Joe Biden

What Joe Biden Can Learn From Studying Presidential History

A new book holds valuable lessons for the president-elect.

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President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are quite different from each other. It is obvious in their personalities and in their policy positions. So, we can reasonably assume that their White House management styles will also be radically different. One thing is for sure: No matter how the new administration is managed, there will be some internal conflict.

That's one of the many lessons I learned from Tevi Troy's 2020 book, Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump. The book was named one of the best political books of 2020 by The Wall Street Journal. Troy is a historian who has written many books about the presidency. This one is particularly entertaining, though, at times, disheartening. While many of us have shaken our heads in disapproval and dismay at the open chaos and infighting in Trump's White House, Troy reveals some of the other epic battles in the modern White House.

The reasons behind the fights are numerous. Some were the product of Cabinet members butting heads with White House staff. There were, for instance, the intense conflicts that occurred during the Kennedy presidency between then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and the president's brother-slash-attorney general, Robert "Bobby" Kennedy. The two men hated each other and would sometimes end up not speaking. There were other noteworthy conflicts in the Kennedy White House.

Some administration fights have a lot to do with a president's temperament and tolerance for disagreement. Trump is renowned for enjoying the chaos. So, unsurprisingly, his staff and appointees have had little incentive to refrain from backstabbing their enemies, tattling, and other shenanigans.

The Truman White House, as Troy explains, was a whole different story. He cites historian Alonzo Hamby's observation that while President Harry Truman's staff "was no freer than any other from ordinary tendencies toward turf battles, personality conflicts, and back-biting, such episodes were minimal." Unlike Trump, Truman loathed conflict. Instead, he valued close contact and oral briefings from anyone in his staff, which was guaranteed to scratch the ego of the traditionally higher-ranking individuals, such as Cabinet secretaries. But so it was.

Yet forbidding conflicts is no guarantee for peace. Troy's chapter on the Obama White House is called "Conflict in the Era of 'No Drama Obama.'" He writes, "There was no Baker versus Meese, no Kissinger versus Rogers, no Brzezinski versus Vance, let alone anything even close to LBJ versus RFK." President Barack Obama was committed to his White House being different, and that required setting some strict rules for those working in his White House. They include the imperative to be nice, a strict no-leak policy, and extreme loyalty to one another. Yet, internal tensions still existed. And to my great surprise, many of the Obama dramas were about gender—for example, female senior officials feeling dissed by their male counterparts. It created such drama that the senior female staffers even came up with a gender-specific name for themselves, "the Vagiants."

And then there was the Clinton White House, which seems to have been dysfunctional in every possible way. Staff fought with political appointees, and these appointees fought among themselves because of profound ideological divides. The whole thing was made worse by "a principal willing to tolerate disagreement, as well as a messy internal process." Interestingly, these internal tensions clearly quieted down during the second term, when Republicans impeached the president—showing that external opposition can serve as a unifying factor.

As important as a president's policy positions and national leadership are, the presidency is about more than that. It's also about leading a team of ambitious, competitive, high-achieving personalities—plenty of whom think they should be the one sitting in the Oval Office. It's the ultimate CEO job.

So, as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to make his home in the White House, I wish him—and his staff—good luck and recommend that they promptly read Fight House and learn its lessons. It will not be a waste of time.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

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  1. First lesson: always pick a VP that the other side thinks is worse than you and totally unqualified.

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    2. First test Joe has ever gotten an A on.

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    3. And a VP you would like to bone? (Or at least sniff hair?)

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    5. Yes a closet Marxist is worse than a liberal with mental capacities in decline.

  2. When he was younger, he was a Roman emperor and he had the Senators dance before him while he ravaged their wives. Then he gave them the Senators a choice between getting thrown to the Rancor or being dumped in the Sarlacc pit.

    1. That was my favorite episode

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  3. Andrew Jackson had his cabinet wear apples on their heads and tried to shoot the apples off after swilling a jug of whiskey.

    1. That was my second favorite episode.

      1. You two are both very funny. But not as funny as the gal who wrote the sentence “What Joe Biden Can Learn from Studying Presidential History.” I have a $1000 that says Joe couldn’t pass a fourth grade math test, much less “study history.” Yesterday he didn’t know if it was morning or evening. But at least he’s a Democrat, right?

        1. That’s not really fair,
          He knows he gets applesauce in the morning and a jello pudding cup in the evenings.

          1. And he knows that way back in 1957, Joe and his dad went to the Black swimming pool so Champ could apply for a job as a lifeguard. They saw two black men kissing on the street (as often happened in the 1950s). Joe looked at his dad, and his dad said simply: “They are in love, son.”
            It’s a great BIG FAT LIE and yet Joe tells it all the time. So great. At least he’s a Democrat, though, right?

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  4. In a famous incident, Lincoln dangled his cabinet members off the parapets at Fort Stevens during the Confederate attack on that bastion. Any Cabinet member who survived for five minutes without being killed by Confederate gunfire got to appoint a Postmaster.

    1. That was my third favorite episode.

  5. The great thing about Alzheimer’s is that you can re-read the same book like it’s the first time every time.

    The awful thing about Alzheimer’s is you can re-read the same sentence like it’s the first time every time.

    I don’t think Biden is going to be reading any books between now and when they 25th Amendment his ass. I’d be surprised if he’s read any books since he was elected Senator.

    1. He has always been a second rate intellect, even in his prime.

  6. I think that the primary concern for we white knights is what does President Harris’ dick taste like?

    1. Gavin Newsom’s asshole?

      1. So, hair gel?

  7. Joe Biden can’t read his way through The Cat in the Hat.

    Journalism is dead.

    1. Joe Biden doesnt read, he listens to book on record at night. Come on man.

  8. “I wish him—and his staff—good luck” I thought those of us who dont support either of the big two parties should hope they fail miserably. I guess being a dissident wont get you invited to the cocktail parties. Its all good, when they slap those speech laws down on us we’ll all be hailing the greatness of government, cant have any critcism of big brother.

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  10. “Obama was committed to his white house being different” Dont forget transparency. Most transparent administration evah!@#$%!

    1. Trump’s administration was obviously the most transparent ever. What with all the leaking and everybody running straight to the press with every little secret about what was going on in the White House, it was so transparent that you could see shit that wasn’t even there.

      1. And when nobody was leaking the press used their imagination to tell us what was going on.
        Although, sometimes they even relied on the dark arts and conjured up “anonymous witnesses”.

  11. If Joe Biden hasn’t learned all he needs to know from nearly half a century of being a parasite, it’s probably too late to start learning now. And if he needs a refresher course, he’s always got Kamala right there to remind him how it’s done. The main thing to remember is you don’t give it away for free.

  12. What is important is does President Biden have people who will disagree with him and tell him to his face. The President always make the decisions, but the people around him are invaluable and some of the most important are those that challenge him.

    1. Huh? You can’t “disagree” with an imbecile. The imbecile doesn’t even know WHO YOU ARE or what you are saying. On election day, Biden introduced his granddaughter as his son Beau, and thanked the crowd for electing him to the senate. That’s on video, folks. And that’s not a “stutter.” Biden is a FRAUD PUPPET whose votes were bought and paid for by Zuckerberg, Soros, Clinton, Malloch Brown, and in his own way Xi Jinping. Please stop pretending he knows what day it is.

      1. Isn’t it all amazing, and yet even the Reasonistas are pretending not to have seen it.
        I never imagined, even ten years ago, that almost the entirety of Western journalism would sell out its principles and self-censor to this extent, just because of peer pressure.

        Matt Tabbi and Glenn Greenwald are almost the only exceptions. They’re increasingly looking like Orwell did, when he was raising the alarm about Stalinism while all the other left-wing journalists were still sucking the tyrants cock.

        1. It was one thing that the media was biased enough that Fox could emerge and steal half the viewers. Now, we have complete and utter morons like Savannah Guthrie getting lauded for really sticking it to the President: “Are you still a white supremacist?” while the entire media ignores the FACT that Joe Biden has nothing but air between his ears. If it were a movie, people would call it “unrealistic.” Censorship levels now approaching China levels as we suffer under China level freedom erosion caused by a virus sent by China. AND NO ONE NOTICES. 100% of the western media is a terrifying clown show.

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        2. How is peer pressure supposed to work? I’m asking seriously. When everybody’s a peer in the peer group (of course), where does the pressure come from to influence them? Is there some secret master of the peerage? Seems peer pressure can work only to induce conformity, but not what to conform the whole group to.

          1. It’s what’s perceived to be the will of the group, it doesn’t have to even be the actual will of the group to be effective.

    2. “What is important is does President Biden have people who will disagree with him and tell him to his face…”

      I keep thinking you can’t possibly be as stupid as that, and then you shove the bar farther down.
      Amazing!

  13. What a great fantasy that the president actually runs anything. The bureaucracy is at his beck and call and his pen and phone are mightier than the decrepit halls of octogenarian congress.

    Let’s say between now and 2030 when Biteme is gone and we have completed a second Harris term and the deficit exploded debt is north of 60 trillion your savings were wiped out with inflation and you’re wondering if that social security check will show up so you can buy corn flakes this month. Will we still be lauding the imperial presidency then?

    1. Yes, you will be lauding the Imperial Presidency or you will be crushing rocks in some gulag in Northern Nevada or pushing up new grass from some mass grave.

      1. Just remember that the Left always accuses the Right of planning on doing exactly what they’re already doing – and remember all the things they’ve accused Trump of planning on doing. You have been warned. The Left has already told you what they’re going to be doing, there’s no excuse for your saying you didn’t know.

        1. Exactly. They were calling him Hitler before he was even sworn in. Four years later, the only evidence I can see of fascist evil is sitting square in the laps of Pelosi, Cuomo, Newsom, Jack Dorsey, Zuckerberg, Soros, and the Overlords of the Left who will not let you go to church, or send your kids to school, or keep your stores open, and who are busy erasing history and censoring free speech. Did I mention breaking glass in all the store windows and torching businesses?

  14. No modern president has followed the Constitution. Learning about how to do wrong doesn’t help you do right.

    The fighting that a president needs to do is against every unconstitutional action and inaction of all other governments, all other branches, and the administrative state.
    https://jamesanthony.us

    Maybe Veronique de Rugy thinks that all we can hope for is for Biden to fail. Or maybe she doesn’t know how government people can limit government people.

    But the people to advise right now are governors, county executives, and prospective constitutionalist candidates, especially ones who will use the Republican Party for both ballot access and a clear path to win.

  15. President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden are quite different from each other. It is obvious in their personalities

    Their personalities are not as different as you think. The most significant difference is that sometimes Biden is smarmy (as in the Bork hearing), but usually they’re practically the same.

    1. Yes but you don’t understand. Trump tweeted meanly and upset liberal bien pensant sensibilities, while Biden doesn’t know what a smart phone is.

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  18. And right now, Trump learned “Don’t *uck with Twitter”

    PS. Grammarly review

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