David Brooks Seems Pretty Upset That Trump Does Things Different Than Other Elected Leaders
One of the reasons people jumped on the Trump train was that he was not an insider, not a career politician. He thought different and talked different. He tended to communicated directly with citizens, primarily via Twitter, which, of course, has the Legacy Media very upset, because they prefer to be the gatekeepers of the news, with the ability to spin it to the benefit of the Democrat party and Progressive ideals. And they still haven’t wrapped their minds around the notion that things will be done differently. Witness Excitable David Brooks
Normal leaders come up with policy proposals in a certain conventional way. They gather their advisers around them and they debate alternatives — with briefing papers, intelligence briefings and implementation strategies.
As opposed to gathering all the insurance executives, interest groups, and hardcore activists together to craft things like Obamacare.
Donald Trump doesn’t do that. He’s tweeted out policy gestures in recent weeks, say about the future of America’s nuclear arsenal. But these gestures aren’t attached to anything. They emerged from no analytic process and point to no implemental effects. Trump’s statements seem to spring spontaneously from his middle-of-night feelings. They are astoundingly ambiguous and defy interpretation.
Here’s the thing: is Brooks sure of that? Did he ask? Or just assume?
Normal leaders serve an office. They understand that the president isn’t a lone monarch. He is the temporary occupant of a powerful public post. He’s the top piece of a big system, and his ability to create change depends on his ability to leverage and mobilize the system. His statements are carefully parsed around the world because presidential shifts in verbal emphasis are not personal shifts; they are national shifts that signal changes in a superpower’s actual behavior.
Brooks has obviously missed the last 8 years.
Donald Trump doesn’t think in that way, either. He is anti-system. As my “PBS NewsHour” colleague Mark Shields points out, he has no experience being accountable to anybody, to a board of directors or an owner. As president-elect, he has not begun attaching himself to the system of governance he’ll soon oversee.
Personally, I see that as a good thing. Perhaps it is time for some change in the way things are done. The debt clock is approaching $20 trillion dollars. Unfunded liabilities are somewhere in the range of $75-180 trillion dollars. No one truly knows. The government pisses away money that was earned through hard work by the citizens. It dictates policies that government officials won’t live themselves. Maybe it’s time to make government accountable to We The People.
Finally, normal leaders promulgate policies. They measure their days by how they propose and champion actions and legislation.
By that measure, Obama is an utter and complete failure.
When Trump issues a statement, it may look superficially like a policy statement, but it’s usually just a symbolic assault in some dominance-submission male rivalry game. It’s trash-talking against a rival, Barack Obama, or a media critic like CNN. Trump may be bashing Obama on Russia or the Mideast, but it’s not because he has implementable policies in those realms. The primary thing is bashing enemies.
While Brooks certainly has a point here, where was the same complaint about Obama, who continuously trashed Congressional Republicans to the point that he was also denigrating Republican voters?
His statements should probably be treated less like policy declarations and more like Snapchat. They exist to win attention at the moment, but then they disappear.
And that there is the mistake of the liberal and media elite. They should take Trump very seriously, but, they’ll continue to underestimate him, just like during the election. Continue to dismiss him. And continue to misread him. And he’ll continue to make them look like chumps.