Tag Archive: Chris Christie


“I’m someone who went to college, had the opportunity in my senior year to go and take a job full-time … and I took it, thinking someday, maybe, I’d go back,” – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkerwalker

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans have never marched up to the podium in a graduation gown, sporting a mortar board and fluttering tassel to receive a bachelor’s degree, let alone an advanced degree.

Does this automatically mean that two-out-of-every-three Americans are automatically disqualified from serving in the Oval Office? That seems to be the implication as the Washington Post weighed the fact Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker went to college, but didn’t finish. Sounds like a familiar story for way too many people.

As the 2014 mid-term elections are growing more distant in the nation’s rear-view mirror, the assembled political proctologists (e.g., talking-head pundits) are starting to probe and analyze the contenders and pretenders for the first open seat for the White House in nearly eight years.

Some have already questioned New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s girth and temperament, reflecting on the fact that Howard Taft was the last rotund American president. Taft ran and won (1908) and then lost (1912) in a pre-digital-video era. That was then; this is now as evidenced by Time Magazine’s November 2013 “Elephant in the Room” cover focusing on Christie with a not-so-subtle reminder of his weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Translated: The majority of Americans are not obese, albeit far too many are overweight, a distinction with a difference. Weight is clearly a problem for Governor Christie both politically and physically. A presidential debate involving Christie may not be a pretty sight.christie

Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc.

Not having a college degree may not be a big deal for the folks on Main Street, who probably don’t have the hallowed degree either, but it is a huge deal for the Harvardheads, attending the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C. and in Midtown Manhattan.

For the Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc., a bachelor’s degree or better from an Ivy League school is a minimum qualification to occupy the Oval Office. Consider the academic pedigree of the last four presidents:

  • Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
  • George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree from Yale and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
  • Bill Clinton received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown, earned a Rhodes Scholarhsip and his law degree from Yale.
  • George H.W. Walker received a bachelor’s degree from Yale.

Ronald Reagan received his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College (Illinois) in economics and sociology in 1932. Tiny Eureka College with its 785 students (Go Red Devils) will never be confused with a Big Ten School, let alone an Ivy League university. And yet, Reagan is regarded as one of our best presidents.

The same applies and more to Harry S. Truman, who never attended college. Despite this “handicap,” history called on Truman to make some of the toughest calls in the nation’s history (e.g., use of the atomic bombs, firing Douglas MacArthur) in the period beginning at the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War and its first-ever nuclear threat.

Can a Governor Without a Degree Become a President Without a Degree?

“I’ve got a master’s degree in taking on the big-government special interests, and I think that is worth more than anything else that anybody can point to.” – Governor Scott Walker 

There are many during the past four years who wrote off Walker, particularly after he invoked the eternal wrath of Wisconsin’s public employee unions. As it turns out, he survived a recall and was twice elected governor of the Dairy State; his re-election was last November.

Is the fact that Walker not having a degree, game, set and match for any presidential aspirations, particularly for the Washington cocktail circuit? Most likely this crowd will have influence, particularly during the before-the-primaries shadow campaign when it comes to raising the estimated $88 million or so that it will take to win a party nomination.

Major contributors are not looking to make a donation, but an investment in a candidate that has a chance to win. There is no doubt that Walker is both bright and smart, but that will not stop the know-it-all Pharisees from pointing to the governor’s lack of a degree and thus question whether he has the “gravitas” to do the job.Truman1

Our constitution precludes those who were born overseas or just over the border from running for the presidency. There is not a similar stipulation in the same document when it comes to having a college degree (e.g., Truman and Grover Cleveland were degreeless), but for all intents and purposes it could be a game-ender for Governor Walker and presumably any others that aspire to the highest office without a diploma on the wall.

Almost DailyBrett hopes this indeed is not the case, believing in the romantic notion that anyone with fortitude and perseverance — and not just those with diplomas — can aspire for the highest office in the land.

Almost DailyBrett Note: Credit for the clever term, “Harvardheads” or the Ivy League types that populate Washington, D.C. and Wall Street in particular must be directed to former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan. She references these creatures several times in her book, “What I Saw At The Revolution.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/08/scott-walker-has-no-college-degree-thats-normal-for-an-american-but-not-a-president/?wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/life-in-your-years/

http://www.rove.com/articles/564

 

 

 

Damn the Teleprompters!

Planes sometimes land at the wrong airport.

When we were kids we practiced huddling under our desks, if heaven forbid something really unpleasant was happening.

There is a reason every team has a backup quarterback.

And every good organization should have a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C.

Anybody at Samsung ever heard of Murphy’s Law?

baystage1

What can go wrong, will go wrong.

Caca happens from time-to-time. Be prepared to deal with it.

Think of it this way: Prevention is as much a component of effective crisis communications as responding to an actual debacle.

Typing in the name, “Michael Bay” and “CES” into the Google search engine and the result is 21.7 million web mentions devoted to the producer’s viral walkout of the biggest gizmo trade show on the planet, The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, attended by 140,000 techies.

This public relations train wreck has become a metaphor for Samsung’s underwhelming recent financial performance. That is the conclusion of the stately Economist.

Comedian Tina Fey even made fun at Michael Bay and by extension, Samsung, at the Golden Globes.

Let’s face it, life is not perfect. Sometimes airplanes filled with passengers land at the wrong airport. Southwest Airlines is practicing crisis response today.

And to many, that is their definition of crisis communications being cool under fire and following the mantra: Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast. Move On. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was practicing just that last week. Hopefully, the airline can take steps to ensure that its Boeing 737s always land at their intended destinations and move on.

The point here is that crisis communications is not just an after-the-fact exercise. Good crisis management is to take steps to ensure that what should be a victory does not turn out to be a viral defeat in our digital age.

Repeatedly watching the video of Michael Bay, one is immediately struck by his nervousness. The Transformers director/producer is clearly a guy, who likes to call the shots, to be in total control. He wants to be behind the camera, not in front of the lens.

baystage2

At CES, his performance right from the start was akin to someone walking on a tightrope. He clearly did not want to be there. If that was the case, why was he there? Yes, he fit into the marketing theme for Samsung’s new 105-inch curved ultra-high-definition television. (Personally, I am holding out for the 105-foot curved ultra-high-definition TV).  He may have been paid handsomely for his services.

Was it worth it, Samsung?

Bay was exhibiting all the signs of Glossophobia, combining the Greek words for “tongue” and “dread,” or fear of public speaking. Did Samsung put Bay through presentation training? And if not; why not? And if so, did the company practice what happens if the teleprompter goes down?

Let’s ask another question here: Why a teleprompter? It makes sense when POTUS delivers the nearly one-hour (or more) long State of the Union address. Why does one need a teleprompter to read to an audience? Why not engage in a conversation?

Some disdain PowerPoint or Prezi. Nonetheless Steve Jobs was a master of the format. Wearing his signature black turtleneck, jeans and tennis shoes and strapping on the lavaliere microphone, he confidently used each graphic as a prompt. He was obviously comfortable with the Apple message, after all he pretty much invented the technology (e.g., Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad etc.). The Macworld audiences fed off of his energy. All was good at Apple’s marketing department.

jobskeynote

Having checked out more than a few trade shows and investor conferences, the audience is ultimately looking for and expecting information about a company’s products and how they fit into the corporate business strategy.

Does Michael Bay know any of these facts when it comes to Samsung? Or did Samsung just want him to lend his name and cool reputation and mindlessly read his company produced lines and depart stage left? Well, Bay departed stage left but not in the way that Samsung wanted.

Another question that comes to mind revolves around co-presenting Samsung exec John Stinziano, who had the opportunity to reassure Michael Bay and save the day. He made a feeble attempt to make it all better but in the end just punted the presentation.

Couldn’t Stinziano pick up the ball and make the presentation about the 105-inch curved  TV? In football parlance, the term is next guy up. In this case, the star attraction just left the building. This was no time for the deer in the headlights look.

To use even another metaphor, The Show Must Go On.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4rMy1iA268

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-michael-bay-ces-slips-up-slinks-out-of-samsung-event-20140106,0,2153575.story#axzz2qIb9AJLg

http://www.today.com/tech/michael-bay-flames-out-stage-during-samsung-presentation-ces-2D11869413

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/12/tina-fey-mocks-michael-bays-ces-bomb-at-the-golden-globes/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bay

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21593488-south-korean-giant-has-lousy-start-new-year-fluffed-lines

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101331658

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Electronics_Show

Life in Your Years?

“The Elephant in the Room.”

elephant

Time Magazine editors must think they are oh-so-very clever with their double … maybe even triple … entendre silhouette cover. Some readers were offended. Some were not. Nonetheless, people are talking about it, which deep down inside you know was the ultimate goal.

Re-elected in a landslide last week in a dependable blue state, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has a bright political future…but one must ask: How much life is there in his remaining years?

His doctor cannot be happy with his weight, which drew the questionable Time cover. The question is how many other Americans are battling the bulge, and thus limiting not only their years on this planet, but the life in their years?

America’s two most recent presidents, regardless whether you agree or disagree with their politics and policies (e.g., Obamacare, Iraq War), have been models for the nation when it comes to physical fitness. Even in the face of the incredible stress that comes with the presidency, Barack Obama can be repeatedly seen shooting a basketball or playing golf. He is a classic ectomorph.

obamabasketball

His predecessor, George W. Bush, worked out every morning before heading to the Oval Office for the daily 7 am national security briefing. Bush and his Trek bicycle were a constant during his summer vacations at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

georgew

Come to think of it, our presidents have for the most part been relatively fit (okay Bill Clinton had an affinity for Big Macs). This point is particularly true with the advent of the television age and the impact of the tube on politics. The last truly Christie-like, portly president was Howard Taft in the early years of the 20th Century.

If elected, Christie would obviously break this trend. Even though he has been trying to lose weight and reportedly had undergone lap-band surgery, does having a rotund chief executive send the wrong health message to a nation in which two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese?

Former Navy doc Frederic Morgan was my primary physician, when I lived in Pleasanton, CA. He is huge believer in the Body-Mass Index (BMI) to determine the optimum weight for his patients. He repeatedly made the point to me (and presumably others) that lean humans are the ones that are most likely to live long-and-healthy lives. They are the ones who more times than not will have life in their years.

That is a contrast to the notion of years in your life. Think of it this way: What is the point of having years of your life, when you are essentially incapacitated? And yet millions are experiencing or looking at just this prospect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

taft

One of the inevitable causes of this alarming number of obese people is a sedentary lifestyle. Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Physics: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

How many people, particularly Baby Boomers, are becoming invalids before our very eyes? How many simply will not climb that flight of stairs? How many will not walk up that hill? How many cannot push themselves away from the television or worse yet, the dinner table?

How many are wasting away the remaining years of their life, drinking themselves into a comfortable stupor in some dive, as described in Almost DailyBrett’s “Running out the Clock.”

Is Almost DailyBrett arguing for or against a Chris Christie presidency? Neither.

If the heavily covered (no pun intended) governor could engage in an active, as opposed to energetic, lifestyle…one that is characterized by cross-training, sensible diet, calories-in, calories-out…and drop 100 pounds or more, he would be a model for the nation.

christie

As noted by pundits, obese people are often the subject of snide, snarky remarks made with impunity. The Time Magazine cover was predictable. More will be coming. The late-night comedians are licking their respective chops.

But what happens if a relatively svelte Chris Christie is elected to White House?

Guess they will be referring to the Republican Elephant in the Room.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2013/11/07/christie-time-magazine-elephant/3465209/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57609404/chris-christie-losing-weight-steadily-medical-report-says/

http://www.state.nj.us/governor/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/running-out-the-clock/

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/new-jersey-governor-chris-christie-2016-presidential-elections-weight-issue-99561.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZys_mi-ERY

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

peta

“Worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all,” – Former White House communications director, political pundit, and 1992 GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie saved a group of young school children visiting his Trenton office last week from a creepy, crawly spider.

He smacked it good, scraped up its remains and tucked the corpse in his suit pocket.

It didn’t take long for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to publicly scold the governor for his insensitivity to one of the smallest of all of Darwin’s creatures.

“He probably did it without thinking,” PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk said.  “Some people put the spider outside, but spiders are often scary to people, and that can prevent them from pondering their worth.”

Soon after late-night-television comedian Jimmy Kimmel had a field day at the expense of the collective worth of both Christie and PETA.

PETA was thrilled. One would suspect that Christie and his gubernatorial handlers were not so thrilled.

To PETA, “All Press is Good Press”…even negative coverage.

Just get the name spelled right.

What does animal rights group PETA and “Worse-than-being-misquoted” Pat Buchanan have in common?

Not much.

Having acknowledged the obvious, both historically have demonstrated the ability to draw gobs of media interest, and both harbor the concept that attention…any attention…is far better than being ignored.

And when it comes to employing attractive female public nudity to draw photographers and videographers, it is no contest between PETA and Pat. Sorry Pat. Keep your shirt on.

PETA’s naked philosophy is simple: Exposure = Discussion = Awareness.

And you just thought Pam Anderson was wearing that lettuce bikini because she likes…lettuce bikinis. There is a method to her undress.

Marci Hansen, who spent five years as a guerilla marketer for PETA, assessed the NGO (non-governmental organization) that has at times been accused of crossing the line between being infamous and being notorious. PETA does not seem to mind being compared to the antics of Greenpeace as long as it succeeds in stimulating a conversation on protecting animal rights.

The goal of social marketers…not to be confused with social media…is to participate and even to lead a conversation online or through conventional media. The PETA strategy is to be at least a part of the conversation, if not the conversation itself, with the goal of safeguarding animals. Does every tactic work? No. Does PETA learn from its tactics? That seems to be modus operandi behind the equation: Success + Failures = Refinement.

Hansen extolled that just having the facts are not enough to win the argument. PETA needs to be good at playing the game…and prolific at drawing attention. Pam Anderson works. Pink works. Sir Paul McCartney works. Good Charlotte works…even labeling Burger King as Murder King works.

Has all of this helped or hindered Marci’s career? It seems the answer is yes and no.

Should aspiring public relations pros work for a notorious NGO even though this kind of association may spell curtains for those seeking employment for firms with a fiduciary eye on expanding the top line and maintaining a solid bottom line? In our segmentation society, where everybody and everything is sliced and diced, labeled and categorized, does the PETA imprimatur potentially spell doom for one’s chances in conventional public relations?

In answering this question, consider that  Marci is the co-founder for SheerID, a Eugene, Oregon-based software technology startup instantaneously verifying student or military status for those offering online discounts to these large…there’s that word again…segments of society.

Marci was gracious enough to lecture a small gathering of students, and reflected that she experienced some difficulty as a result of her PETA past, but also said that many are looking for someone who understands guerilla marketing and other means to draw media attention.

In a world in which the flack-to-media ratio is 3.6-to-1.0, securing attention from the dwindling number of reporters, editors, analysts etc. is getting ever tougher.

The answer to all of these questions boils down to talent and perseverance. Marci has a combination of both in spades. Does this mean that someone should rush off to tell the PETA, Greenpeace, Amnesty International stories and not have a second thought about it, even though she or he may be a true believer?

As the Wizard of Westwood John Wooden once said: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

One thing is certain, working for an infamous, bordering on notorious, NGO is far better than shilling for the absolute nadir of public relations advocacy, Big Tobacco.

Ain’t that right Nick Naylor?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/05/07/jimmy-kimmel-on-chris-christies-spider-squashing-skills-video/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.peta.org/

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/06/watch-n-j-governor-saved-school-children-from-spider-peta-isnt-impressed/#ixzz2T1jBKVSj

http://www.sheerid.com/our-team/

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