Tag Archive: Presidential Debates


“Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.” – Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

Weren’t we all repeatedly told by mumsy to never discuss religion and politics in polite company?

Wouldn’t you expect this admonition to particularly apply to your dear friends and family?

And what are the impacts of these unwise political discussions on the most important public relations of all? Your own PR and personal brand.fbpolitics

Then why do far too many of us insist on bloviating and pontificating our unrestrained and unvarnished political views on Facebook, and other digitally eternal social media sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and others?

Don’t we have enough to do?

Before delving any further into this issue, Almost DailyBrett must pose the following rhetorical question: What are we expecting when we bombard our family and friends (or LinkedIn connections) with unrestrained political diatribe, regardless of whether it comes from the progressive left or the patriotic right?

Don’t the vast majority of our friends and family already know our political views? Don’t they harbor their own political opinions? Are they really persuadable at this point in time?clintontrumpdebate

For most Americans, you have to be living under a rock if you don’t have a well-formed and mostly unchanging opinion about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. According to the Real Clear Politics average, almost 59 percent of national poll respondents have a negative view of Hillary and nearly 62 percent are thumbs down on The Donald.

The political pros tell us these two are the most unpopular respective nominees in the long histories of the Democratic and Republican Parties. As a result, most of us have formed an unalterable opinion about both of these pols, and they are hardening, not softening … if that’s still possible.

If all the above is true, Almost DailyBrett must ask why do we bother offering our political views to people who we regard as friends and family? Do we enjoy making them react as if someone took their finger nails to a chalkboard?

Do we secretly enjoy being passive, aggressive?

Unfriending A “Friend” Because of Politics

Who is ultimately responsible for an unfriending decision because of political digital intercourse?

  1. The “friend” who frequently offers political opinions to one and all via a few digital key strokes with no consideration of how these comments are going to be construed.
  2. Or the “friend” who takes personal affront to repeated political commentary, more often than not, negative about the opposition, and angrily unfriends the so-called friend.buckleyquote

The late conservative commentator William F. Buckley is probably smiling from heaven as a result of the Pew Research Journalism Project, which revealed that liberals are more likely than their conservative counterparts to unfriend someone with contrary political views (e.g., conservatives).

However, the same study opined that conservatives are more likely to gravitate to their own kind online and have less exposure to competing points of view.

Which is better? How about none of the above?

If the Nielsen ratings folks are correct, the Monday, September 26 debate between Hillary and The Donald will be the most watched and streamed presidential debate in the history of the country, if not from a purely infotainment standpoint.

If that is indeed the case — and there is zero reason to suggest it won’t be — then why will we insist upon offering our biased opinion before-during-after this encounter to our friends and family via Facebook and other social media?

Weren’t they also watching the same feed and avoiding the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints?

Didn’t they already form an opinion about what they watched on their own and/or had their views reinforced by Charles Krauthammer on Fox News, Chris Matthews on MSNBC, George Stephanopoulos on ABC or David Axelrod on CNN?

Former football coach Lou Holtz once said: “If you can’t add value to silence, then shut up.”

Considering that minds have been made up and are unlikely to change … and we really respect and value our friends and family … wouldn’t it be best to refrain from offering our own version of political invective?

Silence can indeed be golden.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/10/21/liberals-are-more-likely-to-unfriend-you-over-politics-online-and-off/

http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/#social-media-conservatives-more-likely-to-have-like-minded-friends

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton_vs_johnson_vs_stein-5952.html

 

 

“We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” – Joe Namath, Miami Touchdown Club, January 9, 1969

“Broadway Joe” either had stones or as reported, he was intoxicated.

namath

His New York Jets were an 18-point underdog to the then-Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.  According to conventional wisdom, an upstart AFL team could not beat the NFL champions. That perception obviously did not stop Namath from making his brash pronouncement. His coach Weeb Ewbank was less than pleased.

Three days later, Namath backed up his pronouncement with the game of his life as the Jets pulled off one of the biggest upsets, 16-7, in sports history. Namath was either lucky, good or both.

For mere public relations mortals representing sports teams, publicly traded companies and campaigning politicians, managing public expectations is a tricky inexact science. It requires the skillful and measured practice of public relations/investor relations particularly in the face of baiting reporters, editors and analysts who want to create an expectation that translates into juicy stories…particularly those on embarrassing projections that simply fail to match reality.

The day after President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention there seemed to be a letdown. For some reason the address did not meet Obamesque expectations. It was a solid speech, skillfully delivered and the audience urged him on. Many pundits were disappointed.

And yet…there was the anticipated post-convention bounce.

Is it time for President Obama to do his best Joe Namath imitation, be brash, be bold and guarantee a victory on November 6? He knows better, and his “handlers” know better. There is a political lifetime between now and then, including three presidential and one vice presidential debates.

The biggest hurdle is the management of expectations for these encounters. There is little dissent on the notion that the debates played a huge role in John F. Kennedy winning the presidency in 1960 and the one presidential encounter, “There you go again” and “Are you better off than you were four years ago?,”paved the way for the Ronald Reagan landslide 20 years later.

Twelve years ago, the political community was having a grand time making fun of George W. Bush’s “single-digit IQ.” Bush’s advisers were publicly laughing along with them, and at the same time praising the “carefully schooled and trained technique” of then-Vice President Al Gore.

George W. Bush, Al Gore

How could Bush possibly win? After all, Gore had debated 35 times during the past 12 years (e.g., Ross Perot). There was no contest, until there was a contest.

Bush’s team played down the governor’s abilities, while they lauded the vice president’s rhetorical skills. The goal in the expectations game was to lower the bar for Bush and make the same bar way too high for Gore.

If yours truly was advising Romney, I would counsel him to follow the George W. Bush “aw shucks” playbook (without saying “aw shucks”). Romney is seen as wooden and corporate. He should use this less-than-flattering perception to his advantage.

Conversely, Obama is regarded with good reason as a great orator and a superb debater. Romney is the underdog. Americans love to root for the underdog. Instead of “Rudy,” the Republicans will portray “Romney” on October 3. One trusts that Obama knows a trap when he sees one. Watch for his team to offer a modicum of respect to Romney’s presentation skills, citing the plethora of Republican debates in 2011 and earlier this year.

Playing the expectations game does not just apply to Super Bowls or presidential debates, it also manifests itself in setting the table for investors, analysts and employees. How many times have you witnessed publicly traded companies exceed Wall Street profitability expectations by just one-cent per share? For the longest time, CEO John Chambers of networking gear supplier Cisco Systems exceeded the Street for a series of one-cent bottom line victories quarter-after-quarter.

This success did not occur by magic or accident. Company public relations gurus spend twice as much time setting expectations in a company’s “business outlook” section of a 10Q quarterly earnings release as they do in preparing the actual quarterly results. Think of it this way, meeting and (better yet) exceeding the expectations of Wall Street is a “good thing” in the words of Martha Stewart. Undercutting the expectations of the sell-side analyst types is the PR equivalent of stepping on a rattlesnake: the fangs strike the body and the poison is injected in the form of an almost certain downgrade and stock sell off.

Joe Namath would have looked downright foolish, if the Colts had blown out the Jets in Super Bowl III. It all worked out for Broadway Joe. Sometimes you can win in Las Vegas by betting big. Most of the time you just lose the shirt off your back for failing at the expectations game.

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

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/248373-debates-obama-romney-face-to-face-seeking-knockout-blow

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,56496,00.html

%d bloggers like this: