Tag Archive: Elizabeth Edwards


“The ‘everyone does it’ defense eradicates the higher level of conduct we should expect from those in powerful positions. We really should hold news anchors and presidents to a higher standard; they are invested with an extraordinary amount of trust and power.” – Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Everyone does it … “

There is probably not a parent anywhere on the fruited plain, who has not heard some variation of these overused words.

Thought I had dispensed with that phrase, until I heard: “All my other professors are (i.e., changing my grade, giving me more time on a required paper, providing for extra credit, excusing unexcused absences …), why won’t you?”

During the 1970s-era regime of Tricky Dick and the ensuing Watergate break-in and cover-up, Richard Nixon diehards, and there were literally millions of them, would gamely try to deflect attention from the rampant paranoia of their champion by lamely bringing up the tiresome, “All politicians do the same thing …”nixon1

Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, and yet there are some, who are getting long in the tooth, to this very day who will contend that all politicians are crooked and therefore Tricky Dick was unfairly persecuted by the history of his own making.

We went through a similar exercise in the 1990s with Bill Clinton and his scandal du-jour administration (i.e., Whitewater, cattle futures, Paula Corbin Jones, Starr Report, Marc Rich pardon…) only to be told repeatedly in a transparent effort to change the subject that “All politicians do it.”

By the time the turn of the new century was upon us we as a nation were in a state of exhaustion when it came to the seemingly endless sordid accounts emanating from the Lincoln Bedroom to the Oval Office.

And now we are on the precipice of being treated to Darwin-forbid 11-more years (2015-2025) of integrity vs. money decisions with money always prevailing. And in response, we will be told by the Kool-Aid drinkers that all politicians and by extension supposedly “objective” journalists that they all engage in similar behavior.

The plethora of stories of deleted emails, high-six-figure speaking fees, lying to the New York Times, failure to report contributions, negotiating Russia’s takeover of some of our uranium deposits are all being dismissed as conduct becoming any politician.

What an incredibly weak argument.

Begging to Differ

Some members of the Sacramento Capitol Press Corps used to joke that my boss, Governor George Deukmejian’s favorite color was gray. They were not exactly right, but they were correct that Governor Deukmejian was as straight-arrow as they come, retiring each evening to more work, Gloria, the kids, the beagles and his beloved Jamoca Almond Fudge.

As a press secretary, I never had to worry that my governor would be a late-night John Edwards visiting his mistress, Rielle, and love child, Frances, at the Beverly Hilton, while his wife Elizabeth was back home dying of cancer.edwards1

Think of it this way: Even though the partisan wars have continued unabated during the past 14 years, the last two presidents have not been ensnared in personal transgressions.

Yes there are hundreds upon thousands who vehemently oppose the Iraq War, but George W. Bush could be counted to love and support his wife, Laura, be a good father to his twin daughters, and a role model of a solid citizen and one committed to exercise and good personal habits.

The same is true about Barack Obama. Once again there are hundreds upon thousands, who oppose mandatory redistribution of hard-earned income and Obamacare, but at the same time you know he loves Michelle and his two daughters. He and Michelle have been superb role models for healthy eating and exercise.

George Deukmejian, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are all examples that fly in the face of the “All politicians do it” chorus.

Yes, there are those who cheat on their spouses, conceive love children, tweet their private parts, pound on bathroom stalls, fail to report income, destroy physical or digital evidence, receive oval sex in the oral office, obstruct justice, and the list is seemingly endless.monicabill

Alas, this behavior extends to supposedly objective media elites who fail to disclose donations to less-than-charitable causes, fabricate war stories, attach igniters to trucks, deliberately ignore fabricated documents, practice checkbook journalism by hiring a presidential daughter for $600,000, keynote party fundraisers, and trigger conflict of interest questions.

Is there going to be an “all news anchors do it” chorus in weak defense of those who have an obligation to fair-and-balanced reporting?

Parents have long rejected these arguments from their children. Mumsy used to tell the author of Almost DailyBrett, “If everyone is jumping off the cliff, does that mean you have to jump off the cliff too?”

Jennifer Rubin raises a salient question: Shouldn’t we be holding those in power and trust to a higher standard than everyone else? National politicians and elite journalists have risen to the apex of the most powerful nation on earth. They have asked for our trust. We may or may not give them the reins of power. Shouldn’t they perform with integrity without even the perception of wrongdoing?

Reports indicate that Millennials are turning away from government and politics in droves. Can we blame them when they see nothing but gridlock, name calling, deflections and obfuscation? How can we promote public service to Millennials in the face of widespread scandal by those who would serve us and those who inform us? This problem is magnified when we justify their disgraceful antics with overused one-liners.

Instead of dismissing unacceptable behavior, shouldn’t we be demanding a restoration of universal decency, integrity and honesty?

It all starts with rejecting the Mother of All Weak Arguments: “Everyone does it … “

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2015/05/20/moral-equivalence-endangers-journalism-and-governance/?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.people-press.org/2015/05/19/hillary-clinton-approval-timeline/

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/lying-to-the-new-york-times/

 

 

“Not disclosing the DUI on my terms may have been the single costliest political mistake I ever made … I may have just cost myself the presidency.” – President George W. Bush

“We should have brought it (DUI arrest) up at a time and place of our choosing. I should have made a more convincing case for doing so. Instead I helped George W. Bush keep a secret that almost cost him the White House.” – Karl Rove, Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush

How could a Maine drunk-driving arrest in America’s bicentennial year lead to the infamous hanging-chads election debacle in Florida 24 years later?DUI

As virtually all of us know, George W. Bush used to drink. And with the consumption of alcohol, sometimes more than one or two beers too many,  the probability of a drunk driving arrest increases. That’s exactly what happened to Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine on Labor Day weekend in 1976.

Serving as Governor of Texas two decades later, Bush was asked by reporters if he was ever arrested for DUI. He didn’t tell a fib, but he also did not tell the whole truth about his 0.10 blood-alcohol level DUI misdemeanor, paying a fine and having his license suspended for 30 days.

Instead, he confided that he did not have a perfect record; he engaged in foolish activities as a youth; and he urged fellow Texans to not drink and drive. Having the vantage point of history, we know now this response while technically correct was an opportunity lost.

Reflecting back on his evasive answer, Bush realized that he could have held an event with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) – and use this backdrop to disclose his own DUI – putting out the negative news at a time and place of his own choosing … and over time making the 1976 Kennebunkport arrest ancient history.

A specifically timed disclosure was exactly the advice of his aides, Rove and Karen Hughes, and conceivably others on the governor’s staff, but Bush stubbornly would not agree to get the DUI out in the public and on the record. Instead, this DUI magically came into the public consciousness exactly four days before the closest-ever 2000 election.

Rove contended that even if this DUI revelation moved 2 percent of the electorate to shift from Bush to Al Gore or from Bush to not voting that would have cost the then-Texas Governor 2.1 million votes. Translated: Instead of razor-thin wins in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa and Oregon – all four of these states ended up in the Al Gore column – Florida’s electoral votes may not have been necessary and history would have been different.

Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell It Fast, Move On

I’ve oftentimes said that years ago I made some mistakes. I drank too much, and I did on that night … I regret that it happened, but it did. I learned my lesson.” – Governor George W. Bush to reporters four days before election-day in 2000bushdui

The mantra in effective crisis communications is first-and-foremost to tell the truth. Tell the complete story, tell it as fast as possible (not four days before a national election). Move on quickly, hopefully preventing the story from having “legs.”

Let’s face reality here. Almost DailyBrett has seen cases where personal pride and human nature cause good people to sweep unwanted remembrances underneath the rug, hoping they will never be heard from again. Darn it, these stories have a habit of slithering out just when you least expect them.

We watched in amused horror as former presidential candidate John Edwards denied repeatedly that he had an affair and a love child (e.g., Frances Quinn) with videographer Rielle Hunter while his wife Elizabeth, was fighting a losing battle against cancer.

After days of kicking and screaming, Edwards came clean about the affair with Hunter, but still denied the love child, but even this revelation was not the whole truth. Eventually, the National Enquirer got a story right, complete with photos of Edwards, Hunter and their lovely offspring.edwards1

Did someone say something about Tell the Truth, Tell it All, Tell it Fast and Move On?

Does anyone give a rat’s derriere about John Edwards anymore?

Manage or Be Managed

“The news of the arrest came out at the worst possible time, with only four days to go in the campaign. Many have suggested that I would have served my candidate better had I insisted he disclose it earlier; maybe so.” – Karen Hughes, Counselor to President George W. Bush

When it comes to the most important public relations and brand/reputation management of all, our own personal PR and our own brand and reputation, we all have a choice: manage or be managed.

The campaign apparatus of George W. Bush conducted opposition research on their own candidate, which is standard practice as one knows the other side of the aisle will be digging into the weeds looking for “good dirt.” The Bush campaign oppo research did not discover the DUI, even though it was buried in the public records in scenic Kennebunkport. The erroneous conclusion: The coast was clear.

Instead, the storm clouds with no coincidence came pouring in at the worst time possible for the Bush campaign and with it a sudden break of momentum and the potential loss of more than 2 million votes

We could have been spared the one-month legal spectacle of hanging chads in Florida.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/06/AR2010110602835.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/05/AR2010030502249.html

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

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

 

 

 

 

weiner

“It’s only a blow j..”

How many times has the author of Almost DailyBrett heard Clintonistas defend the former president’s eight years in the Oral Office with this almost instinctive reaction?

Is it only an act of oral sex between consenting adults: One the leader of the free world and the other an intern from Lewis & Clark College? Or does it speak to the judgment of the nation’s highest ranking public servant at the time?

As the old axiom goes: “Good government is good politics.”

Does getting caught with your pants down run counter to either good government or good politics? And if so, does that unspeakable act(s) spell curtains for the offenders? Does the Schlange trump the brain? Does anyone care, anymore?

Maybe we should take a hike along the “Appalachian Trail.”

Nearly three decades ago the mere cheating on one’s spouse could spell doom to one’s political aspirations, particularly for the highest office in the land. A perfect example is the 1984 end of former Senator Gary Hart’s “New Ideas” campaign in the wake of his widely dispersed photograph, triumphantly displaying Donna Rice aboard the “Monkey Business.”

The careers of former Oregon Senator Bob Packwood and Washington Senator Brock Adams came to premature ends in the 1990s as a result of the senators intermingling with nice looking office staffers serving boxed wine and Mickey Finn’s respectively.

Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom violated the so-called “Man rule” by having an affair with the wife of his deputy chief of staff/campaign manager. Newsom is now California’s lieutenant governor. His career is far from over.

In 1992, then Governor Bill Clinton accompanied by then Arkansas First Lady Hillary Clinton heroically defended the governor’s extra-curricular activities with Jennifer Flowers on a memorable edition of 60 Minutes.

As it turns out, Mizz Flowers was a prelude for Kathleen Willey and she was a predecessor for Paula Corbin Jones and then came an intern by the name of Monica Lewinsky.

And for the past 15 years in the wake of the Kenneth Starr Report and the political resurrection of William Jefferson Clinton the rationalization has been oft-repeated: “It’s only a blow j..”

The inference is the conducting of the office was not impacted, so what is the big deal?

This question comes full circle (no pun intended) with the comeback attempts of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, the desperate actions of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and the recent election of former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

What unifies these four political animals (and presumably others) is the desire to remain/return to the game despite questionable judgment when it comes to their zippers.

Sanford hiked the “Appalachian Trail” to cover up his affair in Argentina. He was recently elected to a South Carolina House seat, a come down from being the state’s chief executive. He is still in the game for now.

Weiner is attempting to become Gotham’s Mayor despite sexting his junk (Weiner’s Wiener) via Twitter to chosen damsels across the fruited plain.

Spitzer wants to be New York City Comptroller after being “Customer No. 9” run by the madam at the exclusive Emperor’s Club.

And Filner is apologizing to anybody and everybody, even forcing his staff to take sexual harassment training, in an attempt to survive and let the whole thing blow over.

Does this mean the public is numb to sexual escapades and that we really don’t care what goes on in the executive bedroom or even the White House? According to recent polls in New York, the public cares less about sexual adventures than it does a politician putting his or her hand in the public coffer. Both Weiner and Spitzer are benefitting from his lack of overall concern about flexible morals and they are all capitalizing on their respective name IDs.

Indeed, the level of public tolerance has changed, even though we should note and even celebrate that Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Bush II and Obama all conceivably went home to their respective spouses every evening.

My boss, former California Governor George Deukmejian, went home each night to Gloria, the kids, the beagles and his beloved jamoca-almond fudge. As his press secretary, I slept better at night knowing this fact, even though his cholesterol count was most likely higher than it should have been.

john_edwards2_240

Having acknowledged the obvious change in public attitudes, there are limits to popular acceptance. Take would be President/Vice President and former Senator John Edwards. He cheated on his dying wife, Elizabeth, with his videographer. He lied about it. He had a love child with the same videographer, Rielle Hunter. He lied about the child. His wife died after fighting against breast cancer while her husband cheated and lied.

071218-rielle-hunter1

The mantra of crisis communications is: Tell the Truth, Tell it Fast, Tell it All, Move On.

Edwards got only one right. He tried to simply Move On.

Messrs.’ Sanford, Weiner, Spitzer, Newsom and Filner are trying to Move On as well.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/13/2013-elections-marked-by-candidates-seeking-redemption-will-voters-forgive/?test=latestnews

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/07/16/how-anthony-weiner-and-eliot-spitzer-are-winning/?wpisrc=nl_politics

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/men-and-their-schlanges/

http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/AIDE-QUITS-AS-NEWSOM-S-AFFAIR-WITH-HIS-WIFE-IS-2652745.php#photo-2105071

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

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-filner-claims-20130715,0,6397291.story

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