Tag Archive: Mitt Romney


“Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little by which Wall Street’s greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No I don’t.” – Senator Bernie Sanders

Ever wonder why there are so few in the street carrying pitch forks?

Ditto for nocturnal torch-light parades?

Maybe the answer lies in the fact that Wall Street added $3.3 trillion in market capitalization (share prices x number of shares) since November 8. Translated: Investors are more than $3 trillion to the better since the election.

Whatever metric is used, the stock indices are sharply upward to the right: The NASDAQ increased 28 percent since the election, the S&P 500 is up 27 percent, and the Dow advanced 20 percent.According to Gallup, 55 percent of Americans owned individual stocks, stock mutual funds or managed 401(k) portfolios or IRAs in 2016. That figure is understandably down from 65 percent right before the economic crash in 2007, but it has been steadily advancing since then.

Almost DailyBrett will go out on the limb, and will contend the 55 percent number has grown since the historic 2016  election.

Predictably, the Gallup survey revealed that 88 percent of American families making over $75,000 are invested in individual securities, mutual funds and 401(k)s and IRAs. More than half of those (56 percent) making between $30,000 and $75,000 are invested in stocks.

The survey also revealed that 73 percent with bachelor’s degrees own stocks, mutual funds or invest retirement accounts, and 83 percent with master’s degrees or above also are investing in these same U.S. markets.

When one takes a second to ponder that 55 percent of middle-and-upper income Americans are participating in stocks, mutual funds, 401(k) portfolios and IRAs, the conclusion is obvious: America now has an investor class that is growing in numbers and wealth.

What’s the alternative for those investing for their retirement, their children’s education or that dream vacation? Bank interest rates that barely keep up with inflation? Speculative real estate? Stashing gobs of cash under the bedroom mattress?

And yet there was an ill-fated movement to tarnish America’s markets, Occupy Wall Street.

And now there are efforts in a handful of progressive states to impose a 20 percent “privilege tax” on the fees of financial advisors. Hmmm … wonder if this tax will be passed onto investors, the very same people who are trying to fund their retirement or college for their kids?

Attacking The Cash Cow?

“ … You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘Basket of Deplorables’. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” – Hillary Clinton.

“ … There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it … And so my job is not to worry about those people.” – Mitt Romney.

What do Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton have in common besides being guilty of lambasting literally millions of people in one unwise campaign utterance?

They both lost the presidency.

Winston Churchill once said: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Wall Street will never be perfect. The playing field has never been flat. Having said that, far more win with stocks, mutual funds, 401(k) plans and IRAs than lose. It has been upward to the right on a jagged line since 1929.

Maybe that is the reason why America has a more-than-half of its working age population investing in global markets. And for those investing, the six-plus months since the election has produced a record modern-era, bull market for any new president.

Granted, there will be those in the streets who bode ill for American markets, favor “privilege taxes” to stimulate more compulsory redistribution, and are maybe just a tad nostalgic for the mismanaged Occupy Wall Street debacle.

Do they really want to attack Wall Street and by extension America’s 55 percent and growing, investor class heading into the mid-terms of 2018 and beyond? Are these overheated rhetorical thrusts, smart politics?

If they relish in glorious defeat, they can insult America’s investor class to the content of their bleeding hearts.

They also should consider and ponder that America now has a new quiet majority, who fund their dreams with a simple click of the mouse while watching the tickers on CNBC.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/182816/little-change-percentage-americans-invested-market.aspx

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/01/statement-president-trump-paris-climate-accord

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2017/04/26/millennials-and-investing/100559680/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/illinoiss-privilege-tax-proposal-forgets-citizens-right-to-leave-1495834522

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5922&action=edit

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu101776.html

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/20/stuart-varney-trump-has-already-made-america-4-trillion-richer-with-just-six-months-in-office.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“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

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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.

electoralcollege2016

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?

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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.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/take-trump-seriously-and-literally/2016/11/16/cbdcf2c8-ac25-11e6-8b45-f8e493f06fcd_story.html?utm_term=.92bd5ef68e0e

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/podcasts/election-analysis-run-up.html?_r=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP6Ym806J18

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgYphOJ7qiw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-8EPmM8Ijk

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-11-06/how-the-media-blew-the-2016-campaign

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/watch-trump-brag-about-uneducated-voters-the-hispanics-20160224

http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-brexit-austria-french-presidential-election-national-front-525281

http://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/04/politics/bill-clinton-obamacare-craziest-thing/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/the-revenge-of-the-deplorables/

 

“ … You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘Basket of Deplorables’. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” – Hillary Clinton, Speaking at a Democratic-oriented fundraiser, Sept. 9, 2016hillarydeplorables

“ … There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it … And so my job is not to worry about those people.” – Mitt Romney, Speaking at a Republican-oriented fundraiser, Sept. 18, 2012

A gaffe is a gaffe is a gaffe … You name it! … Uttered by two electoral losers and separated by four years, plus a week or two.

It is never a good idea to insult literally millions of potential voters with a series of unfortunate and intemperate fighting words. So why engage in name calling just because the immediate audience is friendly and having a great time at the expense of others?

As Nancy Reagan would say: “Just say no.”

In our digital age, the microphones are more sensitive and effective than ever. The tiny cameras and video recorders are disguised as smart phones, and they’re first rate. They are always ‘on,’ which means the candidates too must be always ‘on.’

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly and consistently counseled that it is always wise to be offensive without being offensive. Advance and advocate your point of view, but always be respectful of all voters. They are more than mere demographics to be hunted down with search engines guided by algorithms.

There are many shaking their heads and washing their hands wondering why Hillary Clinton is not forming an administration today. The same was true, questioning why Mitt Romney was not preparing his inaugural address four years ago.romney47

The simple answer is both were seriously flawed candidates, who twice embarked upon a presidential campaign odyssey (Hillary, 2008 and 2016; Mitt, 2008 and 2012) and came up short.

Breaking the Blue Wall

“Wow, Hillary Clinton was SO INSULTING to my supporters, millions of amazing, hard-working people. I think it will cost her at the Polls!” – President-elect Donald Trump Tweet about Hillary’s ‘Basket of Deplorables’ comment

There were so many political experts who wondered out loud for weeks whether The Donald had a realistic Electoral College road-map to the Presidency. They used Poker analogies to suggest that Trump had to run an unlikely, inside-straight to win.

Pundit thinking and conventional wisdom revolved around the conjecture that all of the Barack Obama states from 2008 and 2012 were safely tucked away behind the Blue (State) Wall (e.g., Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa).bluewall

As it turned out, Trump did not have a perfect poker hand as he lost Virginia and Colorado, but did manage to hold Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. The real damage occurred as die blaue Mauer crumbled, overturning the Keystone, Wolverine, Dairy and Hawkeye States and their collective 52 electoral votes and placing them into Trump’s red column.

As the ballots are still being counted, Trump won more than 60 million votes. How many of these people were offended about being pigeonholed as racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic Deplorables? The fundraising audience laughed at her description and answered affirmatively to Hillary’s question, “Right?”

To be fair, Almost DailyBrett must point out that Hillary subsequently apologized for this unfortunate stereotype, but the toothpaste was already out of the tube, the bell had already been wrung, the bullet was already out of the chamber …

Was the ‘Deplorables’ remark the only reason that Hillary lost the presidency to a seriously flawed alternative? The answer is obviously negative, and all of the post-mortems will point to a litany of reasons, some valid, some not.

This blog on several occasions (e.g., Outrageous Al Smith Memorial Dinner remarks) scored Trump for time-after-time failing to demonstrate political discipline.

As it turns out he was not the only one, who strayed off script and may have caused a wall to crumble and for a new era to begin.

One must wonder whether Hillary is waking up in the middle of the night and thinking: ‘What could have been …?’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/09/09/clinton-half-of-trumps-supporters-fit-in-basket-of-deplorables/

https://newrepublic.com/article/138615/deplorables-got-last-laugh

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/full-transcript-mitt-romney-secret-video

 

 

Never thought the author of Almost DailyBrett would ever see the day.

Guess there is a first time for everything.

Yes I did it. I wrote-in my choice for President of the United States: Speaker Paul Ryan.

Today, I submitted my ballot. The deed is done.ballot

Some may contend that I threw my vote away.

Some may warn that my write-in vote will not be counted.

Some may scold that I helped put a Clinton back in the White House.

Personally, I have to live with myself.

Voting for big-legalized drugs/Snowden-pardon supporter Gary Johnson is a non-starter.

Jill Stein? Please.

Back in the 1990s, I never voted for a Clinton for president. There is zero chance I would do that now.

The prospect of putting the country’s nuclear arsenal in the hands of the most politically undisciplined party nominee in the history of the Republic (understatement), Donald Trump, is a bet I am not willing to make.

To little ole me, not voting is irresponsible and quite frankly, not an option.

By writing this blog post I am not seeking a medal or some kind of accolade, but sharing my personal journey as I contemplated for weeks and months literally the worst presidential choice ever … and the polls bear out this point.120811014459-romney-ryan-vp-2-horizontal-gallery

My reasoning: I voted for Paul Ryan to serve as Mitt Romney’s vice president four years ago. I am very comfortable with the prospect of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the White House.

The Shining City on the Hill

“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will report that I appeal to your best hopes not your worst fears … “—Former President Ronald Reagan, 1992

Even though Almost DailyBrett for seven-plus years attempted to be as even-handed as it can be and avoid partisan screed, your author is mortal and has a definitive political view.

Politically, I cut my teeth covering as a 20-something reporter the 1978 Proposition 13 tax revolt in California. Because of crippling 15-18 percent annual inflation and related-skyrocketing property tax bills, people were being asked to choose between their homes and essential services. They chose their residences.

Four years later, I served as the press director for the (George) Deukmejian Campaign Committee. One year after surviving an assassination attempt, Reagan campaigned for us. Even at 71-years-young, he looked like a million bucks to a young, impressionable media aide. From that day forward, I am proud to describe myself as a Reaganite.reaganduke

My outlook is realistic, but always positive. My beliefs include controlling the debt, stimulating full-time private sector jobs with the complete array of benefits, fostering a robust export-driven economy, and protecting our exceptional country from all adversaries … foreign and domestic.

The dystopian, inward approach to the world preached by one Donald J. Trump is not Reaganesque, and it is not Republican.

Did I listen carefully to all of the candidates during the lengthy primary season? Absolutely. I was hoping a true-Reagan conservative would emerge from the pack. That result did not happen.

There was a time, and Almost DailyBrett cannot pinpoint a date, but it became evident that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee of the Democrat Party and Donald Trump would serve as the standard bearer of the Republican Party.

This choice was unpalatable then and it is totally unacceptable now.

As a result, I wrote in Speaker Ryan. Regardless of who prevails next Tuesday, I am confident Paul Ryan will be serving as a living example of the checks and balances our Founding Fathers envisioned.

I will sleep better knowing he is on the job.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/31/politics/john-kasich-donald-trump-john-mccain-endorsement/index.html

http://www.speaker.gov/

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/03/nancy-reagan-death-donald-trump-2016-213709

 

 

“There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” – 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney caught on a planted Mother Jones videoromney47

“I want a Lamborghini.” – Mary Gatter, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley medical director, caught on a planted Center for Medical Progress video.

Hall of Fame football coach and legendary commentator on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox for three decades, John Madden, was asked on KCBS-Radio what was one of key reasons for his unprecedented run on four major networks:

“Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

Also remember that allegations make headlines; rebuttals are buried in the story.

Saying that you were quoted out of context is weak, defensive and sounds lame.

How about not making inexpedient or arrogant comments in the first place?

How about assuming that you are always on-the-record regardless of where, when, what, why, how and to whom you are speaking?

The cameras are everywhere. The microphones are ubiquitous. And soon the drones will be swooping in. And thanks to Gordon Moore’s Law (e.g., the number of transistors on a piece of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months), ever more complexity can be packed into smaller and more powerful than ever before devices using a fraction of the power as in the past.

Think of it as the serendipity of the consumer electronics business.

The Cameras are Everywhere

The Mother Jones hidden video of Romney’s 47 percent remark, made to a supposedly private meeting with wealthy donors, immediately fed to the growing perception of the former Massachusetts governor as a heartless plutocrat. Whether that image was real or not, really didn’t matter at that point … the damage was done.

The Center for Medical Progress hidden video of Planned Parenthood’s Gatter discussing the dollars-and-cents pricing of tiny body parts of aborted fetuses over salad and wine in a tony Pasadena (CA) restaurant, ended with her visions of an Italian sports car. She inadvertently put Planned Parenthood’s $542 million in federal subventions into the crosshairs of a Republican-controlled Congress.Lamborghini

Think of it this way: a Mother Jones planted video came from the left side of the political spectrum and a Center for Medical Progress planted video came from the right side of the political spectrum. As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

At the same time, publicly traded technology companies, such as GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) and others, are pioneering ever-smaller, more reliable cameras with excellent sound pickup, which are available for reasonable prices. Top it off, uploading these videos and having them go viral is easier than ever.

Digital is Eternal.

The candidates for the presidency and everyone else serving as the FrontMann/Frau(lein) or mouthpiece for any political sensitive organization or profitable business is now on record: No conversation is harmless. You should trust no one. Should you be a tad paranoid? Hello!

Take a mundane chore, such as Hillary Clinton heading off to Bergdorf Goodman on New York’s Fifth Avenue for a $600 haircut at the John Barrett Salon. Reportedly, her entourage closed down one side of the store on a Friday and marshalled a private elevator so the inevitable nominee could have her hair done.

July 26, 2015 - Ames, Iowa, U.S. -  HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

July 26, 2015 – Ames, Iowa, U.S. – HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

Does this $600 haircut square with championing the needs of the struggling middle class? Or does it add to the notion of privilege?

Once again in our Twitterverse, second-screen world, everything and anything is in play. Nothing is off-the-record. Literally anything is discoverable. Have we lost to a large degree our privacy? Yes, we have.

Thirty years ago, we were all told to be wary of anything that you wrote down or typed because scary Xerox machines existed. Your ill-advised words could be copied and delivered to a non-friendly reporter, looking for “good dirt,” in a plain-white envelope.

Life was so innocent back then.

Today is so different. Who would have thought that munching on an overpriced salad, sipping nice wine, while dreaming of a nice car with the top down, could be so dangerous to the political and economic health of your organization and/or campaign?madden

Once again contemplate the wise words of John Madden: “Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-barbarity-of-a-nation/2015/07/31/344f5140-36eb-11e5-9739-170df8af8eb9_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-price-of-fetal-parts/2015/07/23/13cb5668-316d-11e5-8353-1215475949f4_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/21/antiabortion-group-releases-second-planned-parenthood-video/

http://pagesix.com/2015/07/28/hillary-clintons-600-haircut-puts-bergdorf-on-lockdown/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/leaked-videos-show-romney-dismissing-obama-supporters-as-entitled-victims/2012/09/17/5d49ca96-0113-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_story.html?hpid=z2

http://www.biography.com/people/john-madden-9542594

http://gopro.com/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/08/planned-parenthood-receives-record-amount-taxpayer-support/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brave declarations of glorious victory notwithstanding …

Do you think Hillary Clinton and her public relations team would like to press the 2009 “reset” button with Russia all over again?

How about a reset of the “reset”?

hillaryreset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do they give out PR Mulligans?

The Era of Viral Images

How many ALS campaign “Ice Bucket Challenge” social media videos have you seen so far?

The campaign based upon donors enduring an unceremonious cold-water bath has raised a pledged $62.5 million and counting to fight this fatal disease.

The PR/marketing campaign is beautiful in its simplicity. Accept a friend or colleague’s challenge to video tape yourself being dunked with ice water. Post your video on social media. Invite someone else to do the same. It’s a Ponzi scheme for a great cause.

Former President George W. Bush appeared natural and genuinely had fun as First Lady Laura poured cold water on him at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. He then challenged former President Bill Clinton to do the same.

bushice

Conversely Mitt Romney looked stiff, decked out in his Brooks Brothers’-style suit, as shirt-sleeved Paul Ryan poured water on his former running mate.

No one questions that Mitt and many others should accept the ALS challenge. Having said that, the suit serves as a metaphor for Romney’s stiffness, a characteristic that makes it difficult for Americans to warm up to the notion of the former Governor of Massachusetts in the White House.

It appears that Mitt has not lost his stoicism heading into 2016.

Lasting Metaphors?

Sometimes PR pros need to be careful to not let “props” take on a life of their own, and serve as a not-intended lasting metaphor.

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, how many words can an ill-chosen gimmick, or for that matter a clearly successful backdrop, mean for a personal brand and/or reputation going forward.

Silent Generation-types and more mature Baby Boomers remember Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at the United Nations in 1960. Obviously, PR was not a consideration when he engaged in this boorish behavior. Nonetheless this angry incident with his shoe was one for the history books.

nikita

 

The backdrop of the Brandenburg Gate and the hated Berlin Wall served as the framing for John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speeches. Both Clinton and Barack Obama (as a senator) visited the same venue, but did not leave the same lasting memories.

And then there was the “Mission Accomplished” banner behind George W. Bush saluting a job well-done in Iraq. Everything is tranquil and peaceful in Iraq. Right?

missionaccomplished

Five years ago, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her post-Soviet Union, Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, a “reset” button to signal that all was getting better with the two former Cold War adversaries, the United States and Russian Federation.

A few eyebrows were raised, when the reset button reportedly “borrowed” from a Swiss spa, was emblazoned with the word, peregruzka. The only problem is the word in Russian means, “overcharge” not “reset.” One would think the Department of State may have at least one Harvard-head that knew a thing or two about the Russian language.

That day now seems so long ago. This past spring, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine, and later its Ukrainian backed rebels shot down a defenseless Malaysian 747. Will Vladimir Putin’s Russia actually invade the Ukraine, directly defying the Western world, including those who once wanted to reset US/Russia relations?

And if so, what will the “reset” button symbolize? Will it bring into question Hillary’s geopolitical judgment?

The aforementioned Romney pointed to the image of smiling Hillary and beaming Lavrov taking turns pushing the magical “reset” button. Hillary has no choice but to not only defend her actions, but to follow the time-tested political axiom: “When in doubt declare victory.”

Will being tough be enough? Or does she deep down inside wish that she never, ever heard of a “reset” button?

http://www.businessinsider.com/mitt-romney-hillary-clinton-embarrassing-obama-reset-button

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843506_1843505_1843496,00.html

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/24/hillary-clinton-stands-by-russian-reset-in-face-of-recent-events/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/03/remember-hillarys-russian-reset-button-guess-where-she-got-it/

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nikita-khrushchev-throws-a-tantrum-at-the-united-nations

http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html

http://www.alsa.org/news/archive/ice-bucket-challenge.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77AuXhORs-E

“Don’t cry. Don’t raise your eye. It’s only teenage wasteland…” – Who Guitarist and Songwriter, Pete Townshend, “Baba O’Riley.”

Is the monumental political and philosophical divide in America more than the separation between mere blue states and red states, liberals and conservatives, 99 percent vs. one percent etc.?

Shouldn’t we be equally concerned by the growing number of Americans (e.g., 47 million on Food Stamps) becoming even-more dependent on Washington, D.C in the face of the shrinking number of workers that are left to pay the tax bill?

Is there a growing separation between the dwindling “makers” and the ever-growing “takers?”

And aren’t those fighting words anyway?

Sorry for the string of interrogatives, but this is really not a new subject. At the same time, it is also a topic that is not going away anytime soon.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and reporter Theodore H. White wrote passionately about this subject three decades ago in his book, “America in Search of Itself.” Is public largesse and those who promote it, ensnaring literally millions of Americans into wasted lifetimes of dependency on the federal government?

white

And with it do the takers then become beholden to their pimping masters every two-or-four years (whatever applies)? Will there ever be enough money from the makers to be redistributed to the takers?

Writing in 1982, White said that every addictive program was passed through Congress in the “name of virtue.” He said that “all entitlement programs tend not only to grow in cost but, more important, to create their own constituencies (the takers?).” He added that with the growth of the federal government comes a “legacy of bureaucracy.”

“…Those dependent on federal money grouped together, while communities organized to demand federal funds,” White wrote. That was about $15 trillion ago.

Defeated GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney is getting rhetorically beaten up and becoming persona non grata for suggesting that President Barack Obama and his campaign consistently and persistently cherry picked Entitlement Society constituencies and systematically distributed the federal goodies. Romney called them “gifts.”

That top-down, command-and-control approach sounds like great (patronage) politics as evidenced by the electoral result, but is it sound and sustainable public policy?

Those who dare to even raise the subject (could that include little ole me?) may be the recipient of a swift poke with a sharp stick in addition to being branded as cruel, insensitive and callous. Romney is being co-signed to the ash heap of history (the usual resting spot for losing presidential candidates…Whatever happened to Michael Dukakis and Bob Dole?). In the meantime, Republican hopefuls, such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, are running for the exits. They are contending the GOP needs to stand for 100 percent of the public and by extension, not just the “makers.”

But isn’t addiction still addiction? When do we as a society cross the line between offering a helping hand and slapping on the golden hand cuffs?  One must wonder whether federal constituencies will ever rebel against the notion of being labeled as “takers.”

Literally millions who worked all their lives for their Social Security and Medicare benefits would take umbrage against this designation, and for good reason. Ditto for military veterans, who earned their pensions under fire. But what about the oodles and oodles of the rest?

There is no argument about the need of a safety net for the disadvantaged and unfortunate, but what about those who can be productive and can hold down a career-path job. Isn’t a well-paying job with full benefits the best anti-poverty program that Darwin ever created?

google1

How can we stimulate the entrepreneurs, the innovators, the creators who made America an exceptional nation to continue to do great things and employ millions in the process? Shouldn’t the federal, state and local governments be seen as helpful partners as opposed to regulators and check writers?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was no such divide between the makers and takers? Instead there would be a robust entrepreneurial sector coming up with the breakthrough innovations of tomorrow and a public sector providing the all-important defense and a safety net. That sounds like a balanced approach.

We would have all the government that we need. We can pay down the deficit. We could once again be strong economically. One can only dream.

Right?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/romney-obamas-gift-giving-led-to-loss/2012/11/14/c8d7e744-2eb7-11e2-89d4-040c9330702a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/11/15/republicans-to-mitt-romney-exit-stage-left/

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/06/26/federal-government-spends-3m-on-ads-promoting-food-stamps/

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-republicans-abandoning-romney-gifts-20121118,0,7640109.story

“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…”

romneyloss

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.

Portrait

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.

Message-Candidate-Campaign.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/republicans-face-murky-political-future-in-increasingly-diverse-us/2012/11/07/3b71e4f2-28e7-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_story.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/23/god-at-work-when-rape-leads-to-pregnancy-indiana-republican-senate-candidate/#ixzz2BZJ9ev3J

http://www.examiner.com/article/romney-ryan-campaign-forced-to-respond-to-todd-akin-legitimate-rape-quote

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realo

Considering all the consternation about the Electoral College, one must ask why it isn’t ranked in the BCS (Bowl Championship Series)?

The BCS (at least at the moment) seems to be obsessed only with Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Oregon. That’s just four mere states with a grand total of 51 electoral votes.

bcstrophy

Heck that’s nothing compared to the Electoral College, which features inordinate attention on 10 states (and maybe more): Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada or 131 electoral votes.

The BCS is predicated on a bunch of computers and two polls: The Harris Interactive College Football Poll and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.  That’s it? Some computer hardware and two lousy polls, and the BCS is labeled as a “controversy”?

Conversely, the Electoral College is absolutely overrun with polls, both nationally and state-by-state. And the Electoral College can more than match the BCS when it comes to computers chomping on statistics. Regressions anyone? How would you like your Likert Scales prepared?

The BCS is designed to provide us with two worthy contestants for college football’s national championship. Big deal. The political process has already given us the final two contestants about six months ago. Barack Obama even spent his wedding anniversary night with Mitt Romney.

The BCS was founded in 1998 to determine the national championship (and will essentially go out of business when a four-team national playoff ensues in 2014). The Electoral College is enshrined in the US Constitution, providing for the indirect election of the nation’s chief executive. It seems that our Founding Fathers did not have unlimited faith in the men of America (alas, women were disenfranchised at the time), and wanted the wise electors to make the ultimate decision. The forerunner for this system was Medieval Germany where the peasant’ votes were represented by the nobles and they in turn made the wise decision relative to a chief executive.

Every Sunday, ESPN keeps us in suspense for about 10 minutes about who will be the latest Deep South/Midwest team to leap-frog small market, West Coast Oregon in the BCS standings. Heck when it comes to getting screwed, college football has nothing on politics. One thing to say about college football is that one team must put up more points on the scoreboard in every game in order to win and (maybe) move up in the BCS standings.

Want to lose the popular vote and still win? Try out American politics. It has happened thrice in our history as Rutherford B. Hayes “won” over Samuel J. Tilden in 1876; Benjamin Harrison “defeated” Grover Cleveland in 1888; and George W. Bush “bested” Al Gore in 2000 even though the majority of voters went the other way. There are no “hanging chads” in college football.

Now some political science fiction fans are conjecturing that Romney could win the popular vote (e.g., the battle) and lose the Electoral College to Obama (e.g., the war). There is also talk of a 269-269 tie, which would throw Democratic lawyers into a tizzy and the presidential election into the Republican dominated House of Representatives.

electoralcollege

If you are an eternal optimist and have more than a modicum of faith, you can root for the BCS to get it right and invite the two best SEC teams to once again contest for the national championship. The rest of the nation can settle for the New Mexico and Idaho Famous Potatoes Bowls.

Who knows for sure, we may have an outright winner in both electoral votes and popular vote for the third election in a row.

Even with these potential happy results (at least to some), there are still big-time issues with both the BCS and the Electoral College. Fortunately for college football fans, a genuine four-team playoff is coming in two years. Will it solve all the problems and end all of the arguments? Of course not, but that is what makes college football downright mesmerizing.

For the big state fans, they will continue to call for the direct election of the president via the popular vote (concentration on New York, Florida, Texas, California) as opposed to the Electoral College (saturated coverage of New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada).

The big state folks should beware of what they wish for: A never-ending litany of attack ads cluttering their airwaves and computer screens for nearly a year at a time. Guess, the BCS is looking better and better with each passing day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College

http://www.bcsknowhow.com/bcs-formula

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/10/23/with-election-close-prospect-rises-that-electoral-college-winner-won-popular-vote-winner/nKvUAubKM1kcb6ewxshSzO/story.html

http://people.howstuffworks.com/question4721.htm

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS373US374&q=When+does+the+four-team+college+football+playoff+begin%3f

 

 

 

 

 

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…’).

romneyobama1

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Deukmejian

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Royko

http://bible.cc/luke/14-11.htm

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jobs-growth-rises-114-000-143514190.html

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