Iron Turkey

Remember the bonkers 80’s move, Iron Eagle? I only vaguely do, but I remember thinking it was bonkers back then.   Well, taking off from that, I’ve been thinking of ways iron-manning can fall apart.  So, instead of making someone an IRON EAGLE, they show back up and turn themselves into an IRON TURKEY.

Here’s an example. President Trump won’t accept someone reinterpreting what he’s saying so that it won’t sound crazy.  Take the Jeaninne Pirro interview.

Pirro: Are you moving so quickly that your communications department can’t keep up with you?

Trump: Yes, it’s true.

P: So, what do we do about that, because –

T: We don’t have press conferences. And we do –

P: You don’t mean that!

T: Well, we just don’t have ’em – unless I have one every two weeks, and I do it myself.  We don’t have ’em.  I think it’s a good idea. First of all, there’s a level of hostility that’s very unfair….

Trump also tweeted that it’s impossible for his surrogates to get everything right all the time, so it’s just better to opt out of having press conferences altogether.  Just have press releases.

There are actually two issues with the argumentative context here.  The first is Trump’s false dilemma between (a) having totally error-free press conferences and (b) not having press conferences at all.  His reasoning is that because (a) is impossible, (b) must follow.  But, we know, that there are many other options. Another option could just be: (c) have press conferences, but have people who are properly briefed before them, vet the people you’ve got speaking on behalf of the administration for competence, and try to cultivate an amicable relationship with at least some of the media outlets and their reporters. You know, what responsible Presidents do.

Ok, so that’s the familiar perfectionist’s false dilemma.

But it’s what Trump does after someone tries to help him out in the midst of the argument that’s so interesting.  Pirro responds: surely this must be just a rhetorical overstatement.  It’s a nice way to say: Look, I know it’s hard to get a detailed view out, so using a bit of reactionary language is useful.  But try the detailed view, now.  I’m listening.  But, as it turns out, that’s all Trump’s got!  It’s like you try to iron man a guy, and he shows back up and says not only it’s not his view, but that it’s worse.  He wanted the fully on bonkers view!  So here’s folks trying to iron man him, and he turns it into an iron turkey.




3 thoughts on “Iron Turkey”

  1. Very nice! This reminds me of the “You don’t literally mean he founded ISIS do you?” thing way back. He did the same thing in that case–he doubled down on the claim set up for correction. Sadly, the iron turkey doesn’t prevent people from going all iron eagle.

    By the way–I think you have a powerful concept here in animal names: Iron Eagle; Cowardly Lion; Weak Bison; Hollow Tree. . .

    And double points for the Iron Eagle reference.

  2. Yeah, “doubling down” is the turkey move, isn’t it? Someone says: hey, what you said could be interpreted as being crazy. The turkey says: Oh, so let me clarify the view… so it’s unequivocally crazy.
    And that’s the feature of being a powerful person — you say something crazy, and because you’re powerful, people go bonkers about it, then the yes-men come in to iron-eagle it… then you get to turkey it up!

  3. OH, and the great line from Lou Gossett Jr.:
    You’ve got to believe that the plane you’re in is a suit of armor, like an IRON EAGLE that nothing can penetrate.

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