A guide for speak­ing Trump to power

Clare Doody on how sell­ing to this pres­i­dent is dif­fer­ent from pitch­ing to his pre­de­ces­sors

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK - Twit­ter: @clare­doody Clare Doody is a speech­writer with West Wing Writ­ers in Wash­ing­ton.

As the White House goes, so goes K Street. With each new ad­min­is­tra­tion, lob­by­ists, in­ter­est groups and other swamp crea­tures scram­ble to tai­lor strate­gies for get­ting their is­sues on the pres­i­dent’s agenda, de­vel­op­ing fresh ar­gu­ments grounded in the White House oc­cu­pants’ prin­ci­ples, pri­or­i­ties and pol­icy goals.

Ob­vi­ously, no one ex­pected to sway the coolly cere­bral, pro­fes­so­rial and pro­gres­sive Pres­i­dent Barack Obama with the same ar­gu­ments that won over a self-pro­claimed “de­cider” and “gut-player” like Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush. But now, in­flu­ence-ped­dlers face an even greater chal­lenge: fig­ur­ing out how to best po­si­tion them­selves be­fore Pres­i­dent Trump, an un­likely com­man­der in chief whose pol­icy agenda and world­view ap­pear thus far to lack the co­her­ence of those of his 44 most re­cent pre­de­ces­sors.

Con­sider these ex­am­ples of how ploys for pres­i­den­tial at­ten­tion may have evolved over the past three ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Your best case for in­vest­ing in ed­u­ca­tion

Bush: One way to re­duce reg­u­la­tions is to en­act multi-pur­pose ones. For ex­am­ple, when it comes to im­por­tant ques­tions like “Is our chil­dren learn­ing?” “Any­one see the twins?” and “Will Jeb ever be pres­i­dent?,” here’s a three­fer: No Child Left Be­hind.

Obama: Un­for­tu­nately, sta­tis­tics show that 93 per­cent of Amer­i­cans still lack the read­ing com­pre­hen­sion skills to fol­low a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween you and Michiko Kaku­tani.

Trump: No, sir, the state stan­dards have noth­ing to do with the pizza place. Wait, this whole time you thought it was Comet Core?

Your best case for stand­ing strong against Rus­sia

Bush: We need to mo­bi­lize our most so­phis­ti­cated in­tel­li­gence re­sources to as­sess Vladimir Putin’s in­ten­tions — so would you mind look­ing deeply into his eyes again?

Obama: As much as we hoped for a new chapter in this re­la­tion­ship, Putin’s ac­tions in Crimea sug­gest he for­got there’s no “I” in “pere­gruzka,” which the ex­perts at State are at least 80 per­cent pos­i­tive is Rus­sian for “re­set.”

Trump: The best way to re­move this cloud of sus­pi­cion over your Rus­sia deal­ings is to re­mem­ber that smart sanc­tions are like a great neck­tie: broad, bold and de­signed to hit be­low the belt.

Your best case against tor­ture

Bush: It paints an ugly pic­ture of our coun­try abroad. And you wouldn’t want to paint an ugly pic­ture, would you?

Obama: Since you’ve al­ready made clear that the United States doesn’t tor­ture folks, let’s just break for lunch. Here, I brought you seven al­monds.

Trump: Mad Dog and I don’t want to Merkel-splain about in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions to you, sir, but who needs wa­ter­board­ing when we could just make them watch “Satur­day Night Live”?

Your best case for fight­ing cli­mate change

Bush: Even if you don’t be­lieve the science, we can’t mis­un­der­es­ti­mate the pos­si­ble con­se­quences: The hot­ter the weather, the big­ger the storms, the more you’ll have to deal with Kanye.

Obama: Sen. James In­hofe found a snow­ball, so you can go ahead and can­cel the Paris con­fer­ence. Haha, ob­vi­ously just kid­ding.

Trump: As the ev­i­dence — namely that DVD Leonardo DiCaprio gave to your daugh­ter — makes clear, there’s at least some pos­si­bil­ity that en­ergy from the sun could be mess­ing with our green­house gases. As you said, Sir, you can do any­thing when you’re a star.

Your best case for paid fam­ily leave

Bush: This com­mon-sense pol­icy will open new doors of op­por­tu­nity for hard­work­ing Amer­i­can fam­i­lies. And we all know how hard it can be to open doors.

Obama: The United States is the only in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tion that doesn’t give work­ers paid fam­ily leave — and I imag­ine that makes Amer­ica a lit­tle too ex­cep­tional for your taste.

Trump: If we let new moth­ers stay home un­til they’re done with the dis­gust­ing stuff like breast pumps and baby weight, we can Make Work­ing Moms 8s Again.

Your best case for same-sex mar­riage

Bush: Even the vice pres­i­dent is for it, and you’re sup­posed to be the one with the good heart.

Obama: The arc of the moral uni­verse is long, but it bends to­ward jus­tice. And it needs to bend a lit­tle faster than we planned be­cause Joe went off script to­day.

Trump: Daddy, you’re em­bar­rass­ing me and Jared in front of our friends!

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