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Monday, April 10, 2017

Saving a Presidency Through Brainstorming Sessions

This sounds functional:

President Donald Trump has far more than three years left in his first term. But inside his pressure-cooker of a White House, aides and advisers are sweating the next three weeks.
The symbolic 100-day mark by which modern presidents are judged menaces for an image-obsessed chief executive whose opening sprint has been marred by legislative stumbles, legal setbacks, senior staff kneecapping one another, the resignation of his national security adviser and near-daily headlines and headaches about links to Russia.
The date, April 29, hangs over the West Wing like the sword of Damocles as the unofficial deadline to find their footing— or else.
“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially two-and-a-half weeks to turn everything around,” said one White House official. "This is going to be a monumental task.”
More than 30 Trump staffers piled into a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, according to a half-dozen attendees who described the Tuesday meeting.
Mike Dubke, Trump’s communications director, and his deputy, Jessica Ditto, kicked off the discussion of how to package Trump’s tumultuous first 100 days by pitching the need for a “rebranding” to get Trump back on track.
“I think the president’s head would explode if he heard that,” one of the White House officials present said.

I, for one, would be in the front row wearing a poncho like a Gallagher fan for that spectacle. I imagine it would be something like this:

And to quote Charlie Pierce, I despair of the rebranding.

Staffers, including counselor Kellyanne Conway, were broken into three groups, complete with whiteboards, markers and giant butcher-block-type paper to brainstorm lists of early successes. One group worked in the hallway.
“It made me feel like I was back in 5th grade,” complained another White House aide who was there. “That’s the best way I could describe it.”

As someone who has sat through dozens, if not hundreds, of these sorts of breakout sessions, "complete with whiteboards, markets and butcher-block-type paper," I've found that implementing whatever you come up with whatever you come up with there, particularly in a larger bureaucracy, usually cannot be implemented in 2 1/2 weeks.
The strikes on Syria, a successful summit with President Xi Jinping of China and Friday’s sit-down between Bannon and Kushner appear to have calmed some frayed nerves. Two people who have spoken with the president in recent days said Trump’s mood has improved.
Still, the question of how to frame the first 100 days remains a challenge.
Trump aides are grappling with the reality that they will end this opening period with no significant legislative achievements other than rolling back Obama-era regulations. Even the White House’s most far-reaching success, the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, required the Senate rewriting its own rules to overcome Democratic opposition.
Though the White House continues to push for progress on stalled health care legislation, there are only five legislative days remaining once Congress returns from a two-week spring break. Plus, another deadline looms: Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress must still pass a bill before April 28 to keep the government running.

No one wants to shut the government down, but at the same time, the Democrats can't allow the types of permanent, long-term damaging cuts and changes the Republicans would hold the federal government for ransom to receive, like ending funding to Planned Parenthood, cutting food stamps, school lunches, or like they wanted to a few years back, repealing the ACA.

So keep an eye on April 28th:
If they fail, a shutdown would begin on Trump’s 100th day in office.

Sometimes I hate being a member of the non-nihilist party. I'd be able to enjoy this more.

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