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Outsiders vs. Insiders: If Bill Clinton had Twitter back in his day, what would he have said?

Let’s face it, we all deal with frustration in different ways. Some use it as motivation to do healthy things like exercise or read; others turn to harmful pursuits such as gobbling stimulants or playing addicting games on their devices to reduce their irritation.

After the Republican Party’s Obamacare repeal debacle last week, no doubt there were many conservatives Bill and Monicatrying to find effective avenues to vent their annoyance.

Erick Erickson used his Resurgent blog to blow off steam. In a post titled “Don’t Confuse Being An A–hole With Accomplishment”, Erickson wrote last Friday, “The President told everyone that only he could do the job and he would drain the swamp. Instead, he’s dammed up the swamp, put a party boat on it, and has turned his attention to twitter.

“Being an a--hole is not accomplishing anything. The President has provided no leadership to Congress, which in turn neither fears nor respects the President enough to line up behind his agenda. He has done only the bare minimum to advance his agenda in large part because he is so easily distracted into complaining on twitter and his staff is easily cajoled into fighting itself.

“President Trump said we would all get tired of winning. Instead, what we are tired of is bluster being confused with success.”

Aside from the obviously venomous frustration present in Erickson’s words, he, like most (if not all) of Trump’s critics claim Trump is “easily distracted” by Twitter. Is this true? Or should we more accurately ask, can it really be distracting to utilize Twitter?

Using a typical day (last Thursday, July 27) as a test case, Trump sent out a total of ten tweets; the day before he sent ten tweets; the day before that he sent out seventeen and the day before that (Monday, July 24) Trump tweeted eleven times. Some of the messages were re-tweets or contained photographs or videos.

The time taken to compose, type and send the tweets in most if not all instances must have been measured in seconds or at most a couple minutes.

Keep in mind Trump’s brief messages are direct contacts with Americans, not some verbal edict to staff which would then need to be transposed into writing (likely by a low level staffer) in the communications office, eventually run by the communications director or some other person in authority for approval and then distributed to the various news outlets, a good many of which would not even bother to report on it.

As an example last Thursday Trump sent out a tweet that said, “Big progress being made in ridding our country of MS-13 gang members and gang members in general. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!” This one followed two earlier tweets, which put together read, “’One of the things that has been lost in the politics of this situation is that the Russians collected and spread negative information........about then candidate Trump.’ Catherine Herridge @FoxNews. So why doesn't Fake News report this? Witch Hunt! Purposely phony reporting.”

These are just two illustrations of Trump’s allegedly “distracting” tweets; no doubt some of Trump’s Twitter musings require a little more of his focus and detail but the vast majority of them are no more complicated than the president seeing or thinking something, reaching for the nearest device and putting a few seconds to good use in communicating instantaneously with his social media followers.

Facebook messages likely take more time but members of the White House staff must be in charge of that realm.

The point here is using Twitter is not nearly as “distracting” as Trump’s faultfinders make it out to be. I highly doubt the president goes through the day purposely searching for something to Tweet to the masses. His use of it is really no different than a manager in any endeavor using instant messaging to convey ideas to his operatives. Or how about when you go to a store and ask an employee a question and he or she clicks on the intercom and speaks through the microphone to some unseen person who then provides an answer to relay back to you, the consumer.

“Excuse me, do you carry a three-quarter horsepower garage door opener with a chain drive?”

“Let me check. One moment…” … “We sure do, it’s on the lower shelf of aisle 10.”

Not all of Trump’s tweets are constructive to his cause but most are. He’s merely passing on his thoughts to his social media followers employing a means that bypasses the inefficient bureaucracy of the communications office and completely thwarts the necessity of having the admittedly biased media relay his inspirations to the information “consumer.”

The fact that such technologies were either not available or not exercised by past presidents is meaningless within the context of today’s up-to-the-moment communications world. Donald Trump is no Barack Obama or George W. Bush and taken as a whole, Trump is a huge improvement on his predecessors when it comes to relaying what he really thinks.

Obama was a leftist ideologue whose tweets probably would have read something like this -- “Kudos to the Supreme Court for upholding marriage equality. Justice has finally been served after thousands of years of anti-gay oppression.” Meanwhile, Bush the establishmentarian would have broadcasted, “Let me tell you something. I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take all this movement stuff out. There is no movement.”

The “movement” Bush was talking about was the conservative movement and that’s an actual quote. Imagine what Bush II would have said if he had tens of millions of Twitter followers like Trump.

We can only speculate what someone like Bill Clinton might have offered the public through social media but it almost certainly would have constituted a fib and who knows how accurate his typing could have been while engaging in his well-documented extra-marital “activities” in the Oval Office.

My guess is big bubba Bill’s tweets would look a little like this: “My personal intern Monica Lewinsky has a host of pleasure-inducing ideas on how the youth of America can advance in our unfriendly world.” (137 characters) … and,

“I really love Miss Lewinsky’s stylish button-down blue dress. It makes me want to chew a cigar and grab my saxophone.”

All joking aside, President Trump’s use of Twitter tends to draw a similar reaction from most folks; people who support Trump wish he’d use it a little more sparingly and stay away from potential legal landmines and those who hate the president are endlessly irked that his “non-presidential behavior” is not included as prima facie grounds for impeachment.

Trump’s former “new” Communications Director (Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci) also drew more than his share of commentary during his short stay behind the briefing microphone. Tiana Lowe of National Review wrote last week, “While Trump takes his steaks well-done with ketchup when not eating Big Macs and Filet-O-Fish, Scaramucci frequents Hunt & Fish Club for veal parmigiana, decked out in Loro Piana suits. In truth, he’s not really Trump in miniature. He’s a genuinely self-made Trump — a Freudian projection of the president’s deepest dreams.

“Trump’s world is not one of incremental progress, careful management, and delicate bureaucracy, but of grandiose television, gladiatorial spectacles, and public shame. Outside of their help with temporary damage control, the president never really wanted a meek, tepidly masculine Spicer, an establishment Priebus, or even a clean-cut Ivanka to speak on his behalf. He wanted a star and a producer to orchestrate this week’s storyline, and in Scaramucci, he has found just that.”

It’s clear from Lowe’s tone she’s no fan of Trump – or “The Mooch” either. The editors of National Review, ever the keepers of politically staid establishment decorum, must be ecstatic with Lowe’s work.

There’s little doubt Scaramucci was not exactly your typical White House Press Secretary and it’s clear Trump didn’t see him growing into the role, so the president fired him. “Mooch” was caustic, brash and to some, abrasive. It’s not hard to fathom how people saw entertainment in his press performances. Scaramucci’s style was so grating (to some) that it even had the media clamoring for the return of their favorite whipping boy, former Trump spokesman Sean Spicer.

Maybe since “The Mooch” generated so much controversy the media and Trump’s critics will ease off jabbing about his Twitter habit. It’s a different day and age in America and Trump is a different kind of leader – and we don’t even need 140 characters or less to understand it.

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