Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Scott Adams Examines Trumps Possible Secretaries of State

Why is Trump having so much trouble selecting the king of the Top Hats and Long Coates set?  It isn't that important a job is it?  Why do we treat SecState like he is almost as important as the president when he obviously isn't?

Answer; because there was a time when he was that important. And political custom has a long memory.

The job of Secretary of State is now America's chief diplomat.  But that wasn't always the case.  

Early in the republic the job description of SecState would have been a lot closer to Prime Minister/White House Chief of Staff. Political parties would put perspective presidents into it to see if they would sink or swim. Diplomacy was nearly an after thought for our infant republic.  It got scrapped on to Sec State's because presidents didn't want to be bothered with it.

Consequently the choice of Secretary of State seriously matters...from a cosmetic perspective if nothing else. 

Scott Adams brings his own perspective to Trump's struggle to find a suitable Secretary of State

Giuliani probably has some foreign business interests that could be problematic once the mainstream media sinks their teeth into him. That doesn’t help Trump’s brand because Trump has the same type of foreign conflict-of-interest issues. You don’t want to add to the problem you already have.

Huntsman has good experience and he presents himself well. But he’s too handsome for the job. Brand-wise, Trump is better off surrounding himself with highly-capable people who don’t suck too much attention out of a room. You might think that isn’t important, but it is from a persuasion standpoint. I liked Trump’s pick of Pence because Pence is the boring, monochromatic version of Trump that makes Trump look like a star when they stand together. You need the same contrast for Secretary of State.

Obama got the branding right with both Hillary Clinton and now John Kerry as Secretaries of State. Both Secretaries were respected players that have less rock star appeal than Obama himself. That is good branding. Obama got the contrast right, which you expect from a Master Persuader. Trump needs to do the same.

Romney has the same contrast problem as Huntsman. Romney is too tall and handsome. But I think ego will prevent Romney from accepting Trump as his boss. If Trump and Romney both wanted Romney as Secretary of State, it would already be done.

Petraeus had some legal problems in the past because he disclosed government secrets to his girlfriend. Although the crime itself is forgivable, and he paid the price, the topic would remind the public of Hillary Clinton’s email issues and be a stain on Trump’s brand.

Bolton would be the biggest brand mistake for Trump. Bolton is highly capable, but he gives off a scary vibe, and that is the worst branding mistake Trump could make. Half of the United States is already living under an illusion that Hitler just got elected President of the United States. If you add a war-loving white guy with a strange mustache to the illusion, you’re just making things worse. Trump’s biggest problem, brand-wise, is that so many people think he’s a crazy dictator who can’t be trusted with the nuclear codes. Bolton is the only candidate who makes that illusion worse. I don’t see Master Persuader Trump making a mistake of that size.

Rohrabacher would be an interesting choice. He fits Trump’s brand the best because he’s a pragmatic, straight-talking Republican. And if you see him standing next to Trump, you know which one of them is the president. The visual element matters more than you think, given that all the candidates are qualified.

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