Full Caf Americano®
If a president wants to use a “pivot” strategy to deflect public attention from a monumental FUBAR like the VA scandal, he must start with a good speech.
The first thing you do is begin with the personal touch: addressing people by name you’ve never heard of and won’t think of again three seconds after mentioned them, like they are lifelong friends.
Something like this.
To the class of 2014, I congratulate you on taking your place on the Long Gray Line. Among you is the first all-female command team: Erin Mauldin and Austen Boroff. In Calla Glavin, you have a Rhodes Scholar, and Josh Herbeck proves that West Point accuracy extends beyond the three point line. …
Then of course you fib a little.
Not a big honking lie like saying you never heard your pastor and surrogate “uncle” say racist and anti-American things when he was preaching in his church; or denying that an American terrorist you claim not to have known was actually a very close friend.
Just a tiny white lie.
To the entire class, let me reassure you in these final hours at West Point: as Commander-in-Chief, I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. Let me just say that nobody ever did that for me when I was in school. …
Yes, that’s it. Your K-12 teachers are all dead or too old to remember, and the professors who gave you a pass in college are all in the “struggle” with you and your comrades friends.
Next, you come out of left field with something that is popular on its face but nonetheless controversial. Something your acolytes in the media will jump on. Like “ending” a war. No one likes war.
At this point it might be wise to preface further remarks with a good patriotic platitude; something most Americans believe in deeply, but that you and your friends laugh to derision behind closed doors.
It’s not important that you haven’t believed it since you were sitting on Frank Marshal Davis‘ knee as a kid, every American who is not an outright Marxist believes it.
Then you go in for the zinger. We needn’t go into the specifics here; the important thing is that the VA scandal will be off the front page by the end of the day.
And the icing is that you have unilaterally “ended” a war. The enemy may not agree but by the time most people recognize that, you’ll be trotting the globe enjoying your retirement.
Never mind that a trillion dollars and thousands of young Americans’ lives will have been wasted, or that thousands more who survived will be reminded of their sacrifices everyday when they slip into their prostheses or visit their therapists.
You will have succeeded in deflecting the real issue.
At least you tried.
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