Glasses of water on the Titanic. Nearer my god-emperor to thee. Can Dick Morris be far behind.
— Jacqueline Alemany (@JaxAlemany) November 26, 2019
As President Trump’s White House battles impeachment, he turned to a familiar face last week: Mark Penn, one of President Bill Clinton’s top strategists.Penn came to the Oval Office for more than an hour last Monday, three people familiar with the meeting said, and brought polling data and impeachment advice for the president. Penn reassured Trump that he wouldn’t be removed from office, according to people familiar with the meeting, and encouraged him to travel the country like Clinton did when he was fighting impeachment over 20 years ago, officials said.Vice President Pence and counselor Kellyanne Conway were also present for the meeting, where Diet Cokes were served. Penn was escorted by Andrew Stein, a longtime Trump friend from New York who recently penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed calling for Nikki Haley to replace Pence on the ticket.Penn recommended that Trump “stay focused on the substance” of the allegations surrounding trading access and aid for political favors from Ukraine, according to Stein, “and not respond to everything.”
On the other hand, Mark Penn is an egomaniac incompetent buffoon, and the more Trump relies on him the better.https://t.co/M8eL7muZUr
— Warren Terra (@warren__terra) November 26, 2019
If you wanted to ruin the political career of Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief pollster and strategist, here would be one way to do it: First, create some sort of artifact bearing his name that you could use to tank his reputation. A book would do perfectly. Title it something buzz-wordy and superficial, like Microtrends, though perhaps that’s too heavy-handed. Fill it with vapid koans, like “small is the new big” and “the biggest movements in America today are small.” To make it seem authentic, you’d want to ape Penn’s long-standing affection for combining demographic salami-slicing with cutesy-naming (this is the man who foisted “Soccer Moms” upon our weary lexicon), making each short chapter an exposition of ever-more absurd groups–think “Archery Moms,” “Old New Dads,” and “Ardent Amazons.” Finally, assert their importance through wild and empirically unsupported speculations. That last would be the key: You’d want the methodology so wild and slipshod, so transparently flawed, that no one would trust the analyst ever again.
Astonishingly, Penn himself has done exactly this. His new book Microtrends is so bad that the question–in a fair world–isn’t whether it will destroy his own reputation, but whether it is so epically awful as to take the entire polling industry down with it.
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