Even the Trump WH is Surprised How Vapid Beltway Pundits Are
As we argued in the last post, pundits are having their worst morning during the Trump Administration. They are so desperate to return to ‘normalcy’ and access journalism.
Even the Trump team is surprised how easy the media is to gull:
Even the Trump White House is surprised how vapid and gullible DC pundits can be. https://t.co/ymiauaskfi
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) March 1, 2017
This as I argued in the link above is because the media is more interested in theater criticism than political analysis.
Some sources in WH are frankly surprised at how pundits are warming to the speech. Say Trump has not changed, no big shift in policy coming.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 1, 2017
White House staff laughing at the marks, boasting about the con in public. https://t.co/tlvJ2s6pcx
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 1, 2017
There was clearly no policy change. Again though-the Chris Cillizza media where policy doesn’t matter. That’s why they thought Hillary was such a bad candidate-she talked about policy in an in depth meaningful way.
This sums up the media philosophy as well as anything:
Imagine thinking the job isn’t to assess whether the president’s words are true, but to guess whether others will think they are true.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 1, 2017
Brian Beutler has a crazy thought: imagine giving a speech meant to advance your policy agenda rather than impress Chris Cillizza?
Instead of playing for the pundits, Trump could've used his speech to rescue his faltering agenda. https://t.co/DzNX1Hl7gc
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) March 1, 2017
This is no doubt what Republicans wanted. He did such a great job here, GOPers can’t agree what he meant on actual policy.
Of course, Trump doesn’t care about policy, he cares about optics and getting re-elected. He literally applied for running in 2020 his second day in office and he’s already started campaigning for 2020. You know he’s done so much already.
One thing that strikes me: how Congress just isn't that important to the core of Trump's message on crime, trade, immigration, etc.
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) March 1, 2017
He doesn’t care much about Congress including his own party.
“In September 2009, after a month that nearly saw legislative support for his domestic agenda collapse, President Barack Obama convened a joint session of Congress to focus the minds of wavering Democrats on the task at hand: reforming the nation’s health care system.”
“For nearly an hour, Obama defined the goals of his proposal, explained its importance and its function, and listed his criteria for signing legislation. (It was in this address, after Obama said his health reform plan would not subsidize illegal immigrants, that Republican Congressman Joe Wilson shouted “you lie” at the president, setting the tone for Republican opposition for the coming seven years.)”
“Legislative momentum is a nebulous concept. It is possible that the speech saved his legacy, or that the Affordable Care Act would’ve passed anyhow. But with his signature initiative on the line, Obama left nothing to chance.”
One thing that jumps out at the comparison is how different Obama and Trump are to state the obvious. Trump is about nothing but optics. It’s arguable that a weakness of Obama was zero attention to optics.
What I mean is that Trump is very good at taking credit for everything that happens. The sun came up today? Obviously Trump is making America Great Again. Obama always had a problem with the performance aspect of the job.
The Money Illusion’s Scott Sumner always talks about how each President tends to be the opposite of the last. Our next POTUS will be pretty great.
“The joint address President Donald Trump gave Tuesday night was a more traditional event. Every new president gives one, much like a state of the union address, but before a new president has had a chance to shape the union itself. It is unsurprising that Trump would be tempted to use his speech to re-champion his vision for the country and place himself above the parliamentary squabbling that powers Congress.”
“But if anything, at this extremely early date, Trump’s legislative agenda is more imperiled than Obama’s was in that September speech. It is conceivable that Republicans in Congress will find themselves unable to repeal Obamacare—the first domino in a procedural cascade that will leave the GOP with little or nothing to show for consolidating control of government.”
“Trump could have offered his congressional foot soldiers moral support and guidance. Instead he gave an address crafted almost entirely with his own immediate political fortunes in mind.”
So the biggest losers last night may have been his GOP buddies in Congress. Who as we noted above, can’t even agree among themselves what Trump meant in his words about Obamacare.
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