A longtime pillar of the SSI community sent in an interesting political link. He can identify himself below if so inclined. As we know, it's good to be sensitive about identity
Scott Adams writes the Dilbert comic and also writes very "fresh," smart, intriguing business / political material. Today he wrote an article, "Is President Trump Doing Management Wrong?" Our SSI amigo was curious about how this article would look from ... wait for it ... a chessplayer's lens.
=== STIPULATED ===
Trump is not cut from the same cloth as was George Washington. He's not even cut from the same cloth as Bill Clinton or W. Bush. We all regret that.
The public Donald Trump is an unpleasant man by any standards, much less by Presidential standards. But let's talk about something else for one thread.
=== F-500 CEOs vs ENTREPENEURS ===
Adams points out that an entrepeneur "does" business differently from the way a huge company does it. At SSI we have discussed many times the fact that a "COMMITTEE" does most things worse than an individual genius does them; twenty decent tournament players can't possibly discuss their chess plans together and compete with a human grandmaster. The "consultation" crew is probably worse at chess than is the best single player among them...
But! That consultation group will, absolutely will, avoid stupid blunders. It will avoid creativity, will avoid third-order thinking, and will avoid blunders. It will INEVITABLY make fewer mistakes than its best player playing alone. It is far, FAR safer and more "solid" -- in chess they say "sound" -- than a single player. Committees avoid catastrophes.
"On average" the committee is inferior to the single player; keep in mind that the single player is a BETTER player than the committee. And nobody paints Rembrandt's Night Watch by committee. Well, that's a bad example; The Night Watch does look like a committee painted it .... maybe we need a discussion thread for that painting. It has a wonderful egalitarian theme.
From a business standpoint, Adams points out (correctly) that the entrepeneur wants to release a beta version, test it, get feedback, and adjust. T-Mobile?! NO WAY. They want things right before the customer SEES them.
Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator, complained publicly that Trump's EO on immigration was okay in substance, but had been released too fast. (Many Republican congressmen did help work on the EO.) Graham and John McCain were appalled at the very appearance of an entrepeneur-style decision. In this case they might have been right from a perception standpoint; if Trump had announced the same thing with his Cabinet standing around him, ready to explain everything on the spot, backlash would have been different.
But that's not Trump's way. He revels in drama. The point is, Senators are accustomed to glacier-like movement, are comfortable with it. The question is whether they are too comfortable with it, or whether Trump is going to get hoist by his own petard here.
Are we all too used to gridlock? Or is there a real concern for panic? Sometimes the stock market is helpful data there. You could argue this week's stock market both ways.
=== A NEUTRAL POINT OF VIEW ===
Anybody who disagrees with Trump, hates his speed and impulsiveness. Anybody who agrees with him, loves his speed and decisiveness. Let's not talk about whether you are glad or angry about the THINGS Trump is doing; it's boring to "discuss" that -- because we already know whether you loved or hated this last week, based on the (D) or (R) by your name.
This is a process question. Whether it is Hillary or Trump or Obama or Clinton or Bush, what do you think about a President who wants to do five or ten times as much as anybody preceding her?
I will say this much: I think it is AMUSING the way that Trump changes the subject at will. He took a shot to the man region, the first real body blow, over the immigration pause. Immediately, he Tweeted that he'll be announcing for Supreme Court. He has done this his whole life, "erase" bad coverage with splashy announcements.
Future generations will refer to this as the Trump Tactic. All Presidents will deploy the strategem. When Paul Morphy started using "centralization" in chess in 1857, it worked great. Everybody now plays that way. Trump's "splash announcements" work -- for his point of view -- fabulously. Democrats of course hate them from Trump, as Republicans would hate them from Hillary. Morally, I think they're rather neutral; the person is simply changing the subject. Annoying but not evil in the sense that lying is evil.
=== TRUMP'S BLITZKRIEG OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS ===
1. Well, flurry of action. EO's are hardly the only thing he's been doing. You've got the Cabinet, the back-channel and front-channel massaging of business leaders, the meetings with heads of state, the PR, on and on and on. There is no question that a huge amount of things are happening. Until last week, none of us realized it was possible for Washington, D.C. to move so quickly.
Scott Adams says that if he gets away with it, he will obviously become "the most effective President in history." Most effective at evil or weal, that's a different subject. We're talking about what it means for a President to do so much, regardless of party.
2. For those who just joined us, "Shock and Awe" is a military term. Its goal is to render opponents CONFUSED and feeling HELPLESS. Trump, for ten days, has certainly accomplished this objective. For example, the New York Times cannot run six headlines in one day on six major things that Trump did yesterday; it doesn't have time to find one wound and pick at it. For example example, 100% of Trump's Cabinet picks are going to be confirmed.
He's winning, yuuuge. At the 10-day point, you understand. But it's all the more amazing, for the fact that the Democrats, the protesters in the street, the media, AND THE BUSH-ROMNEY REPUBLICANS have fought him tooth and nail. One guy takes on the whole country? ... and wipes them out?
For SURE the momentum is going to change at some point. Would welcome your thoughts as to when and with what consequence; not what you hope happens, but what you Denizens' agile minds PREDICT will happen. Trump will lose the second quarter, it says here; what happens then I don't know.
3i. Trump started as an entrepeneur-type businessman, but then became a CEO-type businessman. He learned to cut through New York City zoning officials; he's using those tactics to cut through Congress. He was accused of political inexperience, of not knowing how to talk to Senators. Perhaps that assumption needs a revisit.
Barack Obama was very young, and very inexperienced, compared to Hillary. It didn't matter in the slightest. He handled his Presidency beautifully. The same was true of Eisenhower, except the age part. It would seem that our Presidents do not need much experience in politics.
3. The Founding Fathers made a "Committee" out of the country, not a small-business startup. They had in mind for the government to do little.
3b. Trump is working within the Committee system, acting legally with respect to Congress and the Supreme Court.
3c. Do you think the Founding Fathers would say, "well, if you can push it through this giant lumbering government mill, more power to you. You wouldn't be able to accomplish this if the forces of democracy were not with you."
Or do you think they would say, "We did not intend for any President to push through ideas before Congress has had proper time to deliberate."
Or do you think they would say, "The Fourth Estate (the free press) is broken, our democracy is therefore broken, and harsh means are justified. If Congress started doing horrible things, then the Supreme Court would be justified to ratchet up its actions to match."
Or do you think they would say "We are so ashamed of Donald Trump personally, that we don't even want to discuss politics any more." ... :- )
4. Bill James has a free article up, in front of the paywall, "How Democrats Can Win Kansas." In it, he makes the point that Bernie supporters and Trump supporters agree on one yuge thing. For too long, Washington D.C. has cared about itself, and not about us.
Did you know that over $30,000 in lobbying money is given to Congressmen -- PER DAY, PER MEMBER? On average. Lobbying expenditures in D.C. are over $17M per day. Scary, eh?
I would think all Denizens appreciate the fact that, whether it come from Bernie or The Donald, the politicians have been dealt a shock to their (self-serving) system. They've got to be wondering whether the days are over, when they could feed at the trough at will.
5. From a chessplayer's standpoint, what are the benefits and demerits of frantically aggressive strategy?
4a. At lower levels, it works great.
4b. At higher levels, it blows up in your face.
4c. Players at the level in the Seattle Chess Club, who are very, VERY good players ... it's almost impossible for them to be too aggressive. At that level, the best defense is truly a good offense. But at master level, caution and precision dominate. The smallest over-extension WILL bring defeat.
So, from a chessplayer's perspective ... are Chuck Schumer and Pinch Sulzberger grandmaster-level strategists? (Adams' article points out that all media outlets are repeating the mantra "CHAOS" right now, and he wonders how the media synchronizes on these talking points.) Is "democracy as a concept" a grandmaster-level strategist? How about TRUTH as a concept -- will facts and logic rise above the noise, given time?
Can any of those forces "refute" over-aggressive play from Trump?
From a short-term political standpoint -- say, 50 years' time -- I do think that the best defense IS a good offense. It has worked for CBS News / The Washington Post since the Viet Nam war. I mean that dispassionately. The media has been glad to destroy its enemies, such as Richard Nixon, any time the media chooses to go itself into hyper-aggressive mode.
Trump is simply taking the "stay on offense" tactic to the Nth degree. Would that be smart or stupid, coming from Trump or Hillary or Obama or Ellison? Trump has many enemies with snake eyes on, with soul-vows to destroy him (as they did Nixon) or die trying. It will be fascinating to see who wins. I'd give Trump a 20%, 30% chance.
Moe Dog is an actual politician of accomplishment; would be very eager to hear his thoughts on the "Shock and Awe" strategy. Dilbert says there is no baseline to compare it to, no President in history who tried the same thing.