“ … Stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.” – Jeb Bush speaking at the Conservative Leadership Project

“I don’t even think I have to react to that one. The American people should hear that.” – President Barack Obama

Close your eyes for a nanosecond …

Imagine a PAC-funded 30-second attack ad. There is the aerial view of a community college in Central Oregon. Nine dead. There are emergency vehicles. A SWOT team risking their lives. Perhaps, spent bullet casings. Maybe there is even blood on the walls … a horrific scene.umpqua

Next there is a chart listing contributions to former Florida Governor John Ellis Bush or “Jeb” from gun interests, including the always warm-and-fuzzy National Rifle Association.

And finally: Video of Jeb essentially dismissing the latest mass shooting, “Stuff happens.”

Presidential? Don’t think so.

Quoted out of context? The Mother of All Weak Alibis.

A gaffe? Certainly.

Campaign defining? Could be.

Rhetorical Discipline?

Remember former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment, failing to remember a major federal cabinet-level agency he wanted to abolish? He never recovered in both the 2012 and 2016 presidential cycles.

Or how about Mary Gatter, a Planned Parenthood medical director, saying “I want a Lamborghini” in the context of selling fetal organs for profit? The non-profit’s image and reputation has been irrevocably tarnished. It’s time for a rebrand.

And now we have Jeb Bush and his version of caca happens in  response to eight students and one teacher losing their lives in the Southern Willamette Valley. When asked about the gaffe, Bush defensively and rhetorically  asked whether it would be better, if he had said, “Things happen.”

Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference, Thursday, April 18, 2013 in Coral Gables, Fla. Bush says he applauds the comprehensive reform bill formally unveiled Thursday in Washington and told conference attendees the bill tries to balance the immigrant experience and respect for the rule of law. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Sorry Governor, “things” is a distinction without a difference. How about cutting your losses and quickly admitting that you misspoke and clarify your remarks?

The image that comes across is someone who is more interested in appeasing and pacifying the firearm lobby than to demonstrate concern about gun violence. Couldn’t you have discussed enforcing the myriad of gun laws on the books and implementing the death penalty for brazen mass murder? Or how about expressing concern about the influence of violent video games and movies that portray mass killing as recreation?

Instead, the response from a two-term governor from a major swing state is “stuff happens.” As a former press secretary, I winced when I heard the news.

Pathetic, downright pathetic.

“Stuff” and “You Know”

As a college professor of public relations writing and presentations among other subjects, the author of Almost DailyBrett has strongly cautioned students about using the words, “Stuff” and “You Know.”

What is “stuff”? Is it bigger than a bread box? What constitutes “stuff”? Or is “stuff” just a crutch word to throw into a presentation when one is nervous. Once “stuff” becomes ingrained, it is a hard habit to break, similar to nicotine’s deadly hold on smokers.

Equally egregious are the words, “You know.”

U-No disease in college classrooms is as prevalent as cock-roaches. Once you hear one, the next one is not far behind. Many times, yours truly has kept a count of how many “you knows” pops up in any presentation. Sorry, I don’t know the exact circumstances about what you are talking about, so why are you implying that I do know?

These are two-more addictive words, and they are difficult to shake.

So why is the former Governor with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas using such a sophomoric word/phrase in such a horrific context?

Eternal Digital Audio and Video

All 44 presidents, particularly those in the modern era, live under the constant glare of our digital media on steroids.presidentialpodium

Do you think that Messrs. Obama, Clinton and Nixon would like to take back “Jayvee team,” “…Did not have sex with that woman” and “I am not a crook” respectively? Almost DailyBrett is not equating the three, other than to say they are all mistakes.

“Stuff happens” brings into question whether Jeb has the temperament, sensitivity and discipline to serve as the unquestioned leader of the free world.

And if Jeb does indeed overcome this rhetorical debacle and attain the presidency, will the electorate simply dismiss anything and everything  that goes wrong – horrifically wrong – by simply shrugging, “stuff happens”?

Don’t think so.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/10/02/when-asked-about-school-shootings-jeb-bush-says-stuff-happens/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/10/02/jeb-bush-is-criticized-for-saying-stuff-happens-in-reaction-to-oregon-shooting/?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/02/us/oregon-umpqua-community-college-shooting/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/never-say-in-private-what-you-wouldnt-say-in-public/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush

 

 

 

 

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