We used to have a concept called company time. “You can’t do that on company time,” people would say. Company time was for company business. Company time even had set hours.
The president is always on call, but he still has to make decisions about what to do when he attends to the nation’s business. Our president watches cable and network news shows. He tweets. Now, apparently, he’s found another important activity to occupy his valuable time. He searches for himself on Google. If he does not like the results, he tweets about it. Then he sends an advisor out to talk about the results on – where else – a news show.
God bless him. He’s no good at what he’s supposed to do, so he does what he knows. He checks out how he looks in the digital mirror. “Who is the most popular politician in the land?” he wants to know. The more he asks, the less popular he becomes.
The media love to talk about his vain ways. Do they think it’s news? Apparently so, especially if the president suggests the feds regulate Google, in order to give the president more favorable search results. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic advisor, goes on Fox News to say, “We’re going to take a look at it. We’ll run some analytics. That’s what we do.” That’s his chief economic advisor, by the way, not your standard flunkie who works in a windowless office somewhere in the basement. “That’s what we do,” Kudlow remarks, as if no one would laugh at him, or think he’s nuts.
I don’t want to malign flunkies, though Trump seems to have his share of them. The significant thing is that for Trump, sycophancy extends all the way to the top. If he is not interested in anyone but himself, he wants everyone else to be interested in no one but himself, as well. That does not leave room for other responsibilities. It certainly does not leave room for doing a job like being president. Most flunkies would not admit to looking themselves up on Google. Trump readily confesses that he acts as his own flunkie.
To return to Larry Kudlow, why is that what you do? Why do you run analytics on the president’s search results? Where in your bureaucratic job description do you find, to your surprise, that you are responsible for research about ‘Fake New’? If the president tells you he wants better analytics, to understand whether he receives too few positive mentions in Google’s news section, what do you do? I suppose you say, “Yes, sir,” and put your staff to work.
I did not like Alice in Wonderland when I was young, because it seemed like one bit of fanciful nonsense after another. I liked stories about real adventures. President Trump starts to look more like the Queen of Hearts, a supremely unattractive character in Lewis Carroll’s story. We are not in wonderland, however, so we have to see how Trump’s impersonation of the Queen works out. If he can get Kudlow, someone most people thought was a smart man, to go out on Fox News to talk about the president’s Google analytics, perhaps Trump has more to him than we think.
Next thing, Kudlow will brush Trump’s hair in the morning. “That’s what we do.”