Leaders lagging

BOB_FRANKEN_CWhat were they thinking? Although, the real question should be: Were they thinking? What could have possessed the Clinton and Trump advisers even to consider visits to Charlotte, N.C., while the city was under siege and caught up in a violently volatile reaction to the shooting death of still another black man by police. The mere consideration of the idea that they’d drop by was wrong on so many levels.

First of all, it is near-certain that their presence would fan the flames that threaten to consume Charlotte. Secondly, as the mayor pleaded the moment she found out: “At this point, we do have very stretched resources for security, and they are working around the clock. If there would be a way to delay those visits in terms of giving us a chance to get our city back to order and back to more of a state of normalcy, that would probably be ideal.”

There is only one sane reaction to the mayor’s remarks: Duuuuhhhh! As in, how obvious is that?

What this points out is the hubris, the unfounded smugness that’s so commonplace among the consultants who ooze around the world of politics. They spend — and, might I add, make — huge amounts of money by going through the motions of strategizing. The reality is that they have one dumb idea after another, plan one wrong move after another, deflecting blame when they don’t work and stealing credit when one of them accidentally does. They claim an expertise they don’t have. They’re much like upper management where you work. Or even middle management. Their main job is to feed the ego of the one who employs them.

In this case, of course, that would be the candidates. Somehow, with all their advisers, the two main ones we have running for the most powerful job in the nation, apparently need sycophants, because they seem unable to convince their fellow Americans that they are worthy. These candidates who aspire to our highest office are widely considered lowlifes.

Yes, that means both of them. How is it that the one who is vastly more qualified, Hillary Clinton, is not only unable to put away Donald Trump, but stands a good chance of losing to him.

A big part of the problem, obviously, is the Clinton lack of credibility. There is this constant drip-drip-drip of dubious activity on her part, where her evasive answers raise more questions and leave us constantly wondering: “What is she trying to hide?” That’s certainly not how you inspire. The result is that millions of voters believe they must choose between her seeming untrustworthy and his being unstable. What’s really sad is that Trump’s entire life is defined by being unsavory. What he has been able to do, though, is sell his snake oil to millions of rubes. Meanwhile, those of us in the newsbiz are ineffective against his con.

I should painfully point out that those of us in journalism also have a self-image that is far in excess of our ability. If the election somehow achieves a positive result, it won’t be because of those who play this game. It’ll be in spite of us.

© 2016 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Synd.