On the Saturday before the
I joked on Twitter that I thought this was a perfectly apt explanation for a real estate guy. After all, that's how
I shouldn't be recycling jokes from Twitter. But since so much of our national conversation is little more than sewage spillover from the sluices of the president's Twitter feed, I figured it was OK.
Besides, maybe the president is right. The professional
It's the figurative defenses that are failing him. The standard justification of the president's tweets is that he's a "fighter" and a "counterpuncher" who needs to return fire on the "fake media." We'll return to the media in a moment, but this begs the question.
The people who say he has to fight and counterpunch take it as a given that this tactic is effective. Is it? What evidence is there that, say, his shabby attacks on
"He's a fighter" and "He's a counterpuncher" are not serious arguments. They're simply euphemistic descriptions of his tendency to let his id run free like an escaped monkey from a cocaine study. (And not just on Twitter; his presence on the platform merely reflects his character.)
What does rise to the level of an argument is the claim that he's brilliantly controlling the media narrative. And he is. But the brilliance only emerges if you tautologically define winning as making the story about yourself, regardless of the story's content. Heads will turn your way if you pour a bowl of hot soup in your lap. And if turning heads is your metric of success, well, voila.
An analysis by Axios found that just 2.5 percent of Trump's personal tweets in June (three out of 121) were about the
Which brings us to the media. On
Individual journalists such as Tapper notwithstanding, the media rival the president in their self-absorption and self-regard. If I give my dogs a choice between eating a bowl of hamburger or a bowl of kale, they won't even see it as a choice. Similarly, given the option of talking about good news for the administration or talking about themselves as heroic martyrs and truth-tellers persecuted by the president, they'll take the bait every time.
The simple truth: It was a churlish and juvenile outburst. But, hey, that's what passes for presidential these days.