I suppose I really should not be in the business of giving advice to the smartest politician of our generation. Nevertheless, I am going to try. Not because I am some self-important wannabe pundit. Not because I’m a liberal snowflake who is triggered. Not because I am offended, outraged, or bothered by POTUS. Rather, because I care deeply about the Republic and about our success as a country.
I remember when Candidate Trump announced. The press called him crazy. The press said his poll numbers would tank. Every Hollywood starlet said he’d lose. Every pundit said he’d lose. Every bit of news coverage was awful. I kept telling people that what he was saying had been tested and refined. I told them the message was crafted to attract the middle class. I said he was going for the middle-class voter, and that he was talking in terms they understood. I saw the crowds on RSBN and I knew that he was right. I knew he was going to win. I knew the polls were wrong. Taking on the media was a savvy play, something that worked to his benefit, and that made people love him.
But every love song has to end. And it needs to end on a high note.
So, about that…
I once got into an argument with a co-worker. I don’t even remember what the argument was about now (which indicates it was probably something stupid) and my boss gave me the best advice I ever received: never go mud wrestling with a pig. Nobody wins, but the pig enjoys it.
It reminds me of another aphorism of the same ilk: don’t get into an argument with a damned fool. Someone might come along and not be able to tell which one of you is the damned fool.
I offer this sage advice to our Commander in Chief because he has made a habit out of getting into arguments he cannot win and should not fight. The conflict, not the unfair coverage, has become the story. All successful actors know that you don’t read your reviews. The reason for this is clear: it’s one person’s opinion. And that’s all it is. You play your game, you don’t let the enemy set the rules.
By this point in his presidency President Trump has completely exposed the press as a pack of wild dog Democrats just trying to use the pack mentality to bring down the elephant. No less than Jon Stewart admits this. The media has lost the fight. Unless you keep giving them another round in the ring. Sooner or later, they’re going to keep punching and score a knockout. So don’t give them the chance.
As a manager one of the hardest things I ever faced was not getting in the middle of everything. I wanted to be both the guy in charge and the guy who could do everything. But to be a good manager, you can’t do both. You have to learn to delegate. At some point you have to realize that the general fights from HQ, not in the trenches with the GIs.
Mr. Trump knows this. But the problem is the media is getting under his skin and they’re living rent free in his head. He has to evict them. And he has to turn over the defense of the realm over to Miller, Conway and Spicer who are more than capable of doing the job. Conway kills them, and Spicer routinely filets them.
Instead of using Twitter to remind us the press is petty, stupid and mean-spirited (something we already know), he needs to use it to keep the pressure on Congress. he should Tweet to let the millions of followers in on what’s coming. Stop taking on the NYT and the WAPO. None of us care what they think of POTUS.
There is some thinking that you can never win a battle with the press. This is clearly wrong. Trump fought them, and he won. But now he needs to let the victory lie, and just focus on playing his game. Getting into it with the press at this point simply gives their message credence: he wouldn’t be fighting it if there weren’t some truth there. So our POTUS needs to take the battle to the enemy (Congress) and simply be happy with having won the battle with the press.
When Candidate Trump announced, every press pundit said there was no way he would wind up in the Oval Office. Now he is there. That is a victory the press can’t take away unless he lets them.