I’ll admit I get irked at times by Bill, Jonah, Charles, Kevin (you know who you are) along with others who still can’t seem to get their heads around Donald Trump, President. They are perpetually indignant over the President’s tweets and want to read utmost conviction into every single thing the Donald says. I find this amazing.
Unfortunate for these conservative pundits, they just can’t understand Donald Trump. Sure, they are used to dog whistle politics, quiet subterfuge, crocodile tears, grandstanding, legal word parsing, pretend ceremony, fake deference and duplicitous words. However, they believe that they can see through all this political interference and determine the truth. Except they can’t. They just know, from years of watching Washington politics, who believes what no matter what they say or how they say it. The fibs, outright lies, exaggerations and political legerdemain are still at play in Washington. But Donald Trump, he stymies them. What is he saying? What is that supposed to mean? They are lost. President Trump has them, well, trumped.
I’ve worked closely with a few powerful CEOs in my life. Most were like Donald, energetic, fun to be around, and quite willing to believe and say just about anything with obvious conviction to make a serious point or promote their venture. I was there to encourage them to paint their pictures within the lines; that is to not get too far ahead or away from reality. More than once, during an analyst meeting or in a meeting with investors, I had to interject, carefully, to pull some of the hotter hyperbole, back to earth.
These men are promoters. They are there to seal the deal, promote the company and move along the strategy. They are not securities law experts or even as intimate with the financial details of their own operations as they should be. They want to be the biggest, the best, the most successful and the most profitable. They live for superlatives and set extremely high goals. If you aim high enough, they believe, even if you fall short, you will still out jump the competition.
Politicians are not like that. Their motives are polluted with the retention of power. They are more clever than they are wise. They are as much concerned with making their political adversaries look bad as they are with governing. Political strategy is not about value or efficiency, it is about constituencies and votes. Politicians are actually considering ways to slow down automation and tax it. If that is not the best differentiator when considering the perverse motives of politics, then there are none.
Donald Trump has no appreciation for this kind of retail politics. He’s a business guy, through and through, our first management by objectives CEO, the MBO President. What does he want? Control over our borders. It’s part of his job description and he’s determined to achieve it. And he wants the world to take our leadership seriously. He wants to reverse the diminution of our military. He wants fair trade deals. He wants a simplified tax code with lower rates. He wants elections unblemished by voter fraud. He wants our multinationals to repatriate their profits from overseas. He wants free, open and vibrant health insurance and health care markets. He wants a judiciary that considers constitutional intent, not precedent, first when judging our laws. That’s about it.
OK, he did say he wanted to improve our infrastructure, however just how this would be achieved or funded was never addressed. I can only assume that this goal is on the back burner for now.
What is missing from this agenda? Two big conservative bugaboos: deficits and entitlements. Trump steered clear of these elephants. My take is this: if we tackle the stated goals above maybe then we can find the courage and wherewithal to tackle entitlements and deficits. Much depends on economic growth and the reciprocal growth in government receipts.
President Donald Trump is not an eloquent man. He’s a businessman. He doesn’t filter his words through ideology. His ideology is reflected in the goals and objectives he sets for himself and his administration. The idea is simple: move the country to a new place in the following ways, 1, 2, 3, 4… You can count them on your fingers and toes. If there are some things you don’t like, OK, oppose them. Trump is ready for practical as well as ideological arguments. If you are in the minority, you still have a chance. I direct you to the Freedom Caucus and the first attempt at Obamacare reform.
Back to Kevin, Jonah, Charles and Bill, don’t dismiss our president as un-serious just because he is abrupt or speaks awkwardly. Unlike politicians, President Trump is more wise than he is clever. Measure him by his objectives and how successful he is in achieving them. At the end of his four years, we will all give him his big HR review. It will be simple. If he’s been successful and wants the job, we’ll hire him for another four years. If he’s not, we’ll all move on. That’s the way MBO works.