Unforced errors

In homage to our ever-professor and former tennis coach Hugh, the statistical term “unforced errors” is tracked during each tennis match. In essence, unforced errors are mistakes made by the player without much instigation from the other player. My guess is tennis pros detest this statistic more than any other.

Unforced errors are as good a description of the actions of the US President as can be found. I first thought of the term as it relates to his highly offensive idea of placing tariffs on our allies. The tariffs are poor form, but the bullying, lying to and lying about allies are far worse.

But, it is not just the tariffs. The US President claims the media is his worst enemy. That is not close to being true. The President’s worst enemy is the guy named Donald that stares back at him when he shaves. He cannot stop himself from lying and bullying.

If the news is good, he has to lie to make it better. If it is bad, he has to lie to make it good. If it is horrible, he changes the subject. It is all part in parcel with his sales schtick. It is why his measured rate of lying per Politifacts is 69%. In other words, for every three statements or tweets, two of them are untrue.

Just yesterday, he unnerved his staff by having an impromptu press conference. He was all over the place with statements and had to go back and amend several. I saw one of his sycophants in the Freedom Caucus say that is just the President being unpredictable. I strongly disagree – that is the President who does not care to know details and cannot keep up with his own statements. So, his answers to questions are a crap shoot.

An old friend used to say “Always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much.” If the President wants better coverage, he could begin with telling the truth. His lies would be reduced as he need not have to change his story. Or, as one insider said yesterday, “The President was confused earlier today…” Yet, he still has to answer for his actions.

16 thoughts on “Unforced errors

    • Hugh, you speak the truth. The tariffs on allies is as poor a decision as they come. Separating children from parents who cross illegally is as cold-hearted an action as there is. The media had nothing to do with either poor decision. Keith

  1. Note to Readers: I have commented on other blogs about the Paul Manafort ruling where the judge revoked his bail for witness tampering, I also believe it is clear that Manafort colluded with that Russians during the campaign. The key question is did Trump know? Two Trump lies frame the topic. First, he has three versions of when he found out about the Manafort/ Junior/ Kushner meeting with the Russian woman to get dirt on HRC. Trump’s last version was he knew about the meeting beforehand.
    Second, he said yesterday in an attempt to distance himself from Manafort. He said Manafort was only part of the campaign for 49 days. Try 5 months as campaign manager.

  2. The real tragedy here is that Donald Trump is the poster boy for narcissism and megalomania. He believes everything he says and sees those who disagree and oppose him as enemies. There is no cure. There is no remedy other than to vote him out of the White House. Good post, Keith!

  3. The big problem in America is less Trump than a society that has enabled his ascension. And his supporters still defend him. What does this say about America? Two things: we’ve become so polarized that, because of ideology, culture, and identity, half of us are willing to excuse Trump’s horrendous outrages to protect our “camp” and our closely held beliefs and prejudices. And secondly, we’ve “defined deviancy down” (in the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan) to the point where the sheer quantity of his lies, misdemeanors, manipulations, and probable crimes no longer shocks us. “Oh, that’s just Trump being Trump.” Fifty years ago, Trump and his allies would’ve been consigned to the dung-heap of fringe organizations like the KKK and John Birch Society. Then again, 50 years ago he would have never come close to a major party’s nomination, much less becoming our president.

    Continuous screaming about Trump might help us feel better, temporarily. But the problem goes a lot deeper. At this stage in U.S. history, there are many more Trumps out there. I don’t know what the answer is. Probably a crisis that’s unimaginable.

    • Pete, you are right that we enabled a man like Trump to get elected. I would add that Trump turned up the volume, though. Trump is expert at selling off fear, so he oversimplified his message solving no problems other than speaking to fear. That is his key talent. He is a horrible manager and does not embody the traits of a good person or leader.

      What people need to be asked is “if this man was your boss, would you want to work for him?” The happiest people in America spurned his offers to work for him. The second happiest are those who no longer do so. The third happiest are their spouses. Keith

      • (“The third happiest are their spouses.” Hilarious!)

        Maybe I already mentioned it (and maybe you’ve read it), but I think you’ll appreciate the recent book “How Democracies Die” (I plan to give a short review on my blog). The chapter “The Unraveling” shows how the American stage was set for a demagogue like Trump to accelerate things. It was only a matter of time. And once he’s gone (hopefully soon), the stage will still be there…unless this country gets its act together.

      • Pete, thanks. I think you suggested it before as I included it on my list of Father’s Day options. My kids must have liked the other suggestions better. I also want to read Jon Meecham’s “Soul of America.” Keith

  4. Note to Readers: Below is an email i pasted into the websites of several Senators and my Congressman. If you concur, please feel free to use and modify it.

    I am saddened my country has bullied our allies, threatened to leave the UN and separated children from their parents. How low must we go before our leaders in Congress will act to rein in a reckless and indecent man in the White House? We are not living up to our ideals and are not only ceding our global leadership role, we are becoming a pariah.

    We are better than this. I beg members of my former party to remember their conscience and realize the damage being done by this man and act. Please.

    Sent from my iPhone

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