Category: Crisis Communications

“Donald Trump would have won, if he hadn’t done so badly in the first debate. He needs to look at himself in the mirror. ‘Is it my fault? Is it the things I said? Is it the presentations I gave?’ Trump has to come to grips with that first debate and how damaging it was to his candidacy.” — Pollster Frank Luntz, particularly the use of qualitative interviews

“The Democrats’ historic weakness is its reputation for defending bad government against small government.” — Lexington, A Democratic defeat in victory, The Economist, November 14, 2020

Can’t tell you how many times Almost DailyBrett heard pundits and academics proclaim: ‘Debates don’t matter.’ They mattered for JFK. They mattered for Ronald Reagan. They mattered for Donald Trump.

Even though America’s media and polling industrial complexes — often one-and-same — forecasted a big bad Blue Wave on election day, it turned out to be not even a trickle.

As Almost DailyBrett writes this commentary, the Republicans are a virtual lock to hold the Senate only losing a net one seat in the upper chamber. The GOP is plus nine and counting in the House of Representatives, the resulting margin getting a little too close for comfort for embattled Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A record 17 new Republican women were elected to the House of Representatives, nine who defeated Democratic incumbents including impressive wins in blue bastions California, New York City and Minnesota.

Even though the Democrats recaptured the White House with Joe Biden, there seems to be little joy in the Democratic ranks other than Trump is leaving office. They won’t have Trump to kick around anymore, and there lies the problem.

‘Why not pummel each other, socialists vs. moderate lefties?’

The GOP will no longer have to defend Trump’s lack of political discipline and daily exhausting drama. The Democrats will have to explain “defund the police,” nationalizing private health insurance, The Green New Deal and most of all, the public embrace of socialism.

Socialismo o Muerte?

“Latinos are Republicans. They just don’t know it yet.” — President Ronald Reagan

“The Democrats lost most ground with two groups that have a special loathing of socialism, Cuban-Americans and Venezuelans. Their shift to Republicans cost the Democrats two house seats in Florida and Mr. Biden the state.” — Lexington, The Economist

Usually when a party loses the White House with an unpopular incumbent at the helm, it also suffers in Congress (e.g., Jimmy Carter in 1980). Almost DailyBrett can proclaim with impunity: Joe Biden produced no coattails.

Look for the new president to resort to executive orders and foreign affairs to offset what the checks and balances imposed by his loyal opposition. The elite partisan media (i.e., CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post) will re-direct its collective venom away from Trump to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Expect the “Progressive” wing of the Democratic Party to blame 2020 electoral defeats on the party not being socialist enough.

Anticipate that some Republicans will champion the comeback of Donald Trump in 2024. None of the four defeated incumbent presidents (i.e., Hoover, Carter, H.W. Bush, Trump) ever successfully pulled off political resurrections that is both history and prophecy.

Trump took over the Republican Party in 2016. He is no longer the titular head of the party. The GOP has the opportunity now to reclaim its rightful mantel as the movement for small effective government, libertarian respect for the individual, and neo-liberalism support for free enterprise and free-and-fair global trade.

The Democrats achieved a lonely pyrrhic victory.

The Republicans planted the seeds for a more inclusive electoral comeback fueled by discerning women, achieving Hispanics who abhor socialism and embrace economic liberty, and African Americans who know that a rising tide lifts all boats.

Buy Low Sell High!

Mr. Biden is too old for the job, and fragile. There is a very real chance he will not make it through the term. Mr. Trump is also too old but seemingly robust. But in Mike Pence, Mr. Trump has a vice president ready to take over, if need be. He is a safe pair of hands. Sen. Kamala Harris gives no evidence of being ready to be president.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial, October 31, 2020

Let’s hope and pray that Joe Biden can make it until 2025.

He can keep the seat warm with time set aside for afternoon naps until either aforementioned Vice President Mike Pence or former South Carolina Governor/UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is elected as our 47th president.

Almost DailyBrett watched the October 7 vice presidential debate with more attention than ever. Most pundits dismiss VP candidate encounters as a waste of valuable air time. Your author vehemently disagrees.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in its presidential endorsement editorial noted neither Donald Trump, 74, nor Joe Biden, 77, are spring chickens. There is at least a 50-50 chance that geriatric Biden will make it through the next four years.

Some may contend that Pence is the consummate loyal soldier, maybe a little boring. Kamala Harris, who once suggested out loud her running mate was a racist, is a little too irritating reminiscent of finger nails scratching a chalkboard.

The words: ‘mean’ and ‘baggage’ seemingly come up repeatedly when the discussion turns to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, soon one solitary heartbeat away from the presidency.

Her candidacy for president was buried by America’s political class in the fall of 2019. These same pundits are now celebrating her accession to the number two position in the land, mainly based on her multiple ethnicities and gender.

The baggage refers to her outspoken support, and sometimes rescinded backing, of ultra-left stretch goals including the New Green Deal, defunding police, opening national borders and Medicare For All (e.g., nationalizing health insurance, throwing 180 million off private policies).

“I Don’t Believe You Are A Racist.

Kamala’s legendary reputation for meanness was particularly on display at the very first Democratic presidential debate June 27, 2019. She effectively accused Joe Biden of being a racist, allowing herself enough rhetorical room to deny she did just that. Her behavior and persona were proven that night to be diabolical and downright nasty.

Some may want at this point to lob a Misogyny grenade at Almost DailyBrett. Your author did not support Hillary Clinton four years ago, and her spoiled loser behavior since then has reinforced the wisdom of not backing a 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Clintonian Restoration.

A similar likeability concern applies to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (difficult to type these words). Can effective personal public relations counsel save Kamala from her own persona? Will she even listen to PR advice?

Almost DailyBrett applauds the overdue inevitability of a woman leader of the Free World. Watching the measured calmness, ethos, gravitas, moderation and practicality of Germany’s Angela Merkel each night on ARD’s Tagesschau makes your author excited about the prospect of a first of many women presidents.

There is simply no way that a heaven forbid President Kamala Harris would be America’s answer to Kanzlerin Merkel. Her persona is too mean. Her policies and instincts are too radical.

As a Roman Catholic, your author will never forget Kamala Harris attacking U.S. District Court Judge Brian Buescher for actually being a member of (gasp!) The Knights of Columbus. Maybe Ms. Harris should be reminded that Joe Biden is now the second Catholic to ever serve in the White House.

Joe Biden’s foolishly painted himself into gender corner by announcing his choice would only come from a pool of women candidates. The strength of Black Lives Matter, led him to select the very same person who insulted him and tried to lay racist shame at his feet.

Would we be having the same discussion, if pleasant U.S. Senator Cory Booker was the incoming vice president?

Almost DailyBrett wishes for the good health of President-elect Joe Biden and a post Covid-19 recovery for the nation and the world. Having said that, you author and presumably more than just a few are afraid for good reasons of Kamala Harris in the Oval Office, very afraid.

“That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world. We see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over.” — CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper, November 5

Can the partisan media transform itself from a pack of attack dogs against Donald Trump to the Praetorian Guard for Joe Biden?

Will any anchor of any network use any obese dying animal metaphors to describe President-elect Joe Biden? The public Face of CNN’s cruel imagery of Donald Trump says far more about Anderson Cooper as a mean person than it does the president.

What amazes Almost DailyBrett is that CNN and some of its viewers urged this type of hatred against one man. NBC and MSNBC even cut away from the president’s speech about the election.

Would they do the same with Biden?

The days of the partisan media on offense against the White House are coming to an end. The days of defending, explaining and rationalizing Joe Biden’s coming misstatements and gaffes are at hand.

Will CNN, MSNBC, NBC et al. become press secretaries for the largely unvetted 46th president of United States?

For a longest period of time, the elite partisan media blamed everything from Covid-19 to body odor on Trump. What’s next? The world keeps turning and the leader of the free world with all accompanying responsibilities falls squarely on Joe Biden.

Trump was a Nielsen ratings machine. CNN, MSNBC, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post and others built their profitable business models on publicly opposing anything and everything Donald John Trump.

As Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly lamented, the days of media objectivity, professionalism, fairness, and dispassionate reporting are long gone. The vast majority of anchors, editors, reporters and correspondents have become hyper partisans, ignoring anything positive about Trump and devouring anything negative about the president.

Different Coverage Standards For Different Presidents?

“Do you think there is blood on the president’s hands, considering the slow response?” — NBC’s “Meet The Press” anchor Chuck Todd

Will partisan media now reverse course in January and gleefully “cover” anything positive from the White House, and dismiss and bury any or all negative news about Joe Biden? Do you think any network will cut away from a live Biden pronouncement to provide for their own fact checking?

The whole imagery of totally discredited MSNBC’s Brian Williams fact checking anyone else on the planet after his long-established record of embarrassing personal glorification falsehoods is beyond the pale. He is still a legend in his own mind.

In football parlance, the best defense of all is a good offense. Will the media not only defend their president, but launch salvos against any Republican (e.g., Mitch McConnell) who has the temerity to disagree with president #46?

Almost DailyBrett recognizes that CBS is not inclined to go back to the days of revered professionalism of Walter Cronkite or CNN will ever revert to the gravitas of Bernard Shaw.

Wonder what Bernard Shaw really thinks about Anderson Cooper?

Should Americans merely accept the sad reality of partisan media not only picking sides and becoming a powerful special interest for one side of the aisle?

Watching the US media demonstrating its agility in transforming itself from offense to defense will provide us with an answer, most likely an unfortunate answer.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Food me twice, shame on me.” — Too Many Authors To Count (hopefully not by pollsters)

“Politics has never been and will never be a science.” — Professor Larry Sabato, University of Virginia Center of Politics

It’s been three days and counting, and we are still awaiting the promised ‘Blue Wave.’

Was Donald Trump buried by Democratic margins way outside of 3.5 percent margins of error? Nope.

America’s polling industrial complex was so certain that Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate would go with Trump right out the door. Don’t think so as four Republican incumbents are still in play in Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina.

Almost DailyBrett contends the worse kind of intelligence gathering are efforts to gather any and all tidbits that agree with a pre-determined narrative, and ignore any and all data points that do not coincide with the pre-ordained elite media gospel.

Famously Joseph Stalin rejected and ignored all intelligence, even the last indications telling him the day and even the exact hour (4:30 am local time, June 22, 1941) that Germany would invade Russia.

President George W. Bush wanted to believe the 2003 intelligence that Weapons of Mass Destruction existed in Iraq. The WMDs have not been found to this day.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough scolded the polling industry (quantitative surveys and qualitative focus groups/interviews) and panting media for their 2016 collective gleeful quest to prove that Madam Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton would elected as the first woman president of the United States.

Is Hillary just a tad jealous today?

Not Reflecting Public Opinion; Driving Public Opinion

“This poll obsession is mainly about the news organizations’ branding and their intent to generate hopeful narratives and less about really helping the electorate understand the political landscape.” — DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall

Your author as a lead campaign spokesman and later press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian learned first hand from the Los Angeles Times in 1982 and again in 1986 about how media will employ polling to generate an intended result.

The Times‘ home town hero was Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, who twice ran against Deukmejian for the governorship of the Golden State. It was no secret the management of the Los Angeles Times wanted Bradley to win.

The Times’ I.A. “Bud” Lewis poll always had Bradley overachieving compared to every other survey. Bradley was not doing better than expected in 1986. He lost in the blue state 61-37 percent, simply the greatest landslide in California’s history.

If Almost DailyBrett was King of America, he would prohibit media surveys from being included in the RealClear Politics average of polls. The same is true for university polls as they are skewed (e.g., oversampling Democrats, undersampling Republicans) in a left-word direction to mirror their political sympathies.

What aids their backing of Democrats will be included, what works in a contrary direction will be excluded.

The missions of these partisan media and university surveys are to produce results that don’t necessarily accurately reflect public opinion, but drive public opinion and more importantly Nielsen Ratings.

How about following surveys from FiveThirtyEight that have the temerity to consider and report all data points, even notoriously stating in 2016 that Donald Trump can win, when virtually all others scoffed.

Everyone loves a winner. The media will deliver a Democratic victor.

The only problem appears to be the real electorate, even some who are shy about their opinions.

They have this irritating habit of showing up and voting on election day.

What would happen if there was only one side of America’s story for elite media to cover?

Would journalists become glorified stenographers?

Forget objectivity. Forget professionalism. There would be no need.

What if pachyderm Republicans became extinct as the Whigs and the pterodactyls? There would be zero loyal opposition, and less choice.

What if big media, academics, labor unions, Hollywood, Manhattan and DC elites, professional organizers all realized their fondest wishes? Forget Alphabet, Amazon, Apple or Facebook, the real monopoly would reside with one all powerful political party, the Democrats.

There would be no Donald Trump, much less the GOP. Democrats would reign supreme. There would be no need for checks and balances … except for checks made out to the IRS.

There would be a new-and-improved ‘Great Society’ — “The Greater Society.” How did the first one work out?

The existing model for a one-party America with no loyal opposition is — permissive California with its squalor, rampant crime, homeless crisis, dizzying array of always increasing taxes, record deficits and declining population.

California is dominated by one party with a Democratic governor, two U.S. Senators, a veto-proof state Legislature, and a congressional delegation with 46 of 53 seats held by Democrats.

California’s media, universities, Hollywood, public employee unions, Silicon Valley, trial lawyers, sundry elites and special interests are all aligned with the blue state’s dominant Democratic Party.

It’s a clean sweep.

Disneyland would remain closed in Anaheim, California, but open in Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Mickey Mouse may even follow Charles Schwab to Texas.

What if this monolithic model was realized for the United States of America?

Democrats in the White House, controlling both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, packing the United States Supreme Court and lower federal benches, and of course, controlling all facets of American life and liberty through invasive stifling bureaucracy?

Would we be basking in the glow of a harmonious permissive Greater Society as long as we wore our masks?

Government Is The Solution”

“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” — Actor and Humorist Will Rogers

“Whatever starts in California unfortunately has an inclination to spread.” — Former President Jimmy Carter

“Government is not the problem; government is the solution to all of our problems.” — Text of President Kamala Harris’ 2024 Inaugural Address

Would there be eternal happiness in a one-party, big government America?

Would all Democrats see eye-to-eye on every issue and concern? How would and how much would Wall Street and its retail investors be taxed and regulated? Would there even be a Wall Street?

Would the remaining neo-liberals become just liberals on the dole, anxiously awaiting their direct deposit of their Universal Basic Income (UBI) hand-out?

Would all undocumented be given the right to vote? If America becomes a “sanctuary” country, would there be any need for borders? Come one, come all — register to vote blue over here.

Would there be any need for national defense, let alone police forces? There would be zero military deterrent, only pretty please diplomacy. Will we end the specter of “mass incarceration” by simply opening up correctional doors?

Would our police departments be defunded, replaced by community organizations? Who would answer the 911 call when someone is breaking into your house? A social worker?

Even though political parties are not mandated by our Constitution, true Democracies flourish when there is real competition in the marketplace of ideas.

The reality of one-party states (i.e., China, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, California) has proven time-and-time again to fail. Even Democracies with only one dominant party (i.e., Mexico with the PRI and Japan with its Liberal Democrats) have faltered, and are not anyone’s definition of ‘success.’

The historical record of true multi-party states (e.g., France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States) have demonstrated that pluralistic democracy works, it works very well.

To the editors of The Atlantic and other über liberal media, harken against monopolies in the tech space. Do they really want all governmental power and our precious individual freedoms to be placed in the hands of one all-encompassing political power.

Almost DailyBrett will take a pass on that nightmare image.

“Attorney General Elizabeth Warren.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Wall Street is anticipating, maybe even bracing for a Blue Wave.

During the lifetime of Almost DailyBrett, there have been Democratic tides in 1964, 1976 and 2008. And then there was the widely projected and prematurely celebrated Blue Wave that wasn’t four years ago as the Azure Wall (i.e., Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) came tumbling down.

Growing up one easily could surmise the real villains in society were the criminals: the murderers, rapists, drug dealers, money launderers, fraudsters, terrorists and thieves of all shapes and sizes.

And do today’s federal and/or state attorney generals set their sights on these criminals? Nope.

It seems to your author the “real” evil doers of our modern-society are the entrepreneurs, the achievers, the innovators, the job creators as evidenced by DC targets: The three A’s and the one F (Apple, Alphabet Google, Amazon and Facebook).

Their individual and collective sins are they all came up with great ideas, delivering to people around the world products and services that they want and need.

One would think we would celebrate those who provide smart phones, search engines, digital retail and global social media platforms. One would be wrong.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

No one put a gun to Almost DailyBrett’s head and demanded the use of Google’s search engine for free, and only Google for free, to conduct research for a master’s degree. Microsoft Bing and Yahoo! were available then, and around now to provide their services. Alas, their services were not and still are not required.

Investors have entrusted $1.1 trillion in Google’s parent, Alphabet, with its $161 billion in annual revenues. The company employs 1 million employees in full-time positions with health care benefits and the potential for stock options and ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Program).

And yet the federal Department of Justice this week sued Alphabet for being uncompetitive. Think of it this way, if someone wants to use Bing or Yahoo!, they can use Bing or Yahoo!, but they utilize Yahoo instead.

What’s the problem?

Your author senses personal dread when the Apple 5S cannot be found (yes, an upgrade is in the offing) to keep up with anything and everything happening in the world. Newspapers and land lines and the costs associated with them were bid adieu more than a decade ago.

Almost DailyBrett’s No. 1 investment portfolio holding is (NASDAQ: AAPL) with a 70 percent cumulative gain. Oh … the $280 billion company with a $2 trillion market cap pays a dividend as well. Apple is the largest commonly held stock on the planet, employing 137,000.

Apple annually pays an 0.82 per share dividend to literally millions of people to invest in its winning stock.

Heaven forbid, will the DOJ under the “leadership” of a Elizabeth Warren-type charge that Apple is a monopoly? Has anybody within the Beltway ever heard of Samsung and/or Google’s Android operating system?

Many wish to take dead aim at the wealthiest man in the world at $186 billion — give a shekel or two — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. As Warren- comrade, Bernie Sanders, has thundered: “Billionaires should not exist.”

And yes they thrive because they are risk pursuing entrepreneurs, who pursued their wonderful ideas. $280 billion Amazon is the number digital retailer in the world and employs more than 1 million.

While former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius could not keep the Obamacare website from stalling, even the calculator didn’t work, Amazon successfully processes 26.5 million transactions per day or 306 digital retail deals per second.

If the government demands that Amazon be broken up because it behaves as a monopoly (note major competitors Wal Mart and Alibaba), the company is more than ready to spin out cloud computing Amazon Web Services (AWS).

If Jeff Bezos is the number one target for Washington “law enforcement,” Facebook’s $103 billion dude Mark Zuckerberg can’t be far behind.

Before Zuckerberg’s 1994 invention of social media in his Harvard dorm room (H-33 Kirkland House), it was nearly impossible — and downright expensive — to keep up with friends and family on a daily basis around the world.

Today, $2.60 billion Facebook with a market capitalization of $70 billion is used monthly by 2.60 billion users and daily by 1.73 billion. The population of the planet is listed at 7.59 billion. NASDAQ: FB employs 52,354.

Not bad, not bad at all. And a prime competitor, Snap Inc. just reported a 52 percent year-over-year revenue increase to $679 million. What’s the problem, DOJ?

Are these innovative entrepreneurs, personified by Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai really the black hats in our society?

If Joe Biden announces Elizabeth Warren as incoming Attorney General, it’s time to sell … it’s time to sell big time.

The worst is yet to come.

Whatever happened to Magnanimous in Victory, Gracious in Defeat?

Instead many of us will celebrate being so happy that so many are just so sad. Yes, November 4 will be America’s Schadenfreude Day.

Particularly those brave souls with the prevailing political philosophy — at least for now — will be gleefully behind their digital devices and will lord over those with the mortal sin of seeing the world a different way.

Guess that is better than burning down the City of Portland in victory or defeat, but it still represents a continuation of our nasty division.

To many whose candidate wins on Tuesday night November 3, will they champion the thrill of their “personal” victory, likewise getting into the face of those suffering the agony of defeat.

The questions are: Do I “own” the win? Do I “own” the loss?

How about “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys?” Win or lose, regardless of our own political philosophies, we all have a right to move forward with our lives without more than a few of our “friends” celebrating our sadness.

Taunting The Taunters

The media has already proclaimed the 2020 winner. His team is counting down the 16 days until election day, just like they did four years ago. Let the taunting begin.

The problem with 2016 is the intended taunters became the actual tauntees. The pollsters were wrong. The pundits were wrong. The talking heads were wrong. The media was wrong.

Almost DailyBrett does not hold a Ph.D in History. None is required to find countless examples of actual bloodshed over the course of literally centuries as a result of fights over political or religious philosophy.

They continue to this day.

The pronounced American political divide has not always been present. There were the days of the discerning “Reagan Democrats,” who may not have embraced the 40th president’s political agenda, but they admired and liked “The Gipper.”

The optimism of the 1980s just seems so long ago. Today the approach is angry and dystopian. Today our campaigns are obsessively negative. Can we get back to the advertisements for legal plaintiff services and miracle drugs once the election is over?

Leave it to the Germans to come up with a compound expression with the word for sadness, damage or injury der Schaden modifying the noun die Freude for joy or delight.

And yet your author cannot imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel taunting anyone, even though she does roll her eyeballs from time-to-time. Can we learn something from her persona and deportment?

Former First Lady Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention in 2016: “When they go low, we go high.”

How many will follow her admonition on November 4?

History tells Almost DailyBrett, this race is not over. There will be a winner on November 3 and likewise a loser. For political science fiction fans, the race will not be thrown into the House of Representatives or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sorry, Ralph Nader is not on the ballot.

If the brave souls sitting behind their digital device of choice November 4 are gleeful and giving the business to those who are sad, how does that advance our society and sew our divisions?

Does the widespread practice of Schadenfreude make the perpetrators moral superior human beings for society to celebrate and emulate? Are you gluten free too?

The wisdom of Magnanimous in Victory, Gracious in Defeat is taking the high road whether you win or lose. Pretend that you have been there before.

“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.” — President Ronald Reagan

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” – Mothers across the fruited plain

Most Americans are not particularly interested in issues and answers, they are more focused on whether they can live with a particular candidate for four years.

The decision ultimately comes down to “persona.” Almost DailyBrett must ask: ‘Could you actually open up a beer with this person and have a friendly chat, or not?’

A frequent descriptor for my boss of eight years, former California Governor George Deukmejian, was “pleasant.” The word may not have an alpha ring to it, but his deportment contributed to the greatest landslide re-election in 1986, and the most popular governor in California’s modern history.

The same cannot be said for another Californian, Senator Kamala Harris, this week and President Donald Trump last week. Neither one could hide their mean emotions during the split-screen reaction shots of their respective debates, and more often than not their comments were arrogant and condescending.

Regardless of whether it was an active screen or a reaction shot, Donald Trump was a debate dumpster fire last week. If you are scoring at home, he has now lost four general election debates in a row (three to Hillary and one to Joe).

POTUS will quickly point out that he actually won the election four years ago, asking: ‘Do the debates really matter?’ Will they play a role this time around?

Some were even asking whether the exchange between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris will matter to the voters on November 3.

Most seem to be initially fascinated with the common house fly that landed on the honorable vice president’s gray mane for two-and-one-half minutes.

“Not Worth A Bucket Of Warm Spit”

Sure glad to report that FDR’s VP John Nance Garner cleaned up his Texas metaphor for the job of Vice President of the United States.

Another FDR vice president, Harry Truman, was just as kind equating the vice presidency as worth as much as “a cow’s fifth teat.”

Almost DailyBrett knows the advanced ages of Donald Trump, 74, and Joe Biden, 77, equate to the strong possibility that either Pence or Harris could become presidents #46 or #47 respectively.

In his qualitative focus group of 15 undecided voters from toss-up battleground states, pollster Frank Luntz concluded that Harris lost the exchange because she was “abrasive” and “condescending.” The participants did not approve of her response split-frame mannerisms, namely “the smiling, the smirking, the scowling.”

Luntz also said these voters were embarrassed by the first debate between Trump and Biden. He said the race comes down to who voters “distrust less.”

Not exactly a high standard.

The worst news for President Trump is he has failed to date to shift the decision away from a referendum on him to a choice between his record and the policies of former Vice President Biden.

The estimated 2.4 million undecided voters in eight battleground states are not driven by policy, but persona.

Ronald Reagan with his cheery, can-do, optimistic personality thrived against this background.

Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan.

“This is not a choice between public health and the economy. There is a safe, responsible middle path. We need to begin restoring our economy in a way that protects public health and also people to support their families.” — City of Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu

“California is not on a trajectory toward recovery; it is on a trajectory toward oblivion.” — Ben Shapiro, editor in chief

From a public relations standpoint, Almost DailyBrett can speak ex-cathdra and state in an infallible manner: ‘It’s never a good idea to get into a public fight with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.’

The readers of the Los Angeles Times, unofficially the paper of record of the ultimate company town (e.g., entertainment business), were greeted last Thursday with a front page, top-of-the-fold headline: “Disney blames state for layoffs.”

That would be 28,000 theme park employees if you are scoring at home.

The following day the publication featured a similar headline: “Disney chief quits virus panel.” That mere chief just happens to be longtime and revered Disney chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Iger.

The timeing of Iger leaving California’s Governor Gavin Newsom’s Covid-19 Economic Task Force the day after Disney, Inc. (NYSE: DIS) laid blame for the massive layoffs on the governor’s doorstep was not a mistake … it was coordinated.

Disney is putting intense pressure on the governor. Walt Disney is an icon, the same can’t be said of Gavin Newsom.

In the parlance of crisis communications, the one-two punch headlines means this story has “legs.” And as a result California’s Goofy Governor is getting rhetorically kicked on his already aching backside.

Manage Or Be Managed

“We very much appreciate Mr. Iger’s service on the task force and respect his decision to resign. — Ann O’Leary, chief of staff to Governor Newsom.

What else is she going to say? The damage is done.

As indicated by Mayor Sidhu of Anaheim, a community drastically impacted by Disneyland park closures and the dismissal 28,000 employees, the Sacramento mind set of choosing between fighting the virus and re-opening the economy is a false choice.

As a former press secretary for the Governor of California (e.g., George Deukmejian, 1983-1991), Disney assigning the blame for 28,000 layoffs on Gavin Newsom’s delays in providing a workable Covid solution for the Golden State’s theme parks would have been a Code Red crisis communications drill.

The decision of the adult in the room Bob Iger to publicly depart Newsom’s task force would have sent all vectors into critical mode.

Governor George Deukmejian was a committed free enterprise neo-liberal, dedicated to government working closely with California businesses, providing the products we need and hiring and training employees millions up and down the state.

Your author cannot remember or even imagine a public dispute between Disney and the State of California during our successful tenure in office. The Sacramento Press Corps would have a field day and would gleefully report about this unnecessary dispute.

Alas, Newsom’s administration views California businesses merely as a source of even more revenue and a target for bludgeoning regulation and litigation.

It’s not a good idea to get into a public urination war with Mickey and Donald.

Somebody is going to think it’s raining.

Not many look back upon their childhood and fondly remember William S. Shirer’s 1,143-page, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” as one of their favorite books.

Since that time for Besser or Wurst, Almost DailyBrett has spent interminable hours studying and researching all things German, including visiting das Land in der Mitte for vacation at least six times, and learning how to speak passable Goethe Institut German. Yes, your author is an unrepentant Germanophile.

Mumsy loves and adores everything France, including learning how to speak French. She is a Francophile. 

Favorite sister loves and adores everything England including learning how to speak English. She is an Anglophile. 

No one seems to blink an eye when it comes to admiring French culture and cuisine or English civilization and royalty, but the same cannot be said when it comes to Deutschland. You see, there were these 12 years …

The countless number of war movies and documentaries and the reality of ruin, occupation, shame and division took its justified toll on the public image of Germany, leaving an enduring notion of pre-programmed robots bent on death and destruction.

For the longest years Germany simply was not cool, even the Germans would agree, but two events dramatically changed the equation: The election of Angela Merkel as the country’s first female chancellor in 2005 and the successful staging across Germany of the World Cup 2006.

Even though the Germans are not rabid nationalists for good reason — and presumably never again will be — they learned over time to proudly display and wave the black, red and gold flag. They also are heartened by their enduring 71-years-young Democracy, their leadership with France of the European Union (EU), and how Germany went from being one of the most detested and loathed nations on earth to be one of the most admired countries in the world.

There is also Germany’s successful experiment with Federalism, balancing the central government in Berlin with 16 states with their own cultures, cuisines, histories and dialects, including more Catholic Bavaria and Baden Württemberg in the south and more Protestant Brandenburg, Berlin, Hamburg and Saxony in the north.

And let’s not forget export-oriented Germany’s ascent to the 4th largest nation in the world in GDP, propelled to a large extent by legendary German engineering.

Romantic Germany?

“To possess another language, Charlemagne tells us, is to possess another soul. German is such a language. Once you have it in your head, you can go there anytime, you can close the door, you have a refuge.”
― John le Carre, “Absolute Friends”

For anyone looking for romance in a city, one would be hard pressed to do better than Paris. For those searching for a fascinating city with tales of intrigue, espionage and hair-raising history (assumes you have hair), John F. Kennedy had it right: “Let them come to Berlin.”

When Almost DailyBrett first discussed our honeymoon with bride Jeanne, your author suggested München and the Bavarian Alps (e.g., real Disneyland castles) as a part of our romantic celebration of our nuptials. My suggestion was greeted with a curious expression, ‘why would anyone celebrate a new marriage in Germany?’

Didn’t Bernie Sanders take his new bride to the USSR?

Jeanne and your author arrived at a 2015 compromise, an equal sharing of Bavarian fairytale villages and mountains and Under the Tuscan Sun art and villas. Two years later, we took our own self-guided grand three-week tour of Deutschland including Heidelberg, Berlin,  Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Nürnberg, München and an 11st. Century castle in Oberwesel towering over the Rhine.

For more than a few, pure and simple snobbery precludes them from ever setting foot in the Federal Republic of Germany. They envision large mugs of foaming beer and piles of sausages served by waiters and waitresses speaking an ugly language. They state their preference for vino as if the Rhine Valley doesn’t produce some of the best wines in the world.

What they are missing is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth, a nation that has successfully addressed its past (Vergangenheitsbewältigung), and now offers one of the best standards of living on the planet. That wasn’t the case when Almost DailyBrett visited West Germany in 1987, two years before The Wall came down and the ensuing reunification.

Despite the fact that Angela Merkel sometimes rolls her eyes at Donald Trump (Vladimir Putin too), Germany remains as one of America’s greatest friends on the global stage. The world is better for today’s integrated into the European Union, Germany.

No one should be afraid to proclaim: “Ich bin ein Germanophile.”

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