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Back in the day — long before Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War with determination, character, and sheer personal strength — Russian submarine commanders had a signature maneuver called “the Crazy Ivan.” Essentially, it meant doing something sharp and unexpected, like a hard turn to port or starboard, or another course change that wasn’t anticipated by American or NATO submarine hunters on the surface.
There will be a lot a tense and coiled-up candidates on the platform during today’s debate. They’ll be nervous and maybe even a little over-prepared for whatever curveball the frontrunner, Donald Trump, decides to pitch.
So, what if he doesn’t? What if he pulls a Crazy Ivan and simply presents his ideas in a moderate and statesmanlike fashion instead? What if he spends his television time presiding over the proceedings, complimenting Scott Walker, say, on his union reforms, or Jeb Bush on his Florida record? What if he acts like a relaxed and confident grown-up who knows he’s way, way ahead-in-the-polls? What if, in other words, he acts like he’s already president?
There’s plenty of time for him to go back to being the incendiary and colorful flamethrower. But on Thursday night, my advice to Trump is to go Crazy Ivan. Take it down to a moderate five or six. No one will doubt for a moment that he’s undergone a personality change, or that the consultants have gotten to him. They’ll just see it for what it is: brilliant psy-ops.
It will drive everyone onstage — and everyone in the media — full-on bonkers.