Tag Archive: Harry Truman


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/

 

The dog does not bother you, does she? She’s a friendly dog and I’m sure she will behave herself.” – Russian President Introducing “Koni,” the black lab, to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007

“It (Koni) doesn’t eat journalists, after all?” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel

putinmerkelkoni

Even though the canine caper happened 10 years ago, Almost DailyBrett contends that Vladimir Putin’s Machiavellian ploy was clearly intended to intimidate and embarrass Kanzlerin Merkel. And considering the recent seismic shifts in global politics, the incident is more relevant than ever.

The most powerful woman on the planet has a well-documented case of cynophobia. She was attacked by a dog in 1995. She clearly does not relish any contact with man’s best friend, including Putin’s best canine.

During the January 21, 2007 summit with Merkel at his summer residence in Sochi, Putin’s eight-year-old Labrador retriever, Koni, made a cameo appearance during their negotiations. Even though she tried to appear cool, calm and collected, Merkel was clearly uncomfortable and unnerved by the sniffing dog.

When asked about the incident last year by the German periodical Bild, Putin insisted he did not know about Merkel’s fear of dogs.

“I wanted to do something nice for her (Merkel). When I found out that she doesn’t like dogs, of course I apologized.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin

“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.” – Kanzlerin Angela Merkel

putinmerkelkoni1

Putin Exploiting Donald Trump’s Weaknesses?

At some point, at some venue, at some pre-determined time, Donald Trump is going to meet Vladimir Putin. Will the Russian leader try to do something “nice” for the new American president?

Russia’s legendary xenophobia, coupled with its record of hacking and espionage, will certainly encourage Putin to seek out and fully exploit Trump’s personal weaknesses.

Who would have thought that a fear of dogs would be a weak point for the chancellor of the fourth largest economy of the world and the de-facto leader of the European Union? Putin obviously knew this fact, and used his Labrador to get inside of Merkel’s head.

If the tenets of military strategy are to capitalize on one’s advantages and exploit the weaknesses of an adversary, then it’s safe to assume that Putin is carefully studying Donald Trump.

trumpputinhorse

In many ways Trump and Putin are similar, but Almost DailyBrett takes issue with any discussion of a “Bromance.” Heck, they have not even met each other.

Having taken care of that silly reference, one can safely conclude they are both demagogic, alpha males with a craving for public attention and reverence. In particular, Trump is known for his thin-skin and is quick to take offense, particularly via Twitter. Will this failing be an opening for Putin to exploit?

At the same time, it is well known the Soviets took note of President Ronald Reagan publicly firing the members of the striking Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) in August, 1981. The president knew he was jeopardizing thousands of vacations and even worse risking the possibility of mid-air collisions in the skies. Putin was a key operative in the Soviet Union’s KGB at the time.

reaganpatco

Reagan was roundly criticized for exhibiting strength, and the same applies to Trump. Putin is becoming aware of Trump’s demonstrations of bravado, while at the same time finding out more about Trump’s weaknesses. Call it “opposition research” or “oppo.”

One “nice” thing that Trump does not need to worry about when he finally meets Putin, “Koni” will not be making a cameo appearance. Alas, Koni lived for 15-years, before finally buying the kennel in 2014.

The new president would be wise to remember what Harry S. Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog.”

http://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/wladimir-putin/interview-mit-dem-russischen-praesidenten-russland-44091672.bild.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/12/europe/putin-merkel-scared-dog/

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/germany-merkel-profile/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/12094074/Vladimir-Putin-denies-setting-his-dog-on-Angela-Merkel.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vladimir-putin-says-he-didnt-intend-to-scare-dog-phobic-angela-merkel-when-he-brought-his-labrador-a6805801.html

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/germanys-angela-merkel-afraid-one-thing-its-not-david-cameron-1482159

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

http://time.com/4139802/time-person-of-the-year-angela-merkel-surprising-facts/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konni_(dog)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/opinion/reagan-vs-patco-the-strike-that-busted-unions.html

 

 

 

 

 

Who do reporters, editors, correspondents and pundits respect the most?

The answer: Fellow reporters, editors, correspondents and pundits.

And seemingly all of them are thinking alike.

pattonthinking2

Especially during my tenure as a gubernatorial press secretary, the author of Almost DailyBrett was often flabbergasted by the theories developed out of thin air by the media about why A. occurred or why B. happened.

Keep in mind we are talking about the late 1980s, long before ubiquitous mobile devices and 140-character Twitter president-elect proclamations.

In Sacramento, many of these postulations and theories were developed at Frank Fat’s or some other watering hole. Seemingly, the more drinks consumed the closer the media bonded, and a consensus was eventually reached about a budding theory.

The reason this dubious habit is important, is that press secretaries need to be aware of what the media are saying to themselves, and what conclusions they are collectively making. There is better than a 50/50 chance these theories will be brought to your governor’s attention for a response in a news conference or media briefing.

Fast forward to the present day and the insular habit has not changed, but the way these theories and postulations are transmitted among the media has shifted radically … namely Twitter.

Yes, Donald Trump is not the only one using/misusing social media Twitter for 140-character-or-less pontifications and bloviations.

“If Everyone is Thinking Alike, Then Someone Isn’t Thinking.” – General George S. Patton

Gotta love General George.

The conventional thinking to date was that President Harry Truman’s come-from-behind victory over New York Governor Thomas Dewey in 1948 was the greatest upset in presidential campaign history.

Scratch that thought. Last month’s victory by Donald Trump over prohibitive favorite Hillary Clinton shocked the nation, and particularly confounded the-everyone-is-thinking-alike elite media/punditocracy.

Considering that most of them habitat a skinny island east of the Hudson River or are confined within the Beltway, it is easy to understand how prevailing sentiment and conventional wisdom becomes exactly that: prevailing sentiment and conventional wisdom.

As Otto von Bismarck was famously quoted, those who appreciate sausage and the law should see neither of them made. Maybe the same is true for how the elite media/punditocracy reaches consensus of their version of reality.

First: the political class virtually ignores digital democratization. For example, the second (town hall) debate between The Donald and Hillary drew a record 17 million tweets and 92.4 million Facebook likes, posts, comments and shares.

during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election.

Town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri. This is the second of three presidential debates scheduled prior to the November 8th election.

Conceivably, the elite media had access to a treasure trove of digital input from the public. True not all of it is accurate and relevant, but turning it all aside is a manifestation of arrogance. In their defense, the elite media may ask: ‘Where do you start?’ Almost DailyBrett opines the media should not ignore the anxiety of John and Mary Q. Citizen from Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania. Angst Matters.

Second: The elite media/punditocracy engages in restricted collusion. Instead of using digital media to access outside sources, they instead employ Twitter and networked laptops and mobile devices to talk exclusively to each other. The most egregious case is when news aggregator Buzz Feed announced the winner of the first 2012 Obama vs. Romney debate, 45 minutes before the closing statements.

And once the debate was over, the media pile-on session ensued to the detriment of President Barack Obama.

Third: The digital democratization crowd contends that more public input via social, mobile and cloud will result in a continuous weakening of Agenda Setting Theory or the notion that elite media (i.e., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC …) not only frame the national agenda, but they actually provide intellectual guidance to a grateful nation.

As it turns out, the opposite was true. Media collusion via digital media actually strengthened, not weakened Agenda Setting Theory.

Fourth: And probably the most important point of all, the Real Clear Politics Right Track/Wrong Track barometer has been consistently below the Mendoza Line. You do not run a “Morning in America” stay-the-course campaign when 32.1 percent believe the country is on the right track and conversely 55.7 percent contend the country is on the wrong track.

Did the elite media really pay attention to the Right Track/Wrong Track barometer? Did they ask the real folks across the fruited plain why they are so disappointed, frustrated and downright angry? Did they question why Hillary Clinton ran a status-quo campaign in a change year?

msnbcelection1

This is not the first time the author of Almost DailyBrett picked a fight with those who buy ink-by-the-barrel. Let’s face it, the elite media/punditocracy needed to open up their collective ears and listen to the chorus from the hinterland. Instead they mounted their ivory towers and proclaimed that Hillary was the candidate with all of the experience, all of the endorsements, most of the money, and the GOTV operation to win the presidency in a cakewalk.

Upon quiet reflection in the aftermath, these elite reporters and prominent pundits may want to drop the arrogance for a nanosecond or two, and consider the reason why each of them was given two ears and only one mouth.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/drinking-their-own-bath-water/

http://www.thewrap.com/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-presidential-debate-twitter-facebook/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-trending-on-twitter-groupthink/2012/10/23/130f6208-1d54-11e2-9cd5-b55c38388962_story.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/

“ … Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. … For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.” – Donald Trump drawing boos at the Al Smith charity dinner

trumphillarysmith

 

Ronald Reagan turned over in his grave with that nasty remark.

Putting partisan politics to the side (if that’s still possible), The Great Communicator clearly understood and practiced the discipline of knowing, appreciating and respecting your audience.

In many ways the answer is just so simple: The Five W’s and One H of Journalism:

What does the audience expect?

When is the event?

Where is the venue?

Who is attending?

Why is the occasion important?

How will you appreciate and respect your audience?

There was Reagan’s solemn 1984 speech at the cliffs of Normandy on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

There was his 1987 “Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall” address in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.

There was “There you go again” quip to Jimmy Carter in the most watched presidential debate (up-to-this-year) in American history in 1980.

And there was his farewell address to the nation as he was departing the White House in 1989.

The Normandy and Farewell speeches were not overtly political. It would have been wrong in both cases to write and deliver a stem-winder in either of these venues. The media and pundit reaction would be justifiably critical, if The Gipper had misused these settings and occasions.

The Berlin Wall speech and the Cleveland debate were both political in nature. They both offered the opportunity to score political points at the expense of the leader of the Soviet Union and the 39th president of the United States.

As Harry Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog.”

As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Serving As Referee

Al Smith was the first Roman Catholic to earn a presidential nomination, losing to Republican Herbert Hoover in 1928. Since 1945, the New York Archdiocese has sponsored an annual white-tie dinner at the stately Waldorf Astoria in his honor and to benefit Catholic charities.

Even though the two parties’ respective nominees have attended this fundraising dinner since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, the audience expects and wants satirical/self-deprecating humor from the candidates. That tradition remained intact until this past Thursday night.

Less than 24 hours after the two combatants refused to shake hands twice at the final Clinton vs. Trump debate, Cardinal Dolan knew that he would have to serve as a buffer sitting in between Hillary and The Donald, who quite obviously loathe each other.

Nonetheless, the expectations for the speeches from the two candidates were still there. The public relations/reputation management task for each nominee and their respective staffers was to prepare and deliver remarks that demonstrate knowledge, appreciation and respect for the audience.trumpsmith

Sadly that discipline was not there, particularly for Donald Trump.

Why did he think even for a nanosecond that stating that Hillary was “so corrupt” before a mixed-audience was going to meet the standards of the evening?

Worse The Donald’s remarks about Hillary pretending to not hate Catholics in a room in which literally dozens had been schooled with the Baltimore Catechism drew the boos and catcalls they deserved.

Among the litany of problems associated with Trump’s campaign, one of the most basic is a total lack of political discipline. He obviously does not listen to his advisors, who know political campaigns and how to set and respond to audience expectations.

Two GOP standard bearers could not be more different: Ronald Reagan was a model of political discipline and simplicity of message. Donald Trump cannot and will not maintain political discipline, and Hillary knows it.

More importantly, the nation knows The Donald does not have the temperament to deliver audience-specific remarks, let alone be trusted with access to our nuclear codes.

The expectations are that Hillary will become the 45th chief executive of the United States and the first president who happens to be a woman, when the polls in California, Oregon and Washington close at 11 pm EST. 8 pm PST on November 8.

Almost DailyBrett will boldly predict: Hillary will be elected one hour earlier when Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona … and maybe even Utah (gasp) are recorded in the blue column … if not sooner. This is a wave election in which Hillary will receive the better part of 400 electoral votes, if not more.

Will The Donald wake up on November 9 and realize that he did not even attempt for a nanosecond during the past 17 months to know, appreciate and respect his audiences?

Forget it. He didn’t listen to any wisdom when it mattered. And he certainly won’t accept any guidance when it doesn’t matter anymore.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/us/politics/al-smith-dinner-clinton-trump.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/20/politics/al-smith-catholic-dinner-memorable-lines-hillary-clinton-donald-trump/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/20/the-very-bad-jokes-hillary-clinton-and-donald-trump-told-at-the-al-smith-dinner/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_E._Smith_Memorial_Foundation_Dinner

 

 

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” – attributed to Harry S. Truman

“Politics is a contact sport.” – GOP campaign consultant, Marry Matalinclintonbuddy

Almost DailyBrett cannot accurately forecast, who will become the 45th president of the United States. Can you?

Wasn’t the general election contest supposed to quickly boil down to Hillary and Jeb, representing two of America’s political royal families?

In some respects, it is easier to foretell who will not be president (i.e., Martin O’Malley, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum … ).

What is more certain in this volatile Silly Season is the undeniable fact the Serious Season will be upon us in about three weeks. The presents will soon be unwrapped, turkey and stuffing will be consumed, and bowl games will be played. It will then be time for serious presidential politics.

The days of subjective media/pundit scoring (e.g., colluding media tweeting each other to determine the conventional wisdom of who is winning and who is losing) will be replaced by actual electoral results from caucuses and primaries. Figure skating and boxing are both plagued by judges. Football, hockey and other sports have actual scoreboards. It will soon be time for voter verdicts, particularly how candidates fare compared with “expectations.”

Quantitative research samples are taken far more seriously in the Serious Season, particularly trends as they edge closer to-and-after actual caucuses and primaries. Debates mean more, much more … and a particularly ill-time gaffe (there is never a good time for foot-in-mouth disease) could be electorally fatal. GOTV(Get Out The Vote) means more than ever as – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina – are organization-intensive retail states than mass media in nature.

What does this all mean? The beginning of the Serious Season translates into meeting workers at factory gates, kibitzing at bowling allies, visiting lunch counters, attending PTA meetings, conducting town halls, when its frigid, icy and snowy outside (e.g., Iowa and New Hampshire).townhall

The caucus-goers (Iowa and Nevada) and primary voters (New Hampshire and South Carolina) are notoriously fickle, unpredictable and independent. How will they respond to Donald Trump and his billions and Hillary Clinton and her “inevitability”?

Here’s a hint: They are more inclined to root for David rather than Goliath.

Mother’s Milk Runs Dry?

“Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics” – former California Speaker Jesse Unruh

The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers serving as a California gubernatorial campaign press director way back in the legacy media Stone Age of 1982. The goal was to win the news cycle, simply defined as one news cycle per day.

Today, the news cycle can be 24-in-one-day or literally one per hour in this legacy/digital native media age. What that means is that you have to win the majority of news cycles, develop a sense of momentum on an hourly basis and repeatedly demonstrate your “Big Mo.”

Way back in the previous century, you could gather momentum and ride it to the governor’s office as we did in the last three weeks of both the primary and general elections 43 years ago. Today, a campaign public relations team can be pushed from offense to defense or vice-versa in the same one-hour news cycle. Instead of getting a dog when the going get’s tough, political PR pros should think in terms of acquiring alligators.

The media has transformed itself from mostly left-of-center big three networks, major pubs (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal) and two wire services into a smorgasbord of legacy media, cable networks (e.g., MSNBC on the left, Fox News on the right) and an expanding array of news aggregators (e.g., Real Clear Politics, POLITICO, Daily Kos, Red State, Huffington Post). Interspersing themselves into the mix are the independent committees that will flood the airwaves and cyberspace with ads, some with dubious claims of accuracy.

It was once said that Great Britain maintained an empire in which the sun never set. For today’s political media pros, they never sleep. And if your candidate does not meet expectations in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the mother’s milk of politics will stop lactating.

How can a campaign finance integrated marketing communication programs (e.g., earned, paid and owned media) for eight caucuses and primaries at the end of February/March, if you can’t win in the beginning of February? Americans love winners and they want to jump onto band wagons. Using another metaphor, if a ship starts to sink (e.g., Jeb Bush’s campaign to date), high propensity voters and donors will quickly look for alternatives.

Who wants to throw good money after bad money? No one. If a candidate can’t win in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, can that same candidate win in Nevada and/or South Carolina, let alone the myriad of states that follow in quick succession?

After losing Iowa in 2004, former Governor Howard Dean delivered the infamous, “I have a scream” speech:howarddean

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, (Senator) Tom Harkin we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York…. And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!”

Let’s give Governor Dean credit. He did go on to capture his home state of Vermont. Nonetheless, Jesse Unruh’s Law about the Mother’s Milk of Politics rang true. The lesson of the Serious Season is to skillfully manage expectations, win early and win often, otherwise someone else … maybe someone we don’t expect … will win the two respective party nominations.

Ready the ground (GOTV) and air wars (campaign ads). Light up the digital scoreboards. The Serious Season will soon be with us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6i-gYRAwM0

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/the-silly-season/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_primaries,_2016

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/debates/schedule/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-face-of-criticism-trump-surges-to-his-biggest-lead-over-the-gop-field/2015/12/14/b9555e30-a29c-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-rise-and-fall-of-howard-dean-18-02-2004/

 

 

 

 

 

ones-zeros2

Almost DailyBrett Editor’s Note: In applying to graduate school three years ago, I was asked to write a “Statement of Purpose” and with it came memories of almost daily meetings with elementary, middle school, high school and college students as the press secretary for California Governor George Deukmejian.

Little did I know at the time that these teaching sessions would eventually lead to a new direction in my life.

As I contemplate making a major directional change in my career, I was reflecting back to one of the responsibilities that did not fit into the position description of a gubernatorial press secretary: meeting, greeting and answering questions from visiting university, community college, high-school, middle-school and elementary-school students.

During my three years as the Press Secretary to California Governor George Deukmejian, I was repeatedly asked to serve as the face of the administration and to encourage students to pursue public service or at least to have a profound interest in their society. Sometimes the questions were tough, many were unfair or off-base, but the students demonstrated that they wanted to learn and they wanted to challenge authority.

As I moved from the public sector into roles with two major industry trade associations, a publicly traded high technology company and to a leadership position in an international public relations firm, I was periodically asked to lecture classes on effective communications. Some of these schools included: UC Berkeley, Oregon State, San Francisco State and just recently Santa Clara University.

At Santa Clara, I lectured both MBA and undergraduate students about how to communicate to Wall Street and investors. I realized in making my presentation and seeing the enthusiasm that I generated that these students were clearly appreciating that the world of financial communications was shifting at a breakneck pace.

This rate of change is not just limited to the financial sphere as digital technology, the ubiquitous ones and zeroes, are making instantaneous communication and lightning-fast responses a never-changing fact of life. We now have the ability to self-publish and to share with the world our deepest thoughts. The Genie is out of the bottle and the bottle is nowhere to be found.

Social media or conversational marketing via digital key strokes is something that Johannes Guttenberg could not even fathom when he invented the printing press in Mainz, Germany. But one thing has been constant since then; technology has made communication faster, more efficient and global in nature.

Many cannot stop talking about and tweeting on Twitter, amassing their connections on LinkedIn.com, watching videos on YouTube or counting friends on Facebook. They are commenting on breaking global events via their blogs or reading what others are saying via cyberspace, bypassing the “traditional media,” particularly the dying pencil “press.”

The hot social media tools of today most likely will not be the hot social media tools by the time I complete the master’s degree program from the University of Oregon in 2012. These new techniques are being written today not on parchment paper, but rather in the form of software code.

Will students and society as a whole be prepared for these new techniques and their implications? What are the responsibilities of self-publishing in the wake of fewer and fewer conventional media outlets? Will the bloggers become the reporters of the 21st century, thus setting new standards for journalism?

Looking back, I have been extremely fortunate in my career. I cut my teeth on the tax revolt in 1978 that shook the foundation of governments throughout the country. I was sitting at the apex of California state government in 1989 when the Loma Prieta Earthquake literally shook the ground, and I was told “The Bay Bridge is in the water.”

I ventured across the ocean to the Land of the Rising Sun to help convince Japan to stop predatory pricing and open its doors to competition. I founded a corporate PR department against the backdrop of Internet mania and a corresponding crash as Americans lost faith in Wall Street and imposed a new way of doing business.

And I was privy to and helped advance a digital technology revolution that contrary to opinion of some pundits is really just getting started.

sacramento

After all of this, I still go back to the Governor’s bill signing room in Sacramento filled with students and their mentors with a particular gleam in their eyes and engaging questions flowing off their tongues. They wanted to learn. They wanted to explore. They wanted to challenge convention. I was more than happy to help them on their quest.

How can I continue this love affair with helping students? Certainly, I do not know it all and never will. Harry Truman didn’t like experts because “… if an expert learned something, he wouldn’t be an expert anymore.”

I am learning something new every day.

So why do I want to pursue a Master’s degree at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication? The answer is that I can leverage my Master’s degree to teach students the art of strategic communications. The truth is not a fungible quality, it is essential. Having said that, we need to manage information and present it in an intelligent way in order to effectively compete in the marketplace of ideas.

Today’s students and tomorrow’s communicators are going to have to compete; there is no way around this fact. Will they succeed or not? The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication training will greatly improve their chances. I want to coach and mentor these students so they can be tomorrow’s winners.

Back in my Sacramento press secretary days, one frequently heard the motto: “When in doubt; declare victory!”

There were oodles of people about, in our case the Democrats in the State Legislature, that were itching to point out every one of our foibles or defeats (real or imagined) to an appreciative Capitol Press Corps. In turn, we wanted to stay within the bounds of the truth and play up the governor’s accomplishments and accolades.

It is apparent from today’s media coverage http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2009/Oct/09/analysis__he_won__but_for_what_.html that Barack Obama’s team didn’t even know the Prez had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and naturally they were surprised to learn that he won. Macht nichts! It’s time to go out to the Rose Garden and have the audacity to declare victory.

obamanobel

Should he have been a little sheepish since he has only been in office for a little less than nine months, and really has not established that much of a record. Heck, according to the esteemed political commentators at Saturday Night Live, he has no record. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT5Kl38fSVY

To Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the White House communications staff, Nobel Prize wins don’t come around everyday. Bill Clinton wanted one so badly, he could almost taste it (no pun intended). Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Forget about being surprised. It’s time to go out and declare victory as there are plenty in Washington DC who will gladly declare defeat for you. And as Harry Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington DC, get a dog.”

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