you and I will have to stop and consider the possibility, because we have some scruples - and a respect for process, and for logic, and for critical thinking - and he doesn't.  He only has that animal instinct for preserving and benefitting himself.

So then along comes someone else who also cares about nothing but furthering their own agenda items, and we get a staffer willing to pimp the "Climate Hoax", knowing 45* will not think beyond "what's in it for me?".  Almost literally, all they think they have to do is meet him in that SmarmSpace and he'll do what they want him to do.  But he won't be changing his rules; he won't alter his approach; he'll be looking for the SmarmSpace within the SmarmSpace.

This really has degenerated into what Ayn Rand called The Politics Of Pull.  Getting power and wielding power and keeping power eventually reduces the system to trading in favors - not goods and services (another reason "Gov't Should Be Run Like A Business" is pure bumper sticker bullshit, but that's part of a different rant).

Anyway, it makes for the perfect environment for a SmarmSpace peddler like 45* because there's no way you can specify a value for those favors that everybody can agree on. I may think I'm doing you a solidly huge one, but when I come around to collect, all you have to do is downplay it - something 45* has made a long and very lucrative career of doing.

There is no soul and no honor in this.

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