(My column for March 2016)
A few years ago, I worked for a small startup company. At one point, the founders of the company sought outside funding – and the financiers brought in a new CEO, a self-described “serial entrepreneur” from Colorado, as a condition for providing the money to help the company grow “to the next level.”
This fellow was a very aggressive alpha-male guy, with serious qualifications and a great-looking resume. He worked very hard, and accomplished quite a few good things. He improved our technical infrastructure and put some more efficient processes into place. But just as soon as he had proved himself essential, he proceeded to become SO OBNOXIOUS – alienating customers, threatening employees, torpedoing morale – that everyone, even the other execs, wanted him out of the picture as soon as possible.
Of course, he had negotiated all sorts of provisions and protections into his contract that made that extremely difficult to do. (One might almost that think he knew exactly what was going to happen.) Eventually, he settled for some ridiculously obscene amount of money, and waltzed off into the sunset, no doubt to victimize some other innocent company down the road.
As I understand it, that’s how such matters are handled in certain higher strata of society. When less-than-successful CEOs or disgraced politicians get the boot, they don’t head for the unemployment line… they head for their lawyer’s office, work out a deal, and land solidly on their feet at some other company – or maybe in a cushy consultant position at a Washington think tank.
I bring up this experience because it makes me wonder…. why do the GOP elite seem so flummoxed by Donald Trump? They’ve worked so hard over the last generation to create the conditions necessary for the emergence of a strong populist leader – but now they apparently find themselves beset by the thought that Trump might actually win the nomination, or maybe even the White House – and destroy their party, if not the nation, in the process.
So… Why don’t they just buy him out? Give him the ol’ “golden parachute”?
He’s supposed to be the Great Dealmaker, right? Somehow, I am confident that Mr. Trump has a price – and if the so-called “Establishment” is really so worried about him, they should be able to pull together a package that he would find more attractive than the prospect of holding the most stressful and thankless job on the planet, right?
But suppose that the Powers That Be know exactly what they are doing (to borrow a phrase). After all, Trump is energizing the Republican base, and bringing them out to vote in the primaries, like no other candidate has in years… and they know that part of his attraction is his “anti-establishment” image. They also know that attacking him only makes him stronger, and his supporters more tenacious. And maybe they’re not really that worried about what damage he could cause our reputation, economy, or security. Remember – and think about – these words from the insider’s insider, Grover Norquist, during the 2012 contest:
“We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go… Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president… We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it.”
Deadline to register for the April 19th Presidential primary in New York State is March 25. In PA, the primary is on April 26, and the registration deadline is March 28.