Tag Archive: Mike Royko

“The media was all in this narrative. Everyone was marching lock-step. Clinton is going to win. Clinton is going to win.” – “Morning Joe” Scarborough, MSNBC, November 9

“The press takes him (Trump) literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, not literally.” — Salena Zito, The Atlantic


Public Relations pros – flacks or spin doctors, if you wish – have long been accused of way-too-many times of happily drinking their own bathwater. Translated: They believe their own take on reality and what they are told by their superiors, and sometimes they are flat-out wrong (see Enron debacle).

Could it be the Washington, D.C. crowd – journalists, editors, correspondents, anchors, pollsters, demographers, pundits and other forms of political proctologists – could be equally guilty of falling madly in love with their own cleverness and even the very sounds of their own voices?

If you don’t believe in their infinite wisdom and how they tower over the great unwashed, just ask them. They will gladly tell you.

Most of all, they use Twitter in particular and other Internet tools to silently collude with each other, virtually ignoring all other voices, particularly those poor souls outside the Beltway or west of the Hudson. Algorithms über alles.

The political class told us mere mortals repeatedly about the seemingly impregnable “Blue Wall,” which stood the test of time during the past six presidential elections (e.g., Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania serve as perfect examples). No one really mattered in these spots on the map, except for their electoral votes.


Yes, these poor, uneducated sops are suffering. F-Them! Throw some money at them. And forget them … until the next election.

The media and political class defined the gender gap as to only mean the Democratic lead among women. And indeed according to exit polls Hillary Clinton won by 12 percent among the fairer gender (54-42 percent). What the media did not assess or discuss is the flip-side, the fact that Donald Trump won among men by an equivalent 12 percentage points (53-41 percent).

Ahhh … Is there really a “gender gap,” when only the fairer one matters?

Donald Trump declared his love affair for the “poorly educated” and instantly drew the scorn of what Wall Street Journal columnist and former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan once described as the “Harvard Heads.” Looking back, it may have been one the politically smartest things he said during the campaign – albeit we did not know it at the time.

A Choice Not a Referendum

“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people, who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.” former President Bill Clinton, October 3, 2016

According to the political class, only Hillary Clinton had a path to the presidency. Donald Trump was unsuitable. The “Blue Wall” (similar to die Berliner Mauer) was impregnable, until it wasn’t. For the first time in 32 years, the GOP nominee won Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania or a grand total of 52 electoral votes. Suddenly, it was Hillary who was up a deep creek without a paddle.

Why did the media, the pundits and the experts miss this political earthquake so badly?

  1. They treated the election as a “referendum” on Trump, not a choice between Hillary (e.g., status quo) and Trump (e.g., change, in a change year).
  2. The email issue had “legs” – a subject that simply would not go away for the Clinton campaign, even before FBI director James Comey became a household name.
  3. The “Deplorables” came back to bite Hillary. As Almost DailyBrett stated earlier, it is never a good idea to insult in one swoop literally millions of Americans with “fightin’ words.” Ask “47 percent” Mitt to verify.
  4. Hillary’s fidelity to “The craziest thing in the world” and average Obamacare 20 percent increases in premiums and deductibles two weeks before the election, signified that America would not change under her stewardship.
  5. Hillary did not have a message about the future (e.g., New Frontiers, Shining City on the Hill). Her rhetoric was all about The Donald as if Americans were participating in a referendum on his misconduct. In reality, a presidential election is once-and-for all, a choice.

The real question: Will the media and the highly educated political class wipe the egg off their collective faces and actually learn something from this humbling experience?


Something tells Almost DailyBrett that arrogance will soon return and will once again reign supreme by those who provide their Agenda Setting judgments and interpretations to a grateful nation.

Almost DailyBrett note: Proper credit for the term, “Political Proctologists,” needs to be afforded to the late Mike Royko of the Chicago Sun-Times. May he rest in peace.













Let me introduce you to the (former California) Governor George Deukmejian Law of Politics: “Campaign as if you are running behind.”

George Deukmejian Campaigning

In 1982, the Duke won the closest election in California’s history by less than 100,000 votes; 49 percent-to-48 percent. Four years later, he was re-elected by the greatest margin in the blue state’s history, 61 percent-to-37 percent. And yet in both campaigns as the true underdog (1982) and as the prohibitive favorite (1986), he campaigned as if he was running behind.

From time-to-time I reflect upon his oft-repeated words.

In conducting our lives, should we adopt the attitude and humility of the underdog?

Should we assume absolutely nothing, knowing that change (including unpleasant change) is inevitable, continuing to battle against all reasonable odds?

Should be humble and confident (not a contradiction) in our endeavors, leaving arrogance, overconfidence and obnoxious cockiness to those who will be rudely surprised some inevitable bad day?

Didn’t one of the members of the “God Squad” (e.g., St. Luke) once write: “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted?”

As we all know now, the punditocracy – those on the left and the few on the right — has weighed in big time about the great debate Wednesday night: Mitt Romney won and Barack Obama lost.

Romney as the clear underdog relished the opportunity to get past the noise of the negative ads and the pronouncements of political proctologists (words of the late Mike Royko). He directly took on the President of the United States and made his case to more than 50 million Americans.

Romney adopted the George Deukmejian Law of Politics.

For President Barack Obama he seemed to be nursing his lead, trying to run out the clock. As James Carville implored, it seemed that the president didn’t even want to be on the same stage with Romney. He reminded me of another president, George H.W. Bush, checking his watch during the middle of the debate (‘Don’t want to be late for dinner with Barbara…’).


When a team plays prevent defense with the defensive backs deployed near the goal posts, as complaining fans have noted, they are playing prevent victory. To use another sports metaphor, Romney was drafting behind Obama’s lead car Wednesday night waiting for the green flag to sling by his competitor.

The pressure very clearly was on Romney two nights ago. As the underdog, he focused on preparation, execution and passing the test. Mission accomplished. The pressure now reverts to Obama for the second presidential debate on Tuesday, October 16. Will Obama run as if he is running behind? He should, but will he? He needs to be prepared, be animated, but particularly in a town hall format, he needs to remain presidential…not aloof and dispassionate. And certainly not mean.

The majority of political opinion polls are starting to swing back in Romney’s direction. We will know by how much by this coming Sunday or Monday. He will receive an inevitable “bounce” from Wednesday’s night performance; nobody knows how much. He knows and his team must remember that they won the battle, but the war is still raging. The time between now and November 6 is a political lifetime. Volatility reigns supreme.

Just as Obama would be wise to run as if he is the underdog and with it, the champion of the little guy (Americans love underdogs, prompting many to storm the field or court after the huge upset), Romney needs to campaign as the humble underdog for the remainder of the campaign.

Incumbents are difficult to defeat (i.e., George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower) no matter the circumstances. The incumbent and his acolytes will seize upon any good news, even in the face of a desultory economic climate. Today’s improved unemployment rate, dipping from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, will be cheered in the president’s camp…as if we should assume a new norm of unemployment in the high single-digits.

There are many twists-and-turns in this race between now and judgment day. We have a plethora of talking heads and negative ads to endure. This too will pass. Both Romney and Obama would be wise to adopt the take-nothing-for granted underdog role. That’s good advice for the rest of us as well.





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