Tag Archive: Paul Ryan


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

 

 

“With best wishes to Kevin who understands what this is all about” – Jody Powell

“When the news seemed to me then and now, to be wrong, unsupportable, and unfair.” – President Jimmy Carter’s press secretary Jody Powellpowellsignature

One of my most cherished possessions is a personally signed copy of Jody Powell’s 1984 book about presidential public relations and the media, “The Other Side of the Story.”

Powell passed way-too-young (65) of an apparent heart attack seven years ago, making my copy of this hardbound book irreplaceable.

Today, the author of Almost DailyBrett assigns new PR students Powell’s remembrances of his brain-fart disclosure to the media of Jimmy Carter smacking a “the killer rabbit” with a canoe oar, “A Grave Mistake,” and more importantly do PR pros in extreme circumstances have “The Right to Lie”?powellbriefing

Powell is seen through the lens of history as one of the very best to serve as the chief spokesman and communications strategist for the leader of the free world. Without a doubt that will be Jody’s lasting legacy. Alas, he served a president who was besieged with 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, out-of-control inflation and economic malaise.

Despite Powell’s best efforts, Carter was excused from the presidency in 1980, winning only six states + DC or 49 electoral votes. Powell eventually shook off the loss, and provided wisdom to all PR pros with his “The Other Side of the Story.”

This simple title also should serve as a reminder to us all that with all issues, there is indeed another side to the story.

To my horror, your author remembers being told there is no other side of the story when it comes to a major criminal justice issue. My training as a political/business public relations professional is there are indeed two sides to every story, and you are simply not doing your job if you don’t comprehend the opposing argument.

How can you fashion a winning rebuttal?

Getting Out of Our Filter Bubbles

One of the tenets of public relations theory (don’t glaze over) is Cognitive Dissonance or the practice of re-examining a hard-felt position upon the presence of compelling new information. John F. Kennedy through his charm and conviction was able to gain support from Republicans despite setbacks (e.g., Bay of Pigs). Conversely, Ronald Reagan’s success and communication skills led to the formation of a new-at-the-time political force, The Reagan Democrats.

Does Cognitive Dissonance still apply today in our woefully divided, gridlocked society?

Looking into my crystal ball, will President Hillary Clinton be “primaried” (new verb) in 2020 by Bernie-Sanders-progressives, if she works with Speaker Paul Ryan? There is zero doubt that Clinton and Ryan see the world differently, but at the same time it is their job to work together for the benefit of the country.powellbook

 

In order to do just that, both sides need to appreciate there is indeed The Other Side of the Story. Even more germane, is this notion is at the heart of the Marketplace of Ideas.

For example, many decry the fact that an estimated 2 million are incarcerated in American jails and prisons, a disproportionate number hail from minority communities. Is that the only side of the story that matters?

As press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian, our administration doubled the size of the state’s prison system, which was a godsend considering the massive overcrowding issue the Golden State faces to this day.

Were we being mean, hateful and vindictive or were we responding to the public who did not want criminals in their neighborhoods and in the streets?

Are there indeed two sides (mass incarceration and public safety) to this criminal justice issue?

In a more intense sense, there is a reason why ISIS is so evil, so angry and so violent? Is there a side to their story we should try to comprehend? Yes. At the same time, we need to respond to their attacks on soft targets in the United States, Western Europe and the Middle East. We have our side of the story as well.

Almost DailyBrett knows instinctively that Donald Trump will soon and thankfully fade from the airwaves and digital screens. The ensuring period of global Schadenfreude will pass as well.

Will we reach a point in which we respect there really are two sides to virtually every story? When and if we do, we will become a much more civil society.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/us/politics/15powell.html?_r=0

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/14/AR2009091402738.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

 

 

“I cannot imagine ever voting for him (Donald Trump).” – Conservative Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer

“What I think about Hillary Clinton is — I imagine to be a bright woman without the courage of her convictions because I’m not sure what they are.” — Comedian and Late-Night Host Jon Stewart

“(Trump’s attack against an Hispanic judge) The textbook definition of a racist comment.” – House Speaker Paul Ryan

“All I’m saying is that the idea that there’s one set of rules for us (The Clintons) and another set for everybody else is true.” – Former President William Jefferson Clinton

Choosing between Hillary and The Donald is akin to either burning at the stake or drowning (not to be confused with “Berning” at the stake).hillarytrump

Is this “choice” posed to the American people the absolute best the most powerful country on earth can do at this critical point in the nation’s history?

Can Hillary seriously be compared in the same vein to Democratic forerunners Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy?

We all know the answer to that question.

Ditto for weighing out-of-control Donald Trump against Honest Abraham Lincoln, Progressive Teddy Roosevelt, Commander-in-Chief Dwight Eisenhower and The Gipper, Ronald Reagan. All of these presidents were the epitome of political discipline. That is very last word that applies to Trump.

There is a nationwide pile-on against The Donald for a litany of good reasons, which could lead to the ultimate Schadenfreude moment: We are so happy The Donald is so sad … and humbled.oligarchy

The most likely net side-effect: The Clintons are back in the White House. There will be the predictable celebration of the first woman president. Keep in mind, we will not be electing the American equivalent of Kanzerlin Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher or Fed Chief Janet Yellen, but yet another member of the Clintonian Oligarchy.

Maybe we should simply elect the right person for the right time (e.g., Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, Ronald Reagan in 1980) or is that too much to ask?

Is there a third way?

Is there a third option?

Throwing Away My Vote?

“I’m sorry this happened (Trump nomination), but we’ll see where it ends up. I’m not making any final decision yet, but at this point I just can’t do it (endorse The Donald).” – Ohio Governor John Kasichkasich

Last month, yours truly cast his first State of Washington primary ballot for Kasich. Even though Ohio’s chief executive easily fits my definition of a Ronald Reagan-vintage Republican, everyone knew that Kasich could not win. Did the author of Almost DailyBrett throw his vote away?

By voting for Kasich, your author opted for a good guy and better yet did not jump on the Trump bandwagon as it heads towards the electoral cliff. Proud to NOT vote for Trump and akin to Charles Krauthammer, can’t imagine ever checking the box for Trump even though he is the party nominee.

The list of prominent Republicans not yet (or never) endorsing The Donald is deep and prominent: Former President George H.W. Bush, Former President George W. Bush, Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina among others.

Even more important to your author as a former Golden State press secretary is that all three living California Republican Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pete Wilson and of course my former boss, George Deukmejian, are not endorsing Donald Trump … and hopefully never will.

Bull Moose in 2016?

Former President Teddy Roosevelt was less than enamored with his successor Howard Taft in 1912 and ran as “progressive” third-party “Bull Moose” campaign for president, splitting the Republican Party and electing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to the White House.teddyroosevelt

As an eternal optimist Almost DailyBrett must ask: Is there a common sense, free-enterprise, strong-fiscal discipline and hawkish on national defense type who can run “Bull Moose” this year?

Whattyathink Mitt Romney? How about it, John Kasich? Do you really want to be speaker, Paul Ryan?

Yes, Almost DailyBrett understands that running a “Bull Moose” candidate this year (former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson does not fit the bill) will most likely result in Bill Clinton measuring the new drapes for the Lincoln Bedroom, but one can be spared from having to decide between Hillary and The Donald.

University of Virginia Professor of Political Science Larry Sabato pointed to 1964 (e.g., Goldwater) as the year the Republicans “went off the rails” followed by a similar exercise in political masochism by the Democrats in 1972 (e.g., McGovern). Now it is the GOP’s turn again. The more-than-likely Republican train wreck will not be pretty, but it may be cleansing.

It will be onward to 2020. Hopefully, we will not be looking up to the heavens for a third choice, a third way once again.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-the-matter-of-paul-ryan/2016/06/09/e2d7734a-2e71-11e6-9de3-6e6e7a14000c_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/07/ryan-says-trumps-attacks-on-judge-fit-the-textbook-definition-of-a-racist-comment/?tid=a_inl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/06/15/time-for-panic-or-for-nevertrump/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/06/16/good-for-kasich-now-will-he-help-dump-trump/?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

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

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/13/this-new-poll-utah-poll-is-amazingly-bad-for-donald-trump/

http://www.eonline.com/news/671706/arnold-schwarzenegger-reacts-to-donald-trump-s-run-for-president-some-candidates-will-make-a-lot-of-noise

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/donald-trump-vice-president-224488

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_(United_States,_1912)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/november-is-fast-becoming-what-the-gop-fears-a-referendum-on-trump/2016/06/18/f942ddd2-34dd-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/12/jon-stewart-perfectly-diagnosed-the-problem-with-hillary-clintons-candidacy/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can … get going with life.” – Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.

It used to be so easy.

Junior or Little Ms. reached his or her 18th birthday and out-the-door he or she went to face the cruel, cruel word.

leavingat18

It’s not so sophisticated today.

One of the more popular features of the unpopular 2,300-page Obamacare is the provision that offspring up to 26-years-old can be covered by their parent’s health insurance. One wonders why the specific age of 26 was chosen? Twenty-five seems like a more natural stopping point. Ah, the mysteries of the infinite-wisdom crowd, residing and regulating from inside the Beltway.

As a parent of a very independent 23-year-old daughter trying to build her life in the über-expensive San Francisco Bay Area, I keep on thinking about “old” 23-year-olds and “young” 23-year-olds (let alone “old” 18-year-olds and “young” 18-year-olds). Not everyone matures and grows up in exactly the same way. One may be ready to conquer the world at 23, while another of the same age may still require the sanctuary of mom and dad’s house.

Was the system that was so prevalent during the era of the so-called “Greatest Generation” the way to go? “Happy Birthday! Out the door you go…!”

This particular practice comes across as rather heartless to the modern ear. At the same time hundreds of thousands succeeded because they had no choice but to swim to avoid sinking. Many of them grew up big time in the fields of Europe or the islands of the Pacific, and came home to a college education paid for by the G.I. Bill.

Fast forwarding to the era of the Millennials one must ask: If we show our kids “tough love” and push our kids out the door, even in the direction of a four-year college, do we run the risk that a “young” 18-year-old is simply too young to survive, let alone succeed?

When is early, too early?

Conversely, if we acquiesce in the face of a rotten economy to offspring in their early 20s to staying at home, are we potentially retarding their independence? Are we fostering a “taker,” when the individual has all the ability to be a “maker?” Do we want our homes to become “crash pads” for our offspring, and quite possibly their live-ins?livingwithparents

When is late, too late?

Confounding this dilemma is an undeniable fact: We are talking about adults here. This is not entirely our decision to make, even though we may pay ze mortgage or ze rent. Do the purse strings control the decision, the heart strings or a combination of many factors?

As I have mentioned before in writing these cyber pages, I have not taken any classes in psychology or sociology and don’t plan to do so. I have taken real world “coursework” in being a parent of an aspiring beauty products marketing Wunderkind.

This issue came to a head three years ago when I was offered a graduate teaching fellowship at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. This was a great opportunity to earn my master’s degree. My basic thought was: “If not now, when?” There was also the question of my then-21-year-old daughter. She always wanted her independence. Beware of what you want.

Let me make an ex-cathedra statement right here: If my daughter was only 18-years-old…and a young 18 at that…I would not have pursued graduate school, particularly at a university located out of state. Three years later, she was old enough to order vodka with a twist. Shouldn’t she be able to pursue her professional dreams with a little help from me…but without me directly providing a roof over her head?

Mumsy and dad-in-law raised some eyebrows, and I listened to their “concerns.” I also contemplated that I was the one that was monetarily assisting my daughter. I made the decision to sell the house, pack-my-bags, and pursue my M.A. I also decided to seek out housing for my daughter, affording her first taste of real independence.

Three years later, my daughter is making a go of it in a corporate setting in downtown San Francisco. She is endeavoring to be a maker, not a taker. She clearly understands “Buy low, Sell high.” That is a great recipe for never starving.

If I had bypassed my pursuit of a master’s degree, I would not have grown the way that I have in the immediate years north of the midpoint of life. And I afraid my daughter would still be at home. Instead of a fading Obama poster, she would be staring at her “Hello Kitty” poster.

She will never be a taker (I told her repeatedly that dad is not the federal government), but I am not convinced she would be as far along in becoming a maker, and applying her Darwin-given talent when it comes to marketing and keeping customers happy. You can make big bucks when you can do that, and maybe give a little back to society.

Here’s to leaving home when it’s time.

 

 

Couldn’t help but ponder the quote on a bumper sticker, stuck on the back of gray Prius.

prius1

I was imagining the driver under the influence of a NPR news report, contemplating her sustainable garden, taking a sip from her fair-trade coffee and making a mental list of organic, veggie ingredients to pick up from the co-op market.

Before you can scream, “stereotype,” I could also envision the same bumper sticker affixed to the back of a truck with mud-flaps, gun racks with the driver listening to Rush Limbaugh and contemplating stopping off for barbecue beef brisket or chipotle pork ribs.

So what am I babbling about? My point is that many of us claim to celebrate diversity, but only as we narrowly define it. “Diversity” usually includes gender, ethnicity, creed and sexual orientation, but what it doesn’t include for way too many people in way too many instances is a contrary political point of view.

We may extol the virtues of a “marketplace of ideas,” but then we may choose to tune out commentary that does not agree with our own. Think of it this way, millions of dollars are being made by polemics (e.g. Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck, Bill Maher, Ann Coulter and until recently, Keith Olbermann), throwing raw red meat to the devoted by savagely pillaring the other point of view and resorting to name calling of the disciples that dare preach the alternative gospel.

This past week, we all know people who tuned in for Barack Obama’s State of the Union, and then switched channels when Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) delivered the official GOP and Tea Party responses respectively. And before that, the metaphorical shoe was on the other foot as Republicans tuned into George W.’s State of the Union, but tuned out the Democratic response. This all brings up some simple questions:

What are we afraid of?

Didn’t we learn in school that “sticks and stones may break my bones….?”

Many of us decry the loss of civility in our society, and yet we have our own responsibility for this state of affairs by refusing to even acknowledge that the other side has any merit whatsoever. In some cases, we adopt an elitist attitude resorting to calling people “dumb” and “stupid” if they don’t share our own particular wisdom…pass the sandbox shovel please.

One of the few things that I learned in public relations is to take the time to carefully study the messaging of the competition in a business setting or the other side of the aisle against a political backdrop. By appreciating the other point of view and where the other side is coming from philosophically, you can better anticipate their rhetorical thrusts and conversely conceive the best and most credible way to counter these arguments. You are just better at your own job. bubbatruck

Sacramento was a lonely place for a Republican constitutional office holder in the 1980s, in fact there was only one, my boss, Governor George Deukmejian. The Democrats held all the other constitutional offices (Lite Gov, Secy of State, Controller, Treasurer…) and to make things worse for us they held huge majorities in the State Senate and State Assembly, the latter run at the time by the all-powerful and incredibly articulate and skillful “Da Speaker” Willie Brown.

So how did we get anything done?

The answer is that our position was difficult, but not impossible. We had the bully pulpit of the governorship. We had GOP caucuses that were big enough to sustain gubernatorial vetoes, but we also had something else that was valuable…an understanding of how the other side thought and behaved. If we were to secure legislative passage for anything that we wanted, we had to convince Willie Brown and the Democrats on how they could declare victory. As the old saying goes in Sacramento: “When in doubt, declare victory.” We knew how we could declare victory, but how would the Democrats declare victory? And if both sides cannot credibly claim victory, then you have no deal on anything, on any given day.

williebrown

We literally sat around for hours into the night, debating among ourselves as Republicans how Willie, a Democrat, could declare unmitigated and unadulterated victory. Some of the suggestions that we batted around the room did not pass the giggle test. Ultimately we had to convince Willie, particularly with arguments he could use himself, because he in turn had to sell his caucus, a caucus that was philosophically predisposed against us.

In many cases we simply could not make the sale, but in others we succeeded when the majority of the votes were stacked up against us. I am not talking about compromising your principles, and we certainly did not retreat when it came to not raising taxes and insisting on a balanced budget with a $1 billion reserve for emergencies (almost sounds quaint in these days of record deficits, doesn’t it?). But we did go out of our way to understand Willie and his caucus and we were better off for doing so.

Almost DailyBrett note: The “Closed Mind” bumper sticker brings back memories of three of Dan Quayle’s most repeated quotes: “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.” Almost tops, “The future will be better tomorrow” and of course, “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

http://paulryan.house.gov/

http://bachmann.house.gov/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Brown_(politician)

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

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

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