Tag Archive: Hard Choices


Hillary’s election was “inevitable” in the 2007-2008 presidential election cycle.

As we all know, it didn’t quite work out that way.

hillaryobama2008

For months, we have been told once again that at least her 2016 Democratic nomination was “inevitable,” and quite possibly her election as the 45th president of the United States could be phoned in as well.

The plan commenced with the “Hard Choices” book tour, followed by ones-and-zeroes binary code video presidential candidacy announcement, and then bus tours to listen to average voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. The path seemed so easy … until it wasn’t.

Almost DailyBrett will refrain from taking a deep dive into the plethora of errors including declaring the first couple was “dead broke,” the myriad of allegations of conflict of interest regarding the Clinton Foundation and of course, the wiped clean private email server … that damned server.

We are 14 months away from 2016 election day, and the tenacity of the Clintons should never be underestimated. There is still time for the “inevitable” to once again be inevitable.

Maybe to understand why “inevitability,” which some could very well equate with arrogance, is not quite working, it is instructive to appreciate the profiles of two very powerful women: Madam Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Kanzerlin Angela Merkel.

Never Take The Electorate for Granted

“….It is for the rising German generation, for German youth, to dispel the mistrust, this fear, by rejecting what has long been rejected and clearly and unanimously announcing their desire: not for a German Europe, but for a European Germany.” – Author Thomas Mann

One is known as “Mutti” or a German term of endearment for “mother.”

The other is closer to being America’s mother in law.

This month, Angela Merkel will mark her 10th year as the second longest-serving Chancellor of the modern iteration of the Vaterland, the European Union’s strongest economy: Germany. Merkel bristles at the notion that she is the first female chancellor of Germany, preferring to be seen as the first German chancellor, who just happens to be a woman.

After the evil demagoguery that led to Germany’s eternal shame, most Germans want their nation to be seen as normal. They desire their country to be regarded as  an integral part of Europe, not for Europe to be an essential  part of Germany.

Ever compromising Angela Merkel has served as a calming influence for the 80 million inhabitants of Germany. Yes, she has ruffled feathers in rebellious Greece and other southern European nations, but that is a result of fiscal austerity policy not because of her personality.merkel2

She and her Union parties will be required to call an election in two years’ time. Certainly, there will be no proclamations of inevitability. Instead, the anticipated rhetoric will be along the lines of her earlier, Deutschland’s Zukunft in Guten Händen (Germany’s Future in Good Hands). Merkel will once again want to be seen as a strong mother figure, which seems to suit the Vaterland with no desire to flex its muscles ever again. Germany has been repeatedly described as the reluctant hegemon.

“Run as if you are running behind; Take Nothing for Granted”

The folks who attend the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses are notoriously fickle.

The same maybe even more true with the Live Free or Die crowd in no-state-sales-tax New Hampshire, the site of the country’s initial primary.

These are retail states. These are states that want to see the candidates in living rooms, coffee shops and factory gates. They are fiercely independent. They don’t want to be taken for granted. Their support is anything but inevitable.NHvoters

If elected, Hillary Rodham Clinton will make history as the first woman president of the United States. Her other half, William Jefferson Clinton, will be the nation’s First Man, a position he has previously held … albeit in another capacity.

From a public relations, marketing, reputation management standpoint is it best to campaign to be the first woman president of the United States or the first president of the United States, who just happens to be a woman?

If Angela Merkel was born in Hampton Roads as opposed to Hamburg, there would be no campaign focused on her inevitability. She would undoubtedly prefer to be the first president of the United States, who happens to be a woman.

Reflecting back on my days working on George Deukmejian’s successful California gubernatorial campaigns and also in his media office in the Office of the Governor, we always ran as if we were running behind (even when we won by a record 61-37 percent margin in 1986), and we took absolutely nothing for granted.

Do the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire believe they are being taken for granted, let alone residents of South Carolina, Nevada and the other states that will follow on the primary/caucus calendar?

Almost DailyBrett contends the electorate is much more tuned in than many of those within the confines of the Beltway believe, ditto many of those in the hallowed halls of academia.

Maybe Hillary and her trained spokespeople would be well advised to be a tad more humble, and focus on Hillary becoming America’s first president, who happens to be a woman.

The image of Mutti is far more endearing than America’s inevitable Mother in Law.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/09/02/what-hillarys-sinking-poll-numbers-really-mean-in-one-chart/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_popns

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/09/02/hillary-clintons-image-is-struggling-but-shes-no-donald-trump-or-jeb-bush/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_daily202

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-clinton-remains-yes-inevitable/2015/09/03/57de7cdc-5273-11e5-8c19-0b6825aa4a3a_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/01/angela-merkel-profile

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/why-is-merkel-still-so-popular/279887/

http://www.angela-merkel.de/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-sanders-vs-clinton-new-hampshire-replays-past-splits/2015/09/07/072ac4ec-5581-11e5-b8c9-944725fcd3b9_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_evening

 

 

 

 

 

Damning with Negatives

I am not a crook.” – Richard Nixon.

Watergate.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” – Bill Clinton.

Monica Lewinsky.

People will complain, but this is not excessive.” University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens about the school’s over-the-top $68 million (at least) football building.

Ferrari Leather.

She’s not out of touch.” – Bill Clinton defending Hillary’s “dead broke” comments.

Hillary’s more than $200,000 per speech; $5 million New York home and more, much more.

hillarysawyer

What possesses some of the best-and-the-brightest to essentially confirm an allegation with a poorly conceived negative response, some of which become eternally enshrined? The same applies with those who use negative statements to try to overturn a mistatement or worse, a damaging gaffe.

Aren’t there more positive ways to deflect charges, clearing the way for a candidate, office holder or organization to move on, avoid less-than-pleasant headlines, and better yet, allow an incident to pass into history (if that is indeed possible)?

“When did you stop beating your wife?”

Reporter: “Would you say that (insert pejorative word)…”

Think of it this way: A reporter, editor, correspondent just handed you a rope and gave you the opportunity to hang yourself and by extension your employer.  As a former gubernatorial press secretary for eight years and corporate spokesman for a decade, the author of Almost DailyBrett is wise to the majority of the tricks employed by the less than scrupulous members of the Fourth Estate.

Reporter thinking: ‘Hmmm…let’s see if I can build a lead and related headline by coaxing an incendiary quote?’

Is Almost DailyBrett accusing the certain members of the media (and they know who they are) of trying to bait flacks and by extension their clients with inflammatory words in this discussion? The answer based upon oodles of experience is an unqualified, “yes.”

reporters

There are two iron-clad rules that one immediately learns from media training:

1.)   Always have an agenda. Know and rehearse your message points and what headlines you want to attempt to create before you talk to the ladies and gents of the media (both legacy and digital native media).

2.)   Never, ever let reporters, editors, correspondents, bloggers et al. put words in your mouth. Deliver your message the way it is intended whether the media representative likes it or not. If the same question is rephrased with the same incendiary or similar word or words, duck the offer and come back with an answer based upon your agenda. If the media rep becomes upset, so be it. Most likely, this will not be your first fight with a reporter.

Self-Inflicted Wounds 

Watergate finally caught up with Nixon, prompting him to read the obvious writing on the wall and become the first president to resign in disgrace. His legacy also includes the aforementioned, “I am not a crook” statement.

Almost DailyBrett will not add to the plethora of commentary about the Monica Lewinsky affair other than to contend that Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” is close to top of mind when it comes to contemplating the former president, eternally impacting his personal brand.

monicabill

Benghazi was expected to be the tough subject for Hillary’s Hard Choices book tour. Instead it was her comment to ABC’s Diane Sawyer about how the Clintons were “dead broke” and “struggled” financially when they left the White House in 2001.

This comment set off the media digging to find out just how “broke” the Clintons actually were including $106 million for Bill, $200,000 a speech for Hillary and $600,000 a year for Chelsea from the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. 

Bill subsequently kept the story going … yes this story does have legs … with his “she is not out of touch” comment. How about just saying the critics are wrong, and detail how Hillary understands the needs of middle and lower-class Americans trying to make ends meet?

That’s a positive response.

Bill’s, she is “Not-Out-of-Touch” explanation triggered a response from Hillary: “My husband was very sweet … but I don’t need anybody to defend my record.”

This story seemingly does not want to die. It has overshadowed the Hillary triumphant book tour, and it was egged on by inartful comments by both Clinton spouses, and a delighted media.

The lessons here are to remain on message. Stay with your preconceived agenda. If a slip does occur … flacks, politicians, executives etc are all human … don’t compound the gaffe with a defensive negative response.

The answer here is to stay positive, eschew any negatives particularly those force-fed by the media, and maybe even flash a winning smile. The net result may be a story that heads to the ash heap of history as opposed to a quote that becomes one for the ages.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hillary-clinton-draws-criticism-at-opening-of-book-tour-by-saying-she-was-dead-broke/2014/06/10/c376ceaa-f0b7-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/06/24/bill-clinton-says-hillary-is-not-out-of-touch/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/some-democrats-fear-clintons-wealth-and-imperial-image-could-be-damaging-in-2016/2014/06/22/526746e6-f7eb-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/hillary-clinton-bill-clinton-defense-108292.html

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-stumbles-from-dead-broke-to-not-truly-well-off/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-the-clintons-went-from-dead-broke-to-rich-bill-earned-1049-million-for-speeches/2014/06/26/8fa0b372-fd3a-11e3-8176-f2c941cf35f1_story.html?wpisrc=nl%5Fhdtop

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/university-of-nike/

 

 

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