Tag Archive: Karl Rove


“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.

#Candygate?

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?

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/politics/a22979284/george-w-bush-michelle-obama-friendship-history/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/glanton/ct-met-dahleen-glanton-michelle-george-friendship-20180903-story.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/page/ct-perspec-page-mccain-funeral-michelle-obama-george-bush-donald-trump-0905-20180904-story.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/lets-all-pull-one-punch-this-week/

“Good moments can be more important than good arguments.” – Former Presidential Campaign Manager Karl Rove

“Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” – Former U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen to former Senator Dan Quayle

“There you go again.” – Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter, left, and Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, shake hands Tuesday night, October 28, 1980, in Cleveland, Ohio, before debating before a nationwide television audience. (AP Photo/stf)

President Jimmy Carter, left, and Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, shake hands Tuesday night, October 28, 1980, in Cleveland, Ohio … (AP Photo/stf)

It was Reagan who walked over to shake Carter’s hand after their sole debate, not the other way around. Courtesy matters.

What will be THE moment that transforms Monday’s watershed presidential debate — maybe 100 million viewers — between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and business mogul Donald Trump?

What will be the indelible image (i.e., George H.W. Bush looking at his watch; Al Gore moving aggressively toward George W. Bush; aftershave dripping off the face of a haggard Richard Nixon; Mitt Romney’s ‘Big Bird’ remark), which will instantly go viral on literally millions of mobile devices and other second screens?

Remember when mom repeatedly and maddenly told you: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”?

Temperament and persona matters in a presidential debate, not the ability to recite wonkish policy and stats.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was privileged to attend one debate, the second encounter between then Vice President George W. Bush and former Massachusetts Michael Dukakis. The debate will be forever remembered for Bernard Shaw’s (CNN) opening question to Dukakis and the governor’s response:

Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”

DUKAKIS: “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent …”dukakisdebate

It was not your command of criminal justice issues, governor … the question pertained to your wife being brutally raped and murdered. Shaw’s question was woefully unfair. Where was your revulsion? Didn’t you have any concern for the horrific image of Kitty being raped and murdered?

Instead, “I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent …” Were you a robot that night, governor? Where was the pathos?

Divorce Court?

The nationwide and swing-state polls are only snapshots in time at this particular moment. They will change after Monday.

Hillary has a lead in the horse race and most importantly in the Electoral College. The race is her’s to lose and she is doing her best to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

When it comes to boring wonkish detail (prose), no one can beat her. Monday’s debate is not a spelling bee. Will Hillary pile on Trump and his “basket of deplorables”? Will she offer more status quo or a vision of the future?

Conversely, which Donald Trump is going to show up? There are three debates, each lasting 90-minutes. Can Trump exhibit presidential discipline for four-and-one-half hours? Almost DailyBrett is taking the ‘under.’

The elite media of course will collectively declare a winner, most likely even as the debate is taking place, forcing one side to face the difficult chore of defending their champion in the post-debate Hofstra University spin room. Will the media winner/loser declaration drive follow-up polling, thus elevating the stature of the elites in communications? Bet on it.

But what if the event is judged as a tie? Doesn’t a tie go to the runner?

The 2016 election is a contest for an open-seat as Barack Obama is completing his second term. Who is the challenger (e.g., “the runner”)? One could argue that Trump holds that role, considering Hillary’s quarter-decade of more in politics (i.e., First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State).

Is a tie, a tie? No. It would be a win for Trump as the challenger always has the advantage.

Hillary will naturally swing for the fences, trying to expose The Donald’s lack of gravitas and more importantly trying to get under his legendary thin skin. Will The Donald take the bait? Your author is taking the “over.”

So … what are the best strategies for both candidates? Be offensive without being offensive. As Rove has suggested talk to moderator Lester Holt and therefore the nation, and not to be other candidate.

No one wants to watch a rerun of “Divorce Court.” And we don’t wonkish prose. What we need and what makes better theatre and “good moments” is passionate poetry, pointing to a brighter future or that Shining City on the Hill.

Will the debate degenerate into a bitter “he said, she said” series of exchanges? Quite possibly.

The goal is to win, but also to keep faith with mumsy’s “… It’s how you say it.”

PALM BEACH, FL: Newlyweds Donald Trump Sr. and Melania Trump with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton at their reception held at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images)

PALM BEACH, FL: Newlyweds Donald Trump Sr. and Melania Trump with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton at their reception held at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images)

Maybe the Donald should remember he invited the Clintons to his third wedding in 2005, and Hillary should reflect she was sitting in the first row. There may be more poetry in being the first to walk over to shake the other candidate’s hand.

Maybe a single act of kindness will be is remembered from Monday’s debate?

Don’t count on it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/when-presidential-debates-matter-1474498044

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/business/presidential-debate-moderators-lester-holt-chris-wallace.html?_r=0

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/jul/21/carlos-curbelo/clintons-really-did-attend-donald-trumps-2005-wedd/

 

 

 

 

“Why won’t our leaders work to accommodate each other, employing civility as they cooperate to accomplish goals in the country’s best interests? What in our national character, in the ways we choose to deal with one another and respect different viewpoints, has changed so much since the days of Reagan and O’Neill? How can we win back the faith that our republic is working?” – Chris Matthews, staffer to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill.DSC01433

Can we have a national chill-out … even for a day?

Can we respond affirmatively to the question Rodney King posed a generation ago?

Can we truly embrace the marketplace of ideas?

Can we reject the coarsening of America?rodneyking

As an eternally optimistic blog, Almost DailyBrett believes we can do all of these things … but first we have to climb out of our filter bubbles. We were all given two ears and only one mouth for a reason.

We have to accept that everyone is entitled to express their own opinion. It’s this First Amendment Freedom of Speech thing. Have you ever contemplated why the very first mod to our Constitution guaranteed the right to speak out, and even to offer dissent?

One has to wonder why violence is breaking out at campaign rallies, fights are more common than ever at American sporting events, and obscene F-bombs and sexist C-words are flying across movies and digital screens without any consideration whether anyone is hurt in the process. And don’t think for a second the racist N-word is finally dead and buried.

Can We All Get Along?

Governing Party and Loyal Opposition

“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” – John Maynard Keynesfilterbubble

The author of Almost DailyBrett is not campaigning for a medal.

Considering that yours truly is a political animal (and has always been one), it probably would not surprise anyone that I devour political books (e.g., one of my first: Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President, 1960).

Recently, I read both Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequence and David Axelrod’s Believer. Needless to say the two gents, one on the right and the other on the left, have a different take on American politics. Why read both, if one’s politics lean to the left or conversely to the right?

Why not?

These two overachievers were the architects of the last four successful presidential campaigns. They made presidents. Besides Rove’s accounts of Texas wheeling and dealing, and Axelrod’s stories about Chicago politics are downright fascinating.

And yet when I posted on Facebook that I had read both books, I received either silence or negative comments about one gent or the other.

Ladies and gentlemen, why are we so insecure or downright scared to entertain someone else’s point of view?

Didn’t our Founding Fathers envision three branches of government with the requisite checks and balances? My experience is that Americans are much more comfortable with divided government with a governing party and a loyal opposition.

Does the public embrace the bickering and name calling that seems to be out of control? Of course not.

There was overpromising and underperforming. The optimism that flourished on the cold January day in 2009 has been transformed into anguish, angst and despair, if not downright anger.

Maybe instead of demanding perfection in our own eyes, maybe we should settle for good for a while and actually see some positives in others?

If there is class warfare, it is still war. And what is it good for? Nothing.

Let’s see the Republican National Convention is July 18-21 in Cleveland. The Democratic National Convention is set for July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

How about a National Chill-Out Day on Sunday, July 31?chillout

In fact, every last Sunday in July should be National Chill-Out Day. No political ads. No mean-spirited discourse. No name calling. No fights. Actually listening to another point of view for a change? Let the Marketplace of Ideas reign.

Just one day to Chill-Out. How ‘bout it?

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/thinking-the-unthinkable/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/the-latest-ism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/is-the-c-word-the-equivalent-of-the-n-word/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_H._White

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:John_Maynard_Keynes

“The Trump-less debate proved the Donald right … While more than 24 million people watched the first GOP presidential debate on Fox, just 12.5 million watched this one.” – Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

From a public relations and long-term reputation standpoint, which is better?

  1. Caving into Mr. CombOver and jettisoning Megyn Kelly as a GOP debate moderator for the benefit of ratings?
  2. Retaining Kelly as a moderator, even at the expense of a Donald Trump debate boycott and the obvious sacrifice of literally millions of viewers?megyndonald

Whichever course Fox News’ boss Mr. Warm-and-Fuzzy Roger Ailes chose, there was going to be criticism and impassioned finger pointing. It was a simply a no-win situation for Fox News, regardless of the decided course of action.

Fox News chose Option 2: Standing behind Kelly, journalistic principle and calling Trump’s debate-boycott bluff.

Almost DailyBrett must also take a stand on this question: Allowing any politician, no matter how demagogic, influential and wealthy, to dictate coverage by any network sets a horrible precedent and worse yet: The decision is indefensible.

Besides … love it or loath it … cable news ratings leader Fox News will be around longer than Donald Trump. The network claims it is “fair and balanced.” Whether one agrees with this moniker or not, how can Fox News stand behind this motto if a billionaire bully dictates journalistic standards?

Tit in a Ringer?

“Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s (slush fund story) published.” – Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell

Do you think Richard Nixon wanted Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post to be fired during the height of the Watergate scandal? Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell even warned he would put Post publisher Graham’s “tit in a ringer.”postgraham

The Post was properly saluted by the journalism profession for sticking to its proverbial guns in the 1970s. Woodward and Bernstein’s “All the President’s Men” (both the book and the movie) and “The Final Days,” celebrated the Pulitzer-Prize-winning coverage by the Post.

So why not even some modicum of acknowledgement of the courage of Fox News, even at a network loss of upwards of 12 million viewers? Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting an equivalency between the Watergate coverage and Donald Trump debate boycott other than to state that both required courage.

What’s ironic is at least one or more Washington Post pundits (and presumably other media as well) are leading the criticism of Fox News’ decision to back Kelly and suffer the ratings hit as a result of Trump’s petty-and-childish debate boycott.

Who Is the Real Loser?

“Slinking away from an accomplished journalist who might ask a tough question is lame and makes the blustering, bullying real estate mogul look weak and petulant. This could permanently damage the perception that he’s strong and fearless.” – Presidential Campaign Manager Karl Rove

There are some who are taking Donald Trump at his word: He boycotted last Thursday’s debate because of Kelly’s tough questioning at the August 6 debate, asking him to respond to charges that he is a misogynist.

There are others who contend he played it safe, especially when word leaked out that Kelly and her two other moderators Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, were planning on interjecting Tim Russert-style “got-ya” videos into the debate questioning.  Last Thursday’s debate featured the toughest questions of the seven Republican and four Democratic debates to date.trumpailes

And then, there is the distinct possibility the threatened boycott had nothing to do with Kelly, but really boiled down to two-little boys in a sandbox (e.g., Trump and Ailes) contesting who had the biggest Tonka truck.

It will be interesting to note whether Trump’s pettiness will cost him in the Iowa Caucuses this evening. If so, a national wave of Schadenfreude may ensue.

For the Fox News PR department, it is far easier to stand-up for Vanity Fair cover-subject, Megyn Kelly and more importantly, journalistic principles, than to rationalize backing down to Donald Trump.

When in doubt: Think long-term reputation over short-term benefit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/28/winners-and-losers-from-the-7th-republican-presidential-debate/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-ducks-an-iowa-opportunity-1453938984?mg=id-wsj

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/28/the-real-reason-donald-trump-is-skipping-tonights-fox-news-debate/?tid=a_inl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/29/megyn-kelly-is-a-very-good-debate-moderator-heres-proof/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_evening

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-had-the-worst-week-in-washington-foxs-roger-ailes/2016/01/29/0b863796-c693-11e5-a4aa-f25866ba0dc6_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_popns

http://www.economist.com/node/699638

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/12/megyn-kelly-fox-news-cover-story

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/01/31/will-trump-ever-debate-again/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_opinions

 

 

 

 

 

There was a decade when giants walked. These were days when governments and societies for the most part worked. These were days when a wall came down, and the guns went silent. These were the days when 19 million jobs were created, the greatest peacetime employment expansion in American history. These were days when just plain living was a “good thing” as Martha would say.G7worldleaders

Almost DailyBrett will never be accused of being warm and fuzzy, romantic or even nostalgic. There is no desire to turn back the clock, but there is an almost daily longing to go Back to the Future (1985 film) and see what we can learn from the 1980s.

The 1980s began with 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran and ended with the Berlin Wall coming down and the successful culmination of the Cold War.

Some closer to home even dared to utter that it was “Morning in America.” Can you imagine saying that today?

There is no such thing as a perfect society and there never will be, but the 1980s gave us a peek into what we can do, if we can compromise, respect other opinions and work together.

“Bygone Bipartisanship”

“Why won’t our leaders work to accommodate each other, employing civility as they cooperate to accomplish goals in the country’s best interests? What in our national character, in the ways we choose to deal with one another and respect different viewpoints, has changed so much since the days of Reagan and O’Neill? How can we win back the faith that our republic is working?” – Chris Matthews, staffer to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill.reagantip

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews wrote his 2013 best seller, “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked” about the relationship between a Republican president and a Democratic speaker of the house that were mirror philosophical opposites of each other, but managed to work together to improve America.

Even with Paul Ryan coming aboard as Speaker of the House are we in any way more confident that Congress and the incumbent president can put together enough votes and good will to do anything other than raising the debt limit to $20 trillion?

Going back to the future, to the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was president, Margaret Thatcher was prime minster, Mikhail Gorbachev was general secretary and Helmut Kohl was Kanzler. Would we trade Barack Obama, David Cameron, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel for their aforementioned predecessors?

Wouldn’t we certainly like to see bare-chested Putin ride his horse into the sunset?

Reading Kohl’s Vom Mauerfall zur Weiderveinigung: Meine Erinnergungen, one is floored by how Kohl drew an inside straight with Gorbachev barely 50 years after Barbarossa commenced and the Panzers roared into Russia.

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and his spouse Raisa and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, have a walk prior to their talks at the resort settlement of Arkhyz on July 16,1990. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Lizunov and Konstantin Tarusov) Êàðà÷àåâî-×åðêåññêàÿ àâòîíîìíàÿ îáëàñòü. 16 èþëÿ 1990 ãîäà â êóðîðòíîì ïîñåëêå Àðõûç ïðîøëè ïåðåãîâîðû ïðåçèäåíòà ÑÑÑÐ Ìèõàèëà Ñåðãååâè÷à Ãîðáà÷åâà ñ ôåäåðàëüíûì êàíöëåðîì ÔÐà Ãåëüìóòîì Êîëåì. Íà ñíèìêå: Ìèõàèë Ãîðáà÷åâ ñ æåíîé Ðàèñîé Ìàêñèìîâíîé è Ãåëüìóò Êîëü (ñïðàâà) âî âðåìÿ ïðîãóëêè ïåðåä íà÷àëîì ïåðåãîâîðîâ. Ôîòî Þðèÿ Ëèçóíîâà è Êîíñòàíòèíà Òàðóñîâà /Ôîòîõðîíèêà ÒÀÑÑ/.

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and his spouse Raisa and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, have a walk prior to their talks at the resort settlement of Arkhyz on July 16,1990. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Lizunov and Konstantin Tarusov)

All Kohl wanted to do was reunify Germany, expel Soviet troops from former East Germany, enroll a united Germany in the NATO alliance, integrate Germany into the European Union and maintain a defense force of 370,000. Surprisingly, Gorbachev said “da” as Germany promised to monetarily assist with Russia’s perestroika or restructuring program.

One of the key ingredients for Kohl to secure what he wanted for Germany and his place in history was being able to provide Gorbachev with talking points he could use back home in the Rodina. Imagine putting yourself into the other leader’s shoes and helping her or him make the politically tough, but correct choice? Alas, Gorbachev paid the ultimate political price for his courage.

Can anyone conceivably imagine Putin signing off on any of the above or compromising on anything? Heck, Putin and Merkel won’t even speak the same language to each other when they meet. Courage seems to be in short supply these days (not suggesting that Merkel is a shrinking violet).

Looking back at the 1980s, Americans were notorious ticket splitters and reflecting the national mood, more times than naught they gladly re-elected incumbents. Almost DailyBrett can’t forget how Republican Governor George Deukmejian was re-elected with the greatest landslide in blue California’s history with a 61-37 percent margin in 1986, and Democratic Senator Alan Cranston won re-election by a 49-47 percent count on the very same day.

21st Century Filter Bubbles

Contrast the mood in the country and political climate in the mid-1980s with the widespread vitriol, anxiety and angst that is prevalent at this mid-point of the second decade of the 21st Century.

Many have asked the question, what happened (e.g., Chris Matthews)? The more important question is to ask: What can we collectively do to bring back the optimism and achievements of the 1980s?

Are we turning back the clock as the pessimistic pundits would say or are we applying the digital wizardry of the 21st Century to recapture the optimism and best hopes of a not-too-distant time?DSC01433

As PR practitioners, reputation managers, students of global society do we dare appreciate the other team’s point of view? Can political animals read both Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequence and David Axelrod’s Believer and learn something from the two architects of the last four winning presidential campaigns?

Or do we selectively search on Google, Yahoo and Bing for news and information that serves to corroborate our own personal confirmation bias? Some even revert to their crayons, coloring books and play dough when some foreign thought is threatening the filter bubble? Vaccines are really bad; it says so right here on Wikipedia.

Even though the 1980s were not perfect, we know they were a better time, a much better time. Sometimes the best strategy is to take one step back before going two steps forward. Sounds like a tactical retreat, a period of reflection and then moving forward with great vigor to New Frontiers. A little compromise may be in order as well.

Do we have the makings of a 1980s plan?

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

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/12/news/transcript-of-reagan-s-farewell-address-to-american-people.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/books/review/tip-and-the-gipper-by-chris-matthews.html?_r=0

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/alt-kanzler-auf-der-frankfurter-buchmesse-kohl-praesentiert-sein-neues-altes-buch-vom-mauerfall-zur-wiedervereinigung/10812422.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_election_in_California,_1986

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/the-latest-ism/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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

 

 

 

 

“I’m someone who went to college, had the opportunity in my senior year to go and take a job full-time … and I took it, thinking someday, maybe, I’d go back,” – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkerwalker

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans have never marched up to the podium in a graduation gown, sporting a mortar board and fluttering tassel to receive a bachelor’s degree, let alone an advanced degree.

Does this automatically mean that two-out-of-every-three Americans are automatically disqualified from serving in the Oval Office? That seems to be the implication as the Washington Post weighed the fact Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker went to college, but didn’t finish. Sounds like a familiar story for way too many people.

As the 2014 mid-term elections are growing more distant in the nation’s rear-view mirror, the assembled political proctologists (e.g., talking-head pundits) are starting to probe and analyze the contenders and pretenders for the first open seat for the White House in nearly eight years.

Some have already questioned New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s girth and temperament, reflecting on the fact that Howard Taft was the last rotund American president. Taft ran and won (1908) and then lost (1912) in a pre-digital-video era. That was then; this is now as evidenced by Time Magazine’s November 2013 “Elephant in the Room” cover focusing on Christie with a not-so-subtle reminder of his weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Translated: The majority of Americans are not obese, albeit far too many are overweight, a distinction with a difference. Weight is clearly a problem for Governor Christie both politically and physically. A presidential debate involving Christie may not be a pretty sight.christie

Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc.

Not having a college degree may not be a big deal for the folks on Main Street, who probably don’t have the hallowed degree either, but it is a huge deal for the Harvardheads, attending the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C. and in Midtown Manhattan.

For the Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc., a bachelor’s degree or better from an Ivy League school is a minimum qualification to occupy the Oval Office. Consider the academic pedigree of the last four presidents:

  • Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
  • George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree from Yale and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
  • Bill Clinton received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown, earned a Rhodes Scholarhsip and his law degree from Yale.
  • George H.W. Walker received a bachelor’s degree from Yale.

Ronald Reagan received his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College (Illinois) in economics and sociology in 1932. Tiny Eureka College with its 785 students (Go Red Devils) will never be confused with a Big Ten School, let alone an Ivy League university. And yet, Reagan is regarded as one of our best presidents.

The same applies and more to Harry S. Truman, who never attended college. Despite this “handicap,” history called on Truman to make some of the toughest calls in the nation’s history (e.g., use of the atomic bombs, firing Douglas MacArthur) in the period beginning at the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War and its first-ever nuclear threat.

Can a Governor Without a Degree Become a President Without a Degree?

“I’ve got a master’s degree in taking on the big-government special interests, and I think that is worth more than anything else that anybody can point to.” – Governor Scott Walker 

There are many during the past four years who wrote off Walker, particularly after he invoked the eternal wrath of Wisconsin’s public employee unions. As it turns out, he survived a recall and was twice elected governor of the Dairy State; his re-election was last November.

Is the fact that Walker not having a degree, game, set and match for any presidential aspirations, particularly for the Washington cocktail circuit? Most likely this crowd will have influence, particularly during the before-the-primaries shadow campaign when it comes to raising the estimated $88 million or so that it will take to win a party nomination.

Major contributors are not looking to make a donation, but an investment in a candidate that has a chance to win. There is no doubt that Walker is both bright and smart, but that will not stop the know-it-all Pharisees from pointing to the governor’s lack of a degree and thus question whether he has the “gravitas” to do the job.Truman1

Our constitution precludes those who were born overseas or just over the border from running for the presidency. There is not a similar stipulation in the same document when it comes to having a college degree (e.g., Truman and Grover Cleveland were degreeless), but for all intents and purposes it could be a game-ender for Governor Walker and presumably any others that aspire to the highest office without a diploma on the wall.

Almost DailyBrett hopes this indeed is not the case, believing in the romantic notion that anyone with fortitude and perseverance — and not just those with diplomas — can aspire for the highest office in the land.

Almost DailyBrett Note: Credit for the clever term, “Harvardheads” or the Ivy League types that populate Washington, D.C. and Wall Street in particular must be directed to former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan. She references these creatures several times in her book, “What I Saw At The Revolution.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/08/scott-walker-has-no-college-degree-thats-normal-for-an-american-but-not-a-president/?wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/life-in-your-years/

http://www.rove.com/articles/564

 

 

 

Some of us celebrate our diversity.

For decades we have used the metaphor “melting pot” to describe America.

California Governor Jerry Brown in his first go-around as the state’s chief executive even labeled the Golden State as a “mosaic” to describe the various ethnicities, creeds and orientations that populate the left coast state.

mosaic

And yet a mosaic is a series of pieces, separated by channels of grout. Each one is separate and distinct from the other. We may talk about diversity and mosaics, but in reality aren’t we really just part of the segments that comprise The Segmentation Society?

Can this realization be the root of our inability to come together for a common cause? And when we do (e.g., immediate aftermath of September 11), this camaraderie does not last long.

And if anything aren’t we championing the brilliance of those who make the most hay out of segments…err…demographics? Are you listening David Alexrod?

Barack Obama won a second term putting together a blue-state coalition that included so many  black, yellow, brown, young, secular, single-female mosaic pieces. The other chips of broken china need not apply.

Eight years earlier, George W. Bush won his own second term through the assembly of a red-state coalition that included so many white, brown, older, religious, married-female mosaic pieces. The other pieces were not necessary to complete the Electoral-College puzzle. Are you listening Karl Rove?

For the shrinking-in-influence news media, particularly those on cable television, the lucrative answer to The Segmentation Society has been to turn to the polemics.

The Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2013 report pointed to growing trend toward editorial rather than reportorial content. MSNBC on the left “leads” the way with 85 percent of its 2007-2012 content being opinion or commentary with only 15 percent being straight news. Fox News on the right devotes 55 percent of its airtime on opinion and commentary with 45 percent for hard news. CNN wins or loses (e.g. low Nielsen ratings) this contest with 46 percent opinion and commentary and 54 for news gathering.

oreilly

Amplifying the point, Pew reported that MSNBC owned by Comcast directed only $240 million for news gathering, while Fox News run by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation devotes the cable industry leading $820 million for reporting.

Fox News president Roger Ailes made the correct business decision that conservatives were an underserved segment and wanted a network that met their needs. Enter Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and on occasion, Bill O’Reilly.

MSNBC saw itself as the liberal counterweight to Fox News and bludgeons conservatives by means of the tender mercies of Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews and at one time, the fair and “balanced” Keith Olbermann.

Rachel%20Maddow%2008_grid-4x2

Elections are won picking up segments (demographics) and tossing them into the electoral shopping cart.

Networks reel in the dough as if it was manna from heaven by throwing editorial and commentary red meat to the true believers whether they be aligned with the left or the right. It really doesn’t matter as long as confiscatory advertising rates can be charged

To the public relations community, which according to Pew now has a 3.6 to 1.0 ratio “advantage” over the remaining journalists, the goal is to use conventional and digital means to reach the stakeholders…the targeted segments.

In choreographing a public relations campaign is the goal to identify the segment or to craft the message that appeals to the segment…or both?

Social media outlets with their trusty algorithms allow us to segment ourselves through our key strokes and send related ads to the right side of our Facebook page. Whether we like it or not (most would say “not”), we just pigeonholed ourselves.

And each time we pigeonhole ourselves, we place ourselves into an ever narrower portion of the pie or bar chart. We are individuals after all with our own particular DNA and cell structures.

This is all brings us back to the original point. Should we be celebrating diversity? Should we hold out that we can all come together for common good? Or should we realize that majority rule means using digital tools…the ones and zeroes of binary code…to reach those demographics, mosaic pieces, segments…that are most likely to buy the product or pull the lever?

It seems that train has already left that station, if you don’t mind one more metaphor.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/03/18/pew-study-finds-msnbc-the-most-opinionated-cable-news-channel-by-far/

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/overview-5/

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

“If you are young and not a liberal, you don’t have a heart. If you are old and not a conservative, you don’t have a brain,” – Too many Republicans claiming credit to count.

“Hope I die before I get old,” The Who, My Generation

According to a recent syndicated column, literally millions of Baby Boomers have undergone a personal political metamorphosis during the course of their lives. They have been transformed from a born-this-way liberal caterpillar to a conservative butterfly. In my Roman Catholic family, JFK was the patron saint and I could have sworn that Nixon’s first name was “damn.” That was then, this is now.

catepillar

What I have seen recently is empirical evidence that our generation may not have been as liberal as some thought in the 1960s, and that the majority of us became more conservative beginning in the 1980s. Certainly that is the premise of a syndicated column by Karlyn Bowman and Andrew Rugg of the American Enterprise Institute.

Keep in mind that AEI is conservative, libertarian, free-market oriented – not exactly totally unbiased — so it may not be surprising that they have come to this conclusion. The piece, which relies heavily on polling data over time, is still worthy of analysis.

There is no doubt that Baby Boomers (born1946-1964) harbor vastly different attitudes and approaches from their parents, the majority of whom will go to their respective graves never appreciating classic rock. At the same time, Baby Boomers as a generation are more open-minded when it came to racial issues, sexual orientation and women’s rights than the generations that preceded them. Despite the relaxation of attitudes, the AEI report states that the inevitable maturing and aging of the Baby Boomers in the 1980s resulted in many of them marrying and caring for their own families for the first time and with that parental responsibility.

butterfly

“In the 1986 Time (magazine) poll, 64 percent of the Baby Boomers polled said they had become more conservative since the 1960s,” Bowman and Rugg wrote. “When asked about their ideological identification, 31 percent said they had been liberal in the 1960s and 70s, but only 21 percent described themselves that way in 1986. The number identifying as conservative rose from 28 percent to 41 percent.”

Even though the AEI research into quantitative data about the political shift of Baby Boomers over the course the past 50 years is impressive and hard to argue with something is indeed missing in the analysis, carried in the market-oriented Wall Street Journal, the liberal-leaning Los Angeles Times and many other publications. The column never mentions a major factor: The “R” word as in Reagan.

Americans instinctively gravitate toward a winner. If you doubt that assertion just think about how many nationwide are fans of the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, and those who line up for hours to buy the latest gadget from Apple. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was seen as a winner, and he projected the confidence of a winner. Millions simply wanted to be on the winning team.

Portrait

In 1986, no one was talking about broken government. Reagan was popular. It was morning in America. The right track/wrong track barometer was solidly right track. My boss, George Deukmejian, was re-elected that year as the Republican governor of the biggest blue state, California, with 61 percent of the vote. For those of you scoring at home, that is still the largest landslide of any California gubernatorial race in the modern era (at least).

Looking back at the 1980s, Reagan ran against incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale four years later. In these two races, Reagan won 93 states and lost a grand total of seven. Quiz: What was the one and only state to vote against Reagan both times?

Before Reagan, America had a long-succession (for a variety of reasons) of presidents that did not serve two terms (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter) and some pundits wondered whether the job of the presidency was frankly too big for any person to effectively dispense the responsibilities over the course of two terms. Guess the pundits were wrong as Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush were two term presidents.

As the first Baby Boomers reach retirement age of 65 this year, the question remains how many more presidential elections will this generation make its considerable presence felt?  For now, Baby Boomers are a large, active voting bloc. Barack Obama and his inevitable Republican challenger will be developing outreach strategies for this high participatory constituency. Reagan obviously won the majority of this group. You can be certain that campaign pros on both sides of the great political divide are reviewing the Reagan strategy and coming up with their own twists to win over the Baby Boomer generation in 2012 and beyond.

Quiz Answer: Mondale’s home state of Minnesota. DC voted twice against Reagan as well, but it is not counted as a state.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903999904576470303202499330.html

http://blog.american.com.14feb-youth.com/author/bowman_rugg/

http://www.aei.org/about

The Time and Place for Bad News

As public relations practitioners we have all learned the following about bad news: It almost always finds a way into the public domain.

We have a choice: We can either manage it or be managed by it.

One of the biggest problems with handling bad news is that executives and their lieutenants in many cases wish for it to just simply go away or be swept under the rug. This is understandable human nature, but it is not good communications policy.

For publicly traded companies, failing to immediately disclose “material” information  only to have it surface later will most likely result in SEC fines for violation of Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) and lead to a series of field days for the plaintiff’s bar. http://www.sec.gov/answers/regfd.htm

Many partisans want to shoot the messenger and skip over the important message, in this case, Karl Rove, the author of “Courage and Consequence,” www.rove.com. His book provides an important lesson about bad-news management; and in particular a missed opportunity that almost cost his boss, George W. Bush, the presidency. It pertains to Bush’s DUI arrest in Kennebunkport, Maine on Labor Day weekend in 1976.

“Over the years, Bush had told a few confidants about the arrest,” Rove recalled . . . “But Bush was adamant he didn’t want it public . . . Despite our mild encouragement to make it public, Bush said ‘no.’

“At the time, I thought most Americans would decide this was no big deal. Bush had been 30, gave up drinking entirely 10 years later, and incident was far in the past. Nevertheless, we should have brought it up at a time and place of our choosing…”

Ah, the time-and-place rule of strategic communications comes to the forefront once again. You can control the flow of information or have that information control you. The intransigence of the chief executive in this case almost cost him the White House, and conceivably resulted in him losing the popular vote against Al Gore.

The story “broke” four days before the November 2000 general election (Isn’t it amazing how negatives can surface at the most inopportune time for your clients, when through your own inaction you allow someone else manage your bad news?)

“Did this last-minute revelation of Bush’s decades-old DUI hurt?” Rove asked. “Yes, a lot. First it knocked us off message at a critical time . . . Second, we had made a big issue of Gore’s credibility and now we had a problem with Bush’s.”

Even though he admits that it is impossible to accurately quantify the impact of the DUI revelation just 96 hours before Election Day, Rove said if just 2 percent of voters changed their minds that meant that 2.1 million votes went into the other guy’s column. That figure is approximately 4x Gore’s eventual 543,895-vote lead in the popular vote and probably cost Bush four states that he lost by less than 1 percent: Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin.

“Had he won them, this would have added a total of 30 electoral votes to Bush’s column, which would have allowed him to win the White House without Florida. Receiving a majority of the popular vote and winning the Electoral College by a margin of 305 to 232 would have given Bush a much better start. Of the things I would redo in the 2000 election, making a timely announcement about Bush’s DUI would top the list.”

Engaging in a little Monday morning quarterbacking 10 years later, what should have been the strategy of the Bush campaign team?

●First, convince the principal of the inevitability of disclosure and strongly suggest a management program. Lay out very clearly the consequences and folly associated with the withholding of critical information.

●Second, look at the calendar – the 1999, not the 2000-election-year calendar – for a strategic time and place to make the announcement or to allow the news to miraculously leak. The strategy is to make the DUI arrest ancient news by the time of the 2000 general election.

●Third, figure out the means of disclosure (e.g. deliberate leak, response to a TV interviewer, Drunk-driving awareness event). The 1976 DUI arrest could be seen by the public as a “lessons learned” experience.

Granted that saying all of the above is easier than doing. However, controlling the story on your own terms and dictating the timing is far better than responding to media questions about SEC fines, attorney strike suits or even losing the presidency.

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