On my first day as a manager, my late dad gave me some rather good advice. He said listen and don’t stop listening. It’s amazing what you can get done when you listen to what the other side wants, he would always remind me.
We are about to enter the big health care debate of 2017. We are already witnessing something rather new. We have a president who is inviting people over and listening to what they have to say. Hallelujah or what!
Elements of Donald Trump’s presidential style are already emerging and they must be discouraging to his critics.
It’s easy to miss things that do not happen.
But perhaps you too have noticed a decline of trivial Trump tweets, starting spats and news cycles many mornings.
Last week – are you sitting down? – Trump canceled a couple of media availabilities.
He turned down ESPN’s invitation to provide his own NCAA tournament brackets, a free PR ride on basketball fever annually seized by President Barack Obama.
I guess that some would say he is getting down to business. He is also starting the deal-making phase of his presidency, or the opportunity to bring people together and get something done.
This is such a contrast to Obama, a man who loved to hear himself talk but accomplished little when he campaigned on behalf of anything or anybody.
You may recall Obama held scores of town halls to gin up support for his namesake health legislation.
That’s when he made those infamous promises about keeping your doctor, insurance and lowering premiums.
Obama wasn’t big on listening sessions; he preferred talking ones.
He didn’t meet with the GOP’s Senate leadership, for instance, until his 542nd day in office.
The irony is Obama’s party had such firm control of Congress back in 2009 and 2010 that it could ram through the immense bill with not a single Republican vote.
In reaction, the ensuing 2010 midterm elections marked the start of Democrats’ dramatic decline under Obama, costing them both houses and devastating damage at state levels.
Republicans now control 33 governor’s offices and both houses in 25 of those states.
Even as a political rookie, Trump is already aiming to avoid such carnage over the volatile healthcare issue.
Looking back, President Obama could have saved Obamacare after 2010. He could have saved a bunch of Senate Democrats in 2014 if he had actually listened to many of them who were screaming for some changes. He didn’t listen, and we know what happened.
Yes, President Trump is a political rookie, but he is a master at making deals.
My advice to President Trump is to get the GOP in line. Listen to Senator Rand Paul and to Senator Ted Cruz. Encourage consensus along practical lines, such as passing a deal in the U.S. Senate without the 60 votes.
Put something on the wall, and the Democrats will start hearing from their constituents who aren’t marching or calling Trump names. They will hear from many in their districts who want to have their interests represented at the negotiating table rather than at marches in the streets.
In other words, Democrats want their leadership to work as much as possible with the new administration. President Trump knows that, and he is about to make the Democrats look rather silly for saying no to everything.
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