-- You have a defiant photo with your fist raised to support protestors who then stormed the U.S. Capitol building where five people died.
-- You offer up a challenge to the basic principles of how this country operates -- elections and the subsequent Electoral College.
-- In the U.S. Capitol, you speak of that challenge -- not to your Senate colleagues -- but weirdly and directly to TV cameras off in the distance, amid the hall where insurrectionists would soon arrive, steal furniture, break glass, causing property damage, and take documents. All on video.
-- You then lose the challenge that you and Senator Ted Cruz started.
-- Two days later, ViacomCBS’ Simon & Schuster cancels your book deal — one of those future-looking, positioning tomes intended to be the basis for running for the highest public office in the land.
We speak of Senator Josh Hawley (R, Missouri), who has not as officially announced his candidacy for higher office -- although his ambitions are obvious to observers.
Media campaigns come in all sizes and lengths. This one gloms onto the remains of the Trump Administration -- and we mean remains. It's what happens after a wrecking ball takes apart one’s house.
With regard to the Simon & Schuster decision, Hawley tweeted back: “It's a direct assault on the First Amendment.” Actually, it’s not. Simon & Schuster doesn’t have to publish his book -- or any book. That’s their First Amendment right.
Hawley can go somewhere else and do his First Amendment thing. He can also self-publish. And if Hawley is in violation of his contract, that’s another issue.
All this is the freedom of doing business -- media business. That said, Hawley has the right to sue if he feels he was wrong. And he says he will. “Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents,” added Hawley.
That fist pump in the air to protesters, and possible constituents, on his way into the Senate might have a different look now. Was that encouragement to Hawley constituents or others who were part of that marauding mob of insurrectionists that resulted in the death of five people, dozens of injuries to others, and nearly 70 arrests made?
Typically, a presidential marketing campaign might begin in earnest two-and-a-half years from now -- with a big media schedule as well as public appearances.
Voter memories might be long, and political marketing can make big mistakes. But things can change and recover.
Right now, Hawley’s fist salute -- and his unnerving pandering into a Senate camera just before tragic events unfolded -- isn't a good look. Ever.