What went wrong, Donald? Everything is about you – your dream come true!

White House whiner ambushed by the Peter Principle


To the president:

Your one absolute truth is you love to talk about yourself. Your awesome, charming wonderfulness is by far your favorite subject, both cause and outcome of your wealth and power. Your fixation on cable TV (obsessed with the people’s “enemy”) scores whether your flickering image is thriving or imploding. So, “The Apprentice,” your favorite TV show of all time, is now eclipsed by the Traveling Trump Circus, starring the best president ever – known with “surety.”

Self-absorption is your character engine, thus the constant reminders of how smart you are, how very rich, how you know all the right, best words (without wasting them on riffraff). Who else is bold enough to think (let alone say out loud), “I know more about war and terrorism than generals.” Or guarantee so much winning . . . we’d all be bored of it. Does not your global fame alone put you ahead in the “who’s most presidential ever” sweepstakes?

Has your entire career not targeted one single goal: be the center of everyone’s attention. Trump’s First Law: whether you’ve got it or not, flaunt it. Bravo, Donald, your fame transcends Queens, New York, even America: behold the world’s media champ, made famous by the press you both manipulate, then heartily condemn. Was all that early promotional marketing only so much fake news? Did you ever do real news?

Flaunt fame, not infamy

You should be exultant. You have achieved the only goal within your skill-set, while enhancing your profit machine. Why now sound so miserably besieged, as if you’ve already been indicted or booted out? Why pathetically whine (even lie) about being the most mistreated politician in history? Not only is that outlandish fodder but that depreciates what you have: triumphant celebrity status. Ditto, ditch the whole “witch hunt” garbage – since it’s your staff leaking like crazy. Instead of sounding the victim, wouldn’t it be better to rework John Lennon impudent line, “We’re more popular than Jesus.” Perfect for tweets that reveal so much more than you intend.

You may well be more famous than Jesus, especially to the five billion, non-white, non-Christians you sweepingly impugn as dangerous outsiders? Did you miss the PR 101 lesson, that whining is for weaklings, not epic heroes. In fact, playing the victim (plus insulting the FBI chief as a “nut job”) makes you sound both calculating and guilty, encouraging that growing army of investigators to unearth your real biography. Flaunt what you have, not what you fear is already lost. Your credulous base still buys the folly you fabricate – even fanatically inverts all judgments as proof there’s a conspiracy against your greatness. Don’t adoring cult crowds matter more than your bank account, sexual predation or sleazy deals? Really, why can’t you give yourself credit for being top of the hill?

Admittedly, and believe me, I say with surety, you sometimes confuse fame with infamy, thus shooting your presidential performance in the head. You confuse mere celebrity with being respected, even liked, when more than not in this cynical world it’s the opposite. I know your media-driven career honors Oscar Wilde’s quip, “The only thing worse than being talked about – is NOT being talked about.” But Wilde was joking about masses of other people talking about public figures, hardly the same as your non-stop, self-serving talking about yourself.

Can the whiner’s bleat

Look, no doubt that if you weren’t on the brink of historic presidential greatness, ready to return America to its lost golden age, you wouldn’t be hounded by envious elites who want you out. Consider backing off your constant faux outrage at predictable reactions to your disruptions. You aren’t close to being the most mistreated politician ever: check Jefferson or Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, FDR, Truman, LBJ, and Nixon. What about the two vilified presidents who were impeached – much uglier treatment? Lately, you sound like impeachment is a done deal and already half the Senate Republicans will switch sides and convict. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Calm down – as no one yet doubts your birthplace or parental legitimacy, even your racial make-up (as with Lincoln). The FBI hasn’t yet indicted you for high crimes, and no one is yelling “lock him up” as you so indulged yourself about Hillary. Now that was mistreatment: never before had one candidate promised nothing less than a witch hunt against an electoral foe released from legal liability.

Time to realize great fame and greater scandals often coincide. Has anyone gotten more self-generated, incendiary press in such a short time? John McCain observed Watergate took months and months while you’ve got a rip-snorting scandal firing off every other day. Stick with your strengths: likely declining approval numbers, already low, won’t be confirmed for days – and you can always call that fake news. Look to the bright side: Republicans are still reluctant to start edging away, uncertain when guilt by association strikes them down. And for God’s sake, stop calling honored public servants – with immense power and great memos like James Comey “crazy.” And to your pals from Russian, of all people. Crazy, a political death knell, is how you come across and some think calling stalwarts like Comey crazy makes you the nut case.

Reverse failed ploys

Okay, your opening gambit, to turn the presidency into an autocratic lever by which you could steamroll steely politicians or hardened agency heads, needs reworking. Posing as if you possess “absolute right” to do whatever you want won’t work with hard-heads like McCain or Lindsay Graham. Or the new special prosecutor. What in the world made you think you could threaten the head of the FBI by demanding a loyalty oath or pressing him to let off the criminal bringing you down? Whoever on your staff who pushed that insanity should be instantly retired, if not pommeled. You’re not in Kansas anymore (not even New York or Florida), dealing with ordinary folks you could crush with legal machinations.

What made you think any rank, politically incorrect amateur, with or without your excesses, could waltz into the White House and intimidate bigwigs running the capital of the world? Did you think the old Trump magic would knock down king pins the way you prey on investors, banks, small fry vendors or Trump U. marks? Time to tame the delusions of grandeur, implying your ambition alone can fix anything, let alone everything. That ploy worked fine with a gullible, desperately angry bunch of rightwing voters, mystified that modernity had left them in the lurch. But now such folderol boomerangs, making you sound unhinged and inviting avalanches too heavy for any president to withstand. Don’t assume, after a great fall, either the king’s horses and men can save you. Even if your WH staff, decidedly not the best and the brightest, could stonewall better, you’d still end up more prey than predator.

Wisdom from movies

My final advice, which like the rest you’ll ignore, channels highly relevant movie wisdom, as in the touching finale of “Patton:”

For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. . . a slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.

And then from reportedly your favorite movie, “Citizen Kane,” these pertinent gems you must have missed:

1) From boss Jim Gettys to the about-to-be disgraced Kane:

You’re the greatest fool I’ve ever known, Kane. If it was anybody else, I’d say what’s going to happen to you would be a lesson to you. Only you’re going to need more than one lesson. And you’re going to get more than one lesson.

2) What Kane concedes to his sidekick:

You know, Mr. Bernstein, if I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man.

3) Most of all, mull over how his closest friend, Jeb Leland, explains Kane’s downfall:

He married for love. Love. That’s why he did everything. That’s why he went into politics. It seems we weren’t enough, he wanted all the voters to love him too. Guess all he really wanted out of life was love. That’s Charlie’s story, how he lost it. You see, he just didn’t have any to give. Well, he loved Charlie Kane of course, very dearly.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.