Tag Archive: FDR


Wednesday is the National Day of Mourning in America for President George H.W. Bush.

Tomorrow will be the day we celebrate the life of an exemplary American, who maintained and enhanced a sense of dignity to the greatest executive office on the globe: The Presidency.

It will also be a time to reflect on a time when it was truly “Morning in America” as exemplified by the most admired positive political advertisement that ever crossed the nation’s broadcast airwaves.

As Time Magazine reflected on the 1984, 60-second Reagan-Bush ad, Morning in America, the spot was “simple, patriotic and inspirational.”

For Almost DailyBrett, the passing of President Bush – 14 years after the loss of one of our best presidents, Ronald Reagan – officially brings to a close the greatest decade in American history, The 1980s.

Your author as many of the readers of this blog already know was serving as the campaign press director and later press secretary for another former California Governor George Deukmejian, when President Reagan and Vice President Bush were transforming America.

It was indeed: Morning in America.

Even though this level of praise may be seem to be overgenerous to some, your author fondly remembers the Reagan-Bush years (1980-1993) as a simply wonderful time to be an American.

Were the 1980s, perfect? That toughest of all standards is unachievable for any decade. Having acknowledged the obvious, when was the last time that America elected, re-elected and then elected again a president-vice presidential team as it did when Bush became president in 1988?

The answer was four decades before when Harry S. Truman followed another renowned president, FDR.

An integral building block of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is the undeniable fact that Americans overwhelmingly elected George H.W. Bush as his successor, continuing the successful path set by his administration. The greatest peactime economic expansion in American history ensued under Reagan’s watch with the creation of 19 million new jobs.

Some pundits predicted with certainty during the desultory 1970s that America would never again elect a two-term president, let alone three terms of the same party, the same philosophical-political direction.

Whatever happened to these Brady Bunch rocket scientists?

Among the many achievements of Bush’s presidency, today’s pundits are pointing to his discipline to literally not dance on the collapsed Berlin Wall in 1989. That heavily criticized decision played a huge role in the Cold War ending without a shot being fired two years later.

Can We Say Today: “It’s Morning Again In America … “?

“It’s morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history.” – Reagan-Bush 1984 television campaign spot

“In today’s fractured media universe, it is unlikely that a single paid TV spot (Morning in America) will again approach that kind of influence.” – Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss

As we approach the upcoming and expected vicious 2020 presidential cycle, can any campaign credibly champion the notion of a happy dawn across America’s fruited plain? “Make America Great Again” with its implied criticism is catchy, but it is not the universally positive, “Morning in America.”

Even more to the point, will the most remembered campaign ads in the two years actually be positive in nature? Almost DailyBrett will take the “under.” Expect reptilian spots to dominate the airwaves/social media until they mercifully come to an end on November 3, 2020.

In the meantime, it is “Mourning in America.”

It is also a great time to reflect on a much better era — The 1980s — when it was truly “Morning in America.”

“It’s morning again in America

Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history

With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980

Nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes

More than at any time in the past four years

This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be married

And with inflation at less than half what it was just four years ago

They can look forward with confidence to the future

It’s morning again in America

And under the leadership of President Reagan

Our country is prouder, and stronger, and better

Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?” 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/business/the-ad-that-helped-reagan-sell-good-times-to-an-uncertain-nation.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1842516_1842514_1842575,00.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/back-to-the-1980s/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/roosevelt-and-reagan-for-rushmore/

 

A simple little phrase is ultimately bringing down one of the longest standing and most influential global leaders in the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The final demise of German Chancellor Angela Merkel after 13 years in office, most likely next year, comes three years after she grabbed and clutched the new highest voltage Third Rail of Politics: Asylum Immigration.

In 2015, Merkel unilaterally decided to allow approximately 1.2 million asylum seekers (about the size of metropolitan Portland, Oregon) from the Middle East into a country of 82 million.

From a public relations standpoint, there was very little explanation and preparation by Merkel and her government to garner public support for such a drastic upsurge of immigrants into the 4th largest economy in the world.

„Wir schaffen das,” proclaimed Angela Merkel. Simply translated: “We can do it.”

Die Kanzerlin, who is affectionately known as “Mutti’ or Mother, was widely seen for so many years as being a steady source of deliberate and reasoned decisions. Merkel deserves praise for her vital role in the completion of Germany’s public relations miracle (Öffentlichkeitsarbeitswunder), rising from the globe’s #1 pariah at Zero Hour 1945 to the most admired country in the world.

She has been acknowledged as the most powerful woman on earth, and yet the Ph.D in quantum chemistry was a steady hand for Germany’s now enduring and successful democracy.

At one time, Merkel was universally viewed as one of modern Germany’s greatest chancellors, comparable to her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) predecessors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl.

Is the bloom off the rose?

Almost DailyBrett acknowledges that once she makes a major decision that Merkel is an influential leader.

When the ground shook Japan’s (e.g., 8.9 earthquake) Fukushima nuclear reactor in 2011, Merkel immediately announced that Germany would prudently exit nuclear power by 2022.

When the southern nations of the European Union were attempting to break the 2 percent budget deficit limitation rule (e.g., particularly Greece), Merkel imposed fiscal austerity, and by extension Germany’s will.

When a particular bully arrived on the scene and tried to push her around and intimidate with a large canine (e.g., Russia’s Vladimir Putin), she demonstrated her resolve.

No leader in the European leader has done more to get into the face of the former KGB chief, and yet her leadership always represented Germany as a reluctant hegemon.

Most of all because of Germany’s solid incorporation into the European Union and the passage of time, Germans now joyously wave their flag and are proud of their normal nation.

“Half-Dead Wreck”?

“I don’t want to be a half-dead wreck when I leave politics.” – Angela Merkel

In nations without term limits (e.g., Germany), leaders can overstay their welcome. More than a few in history failed to recognize the flashing lights about when it’s time to step down … usually at the 12-year-mark … from the bully pulpit (i.e., FDR, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl).

After inviting 1.2 million asylum seekers into Germany without any preamble, and worse women celebrating New Year’s Eve in Cologne being sexually assaulted and raped by asylum seekers, the tide was turning against Angela Merkel.

The optics — worse yet the reality — of the New Year’s Eve attacks became a metaphor for a decision that was too much, too fast with little societal preparation. Merkel’s chancellorship was coming to an end.

Even though her party was returned to power in 2017, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and her coalition partner, Social Democrats (SPD), repeatedly lost strength to the Greens on the left and the anti-immigrant/anti-EU Alternative for Germany on the right. This electoral trend intensified with breathtaking losses (i.e., Bavaria and Hesse) for the CDU and SPD during the course of this year.

Almost DailyBrett knows her legacy is somewhat tarnished. The question remains: Will history be good to her?

The Caravan Is Coming

Even though comparisons between two nations with two distinct cultures, located nine time zones apart, are difficult at best … one contentious issue ties both of them together: immigration.

In both countries, there are those who espouse completely open borders … come one, come all.

These souls advocate for the right of non-citizens to hold driver’s licenses, serve on public boards and commissions … and even vote.

Wasn’t the privilege of voting reserved for actual citizens?

And just as asylum seekers from Syria and other bad places became the catalyst for the political downfall of Angela Merkel, could an approaching caravan(s) of asylum seekers from Central America become the source of political peril here in America?

Before one touches the new third rail of politics … political asylum … America’s political class would be well advised to weigh what happened to Angela Merkel’s tenure as Germany’s chancellor, and most likely her legacy as well.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/opinion/in-merkel-europe-loses-a-leader.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/world/europe/angela-merkel-germany.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46020745

https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-drops-the-we-can-do-it-slogan-catchphrase-migration-refugees/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/putins-pooch-und-merkels-dog-o-phobia/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/the-right-leader-for-the-fatherlandeurope-just-happens-to-be-a-woman/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/morning-in-germany/

 

“One hundred and forty characters are suitable to expressing an impulse, but not an argument. It is the rhetorical equivalent of a groan, a shriek, a sneer or a burp. If reason and persuasion are what our politics lacks and needs, Twitter is not the answer.” — Nationally Syndicated Columnist Michael Gerson

At 71-years young, Donald John Trump is the oldest to take the presidential oath of office.

One would suspect a man of his age would be next-to-clueless about social media/digital technology — (remember out-of-touch George H.W. Bush and his amazement about the supermarket scanner?) — but one would be wrong.trump-twitter

Just as FDR used the radio-and-its-widespread-network for his fireside chats; Ronald Reagan five decades later repeatedly went before the cameras to go directly to the people and bypass Congress. Why should we be surprised that Trump is using Twitter to go around the media?

Agenda Setting Theory means that elite media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, ABC, CBS, NBC) pose the topics for the grateful masses to think about. Trump’s Twitter posts are usurping this cherished interpretive media role, and the ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate are not amused.

Have the Nixon days of the “nattering nabobs of negativism” returned with a daily war being waged between the elite media and the White House? Is the media appalled or secretly thrilled to have such an adversary to bring crashing to the earth?spicer

Sean Spicer is the present press secretary for the 45th chief executive. How long will he hold this job? Obama had three press secretaries (i.e., Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, Josh Earnest) during the span of eight years. Almost DailyBrett will take the over on the question of whether this president will have three-or-more press secretaries.

One of the daily problems facing Spicer is pleasing his insatiable boss, while at the same time not getting eaten alive by the piranha covering the White House. Serving as press secretary may ultimately be rewarding in the form of a best-selling, tell-all book, but for now it is most likely the supreme thankless job on the planet.

Digital Is Eternal

“Are you insinuating that I am a purveyor of terminological inexactitudes?” – Winston Churchill

As California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary (1987-1989), the author of Almost DailyBrett never worried about whereabouts his my boss (e.g., the governor went home to Gloria, the kids and the beagles). Your author was never concerned about what he was going to say in response to media questions (e.g., The Duke’s political judgment was superb/his message consistency was outstanding), and what he did at night … presumably he slept soundly.

Spicer and the Trump communication team always need to worry about political judgment/discipline, and particularly what the energizer-bunny president is doing at 3 am … namely his love affair with Twitter’s 140-characters.trumptwitterhillary

Are the Trump communicators tempted to program their smart phones to send S-O-S signals every time the boss fires off another tweet? Heck, sleep is way overrated anyway. Think of it this way, when a POTUS tweet is sent from God’s time zone (EST), it is already 8 am in London, 9 am in Berlin and 11 am in Moscow.

For the media on presidential “death watch” (those who must stay up in the White House briefing room as the president ostensibly sleeps), they now have something to do: Monitor the POTUS Twitter account.

Is there any way to mitigate and moderate what The Donald decides to tweet, save being in the president’s living quarters at 3 am (EST)? Would he listen to his communication pros anyway? The hardest part of the job for Trump’s  press secretary may be responding to wire service calls at all hours of the morning to add color to a tweet that he saw at the same time as the reporters.

Some of the 140-missives may make perfect sense and will be consistent with the policies and the programs of the administration. Others … well, they could be about almost anything including inaugural crowd sizes or “alternative facts.”

Considering the government’s record of telling the truth has been less than stellar over the decades (e.g., LBJ’s “Credibility Gap” during Vietnam, Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” and Jody Powell’s “Right to Lie” during the Iran hostage crisis), are we surprised an administration is resorting to terminological inexactitudes?

What is breathtaking is the number in the first week alone, but more noticeable is the speed, namely through 140-characters or less Twitter.

How many tweets will POTUS fire off its cyberspace in four years or maybe eight years? Will there be any political-and-editorial discipline imposed?

Don’t count on it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-a-tweeting-president-is-so-bad-for-our-politics/2017/01/26/9a6892a8-e3f0-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.06b7a51ec1ce&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/presidenc1/tp/List-Of-Obama-Press-Secretaries.htm

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33875.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/the-other-side-of-the-story/

 

 

 

 

“You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes; well you just might find; you get what you need.” – Jagger, Richards

Great tune, but does it work as an uplifting campaign-theme song?

The author of Almost DailyBrett used to snicker at the thought of a blushing bride choosing this song for the first dance with her new groom: You can’t always get what you want (in grooms) … (but hopefully) you get what you need.trumpstones

For the same reason, one must wonder why the Donald Trump campaign chose “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as one of the musical closers of the quadrennial Republican National Convention last July in Cleveland?

The first song following The Donald’s dystopian acceptance speech was “All Right Now” by The Free, which makes sense. That is not the case with the next song, the Rolling Stones classic, “You Can’t Get What You Want.”

After dispatching 17 other Republican presidential aspirants in the primaries and caucuses was Donald Trump all the GOP needed?

The same applies to using the very same Rolling Stones song immediately following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour speech last week in Cincinnati.

Mick and Keith are not happy and have shared their displeasure with the Trump campaign and the media, only to be told that the Stones must accept not getting any satisfaction on this one.micktrump

The music has been purchased and is being played in a public place, so the Trump campaign does not owe the Stones one shekel for their song and is offering zero apologies.

Okay now that we have that dispute (un)settled, let’s access from a public relations standpoint how songs can or cannot serve as metaphors for advocacy.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Some campaigns have trouble coming up with consistent themes. If identifying an appropriate mantra is a problem (and that was the case for Hillary Clinton), then finding a related song which resonates with the public and the times is doubly tough.

One of the most successful efforts was the use of “Happy Days Are Here Again” by FDR at the Democratic convention during the height of the Depression in 1932.

Sixty years later, Arkansas Governor (and Hillary’s hubby) played Fleetwood Mac’s futuristic “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” to offer a dramatic contrast to President George H.W. Bush’s tired administration.billclintonsax

Eight years later, the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush employed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and The Who’s anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in direct defiance to the Clinton-Gore machine.

The appropriateness of songs is not the most serious subject ever pondered by Almost DailyBrett, they still must be consistent with the overall thrust of a presidential campaign.

Even though this author scratches his follicly challenged scalp when contemplating Trump using a song that expresses the frustration of blowing an amplifier fuse, the real issue is whether Republicans are saying to the nation that you can’t get what you want, but Trump is what you need?

For some reason, the song is working at least among those in the hinterlands who have been searching for a champion and not finding her or him in Washington, D.C.

Can any of these “poorly educated” folks as Trump lovingly described them, name any of the four members of the Rolling Stones, much less identify with the lyrics of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”?

Does it matter?

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1840981_1840998_1840923,00.html

http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/22/donald-trump-you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/10/12/mick-jagger-on-trump-using-stones-songs-i-can-t-stop-him.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/victorious-donald-trump-mocks-rolling-9224213

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHU3oAhM4tU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siMFORx8uO8

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TytGVo1O3_w

 

 

 

 

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” – President Ronald Reagan

mountrushmore

Let’s imagine for a nanosecond or two the new Republican Congress and the Democratic President actually decide to embark on a genuine new era of bipartisan cooperation.

We are not talking about mere words that are quickly discarded, but actual deeds. These would be actions that could restore the tattered faith of the American people with those of infinite wisdom that reside and work within the contours of the Beltway.

Here’s an idea for a tangible-and-impressive undertaking, sending an unmistakable signal that a new spirit has arrived in Washington, D.C: Use the backdrop of the 2015 non-election year to pass and sign legislation to add 60-foot-tall likenesses of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan to Mount Rushmore.

The new lineup: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan – six consequential presidents who each earned and achieved the Mount Rushmore mantle of greatness.

FDRmedia

Would it be an easy vote for a GOP Congress to pass legislation to memorialize in granite the architect of the New Deal, the leader of the nation’s war effort against the Axis Powers, and the nation’s longest serving president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Absolutely not.

And likewise, would it take courage for President Barack Obama to resist the easily agitated progressive wing of his party to construct an iconic symbol of the man who restored national faith and took the critical steps to defeat Soviet-style Communism, Ronald Reagan? Yes, indeed.

That’s exactly the point here. Passing and signing this legislation to place Democratic and Republican icons side-by-side on Mount Rushmore will be extremely difficult, but don’t we as Americans specialize in monumental achievements (pardon the pun)?

Why FDR and Reagan for Rushmore?

Next year, it will be 74 years since the work was completed on the fourth and final face on Mount Rushmore: Teddy Roosevelt. The construction, which took 14 years to complete, was to salute the president who represented the birth of a new nation (Washington); one that spurred the growth of the new country (Jefferson); the one who saved the union and abolished slavery (Lincoln); and finally the president who founded the conservation movement and guided America into its role as an international power (T. Roosevelt).

The achievements of FDR and Ronald Reagan rise to the level of enshrinement on Mount Rushmore. Almost DailyBrett is not equating Franklin Delano Roosevelt with George Washington or Ronald Reagan with Abraham Lincoln. That’s not the point in any event.

What is germane is that both of these presidents came to the White House at times when the country was suffering a crisis of confidence: Roosevelt during the Great Depression; Reagan during the Great Inflation. Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan were the evil adversaries during FDR’s time. Reagan was pitted against the Great Inflation and the godless and expansionist Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

reaganatthewall

Historians with their usual histrionics will always debate the merits of FDR and Reagan, but what is indisputable was that America recovered from the Great Depression and the Great Inflation, and nationalistic Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia were all defeated. The conclusion: both FDR and Reagan were two of our nation’s greatest presidents.

Should Others Be Considered?

Harry Truman certainly is being treated well in the history books (he is more popular with historians than he was with the American people when he left office in 1953), but “Give Em Hell Harry” doesn’t rise to Rushmore immortality.

Dwight Eisenhower was a great commander of the Allied Forces in World War II, and he was an extremely popular president. Alas, there are more reasons to put Ike on Rushmore as a commander rather than a commander-in-chief.

John F. Kennedy tragically did not serve long enough in office to earn Rushmore enshrinement. LBJ was driven from office because of the Vietnam quagmire, and Richard Nixon was disgraced by Watergate. Gerald Ford? Historical accident. Jimmy Carter for Rushmore? Please.

The modern presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all fall way short of the standard for carving their likenesses into Mount Rushmore, which leaves FDR and Reagan.

This is not to suggest that FDR (Iron Curtain falling on Eastern Europe) and Reagan (Iran-Contra) were perfect presidents, and quite frankly, that is not the deciding factor. There is no doubt that FDR and Reagan were charismatic, leaders, who presided over consequential presidencies with real achievements that will stand the test of time.

Will the power brokers in Washington, D.C. take this monumental step to add the likenesses of FDR and Reagan to Mount Rushmore? Probably not. Nonetheless, the decision is warranted by history and it would be an even-more important signal that gridlock is not the only tangible outcome in our nation’s capital.

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

http://www.jeanpatrick.com/mount_rushmore_faqs.htm

http://www.nps.gov/moru/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt

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

 

 

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