Tag Archive: John McCain

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” – President-elect Barack Obama

America did it.

Ten years ago — the anniversary is a week from tomorrow, Sunday, November 4 — Americans performed the once unthinkable political/societal miracle: They overwhelmingly elected an African-American as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Americans were once again globally seen as an exceptional and extraordinary country. We seemingly put aside our deep-seeded divisions to elect a visionary with a unifying message of hope and change.

Sorry for those who refer to America as “This Nation:” — your favorites, Denmark, Norway and Sweden — all monarchies — are not exceptional nations and never will be. Once again the USA proved to the world it’s the Land of Opportunity, and yes an extraordinary country.

Two months later, a record crowd turned up in Washington D.C. to watch Obama put his hand on the Bible. Sorry Donald, the size of your inaugural crowd was not even close.

Looking back one decade later, Almost DailyBrett must rhetorically ask:

What happened to the Hope? What happened to the Change? What happened …?

To many it seems that racism and hatred has steadily increased and mutated since 2008, when 69.4 million Americans cast their votes for Barack Obama (e.g., 365 electoral votes).

Ditto four years later, when 65.9 million Americans re-elected Obama (e.g., 332 electoral votes) to the White House.

Maybe Obama’s comfortable election/re-election against War Hero U.S. Senator John McCain and successful former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney respectively were not championed in all quarters … some on the right … some on the left.

Those with ongoing political agendas, based upon leveling charges of racism to intimidate dissent, were seemingly perplexed when an African American was elected to the highest office of the land.

Were the North vs. South battles over, and the war… won?

Some may have rhetorically asked: “How can we continue to charge, accuse and allege racism when 60 million-plus Americans – the majority of these voters were not black – went to the polling place or by mail and twice elected Obama by wide margins?”

Consider what happened to NASA when First Man Neil Armstrong was successfully placed on the Moon and safely returned?

Ponder what happened to the Anti-War Movement when American pulled out of Vietnam?

Weigh what happened to the Civil Rights Movement when Obama was elected president?

What’s next?

Wars Intensified To The Glee Of Some

“Race relations have arguably become more polarized and tenser since 20 January 2009. Though smaller in scale and scope, the demonstrations sparked by police shootings of unarmed black men were reminiscent of the turbulence of the 1960s.” – Nick Bryant, BBC New York correspondent

Polarization pervades our politics.

Obamacare passed with precisely zero Republican votes.

Tax reform passed with precisely zero Democratic votes.

Tribalization spread to our streets and ball fields. Mobs are roaming. They are angry and way too many times, violent.

The unfamiliar became familiar: the names/places including Treyvon Martin, Ferguson, Flint, Baltimore, Dallas, Antifa, Colin Kaepernick … became topics for the dinner table and even fighting in the streets.

More than ever, those who dared offer a different opinion, are/were labeled as “racists,” “misogynistic,” “homophobic,” “privileged,” “transphobic” …

Many on our hyper campuses became venues in which Unmensch with other points of view were charged with “micro-aggressions,” requiring “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.”

The November 4, 2008 Spirit of Hope and Change is long gone after just one short decade, compelling one to ask: “Did it ever really exist?”

Many of these subsequent events (e.g., Treyvon Martin shooting) listed by Almost DailyBrett came before Donald Trump.

Did the lost promise of Hope and Change/corresponding rise of über Political Correctness prompt many of the 62 million to go to the polls and cast ballots on behalf of change agent, Donald Trump?

Hatred: The New Norm?

“I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation … they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.” — Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)

Senator Paul was on the same local baseball diamond when bullets flew and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot, and almost killed. And just this past week, pipe bombs were sent to former and present Democratic office holders. Shots rang out today in a Pittsburgh Synagogue. Don’t even want to think, what’s next?

In the meantime, Almost DailyBrett has seen and experienced negative media before … but never to this extent. We are in unchartered waters, bringing into question what legacy/digital journalism means anymore?

Any positive news from the White House – no matter the subject or how it’s presented — is immediately turned in a dark direction by Oppositional Journalism.

The two tribes are polarized as never before. The other side of the aisle can’t cross the street to have a bite to eat without drawing ferocious protesters.

Civility? What civility?

How can we get back to the best hopes and eternal optimism, which characterized the legacies of Kennedy and Reagan?

We went to the moon. The wall came down. Kennedyesque and Reaganesque hope and change worked regardless of party.

Were we better citizens back then? Maybe so.

More to the point: Can we ever get back to the glimmering hopeful moments on November 8, 2008, when even politically charged allegations of “racism,” were given a rest …  at least for one evening?












“She kind of likes my sense of humor. Anybody who likes my sense of humor, I immediately like.” — Former President George W. Bush.

“Bush’s friendship with Obama, a confident, smart and elegant woman whose integrity is impeccable, gives him credence. Around her, he is humble, playful and comfortable. She allows him to be the lighthearted person he is, without judgment.” —   Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton

Almost DailyBrett has heard all of the rhetoric about championing diversity and accepting other points of view.

Sounds good … until it’s time for most people to practice what they preach.

Turn on any of your devices – from first screen digital television to second screen social media – and it won’t be long until the talking heads start name calling, literally screaming at each other.

Your author has written blogs – many which have not been read — and yet the respondents troll each other on Facebook about a headline and/or a photo.

Long-time friendships and relationships quickly come to an end. Many are blocked; others are outright unfriended. People who hold different points of view are inwardly or outwardly regarded as Unmensch.

Forget about passing candy (or throat lozenges) to any of them.

Some will claim all of this vitriol began in 2016. Almost DailyBrett begs to differ, pegging the beginning of the end of civility to the 1998 Clintonian impeachment process. Instead of attacks against Robert Mueller, the arrows and barbs were directed against Kenneth Starr.

And now some are talking about impeaching yet another president (i.e., Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton before) only with the Senate most likely failing to muster the two-third-votes required to convict.

What’s the point?

Instead, shouldn’t we all reflect upon the public examples exemplified by two prominent individuals – hailing from opposite parties — who not only continue to talk the talk, but walk the walk?

Wasn’t it Michelle Obama who said: “When they go low, we go high”?

And wasn’t George W. Bush one of the most consequential, and as a result one of most reviled presidents in history?

And yet starting with the peaceful transfer of power in fall 2008 through the present day, Michelle Obama and George W. Bush have demonstrated to the world how we should treat each other, regardless of competing philosophies.

Maybe we should be doing less competing, and more understanding of other points of view.

Back to Jefferson/Back to Lincoln

The world’s most successful Democracy features two competing political parties with proud histories.

The Democrats hail from the days of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Besides the aforementioned, the party has provided America with great presidents including James K. Polk, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy.

The Republicans were born as an abolitionist party and fielded giants including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

Almost DailyBrett has made this suggestion before and will make it again: Try reading two straight-forward books featuring a prominent Democrat and Republican.

For your author most recently, it was David Axelrod’s Believer and Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequence. These two gents served as presidential campaign managers, electing and then re-electing Barack Obama and George W. Bush respectively to the White House.

Both lost parents to suicide. Both tell harrowing tales of state politics, Illinois and Texas. Both share candid insider looks into the strengths and all-too-human weaknesses of their bosses. Both provide solid commentary today on CNN and Fox News.


Some may want to simply dismiss the Michelle Obama/George W. Bush relationship to protocol.

Time and time again, Michelle and Dubya sit next to each because protocol dictates that the spouse of #44 (Barack Obama) sits next to #43 (George W. Bush), who in turn is paired with Laura Bush.

The ever-present cameras caught Laura asking her hubby to pass a throat lozenge to Michelle during the Memorial Service for the late Senator John McCain. The mistaken candy-for-lozenge exchange/return smile instantly received a Twitter hashtag: #Candygate.

What should be the national normal (e.g., civility) has become the extraordinary (e.g., genuine Michelle/Dubya friendship) in today’s divisive, polarized society.

Does the national reaction to this unlikely friendship between a former First Lady and a former POTUS say more about them, or does it point to our own widespread lack of respect and decency for any view that conflicts with our own?





“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…” — Missouri GOP Senate Candidate Todd Akin

“…I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” — Indiana GOP Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock.

“Legitimate” rape?

“God-intended” rape?

As a Republican-oriented public relations consultant/practitioner/educator for three decades, including eight years in the California Office of the Governor, I will try my best to not add my name to the long list of GOP recriminators or to suggest, “If they only listened to me, (Mitt) Romney would have won…”


Having said that, I do believe in the power of metaphors. Here are two not terribly bright middle-aged white guys making incredibly inexpedient and foolish comments about a highly charged subject that offend more than half of the electorate in one fell swoop. They became poster children of perceived GOP insensitivity.

What were they thinking? They obviously weren’t thinking. When the four-letter word “rape” with an inappropriate adjective comes into the mind of one of these political rocket scientists, aren’t there any internal systems that can shut down the voice box before it is too late?

Guess who won Missouri (10) and Indiana’s (11) electoral votes: Mitt Romney.

Guess who lost the U.S. Senate seats from Missouri and Indiana that should have been included in the GOP win column? Messieurs’  Akin and Mourdock.

Hello fellow GOPers, we cannot consistently win if we are relegated to being the party of south of the Mason-Dixon Line clueless white dudes. There are simply not enough aging white guys (or white voters for that matter, down 77 to 72 percent in just eight years) to go around. The Democrats know this. Why don’t we understand this undeniable fact?

Is this to suggest that discerning women (e.g., married with kids) and minorities (e.g., Hispanics) don’t vote Republican? Obviously some do, but not enough Seventy-one percent of Hispanics cast their votes for President Obama. Once again we are confronted with the age-old question: How does the GOP expand its tent, if it ever hopes to move away from being the eternal “minority party” (and the party that is increasingly seen as insensitive to minorities).

Am I suggesting that the GOP abandon its cherished principles of individual freedom, limited government, strong national defense and fiscal sanity? Absolutely not.

What I am recommending is the Republican Party needs to come into the 21st Century, maybe even kicking and screaming, and to realize the ground is shifting beneath its collective feet.

Can we avoid immediately yelling “amnesty” whenever someone (e.g., George W. Bush) even breathes the words, “immigration reform?”

Can we come to realize that in order to have any meaningful reform to massive deficit-impacting entitlements (e.g., 60 percent of the federal budget is devoted to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) that there must be some discussion about revenues including capping income tax and business deductions? It’s called two-way compromise.

Can we come to the realization that same-sex marriage is not going away, that the abortion issue has been fought to a convenient draw, and that religion needs to stay behind the pulpit and out of the bedroom?

What makes me most fearful is the prospect of a Republican civil war between the “Realos” (realists) and the “Fundis” (fundamentalists) similar to the internal skirmishing that existed for years among the members of Germany’s Green Party (Die Grünen). The realists will urge compromise and sensitivity and most likely will be branded as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). The fundamentalists will insist that both John McCain and Mitt Romney were too moderate. They will demand that a more ideological candidate be selected to run for the ultimate open seat in 2016, the recipe for glorious defeat.

Some will rationalize that it is difficult to unseat an incumbent president, particularly one that is personally popular, even in the worst of economic situations…clearly the case this year. Some will say that the devastating Akin and Mourdock quotes did not stick to Romney, but they did throw the party off message and force Romney et al. to play defense, when they could have been consistently hammering Obama on the economy.


Certainly the Republican Party has been behind the eight-ball before. The Goldwater debacle in 1964 laid the seeds for a comeback in 1968. Watergate, Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s pardon of Nixon preceded the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.

The stories of the GOP’s ultimate demise have been told before by gleeful Democrats and their media allies. They are being told again now. There is a future for the Republican Party, but it needs to change. And it needs to put a sock into the mouths of those who try to legitimize and bring God into an ugly crime against women.

Better yet, it needs messages that work for the majority, carried by skillful candidates and incorporated into winning campaigns.






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