One of my all time favorite movies is Ridley Scott’s Academy Award winning film “Gladiator”, starring Russell Crowe. If you are a true movie buff, you will know that it was a loosely adapted remake of a film called “The Fall of the Roman Empire” with Stephen Boyd, Sophia Loren, George Mason, and Christopher Plummer. There were so many great and memorable lines from the movie Gladiator. And who could forget that opening battle scene.
However, the film was all about the transfer of power and the restoration of Rome back to its original self, a Republic. That was to be entrusted to Crowe’s character General Maximus Desmus Meridius, a heroic military leader who had never even seen Rome – a true outsider. But, Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ immoral son, Lucius Aurelius Commodus, wanted sole rule as Emperor.
You know the story, Commodus seeks to kill Maximus and his family, succeeding in the latter, but Maximus ends up being found by slavers who sell him to a Gladiator school owned by freed Gladiator, Proximo.
Of course Maximus is driven by anger and the desire for revenge and after one of his arena victories yells at the crowd…”are you entertained”? And it is then that the wise former Gladiator, Proximo, calls Maximus in and advises him with three simple words, “win the crowd”.
Why do I share this vignette with you, the astute readers of Townhall? Simple, we are in a seminal battle in America to retain our future as a constitutional Republic, or turn into something else entirely. America has entrusted an outsider, President Donald Trump to restore this nation--to “Make America Great Again”. The forces aligned against President Trump want America fundamentally transformed, and are doing all they can to destroy not just Trump, but also his family. Now, granted, there have been several unforced errors by President Trump that have fueled the angst of his detractors, his political opposition. In that being so, President Trump oft times seems driven by revenge, blinded by a desire to inflict hurt on those causing him hurt.
Yes, there are those who find President Trump’s tweets “entertaining”, they admonish him to continue. But these same social media communications approaches sometimes take President Trump away from the mission for which he was entrusted, to restore the American Republic.
As of last Friday a “Proximo” has come into being in the Trump administration, the new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci. This question is simple, how can Mr. Scaramucci redirect the energy and passion of President Trump to stay focused on his purpose, and “win the crowd”?
First, there has to be a determination of what exactly does “winning the crowd” entail? Is Mr. Scaramucci there to just allow President Trump to do as he wishes, or will he be seen as the calming effect that is required to ensure tweets are on message, on point, and not emotional rants, distractors, that are revenge centered. Can Mr. Scaramucci get President Trump to exude the restraint and wisdom necessary to lead, and not just respond to every pin prick from the liberal progressive media accomplices of the Democratic Party. Win the crowd cannot just be about constantly echoing the moniker of “fake news”, albeit there are those who just love that approach…just like folks loved to see Maximus obliterating his opponents in the arena. What winning the crowd must come to mean is the successful restoration of a viable free market economy and manufacturing base, reformation of our tax code and healthcare system, expansion of our energy production and export, and the rebuilding of our military deterrent capability and capacity…along with rebuilding our trust, credibility, and leadership on the global stage.
Second, is Anthony Scaramucci the person who will tell President Trump when he is coloring outside the lines? We can ill afford Mr. Scaramucci to just be a rubber stamp on whatever President Trump wants to say, or do. There has to be that person who can, with courage and resolve, stand up to President Trump and say “nyet”. There can be no doubt that former White House press secretary, and Communications team member, Sean Spicer did not have that gravitas. As well, we must consider, will the counsel of the Communications Director, Mr. Scaramucci, outweigh that of the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, along with Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway? It is obvious that President Trump holds the counsel of his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, above others; will that include Mr. Scaramucci?
Lastly, can Mr. Scaramucci improve the White House messaging and synchronize 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with Capitol Hill? There can be no debate that there is a disconnect in existence, and sometimes it appears a dismissal emanating from Capitol Hill. This means a more disciplined, policy focused, communications effort coming from the White House. This may not be as “entertaining” but it is essential to winning the crowd.
Once upon a time, Benjamin Franklin quipped, “you have a Republic, if you can keep it”. In his final breath in the movie Gladiator, Crowe’s character Maximus charged, “Rome is to be a Republic again”. President Donald Trump was the outsider, the fella who had never been to “Rome”, Washington DC, as a politician. His is an immense task facing great opposition. It can no longer be about entertaining us, America, with irrelevant, emotional tweets…you “win the crowd” by Making America Great Again.