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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Priebus Out. Kelly In. Scaramucci Wins. 

by Spocko

A lot of people predicted that Priebus would be pushed out, so no big woop. So now the question is, "Will this be good or bad for Donald Trump?"

Donald Trump believes this is going to be good for him, and for at least one news cycle,  it will be. Especially if the Sunday shows aren't too busy martinizing John McCain's record.

 Of course Fox and Friends will praise the move, but I also think most of the MSM will  reserve judgement on the new staff, so that will be a win in Trump's book too.

Stopping leaks is a big priority for Trump and Scaramucci will be credited with the tough talk that led to senior assistant press secretary Michael Short resigning. But what Trump and Scaramucci don't know is that the leak economy is a big part of how the WH communications process works. Priebus understood this, but I don't think Scaramucci does. Yet.

While everyone was commenting on Scaramucci's colorful language in this story in the New Yorker, what jumped out at me was this.
"Now, he wanted to know whom I had been talking to about his dinner with the President. Scaramucci, who initiated the call, did not ask for the conversation to be off the record or on background."
Scaramucci is a comms novice. That was a major blunder and a rookie move. Scaramucci should have confirmed the rules at the beginning of the call or before he started ranting. Asking for something to be off the record afterwards only works when a relationship has been established.

Trump has no self control, so he wants to control the press

All White House administrations use multiple methods to control the establishment media. Some methods are very sophisticated. The "no videos" gambit during the briefings wasn't one of them. It was a childish move made for the benefit of The TV Watcher-in-Chief

However, the drying up of leaks will have a positive short term impact on Trump. Sustaining it will be hard longer term. (And by longer term I mean past two news dump Friday afternoons or three horribly stupid tweets from the T-man, whichever comes first.)
Scaramucci will try being nice to the press first, and it will work for a while, since there are plenty of media whose WH sources will have gone mute, but the publishers still want their gossip crack.

I expect they will go crawling to Scaramucci trying to get more crack. This means now is a dangerous time for staff, we've already seen how misunderstanding from the WH leads to purges.

The funny thing is that the nicer Scaramucci is to the media the worse he will do. Because in a Republican administration the worse you treat the media, the better they respond. Eric Boehlert wrote about this in his great book Lapdogs. The stories of  how  Karl Rove and Karen Hughes punished media  are nasty, but it worked. The media rolled over for them.

Moochie's Mistakes Will Help Crash The Trump Train  

It's not too hard to predict Moochie will make another mistake on a critical sensitive issue. But with no experience and no good will, he will have a hard time recovering. I don't think he is stupid, the issue is can he learn fast enough on the job.

The outdated notions of the media he carries around in his head will be his undoing. For example, just because you are talking to The New Yorker doesn't mean you talk New York tough guy with them. And NEVER assume that you are off the record. Ryan Lizza isn't Tim "Everything is off the Record" Russert.

We might never know how many times Reince saved Trump from himself, but with Moochie we'll find out soon enough.

What will happen next? Well I don't think I'm violating the temporal prime directive by telling you that there will be some think pieces on "The Mooch" coming out from Axios, Politico  CNN, CBS 60 Minutes and MSNBC.  They will use some variation of "He's misunderstood, but really wants to turn things around." narrative because they are trying to be fair and balanced.

Then there will be at least one more staff resignation or firing by next Friday. That's designed to cement Scaramucci's badassery.

Without a professional who can stand up to Trump, the communications problems will not stop.  This is bad for Trump, but good for us, because Moochie's mistakes will help send the Trump Train over the cliff.

As Scaramucci himself has said, "The fish rots from the head down." And we all know who has rottenest head in the White House.