Silly Presidents, Silly Precedents

Silly Presidents, Silly Precedents


Leonard Zwelling

It’s really getting hard to take some of our leaders seriously.

The President-elect of the United States won’t agree to have a news conference, but will communicate like a 14-year old girl using 140-character tweets concerning issues of international importance.

He misstates the truth (I will follow WSJ’s Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker’s lead and not call them ‘lies,” There weren’t thousands of Muslims celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers in New Jersey as Mr. Trump has alleged. Millions of ineligible people did not vote in the election as he tweeted. I could go on, but why. So could you. Mr. Trump has a very loose relationship with the truth and a big mouth that reveals him to be, well, silly. He cannot be taken seriously. If I can’t take him seriously, I suspect that our allies and adversaries can’t either. It’s going to be a long four years.

I am not at all sure how we as American citizens are to take the new President seriously if he will not admit that when his own soon-to-be intelligence leadership goes before Congress and says that, yes, it was the Russians behind the hacks, Mr. Trump still thinks it might be a 400-pound guy in New Jersey hacking our infrastructure. That’s just silly.

The overwhelming evidence is that the Russians hacked into American computer systems and attempted to affect our elections.

Yet Mr. Trump’s first tweet of the day was about how his replacement on the Apprentice, “Ahnald,” did not live up to his own past ratings. Haven’t you got better things to do, Mr. President-elect?

The reason that this is all so concerning is that in two weeks, Mr. Trump will be leading the nation and all signs indicate that he is neither intelligently, temperamentally, nor experientially ready for the job.

Hey, we’ve seen this before.

When Ronald DePinho assumed the presidency of MD Anderson in 2011, he too was ill-equipped for the job. Unfortunately, five years later, he still isn’t ready-for-primetime.

There can be no one else on whom the blame for the budget disaster must lie. DePinho owns this. No amount of false “shared governance” nonsense about the “MD Anderson family” and the recommendation of some committee to initiate the recent layoffs will distract any thinking person from knowing who was in charge when it hit the fan. Dr. DePinho overspent. Dr. DePinho over hired. And, although I admit that the seeds of the disaster were sown by his predecessor, Dr. DePinho was in charge when the institution tipped into the red and he installed the electronic medical record against medical advice. Tough situation!

And what was the penalty for this series of mistakes? A $208,000 bonus from the Chancellor that he belatedly contributed to his own moon shots. The Chancellor claims that he still has confidence in Dr. DePinho. Do you? Talk about silly!

Confidence in DePinho? Not me, Not five years ago. Not now.

They are silly, too, the Chancellor and Dr. DePinho.

Dr. DePinho still has not owned up to his role in the deficit. He still has not explained upon what he is spending all that money such that these expenses have exceeded the ability of the clinical revenue to keep pace. And if he has $2.8 billion in the bank and his balance sheet is healthy, why fire all those people?

This problem falls squarely on the shoulders of DePinho, Fontaine and Buchholz and secondarily on the Chancellor and the Board of Regents.

The precedent of tweeting as a Presidential response to true national crises is silly. The precedent of a huge layoff with no penalty being paid by those in charge is also silly.

If Mr. Trump or Dr. DePinho wish to be taken seriously, stop being silly. It would be just a start, but a good one.

Here’s how each can stop being silly.

Mr. Trump, please have a real news conference. Admit that the Russians attempted to influence the election in your favor and then, and only then we can move on. By the way, what will be the penalty to the Russians for hacking? Anything?

Dr. DePinho, own this! Tell us why you have slipped into the red and it isn’t all the electronic medical record. You had to have spent too much. On what? How will this change? How exactly did the shared governance process lead to the layoffs or was that you the Bobble Heads and Mr. Fontaine?

Guys (isn’t it always guys?), let’s get real. Do you really want to go down in history for being silly?

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