While going through more reader comments over the weekend, I found a couple of them that would be especially good to highlight, as, taken together, they make their point even more strongly than either does alone.
The first is from Sheila Wiegman, about the President’s tweeting:
“Mr. Huckabee, if you get a chance to talk to President Trump, could you pass along my plea to him to stop tweeting about Puerto Rico? We get it, he disagrees with the numbers that were arrived at using an algorithm. I have been a supporter since day one and I'm concerned all his negative tweeting will continue to overshadow all the wonderful things that he has achieved and could continue to achieve. He's being tough where he doesn't need to be. Let us defend him with our votes. If the Dems get back in power we are done for. Also, please let him know I pray for him and our country every night. Thank you.”
And now, here’s the comment from reader Edgar Doleman:
“I think it might be a good idea for the White House to take some concepts from FDR's ‘Fireside Chats,’ your ‘Evening Edition,’ and Dick Morris' ‘Dick Morris Reports.’ Tweets can point things out and are good for slap-downs and slap-backs, but they're pretty useless for making arguments. What if every Friday, say, the President or VP taped a ‘Fireside Chat’ of 3-5 minutes providing background, principles and rationales behind issues, both to sort of educate as well as make the arguments ‘we're right and they're not’ and ask the media to broadcast but also put on YouTube and distribute? Your ‘Evening Edition’ is both humorous and so well written, that it would be a great model to build on.
Read together, these comments point out both the problem and a possible solution. The President really does need a more effective strategy than tweeting. He’s had some spot-on tweets, to be sure, but others really miss the mark. (You and I might know what he was going for, but the words can be too easily misunderstood or twisted by his political opponents.) There’s something about the very act of tweeting that tends to cause a bypass of the “filter” most people have in their brains, and the results can never really be taken back. Just ask Roseanne.
But the idea of a relaxed ‘fireside chat’ --- it could be just the thing. Maybe a sort of ‘week in review’ that summed up the most important things that were going on, citing various accomplishments on the economic and foreign policy fronts. Or he could start the week with it, looking forward to what’s on his plate for the next several days. Maybe do both!
It would give him an opportunity to counter the barrage of media spin, and he could get his message out in a much more thoughtful, carefully considered way. If the Democrats do manage to (shudder) control Congress next year, he’s going to need to be able to do that, more than ever.
Certain media outlets would just ignore it, of course, or else try to pick it apart and tear it down, but in this age of multiple channels of information, the unedited video would still be easy to obtain. I’d love to see the President take this suggestion. Both of these suggestions, in fact. In other words, tweeting NO, ‘fireside chat’ YES.
Mr. President, you’re a busy man, and off-the-cuff tweets are faster, to be sure, but you’ve got talented people who could help you put this together. When you feel the urge to tweet, just use those fingers to tap out a quick “note to self” to save the idea and think about for your next ‘fireside chat’!