Gallant Defuses A Crisis By Swiftly Picking A Coherent Narrative And Sticking To It.
Goofus pursues a public relations strategy guided by a room of sugared-up ADHD ten-year-olds.
This week, Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner went all Goofus on us, lurching from one odd stance to another in what almost seems like a deliberate attempt to publicize as widely as possible allegations that he tweeted a picture of his dick. He's not an NFL quarterback, so the picture (which I refuse to post) features an underwear-clad male in what the old obscenity laws refer to as "a discernibly turgid state" (which does not, I learned in law school, refer to Florida). Weiner has gone from asserting that his Twitter account was hacked, to refusing to talk about whether it was hacked, to lashing out at journalists, to answering questions in a thunderously inane manner:
NBC’s LUKE RUSSERT: “That’s not a picture of you?”
REP. ANTHONY WEINER: “You know, I can’t say with certitude. My system was hacked. Pictures can be manipulated, pictures can be dropped in and inserted.”
Weiner appears to be taking a wide stance here, maintaining the ability to argue that maybe it's a picture of him, maybe it's not, maybe it's a picture of him that's been altered.
It's funny, because I think most of us know right away, off [pardon me] the top of our head, whether or not we have a picture of our own boner. I know I don't. I'm almost 42 and tired and overweight and by the time the medication kicks in my vision is too blurry to use the camera function on my iPhone.
Some smart people I respect have argued that this ought not be a story at all, because what a government actor does in their private life isn't news. I have to agree in part and disagree in part. I don't care if Rep. Weiner and his wife have an understanding involving social media, his genitals, and third-party coeds with handles like @gullibleforDems. This isn't a morals issue. This is a intelligence/judgment/self-control issue. If a politician's Gary-Hart sexual antics suggest that he lacks sufficient self-control to avoid engaging in activities highly likely to get him caught and publicly humiliated, there's reason to question whether he has the self-control necessary to deal with more politically substantive temptations. If a politician can't address a personal crisis without flopping all over the networks like a dying fish on a dock, then there's reason to question whether he can manage crises of leadership. Hell, even if a politician is falsely accused of sexual impropriety, if he adopts a strategy that makes him look like he's being controlled by that alien who wore Vincent D'Onofrio for half of Men in Black, then it's reasonable to question whether he can hack the big jobs.
I want our leaders to be able to grasp the most basic principles of crisis management, like shut up until you have your story straight and don't go off all half-cocked.
So, Goofus, if news stories about your erection persist for more than four news cycles, consult a public relations professional. Right now, your strategy is so very, very bad that I'm beginning to suspect that you came up short when the Democrats drew straws to see who'd be the guy to create a diversion while they carried a dead hooker out the back of the Capitol building.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Follow-Up: U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Right This Time - September 12th, 2014
- The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strained, But It May Have A Litmus Test - September 11th, 2014
- [Rerun from 2011] Ten Things I Want My Kids To Learn From 9/11 - September 11th, 2014
- Yale Might Want To Look Into Some Sort of Basic Civic Literacy Course - September 10th, 2014
- U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Very Wrong - September 6th, 2014