Friday, December 13, 2019
When speaking to Republicans casually about news and politics, the conversation eventually winds its way to President Trump. The dialogue is typically civil, unlike when trying to talk to hard left Democrats about politics, which is about as satisfying as having a root canal.
These Republicans I speak of are the Bush-Romney wing of the party, faithful readers of the Wall Street Journal, and I’ll admit a group I was part of back when the last Bush was in the White House. I thought that was the best the Republican Party could do. It was certainly better than the alternatives at the time of a President Gore or Kerry.
Then again, at one time a Casio wristwatch with a built-in stopwatch and timer was pretty slick, as was a flip phone which fit in my shirt pocket. This was long before the Apple watch or iPhone. At that point in time we didn’t know what wonders the future held.
Politically this is where Donald Trump fits in. Who knew during the Bush years that a president could actually push back against the media and his political detractors? Could a GOP president actually answer his critics rather than stay mum for eight years with the only defense being as Bush promised, “Ultimately history will judge.”
George W Bush got his wish and as the years go by, the judgement has not been kind, with many conservatives lumping the past four presidents, two Bushes, a Clinton, and an Obama, together as different heads of the same deep state snake.
Trump is the new kid on the block, trying to slay that snake. Progress is being made, although slower than many of us would like. The economy is humming along with record employment numbers, a booming stock market, and prosperity that the last president told us was only attainable with a magic wand.
Republicans I speak to all acknowledge this and are quite pleased. Yet so many can’t leave it at that. The word “but” always follows the good news.
They say, “I love what Trump is doing, but I wish he wouldn’t tweet so much.” In their world, tweets are for celebrities and other fame seeking types, but not for a president of the United States. It’s undignified. It’s beneath the office of the president. It’s counterproductive.
How many of you have had this conversation with Republican friends and colleagues?
I remind them that undignified is weaponizing your intelligence and law enforcement agencies to spy on political opponents, then attempting to overturn an election. But too many Republicans remain stuck on the tweets.
The New York Times recently described President Trump’s tweeting habit. Since inauguration day, he has sent out 11,000 tweets. Early in his presidency it was about 9 tweets a day, now in the past three months it’s triple that rate. From the article,
When Mr. Trump entered office, Twitter was a political tool that had helped get him elected and a digital howitzer that he relished firing. In the years since, he has fully integrated Twitter into the very fabric of his administration, reshaping the nature of the presidency and presidential power.
Early in his presidency, “Top aides wanted to restrain the president’s Twitter habit, even considering asking the company to impose a 15-minute delay on Mr. Trump’s messages.” After all, this was something new and different, just as was the entire concept of a Trump presidency.
Soon they caught on, as did so many of his supporters. “But 11,390 presidential tweets later, many administration officials and lawmakers embrace his Twitter obsession, flocking to his social media chief with suggestions.”
Who would think that an old guy like Trump would quickly become the king of social media? Twitter is only used by 22 percent of Americans, according to Pew Research. They also noted, “Twitter users are younger, more likely to identify as Democrats, more highly educated and have higher incomes than U.S. adults overall.” This is the opposite of the Trump base and strategically smart on the part of Trump to expose this group to his messages, whether to educate them or troll them.
How else can Trump get his message out? Mainstream media outlets, whether newspapers, cable news, or network news are openly hostile to the President with well over 90 percent negative coverage of anything he says or does. They are part of “the resistance”, combined with academia, entertainment, and big finance, all viewing President Trump as an existential threat to their comfortable lives of soy lattes and Pilates.
Trump’s tweets have replaced press briefings from the White House Press Secretary, as those have become showcases for narcissistic peacocks like Jim Acosta who want to make themselves the subject of the press briefing. Trump has frequent “chopper pressers” before boarding Marine One, answering any and all press questions for 20 to 30 minutes, with the camera on Trump and not the media. This unfettered access to the President is also something unique to the Trump presidency.
Trump is not the most followed person on Twitter, in 11th place, according to Brandwatch, behind celebrities and even former President Barack Obama, who are all popular but annoying and otherwise irrelevant to most Americans.
Trump tweets to announce policy, personnel decisions, and punch back at his critics. His Twitter complainers say he is picking needless fights with detractors, but in actuality he is fighting back. Typically, when he tweets about Stormy Daniels, Alyssa Milano, Meghan Markle, or Mayor Kahn of London, they started the fight.
Rather than turning the other cheek and letting history judge him, as Bush 43 did, he punches back. This is what pushback looks like and unfortunately his fellow Republicans can neither understand nor emulate this, much to their disadvantage.
Republican Trump critics say his tweets are undignified or unpresidential. The implication is that he should be more restrained, like President George W. Bush who let the media define his presidency, driving his approval numbers into the toilet, paving the way for eight years of Barack Obama.
Or that he should be like the collegial and dignified John McCain and Mitt Romney, who wouldn’t dare tweet out an insult, except against Trump, and who both were electoral losers, letting the media define them in the worst way without fighting back.
Let Trump continue the tweets, retweeting funny parody videos, hinting at upcoming swamp drainings, or just driving the media mad with words like “covfefe”.
It’s the tweets that distinguished Trump from the other 16 Republican primary candidates in 2016, along with his uncanny ability to label and brand his opponents as “Low Energy Jeb” or “Little Marco”.
Trump’s tweets bypass and distract the hostile media and allow him to get his message out. While CNN agonizes over his tweets, the Senate confirms conservative judges with little notice or comment. It’s almost like Trump is playing three-card Monte, using his tweets to distract his marks, also known as Democrats and the media.
I for one look forward to President Trump’s latest tweets and certainly don’t want him to stop tweeting.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician, freelance writer and occasional radio talk show host whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and QuodVerum.
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