Tag Archive: Michael Dukakis


 “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” – CNN anchor Bernard Shaw’s opening debate question to 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis

“No, I don’t Bernard. And I think you know I opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that’s it’s a deterrent and I think there are more effective ways to deal with violent crime …” — Dukakis’ answer to Shaw’s question.

How could Shaw have asked that question? More astonishingly, how could Dukakis have failed to explode at it?” – Jack Germond and Jules Witcover, “Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars”

The unthinkable and startling image of the first lady of Massachusetts being raped and murdered was offered up by a respected CNN anchor, Bernard Shaw, from your father’s CNN of 1988 … obviously not the hyper-partisan CNN of today.

Some reportedly accused Shaw of throwing a fast-ball right down the plate for Dukakis to angrily hit the ball out of the ballpark. Shaw emphatically denied this assertion.

Dukakis didn’t even swing. His wonkish answer without showing any vitriol or emotion about Shaw raising the spectre of a raped and murdered Kitty Dukakis, effectively ended the campaign of the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

The author of Almost DailyBrett distinctly remembers settling into his seat for the October 13, 1988 second presidential debate at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, when Shaw serving as moderator opened the proceedings with his provocative (understatement) question.

To most in the audience and millions more at home, Shaw’s question was shocking, one-sided as it did not apply to both candidates … Vice President George H.W. Bush and Dukakis.

Having said that, Dukakis and his campaign team had to know that a death penalty question was coming. Looking back, the Shaw question was a great opportunity for the Massachusetts governor to express outrage, thus firing up his supporters and maybe even the electorate.

Can you imagine one of today’s CNN anchor/correspondent asking that kind of question to a Democratic standard bearer in Donald Trump’s America?

Whattyathink Anderson Cooper? Don Lemon? Jim Acosta? Chris Cuomo? Jake Tapper?

Are There Any Objective Reporters Left To Moderate Presidential Debates?

“News people are no longer trained that they have to bury their personal views and bend over backwards to be fair. That concept went out the window a long time ago.” — Edwin J. Salzman, former Sacramento Bee Capital Bureau Chief

“ … If you have a son in the Marine Corps, and that you don’t trust the commander-in-chief (Trump)” – ABC Martha Raddatz, crying on 2016 election night.

Do you think Raddatz will ever be asked again to serve as a fair, objective and dispassionate presidential debate moderator?

How about noted-for-his-personal-integrity, Brian Williams of MSNBC?

More to the point, is there anyone at Jeff Zucker’s  CNN, who could be trusted to fill this critical role?

Almost DailyBrett has asked this question before and will pose it again: Where is this generation’s Walter Cronkite?

More to the point: Where is modern day equivalent of Bernard Shaw?

“Never laugh at Ted Turner too early …”

There was a time when America supposedly needed only three networks: ABC, CBS and NBC.

CNN (Cable News Network) was Ted Turner’s dream, which after initial scoffing and snickering became the first all-news, all-the-time network.

The network was there to cover live virtually any significant event regardless of its origin around the world … This was Bernard Shaw’s CNN. He served as the network’s lead anchor from 1980-2001.

When the San Francisco Bay Area was struck by the 6.9 Richter Scale Loma Prieta Earthquake on October 17, 1989, my boss California Governor George Deukmejian was sleeping in an airport hotel in Frankfurt, Germany.

By the means of a continuously open line from our office to the governor’s hotel room, and just as important through the reporting of CNN, Governor Deukmejian was able to direct the state’s response to the earthquake from nine-time zones away.

California’s Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy was in San Francisco, when Loma Prieta struck with no phone connections, zero television (including CNN) and literally no way to communicate.

This may seem like a stretch, but Almost DailyBrett appreciated at the time that Bernard Shaw’s CNN had become America’s go-to-network for news and information.

Alas, a shift to über-partisan journalism accelerated with the creation of MSNBC, serving the left, and Fox News, oriented to the right, both in 1996.

CNN continued with its emphasis on breaking news stories, but some concluded it was Melba toast, thus suffering in the Nielsen Ratings, compared to MSNBC and Fox News.

Today, CNN has morphed into the second coming of MSNBC with a 24-7-365 stream of angry talking-heads’ invective directed against a hated president. The country already has a MSNBC, it doesn’t need another one.

Does any CNN anchor today exhibit the professionalism, integrity and objectivity to dispassionately moderate a 2020 general election debate?

During Bernard Shaw’s era, the answer was an emphatic, “yes.”

Today the answer is “no,” … “hell no.”

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/lists/debatemoments/bernieshaw.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1844704_1844706_1844712,00.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/31/raddatz-media-watching-each-other-a-little-more-after-missteps-reporting-on-trump-378739

https://www.thewrap.com/donald-trump-president-martha-raddatz-tears-up-abc-news/

“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/

 

 

 

 

“Read my lips: No new taxes.” – Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush

Taxes were raised.

Back in my early 30s, I accompanied my boss, Governor George Deukmejian, to the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

The sweltering Big Easy is not the best place to be in August. And national political conventions are not just Thursday nights with all the falling balloons, chanting, cheering and sign waving, but rhetorical endurance contests.

Reflecting back on those heady younger days, I relished the opportunity to defy the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) stronghold on the agenda and instead placed my governor on network television as much as possible. A photo of ABC’s Sam Donaldson interviewing The Duke with a beaming me behind them sits on display in my office.

Donald Trump protestors clash with officers during the California GOP Convention held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 29, 2016. (Joel Angel Juarez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Donald Trump protestors clash with officers during the California GOP Convention held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 29, 2016. (Joel Angel Juarez/Special to S.F. Examiner)

One essential point: The author of Almost DailyBrett never worried for a nanosecond about personal safety in attending a national convention in 1988. Were there protesters outside the New Orleans Superdome despite the fact it was indeed, “Morning in America”?

Of course. Can’t remember what they were yammering about. Doesn’t matter now.

Two months later, yours truly attended the last presidential debate between Bush and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

“Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” — CNN Bernard Shaw’s opening question of the debate

Robotically Dukakis swung-and-missed on this controversial question, and the debate and the election were over on the first question of the night.

Was there heavy security at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on October 13, 1988? The question seems silly. Certainly. Yet once again, there was never an issue of personal safety that evening even though the stakes are always high in a presidential election, especially with an open seat.

Fast forward to today: Would a parent think twice about her or his daughter or son attending a major political convention, rally or presidential debate?

Unfortunately, these questions need to be asked as the pages of American history have turned to darker chapters.

Distinguishing The “Lovers” From The “Haters”

Almost DailyBrett three years ago dared to take issue with Martin Scorsese and the record 506 four-letter F-Bombs, which were unloaded during the three-hour-plus cinematic orgy of nudes, ludes and coke, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Today, a new four-letter invective is being dropped on political opponents in order to intimidate and silence: The H-Bomb.lovetrumpshate

Certainly, it is clever to champion that “love trumps hate,” even putting all the words in lower case to keep people from wondering if the verb is a double-entendre (which it is, of course).

The intended divisive net-result is the “lovers” are on one side and the “haters” are marginalized on the other side.

And what happens if the “haters” hold a political rally or attend a political convention? Do the “lovers” come out en-masse?

Of course there are sinners among the “haters,” but are all the “lovers,” saints?

Watching the video from usually calm-and-bucolic Costa Mesa with police cars being shattered, rocks and other projectiles being thrown all in the name of love, Almost DailyBrett wonders whether the two opposite terms – love and hate — are rapidly becoming synonymous.

Or am I confusing this video with the raucous scene from Chicago a few weeks ago? How many more 1968 Windy City scenes will be digitally transmitted in the new few weeks and months? How much blood will be shed? Will the carnage mercifully stop on election day? Don’t count on it.

This still image taken from video shows a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a protest on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful Thursday as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy late in the evening and spilled into the streets. (APTN via AP Photo)

This still image taken from video shows a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a protest on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful Thursday as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheater. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy late in the evening and spilled into the streets. (APTN via AP Photo)

How far are we as a coarsening society from a daily display of torch-lights and pitch-forks all in the name of “love”?

Before Dropping the H-Bomb

Considering there are 323 million Americans, can we conclude they are all “lovers” as the term in being defined in some circles?

Alas, there are more than a few who are genuine haters based upon their targets being a different race, ethnicity, gender and/or orientation. But does everyone who does not fully subscribe to the definition of “love” by default become a “hater?”

Should the rhetorical H-bomb be dropped on these dissenting souls? Should they be forced to eternally wear a Scarlet “H”?

How about a little public relations instead? How about some friendly persuasion? How about the marketplace of ideas, where dissent is welcome and tolerated?

Sure beats the ugly pictures on television and mobile devices all in the name of “Love.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2007/04/questions-that-kill-candidates-careers-003617

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/506-f-bombs/

http://www.census.gov/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/29/politics/donald-trump-protests-republican-convention-california/

http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2016-04-29-US–Trump%20Rally-Protests/id-3d26c5d9dc7441b3b9e1ce8fc898e736

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We had an enormous, world-historic campaign catastrophe.” Matt Bennett, former Michael Dukakis presidential campaign volunteer

I didn’t give it another thought.” – Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

You don’t put stuff on your head if you’re president. That’s Politics 101.” – President Barack Obama

Does anybody remember Michael Dukakis wearing a combat helmet, riding around in an M1A1-Abrahms Main Battle tank in September 1988, to prove he was tough enough for the presidency?

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE*** This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as he gets a free ride in one of General Dynamics' new M1-A-1 battle tanks at its land systems division in Sterling Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE*** This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as he gets a free ride in one of General Dynamics’ new M1-A-1 battle tanks at its land systems division in Sterling Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)

He just didn’t look right in the way-too-big battle helmet for a candidate who was a little guy … literally.

Dukakis looked even worse riding around in a battle tank circle-after-circle in front of 90 laughing reporters. The tank photo op was a bad idea in which someone … anyone with authority … on the Dukakis campaign needed not only to say, “no,” but “hell no.”

It was only a matter of nanoseconds before the tank footage found its way into the tender mercies of Bush media Meister Roger Ailes and campaign director Lee Atwater. They leapt like coiled vipers and quickly came up with a devastating advertisement, questioning Dukakis’ record on national defense and using the “goofy” tank footage to drive home the point.

What is really sad is that Dukakis advance dude Bennett had put on the very same helmet, looked into the mirror and concluded he looked silly in it. He was convinced it would come across even worse on the diminutive governor.

He called the Boston headquarters to warn them to cancel the event. No one listened. The rest is political history.

When Almost DailyBrett reflects back on this avoidable public relations disaster, one needs to contemplate that Twitter was still a bird, Facebook was a scrap-book, and the name “LinkedIn” would draw blank expressions. And what was a YouTube in 1988?

Today, Web 2.0 (e.g., blogging and social media) would take the tank catastrophe and spread to all corners of the globe within five minutes.

“Which Ever Way the Wind Blows”

Facebook was just being hatched in a Harvard dorm room in 2004. Twitter was two years away from being born. And yet there were millions chatting away on the Internet.kerrywindsurf

Some were discussing John Kerry going one way on his wind-surfing board, and then going the other way, before turning around and then heading in the other direction once again. The footage was set to the Blue Danube Waltz, courtesy of President George W. Bush’s campaign.

The point, which John Kerry’s unfortunate photo-op aided and abetted, was that Kerry was a flip-flopper, particularly in this voting pattern on the Iraq War. The Nantucket windsurfing image, the resulting ad and other factors helped convince the electorate that Kerry was not ready for the White House.bushmission

This is not to suggest that Bush was totally adept at photo opportunities. The “Mission Accomplished” banner on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to declare the end of the Iraq War in 2003 was quickly and repeatedly mocked as the Iraqi insurgency inflicted years of casualties on American troops in the region.

Hillary, the Subway and Five Swipes of the Metro Card

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” – English Idiom

All of this Almost DailyBrett reminiscing brings us to the question of Hillary and the New York Subway platform. That damn electronic MetroCard (sorry Bernie the NYC Subway doesn’t use “tokens” anymore) took five agonizing swipes to finally work for Madam Secretary Clinton.hillarycard

Alas, it was only a matter of time before Saturday Night Live (SNL) would turn the subway platform snafu into a skit, also reminding everyone that Hillary has lost seven-out-of-her-last-eight contests to Bernie.

Was the temperamental subway scanner a metaphor of the state of the Clinton campaign?

Wasn’t the advance team supposed to “grease” the card scanner to make damn sure it always worked for Hillary? Isn’t that the job of the advance dudes and dudettes?

Politicians using props and photo opportunities to provide images for campaigns goes back to kissing babies and whistle-stop speeches.

And yet the rules have changed, where the little gets magnified and the catastrophic becomes digitally viral in nanoseconds.

Hillary’s ultimate electoral fate most likely will not be decided because of the humorous Hillary-on-the-subway platform goof-up (Has the former senator from New York ever ridden the subway before?). The “reset button” with now recalcitrant Russia may be more egregious. Guess Hillary knows a thing or two about symbols that go wrong.hillaryreset

Having said that, American political history is riddled with stories of photo-ops gone wrong (e.g., Nixon walking the beach in San Clemente in dress slacks and wingtips). Now with mobile devices and social media the tender-loving-care needed to stage these events is greater than ever.

And if a campaign tanks, the pain will not be felt within hours, but in seconds instead.

http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/presidential-elections/videos/tank-ride

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/11/dukakis-and-the-tank-099119

http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/09/23/bush_ad_plays_on_kerry_windsurfing/

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwQkBfBs958

http://time.com/4285452/hillary-clinton-new-york-subay-metrocard-turnstile/

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/04/10/snl-hillary-clinton-subway-newday.cnn/video/playlists/snl-politics/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michele-bachmann-nyc-subway_us_5707d7bce4b04bf520ff4da0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-new-york-saturday-night-live_us_570a58a9e4b01422324940ef

 

 

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