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Efficiency and rhetoric: or why you can’t run an administration on rhetoric alone March 14, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


Listening to the Slate political podcast John Dickerson made what I thought was a good point. Noting the departure of Trump’s fourth (count ‘em – fourth) Communications Director, Hope Hicks this last week he suggested that a basic problem for the US administration is that there’s a deficit in terms of its ability to attract people to it. And why would that be? Well Dickerson asked a question which answered itself:

Why would anyone in their right mind want to work in a WH which is described as a place of constant chaos?

And another week and another departure with the hapless Tillerson shown the exit. The irony that it was Trump who selected him for the role – one he clearly was unsuited to is almost neither here nor there. Richard Wolffe’s overview is fairly stunning in its own way detailing his inadequacies.

I was aware that the situation at the State Department was a disaster, with resignations, few hirings and many positions unfilled, but I hadn’t realised he had twice slashed the budget. And for frankly the most stupid reasons possible. Still, he was, for all his myriad faults, a sanish voice on the Iran deal. That will be missed (and as to the new Secretary and the head of the CIA – well, let’s just say there’s no grounds for optimism regarding Pompeo or Haspel).

I really hope that this White House is neatly and quietly skewering the idea that those who are in business are somehow uniquely well suited to run states. Because while it may well be that Trump is a master businessperson, and I suppose the simple fact he has held together that which he inherited and added somewhat to it is an achievement of sorts, those skills appear unsuited (to put it at its kindest) to be translated much further afield (I supposed on could make a case that the Tillerson firing was chosen as a means of deflection from rising Dem hopes in elections but even still that’s a function of push-back rather than triumph).

I’ve no doubt that for many in business his rhetoric was engaging (where it wasn’t alarming) and effective in its own way. But then running a business is very different to running a state. The inputs and outputs are so fundamentally distinct, the necessity for collaborative engagement well beyond one’s area of expertise, the reality of others actions having profound impacts and so on. And then a further point. Statecraft is – quite literally – a matter of life and death in a way that relatively few business concerns are.

And because of that one can get away with business practices, and approaches, that just isn’t true of state management and administration. This is not to deny chancers and the mediocre and the downright inept aren’t evident in political and legislative areas, but rather that they are constrained by systems. But Trump is sui generis because he is at the apex of the system. This doesn’t offer him unlimited power, it doe however allow him greater room for movement and for shaping what happens further down the pyramid.

It was grim to see his responses to the Florida shooting and then the clawback by the administration, because it was so characteristic of this administration. The rhetoric is simply that – even in the context of multiple deaths. The reality is something quite starkly different.

And the US tilts ever more right-wing.


1. dublinstreams - March 14, 2018
WorldbyStorm - March 15, 2018

Agreed which is why I said in the OP

“Because while it may well be that Trump is a master businessperson, and I suppose the simple fact he has held together that which he inherited and added somewhat to it is an achievement of sorts…”


dublinstreams - March 15, 2018

is it an achievement?


WorldbyStorm - March 15, 2018

Of sorts I said – I didn’t say what sort and presumed most reading the sentence would see it as sarcastic.


2. CL - March 14, 2018

“Steve Bannon is no longer at the White House, but nationalism is very much alive and well.”

However Trump is reported to be replacing Cohn with Larry Kudlow, a free trader.


3. CL - March 14, 2018

“The appointment of Lawrence Kudlow as head of the National Economic Council indicates how firmly supply-siders control Republican economic policy, and how little impact years of failed analysis have had upon their place of power….
Kudlow attributes every positive economic indicator to lower taxes, and every piece of negative news to higher taxes….
It’s not even a complex form of kookery,…. It’s a very simple and blunt kind of kookery.”


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