Tag Archive: Ronald Reagan


“In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.” – Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor from 1962-1981

When asked what sports historians would take away from his record (e.g., five home runs) performance in the 1977 World Series, Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson paused and humbly proclaimed: “The magnitude of me.”

What about the “magnitude” of former CBS anchor Dan Rather?

The question is particularly relevant today as former CBS anchor Dan Rather is attempting a relevancy comeback at 86-years-old.

With his new book, “What Unites Us, Reflections on Patriotism,” Rather appears to be trying to escape the embarrassing details of his bitter 2005 termination … err resignation.

More to Almost DailyBrett’s point: Should Rather be seen as The Father of Affirmational Journalism?

Affirmational Journalism? Do these two words constitute an oxymoron?

Affirmational Journalism (e.g., Rather) is the mirror opposite of Informational Journalism (e.g., Cronkite).

Under the tenets of Informational Journalism, a news outlet will sift through the relevant facts and information – including both sides of every story — and deduce a logical conclusion for readers or viewers to decide.

Is there any wonder that Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America in 1972?

The esteem for American Journalism peaked in 1976 at 72 percent (e.g., Gallup survey), shortly after Woodward and Bernstein’s Pulitzer Prize reporting and the demise of the Nixon administration. The same poll revealed that public trust for the media plummeted for four decades to 32 percent in 2016.

What happened to the days when the vital First Amendment mission of the media was to inform and enlighten?

Enter Rather as the successor to Cronkite in the CBS anchor chair in 1981. Shortly thereafter, the seeds of today’s Affirmational Journalism were planted.

Certainly, there were outlets in 1972 and beyond that editorially represented the left (e.g., New York Times) and the right (e.g., Wall Street Journal), but the news pages of these publications were essentially straight.

Rather: Keynoting the GOP National Convention?

“(Rather) stepped on his own dick.” – Ronald Reagan, 1988

Two celebrated incidents involving Republican presidents (not Democratic) clearly demonstrated how Rather’s aim was to “affirm” preset narratives, not to totally “inform:”

  1. His rudeness against then Vice President George H.W. Bush in a cataclysmic 1988 live interview, which included Bush reminding the world that Rather stormed off his set one year before, when a U.S. Open tennis match ran too long.
  2. Rather’s ill-fated 2004 60 Minutes piece (e.g., Rathergate), confusing the fonts of an IBM Selectric with those offered by Microsoft. The forged 1972 document reportedly proved that President George W. Bush received special treatment as a member of the National Guard. Alas for Rather, the letter was written with a Microsoft font.

Microsoft was not founded until 1975 – three years later. Oops.

Dan Rather was exposed for his eagerness and glee to accept any “fact” that fit a preordained narrative about George W. Bush and his National Guard service. More importantly, he and his producer, Mary Mapes, were terminated at CBS for practicing Affirmational Journalism, which sought out tidbits (e.g., the forged letter) that affirmed and fit the story and excluding those (e.g., Microsoft font) that did not.

Rather’s mission was to “affirm” through selective reporting the predisposed reigning political philosophy of elites residing east of the Hudson and within the confines of the Beltway:

Democrat John Kerry was good; Republican George W. Bush needed to be excused from office.

Today, the list of affirmational elite media on the left is long: New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC. The list of affirmational media on the right is shorter: Fox News.

Whether these major media outlets reside on the left or the right, their mission is to affirm, sustain and enhance entrenched narratives that advance a chosen political philosophy.

Is Dan Rather solely responsible for this movement toward affirming, whether through interpretation or presenting, preordained narratives? No. There are others.

Is he the poster child for affirmational journalism and with it a record 32 percent low in national esteem for the media? Almost DailyBrett is making that assertion.

Affirmational Journalism Schools?

As a college assistant professor in a school of communication, the author of Almost DailyBrett worries that future journalists will be trained to seek facts and figures that fit a preconceived narrative, and ignore those inconvenient points that potentially contradict the “story.”

Are the ends of supporting an adopted political philosophy more important than the means of not presenting both sides of a story? If that is indeed the case and we are no longer informing the public about the positions of both sides, can we call this behavior Journalism?

There are some of us who yearn for the better days of a free-and-fair media.  The Fourth Estate can potentially come back; just the same way Rather is trying to revive his tarnished reputation.

Can the media return to the days of Informational Journalism? Or is Affirmational Journalism here to stay, contributing to and hardening our divided society for years to come?

Maybe if the media moves to adopt the model of Walter Cronkite — not Dan Rather — we will all be better off as an American society.

We can only hope.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/12/12/this-has-to-be-unacceptable-dan-rather-on-media-attacks-and-politics-in-america-under-trump/?utm_term=.6cdffc95176a&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82268&page=3

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/has-the-media-reached-the-point-that-it-can-never-cover-trump-fairly/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/22/from-affirming-back-to-informing/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Walter-Cronkite

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

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Are the Germans finally – after all these years — happy?

If they are for the most part smiling about life, doesn’t that mean good news for the incumbent-chancellor-running-for-re-election, Angela Merkel?

Doesn’t good government translate into good politics?

And yet there’s so much for her to fear.

The Governor George Deukmejian Laws of Politics are two-fold: Always run as if you are running behind; and never take anything for granted.

Consider that two years ago, a national F-U movement led to Brexit, and the U.K.’s upcoming departure from the strictures of the EU.

Last year America’s fly-over states pointed their collective middle fingers into the sky, and elected Donald Trump as president.

How are Brexit and Donald Trump working out?

During the past three weeks, the author of Almost DailyBrett has been informally sounding out das Volk on trains, in Bier Gartens, in hotel lobbies (all very unscientific and anecdotal) about their views about the state of their country.

When asked if they are truly happy, they seem a little startled by the sophomoric question from a simple blog author. After devoting more than a few brain cells, they come back to the conclusion that Germany is successful (e.g., low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent).

If James Carville was correct in 1992 that “It’s the economy stupid,” then the prospects are good for Frau Merkel on September 24. As The Economist reported last month, Germany has the largest trade balance in the world at $300 billion.

The nation’s budget is not only balanced, it reflects a surplus. Inflation is low at a microscopic 0.4 percent. Personal savings are high. German engineering is legendary. Alles ist in Ordnung.

Has Germany’s Standard of Living Passed America’s?

When the author of Almost DailyBrett visited divided Germany for the first time 30 years ago, the question of German happiness would seem silly. In fact, one would not even imagine, posing that interrogative.

Sitting on the terrace of the Burg Hotel Auf Schönburg in Oberwesel on the Rhine River, one can easily imagine the DAX equivalent of the Dow Transports are easily going upwards to the right. Passenger and freight ships glide northwards on the Rhine or swim similar to salmon against the currents.

Trains emerge and disappear into tunnels. Passenger cars move along the two shores or just miles away race along the no-speed limit autobahns.

German cities including Berlin, Nürnberg and München are bustling with shoppers in the stores. Spaces in the sidewalk cafes are hard to find. The large beer gardens (e.g., München’s Viktualien Markt) are jammed from happy hour into the night.

The smaller tourist towns (i.e., Heidelberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bacharach) are luring visitors seeking out castles, half-timbered houses, gardens and the white wine fruit of the vineyards.

Virtually everywhere are solar panels, modern windmills and soon electric cars from BMW and Tesla. Recycling is the rage, and clear demarcations lead to largely harmonious co-existence between walkers and bike riders.

Many have ruminated about Germany’s angst about Vergangenheitsbewältigung or dealing with the past, namely the Hitler era between 1933-1945. The Germans have addressed these horrific years by acknowledging responsibility, building monuments to the past (e.g., Holocaust Memorial in Berlin) or “Documentation Centers,” such as the one near the former Nazi parade grounds in Nürnberg or a Bunker Museum in Berlin.

Nothing has been forgotten. Everything has been acknowledged. History is all there in broad daylight. The Reichstag dome is transparent to signal a change in the national approach to governance.

Is It Truly Morning in Germany?

Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1984 under the banner, “Morning in America.”

The message was patriotism, good times, and a promising tomorrow. Reagan won 49 of 50 states that November.

Merkel is courageously embracing the German flag – the black, red and gold tricolor – as she presents her three-term administration for another four years next month. Germans proudly wave their democratic flag in Deutsche Fussballbund games. The message is love of land, not nationalism. Those unfortunate days for the latter are gone, and for good reason.

Will Angela Merkel win in September embracing the flag, and essentially saying it is indeed “Morning in Germany”? Her latest campaign ad reflects that strategy.

Almost DailyBrett was wrong about Brexit and the same about Trump. These undeniable points need to be acknowledged. And yet, there are no strident middle fingers to be seen in today’s Germany.

The collective mood points to the prospect of a smiling Angela Merkel on September 24. If so, Germany will continue to be in Mutti’s sure hands.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/germans-are-learning-to-love-germany-again-and-merkel-takes-note/2017/07/20/28951bbe-68a8-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html?utm_term=.147da70955c9

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/the-new-german-problem/

http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/ronald-reagan/videos/morning-in-america

https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21724810-country-saves-too-much-and-spends-too-little-why-germanys-current-account-surplus-bad

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21724801-germany-admired-its-stability-derided-persistent-trade-surpluses-good-and-bad

 

 

“ … The old divide between left and right is growing less important than a new one between open and closed.” – The Economist, March 4, 2017

During the Cold War, the communism vs. capitalism divide was referred to as a contest of wills between “East and West.”

Even today, we use directions to describe the dangerous world of dark-and-foreboding North Korea and the bright lights of cosmopolitan-industrial powerhouse South Korea.

For more than 100 years, there were the Democrats from the left (e.g., Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Republicans from the right (e.g. Ronald Reagan).

Reagan just turned over in his grave.

Reagan will be forever remembered for his controversial call, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this (Berlin) wall.” The eternally optimistic Republican president embraced neo-liberal open markets, globalization and free enterprise.

In contrast, Reagan’s “Republican” successor Donald J. Trump wants to build a wall. He implores American governments and businesses to his brand of populism, calling for them to “buy American” and “hire American.” There is open talk of “border adjustment taxes,” a taxing concept which would be an anathema to Reagan.

Against this backdrop, guess who is coming to visit The Donald this Tuesday? Frau “Open” (Offen) Angela Merkel, the chancellor of the nearly $300-billion world’s largest account surplus, export-powerhouse Germany.

Making the proceedings even more tender and sensitive is the fact that Americans buy 107 billion Euros worth of German goods each year, while Germans purchase 57 billion of American output per annum.

Translated: Americans consume German cars (e.g., BMW, Mercedes, Audi, VW) and down German beer, while Germans favor their own automotive companies and refuse to drink “dishwater” (e.g., Anheuser Busch products).

Using old thinking, one would conclude that moderate-conservative Christian Democrat Angela Merkel would be to the left of a right-wing Republican president. Instead, we need to recalibrate how we view our divided world with Merkel serving as the neo-liberal (open) and Trump as the isolationist (closed).

Global F.U. Votes?

“Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘fuck you’ ever recorded in human history — and it will feel good.” – Liberal film-maker Michael Moore.

International public relations pros, journalists, pundits and campaign managers need to change their ways of thinking. Left vs. right used to be so simple – oh so simple. Those thoughts are no longer operative as a populist “Human Molotov Cocktail” took over the Republican Party and the White House and dared the party (and Wall Street too) to follow in his protectionist footsteps.

No respectable elite on the Old-World side of the pond saw Brexit coming, until it did. The Midlands overwhelming sent an F-U message to London, Brussels and Berlin. Score a major win for the “closed” crowd.

Surely, the same would not occur in the United States or so we were told our Harvard-heads pundits and pollsters? They missed the F.U. vote with the “Blue Wall” falling in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Looking forward to the next month, France will be making a similar choice between “open” Emmanuel Marcon of the En Marche! Neo-liberal, pro-trade, pro-competition, pro-immigration and pro-EU stances and “closed” Marine LePen of the National Front, who not-so-secretly wants an exit referendum on the EU and the reintroduction of the French franc.

Will France be the third industrial economy F-U vote in a little less than one year?

Undoubtedly, this undeniable trend is on the radar screen of Angela Merkel. Will she enter the White House this week from a position of strength or weakness?

Keep in mind that Almost DailyBrett and many others originally thought she was a shoe-in to be elected for her fourth term as Kanzlerin this coming September. The same thinking applied to the inevitability of Hillary Clinton becoming the first Frau President of the United States.

Merkel’s decision and subsequent pull-back to welcome (e.g., Willkommenskultur) more than 1 million Syrian refugees to Deutschland appears to be a political loser. Her re-election after 12 years in office is anything but secure now as she trails Martin Schulz of the Social Democrat Party, and the (closed) Alternative für Deutschland is gaining strength.

Could France and Germany be the latest in a string of F.U. votes? Will that mean the end of the European Union as we know it? Is this trend the end of traditional left vs. right?

Welcome to a new way of political thinking.

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21717814-why-french-presidential-election-will-have-consequences-far-beyond-its-borders-vote

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/merkel-prepares-for-difficult-visit-with-donald-trump-a-1138244.html

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21716641-not-reasons-donald-trump-thinks-it-germanys-current-account-surplus-problem

http://www.salon.com/2016/10/26/michael-moore-people-will-vote-for-donald-trump-as-a-giant-fk-you-and-hell-win/

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/766256/Angela-Merkel-Martin-Schulz-SDP-CDU-German-election-polls

The dog does not bother you, does she? She’s a friendly dog and I’m sure she will behave herself.” – Russian President Introducing “Koni,” the black lab, to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007

“It (Koni) doesn’t eat journalists, after all?” – German Chancellor Angela Merkel

putinmerkelkoni

Even though the canine caper happened 10 years ago, Almost DailyBrett contends that Vladimir Putin’s Machiavellian ploy was clearly intended to intimidate and embarrass Kanzlerin Merkel. And considering the recent seismic shifts in global politics, the incident is more relevant than ever.

The most powerful woman on the planet has a well-documented case of cynophobia. She was attacked by a dog in 1995. She clearly does not relish any contact with man’s best friend, including Putin’s best canine.

During the January 21, 2007 summit with Merkel at his summer residence in Sochi, Putin’s eight-year-old Labrador retriever, Koni, made a cameo appearance during their negotiations. Even though she tried to appear cool, calm and collected, Merkel was clearly uncomfortable and unnerved by the sniffing dog.

When asked about the incident last year by the German periodical Bild, Putin insisted he did not know about Merkel’s fear of dogs.

“I wanted to do something nice for her (Merkel). When I found out that she doesn’t like dogs, of course I apologized.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin

“I understand why he has to do this — to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.” – Kanzlerin Angela Merkel

putinmerkelkoni1

Putin Exploiting Donald Trump’s Weaknesses?

At some point, at some venue, at some pre-determined time, Donald Trump is going to meet Vladimir Putin. Will the Russian leader try to do something “nice” for the new American president?

Russia’s legendary xenophobia, coupled with its record of hacking and espionage, will certainly encourage Putin to seek out and fully exploit Trump’s personal weaknesses.

Who would have thought that a fear of dogs would be a weak point for the chancellor of the fourth largest economy of the world and the de-facto leader of the European Union? Putin obviously knew this fact, and used his Labrador to get inside of Merkel’s head.

If the tenets of military strategy are to capitalize on one’s advantages and exploit the weaknesses of an adversary, then it’s safe to assume that Putin is carefully studying Donald Trump.

trumpputinhorse

In many ways Trump and Putin are similar, but Almost DailyBrett takes issue with any discussion of a “Bromance.” Heck, they have not even met each other.

Having taken care of that silly reference, one can safely conclude they are both demagogic, alpha males with a craving for public attention and reverence. In particular, Trump is known for his thin-skin and is quick to take offense, particularly via Twitter. Will this failing be an opening for Putin to exploit?

At the same time, it is well known the Soviets took note of President Ronald Reagan publicly firing the members of the striking Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) in August, 1981. The president knew he was jeopardizing thousands of vacations and even worse risking the possibility of mid-air collisions in the skies. Putin was a key operative in the Soviet Union’s KGB at the time.

reaganpatco

Reagan was roundly criticized for exhibiting strength, and the same applies to Trump. Putin is becoming aware of Trump’s demonstrations of bravado, while at the same time finding out more about Trump’s weaknesses. Call it “opposition research” or “oppo.”

One “nice” thing that Trump does not need to worry about when he finally meets Putin, “Koni” will not be making a cameo appearance. Alas, Koni lived for 15-years, before finally buying the kennel in 2014.

The new president would be wise to remember what Harry S. Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog.”

http://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/wladimir-putin/interview-mit-dem-russischen-praesidenten-russland-44091672.bild.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/12/europe/putin-merkel-scared-dog/

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/20/world/europe/germany-merkel-profile/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/12094074/Vladimir-Putin-denies-setting-his-dog-on-Angela-Merkel.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vladimir-putin-says-he-didnt-intend-to-scare-dog-phobic-angela-merkel-when-he-brought-his-labrador-a6805801.html

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/germanys-angela-merkel-afraid-one-thing-its-not-david-cameron-1482159

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

http://time.com/4139802/time-person-of-the-year-angela-merkel-surprising-facts/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konni_(dog)

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/opinion/reagan-vs-patco-the-strike-that-busted-unions.html

 

 

 

 

 

“One hundred and forty characters are suitable to expressing an impulse, but not an argument. It is the rhetorical equivalent of a groan, a shriek, a sneer or a burp. If reason and persuasion are what our politics lacks and needs, Twitter is not the answer.” — Nationally Syndicated Columnist Michael Gerson

At 71-years young, Donald John Trump is the oldest to take the presidential oath of office.

One would suspect a man of his age would be next-to-clueless about social media/digital technology — (remember out-of-touch George H.W. Bush and his amazement about the supermarket scanner?) — but one would be wrong.trump-twitter

Just as FDR used the radio-and-its-widespread-network for his fireside chats; Ronald Reagan five decades later repeatedly went before the cameras to go directly to the people and bypass Congress. Why should we be surprised that Trump is using Twitter to go around the media?

Agenda Setting Theory means that elite media (i.e., NYT, WAPO, ABC, CBS, NBC) pose the topics for the grateful masses to think about. Trump’s Twitter posts are usurping this cherished interpretive media role, and the ladies and gents of the Fourth Estate are not amused.

Have the Nixon days of the “nattering nabobs of negativism” returned with a daily war being waged between the elite media and the White House? Is the media appalled or secretly thrilled to have such an adversary to bring crashing to the earth?spicer

Sean Spicer is the present press secretary for the 45th chief executive. How long will he hold this job? Obama had three press secretaries (i.e., Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, Josh Earnest) during the span of eight years. Almost DailyBrett will take the over on the question of whether this president will have three-or-more press secretaries.

One of the daily problems facing Spicer is pleasing his insatiable boss, while at the same time not getting eaten alive by the piranha covering the White House. Serving as press secretary may ultimately be rewarding in the form of a best-selling, tell-all book, but for now it is most likely the supreme thankless job on the planet.

Digital Is Eternal

“Are you insinuating that I am a purveyor of terminological inexactitudes?” – Winston Churchill

As California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary (1987-1989), the author of Almost DailyBrett never worried about whereabouts his my boss (e.g., the governor went home to Gloria, the kids and the beagles). Your author was never concerned about what he was going to say in response to media questions (e.g., The Duke’s political judgment was superb/his message consistency was outstanding), and what he did at night … presumably he slept soundly.

Spicer and the Trump communication team always need to worry about political judgment/discipline, and particularly what the energizer-bunny president is doing at 3 am … namely his love affair with Twitter’s 140-characters.trumptwitterhillary

Are the Trump communicators tempted to program their smart phones to send S-O-S signals every time the boss fires off another tweet? Heck, sleep is way overrated anyway. Think of it this way, when a POTUS tweet is sent from God’s time zone (EST), it is already 8 am in London, 9 am in Berlin and 11 am in Moscow.

For the media on presidential “death watch” (those who must stay up in the White House briefing room as the president ostensibly sleeps), they now have something to do: Monitor the POTUS Twitter account.

Is there any way to mitigate and moderate what The Donald decides to tweet, save being in the president’s living quarters at 3 am (EST)? Would he listen to his communication pros anyway? The hardest part of the job for Trump’s  press secretary may be responding to wire service calls at all hours of the morning to add color to a tweet that he saw at the same time as the reporters.

Some of the 140-missives may make perfect sense and will be consistent with the policies and the programs of the administration. Others … well, they could be about almost anything including inaugural crowd sizes or “alternative facts.”

Considering the government’s record of telling the truth has been less than stellar over the decades (e.g., LBJ’s “Credibility Gap” during Vietnam, Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” and Jody Powell’s “Right to Lie” during the Iran hostage crisis), are we surprised an administration is resorting to terminological inexactitudes?

What is breathtaking is the number in the first week alone, but more noticeable is the speed, namely through 140-characters or less Twitter.

How many tweets will POTUS fire off its cyberspace in four years or maybe eight years? Will there be any political-and-editorial discipline imposed?

Don’t count on it.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-a-tweeting-president-is-so-bad-for-our-politics/2017/01/26/9a6892a8-e3f0-11e6-a453-19ec4b3d09ba_story.html?utm_term=.06b7a51ec1ce&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/presidenc1/tp/List-Of-Obama-Press-Secretaries.htm

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/33875.html

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

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/the-other-side-of-the-story/

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

“ … Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private. … For example, here she is tonight, in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.” – Donald Trump drawing boos at the Al Smith charity dinner

trumphillarysmith

 

Ronald Reagan turned over in his grave with that nasty remark.

Putting partisan politics to the side (if that’s still possible), The Great Communicator clearly understood and practiced the discipline of knowing, appreciating and respecting your audience.

In many ways the answer is just so simple: The Five W’s and One H of Journalism:

What does the audience expect?

When is the event?

Where is the venue?

Who is attending?

Why is the occasion important?

How will you appreciate and respect your audience?

There was Reagan’s solemn 1984 speech at the cliffs of Normandy on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

There was his 1987 “Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall” address in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate.

There was “There you go again” quip to Jimmy Carter in the most watched presidential debate (up-to-this-year) in American history in 1980.

And there was his farewell address to the nation as he was departing the White House in 1989.

The Normandy and Farewell speeches were not overtly political. It would have been wrong in both cases to write and deliver a stem-winder in either of these venues. The media and pundit reaction would be justifiably critical, if The Gipper had misused these settings and occasions.

The Berlin Wall speech and the Cleveland debate were both political in nature. They both offered the opportunity to score political points at the expense of the leader of the Soviet Union and the 39th president of the United States.

As Harry Truman once said: “If you need a friend in Washington, D.C., get a dog.”

As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Serving As Referee

Al Smith was the first Roman Catholic to earn a presidential nomination, losing to Republican Herbert Hoover in 1928. Since 1945, the New York Archdiocese has sponsored an annual white-tie dinner at the stately Waldorf Astoria in his honor and to benefit Catholic charities.

Even though the two parties’ respective nominees have attended this fundraising dinner since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, the audience expects and wants satirical/self-deprecating humor from the candidates. That tradition remained intact until this past Thursday night.

Less than 24 hours after the two combatants refused to shake hands twice at the final Clinton vs. Trump debate, Cardinal Dolan knew that he would have to serve as a buffer sitting in between Hillary and The Donald, who quite obviously loathe each other.

Nonetheless, the expectations for the speeches from the two candidates were still there. The public relations/reputation management task for each nominee and their respective staffers was to prepare and deliver remarks that demonstrate knowledge, appreciation and respect for the audience.trumpsmith

Sadly that discipline was not there, particularly for Donald Trump.

Why did he think even for a nanosecond that stating that Hillary was “so corrupt” before a mixed-audience was going to meet the standards of the evening?

Worse The Donald’s remarks about Hillary pretending to not hate Catholics in a room in which literally dozens had been schooled with the Baltimore Catechism drew the boos and catcalls they deserved.

Among the litany of problems associated with Trump’s campaign, one of the most basic is a total lack of political discipline. He obviously does not listen to his advisors, who know political campaigns and how to set and respond to audience expectations.

Two GOP standard bearers could not be more different: Ronald Reagan was a model of political discipline and simplicity of message. Donald Trump cannot and will not maintain political discipline, and Hillary knows it.

More importantly, the nation knows The Donald does not have the temperament to deliver audience-specific remarks, let alone be trusted with access to our nuclear codes.

The expectations are that Hillary will become the 45th chief executive of the United States and the first president who happens to be a woman, when the polls in California, Oregon and Washington close at 11 pm EST. 8 pm PST on November 8.

Almost DailyBrett will boldly predict: Hillary will be elected one hour earlier when Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona … and maybe even Utah (gasp) are recorded in the blue column … if not sooner. This is a wave election in which Hillary will receive the better part of 400 electoral votes, if not more.

Will The Donald wake up on November 9 and realize that he did not even attempt for a nanosecond during the past 17 months to know, appreciate and respect his audiences?

Forget it. He didn’t listen to any wisdom when it mattered. And he certainly won’t accept any guidance when it doesn’t matter anymore.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/us/politics/al-smith-dinner-clinton-trump.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/20/politics/al-smith-catholic-dinner-memorable-lines-hillary-clinton-donald-trump/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/20/the-very-bad-jokes-hillary-clinton-and-donald-trump-told-at-the-al-smith-dinner/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_E._Smith_Memorial_Foundation_Dinner

 

 

“Good moments can be more important than good arguments.” – Former Presidential Campaign Manager Karl Rove

“Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” – Former U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen to former Senator Dan Quayle

“There you go again.” – Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter, left, and Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, shake hands Tuesday night, October 28, 1980, in Cleveland, Ohio, before debating before a nationwide television audience. (AP Photo/stf)

President Jimmy Carter, left, and Republican Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, shake hands Tuesday night, October 28, 1980, in Cleveland, Ohio … (AP Photo/stf)

It was Reagan who walked over to shake Carter’s hand after their sole debate, not the other way around. Courtesy matters.

What will be THE moment that transforms Monday’s watershed presidential debate — maybe 100 million viewers — between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and business mogul Donald Trump?

What will be the indelible image (i.e., George H.W. Bush looking at his watch; Al Gore moving aggressively toward George W. Bush; aftershave dripping off the face of a haggard Richard Nixon; Mitt Romney’s ‘Big Bird’ remark), which will instantly go viral on literally millions of mobile devices and other second screens?

Remember when mom repeatedly and maddenly told you: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”?

Temperament and persona matters in a presidential debate, not the ability to recite wonkish policy and stats.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was privileged to attend one debate, the second encounter between then Vice President George W. Bush and former Massachusetts Michael Dukakis. The debate will be forever remembered for Bernard Shaw’s (CNN) opening question to Dukakis and the governor’s response:

Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”

DUKAKIS: “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent …”dukakisdebate

It was not your command of criminal justice issues, governor … the question pertained to your wife being brutally raped and murdered. Shaw’s question was woefully unfair. Where was your revulsion? Didn’t you have any concern for the horrific image of Kitty being raped and murdered?

Instead, “I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent …” Were you a robot that night, governor? Where was the pathos?

Divorce Court?

The nationwide and swing-state polls are only snapshots in time at this particular moment. They will change after Monday.

Hillary has a lead in the horse race and most importantly in the Electoral College. The race is her’s to lose and she is doing her best to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

When it comes to boring wonkish detail (prose), no one can beat her. Monday’s debate is not a spelling bee. Will Hillary pile on Trump and his “basket of deplorables”? Will she offer more status quo or a vision of the future?

Conversely, which Donald Trump is going to show up? There are three debates, each lasting 90-minutes. Can Trump exhibit presidential discipline for four-and-one-half hours? Almost DailyBrett is taking the ‘under.’

The elite media of course will collectively declare a winner, most likely even as the debate is taking place, forcing one side to face the difficult chore of defending their champion in the post-debate Hofstra University spin room. Will the media winner/loser declaration drive follow-up polling, thus elevating the stature of the elites in communications? Bet on it.

But what if the event is judged as a tie? Doesn’t a tie go to the runner?

The 2016 election is a contest for an open-seat as Barack Obama is completing his second term. Who is the challenger (e.g., “the runner”)? One could argue that Trump holds that role, considering Hillary’s quarter-decade of more in politics (i.e., First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State).

Is a tie, a tie? No. It would be a win for Trump as the challenger always has the advantage.

Hillary will naturally swing for the fences, trying to expose The Donald’s lack of gravitas and more importantly trying to get under his legendary thin skin. Will The Donald take the bait? Your author is taking the “over.”

So … what are the best strategies for both candidates? Be offensive without being offensive. As Rove has suggested talk to moderator Lester Holt and therefore the nation, and not to be other candidate.

No one wants to watch a rerun of “Divorce Court.” And we don’t wonkish prose. What we need and what makes better theatre and “good moments” is passionate poetry, pointing to a brighter future or that Shining City on the Hill.

Will the debate degenerate into a bitter “he said, she said” series of exchanges? Quite possibly.

The goal is to win, but also to keep faith with mumsy’s “… It’s how you say it.”

PALM BEACH, FL: Newlyweds Donald Trump Sr. and Melania Trump with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton at their reception held at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images)

PALM BEACH, FL: Newlyweds Donald Trump Sr. and Melania Trump with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton at their reception held at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images)

Maybe the Donald should remember he invited the Clintons to his third wedding in 2005, and Hillary should reflect she was sitting in the first row. There may be more poetry in being the first to walk over to shake the other candidate’s hand.

Maybe a single act of kindness will be is remembered from Monday’s debate?

Don’t count on it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/when-presidential-debates-matter-1474498044

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/business/presidential-debate-moderators-lester-holt-chris-wallace.html?_r=0

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/jul/21/carlos-curbelo/clintons-really-did-attend-donald-trumps-2005-wedd/

 

 

 

 

Has it come to this?

Is it November, yet?colbertswastika

If the polls are to be believed:

The majority of Americans don’t like Hillary.

And they really detest The Donald.

Yes, it’s the worst choice in the history of the republic.

That’s a strong summation, but does anyone doubt this statement is true?

Almost DailyBrett has publicly implored for a third-choice, for a third-way.

Your author voted for John Kasich in the primary, and was thinking about writing in his name in the fall.

Now, I am not so sure.

In June, Stephen Colbert of CBS tried to be funny by drawing a swastika on a chalk board to describe Donald Trump’s political philosophy in the aftermath of terrorism against an Orlando LGBT nightclub.

And Kasich resorted to an Internet ad last November essentially making a similar comparison. How’s that for “positive” campaigning?

John, you were smart to stay away from the convention (see Ted Cruz reaction), but his ad was beneath you … way beneath you. kasichtrump

If you are going to compare America to Nazi Germany at least understand a little history first.

This Is Not a Casual Subject

Evoking memories of Hitler, the Nazis, the Gestapo, the Concentration Camps and the Holocaust for pure political purposes is the public relations equivalent of handling dynamite in a dark room.

First, this practice is insensitive to the very few remaining souls, who survived this horrific period of time (1933-1945) and their families.

Second, politics have always been as Mary Matalin described a “contact sport,” but once you bring up Hitler where do you go from there?

Third, these sorry comparisons are made without total comprehension of the eras, politics and government between the two nations.

Germany following World War I was a defeated nation under the auspices of the Versailles Treaty. The resulting Weimar Republic was weak with a myriad of political parties.

Inflation rates were out of control including a hotel room for 400,000 DM, dinner for 1.8 million DM and a half-liter of milk, 250,000 DM … and then came the Depression.

Hitler seized upon this widespread misery to gain power, never winning the majority of the popular vote. Upon becoming the leader, his party suspended (and burned) the parliamentary Reichstag and passed enabling laws making Hitler the supreme dictator of a police state on steroids. The German media was totally controlled by Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda machine. It was a well-documented nightmare from there.nazirally

In comparison, America is an exemplary nation and an enduring democracy that has stood the test of time for 240 years and counting. We won both World Wars; Germany lost two of them. We defeated Communism and helped bring down the Berlin Wall. We are the only nation to put a man on the moon.

We have a strong, if not polarized government, with two powerful political parties. We have a system of checks and balances that modulates the activities of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. We have a free, independent akin to herding cats media, representing virtually every point of view.

Inflation has not been an issue since the mid-1980s. In fact, it is running at approximately 1 percent this year potentially tipping into deflation territory. The unemployment rate stands at 4.9 percent with 287,000 jobs created in June, albeit many of these positions are part-time without benefits.

Seemingly, terrorism and police shootings du jour  give one the sense of a dark new normal. To describe Donald Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday night as dystopian is accurate. Having said that, trying to compare Trump with Der Führer strikes this humble writer as extremely careless and irresponsible.

There are oodles of reasons to oppose Trump, but the ugliest of name calling and association reduces the reputation and brand of the one making this vile comparison. Stephen Colbert doesn’t care, but John Kasich should care.

Our system of government celebrates its division, but not gridlock. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews wrote a great tome entitled “Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked. Ronald Reagan and the Republicans ran the executive branch. Tip O’Neill was the speaker of the house and the Democrats controlled Congress.TipGipper

Even though they saw the world very differently, these two Irish-ancestry pols respected and liked each other including frequent 6 pm adult-beverage sessions. When Reagan was shot in 1981, it was Democrat Tip O’Neill who prayed at the bedside of the Republican president.

Last week was the GOP convention in Cleveland and the rhetoric at times was white hot. This coming week is the Democrats turn in Philadelphia and the rhetorical cannons are aimed and ready to return fire.

After the last gavel comes down, one would hope we could chill for the remainder of the summer, realizing the ultimate testing ground will be the presidential debates beginning on September 26 at Hofstra University. Almost DailyBrett would gladly pay a pretty penny to sit in the first row for the ultimate political theatre: Hillary vs. The Donald.

It’s incredibly sad the world’s worst-ever human being, Hitler, is being invoked in July. One can only imagine what will follow in August … September … October … November and beyond.

Can we go any lower in terms of political invective?

It may not be Morning in America any longer, but it is not midnight either.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/did-a-perfect-storm-lead-to-the-gathering-storm/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/11/24/the-ad-in-which-john-kasichs-campaign-seems-to-compare-donald-trump-to-hitler/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/15/entertainment/stephen-colbert-donald-trump-swastika-nazi/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/15/stephen-colberts-brutal-takedown-of-donald-trumps-orlando-response-includes-a-swastika/

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/current-inflation-rates/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/in-search-of-a-third-option/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/back-to-the-1980s/

 

 

 

 

 

 

“To protect herself as president, and to protect her presidency, Clinton needs a Dr. No. That’s somebody more powerful than the smart loyalists she surrounds herself with, somebody with the stature to say: “Ma’am, you cannot do that.” – Bloomberg Columnist Al HuntDrNO

Whether or not Hillary Clinton is elected president in November will play out in the next four months. For now, Mr. Hunt may be getting a little ahead of himself.

And whether or not Hillary Clinton and by extension Bill Clinton (and of course, The Donald) needs a personal reputation “Dr. No” as Mr. Hunt suggests is beyond doubt.

The author of Almost DailyBrett would be a very wealthy hombre, if he received a dollar for every time somebody suggested that he should be coaching/mentoring Public Celebrity A. (e.g., Tiger Woods) or Public Celebrity B (e.g., Anthony Weiner).

The very notion of mentoring suggests that a Hillary Clinton and/or Bill would actually listen to a brand/reputation coach regardless of her or his level of personal gravitas.

Now before one accuses Almost DailyBrett of directing attention to only one side of the ever-widening political divide, your author would like to opine that Donald Trump has repeatedly warranted an ejector seat. This point applies to his rambling off-the-cuff remarks and his fire-ready-aim use of Twitter.

FILE - This is a Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo of FBI director James Comey as he gestures during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. FBI director Comey has caused huge offense to a U.S. ally: using language to suggest that Poles were accomplices in the Holocaust. On Monday, April 20, 2015 Poles were waiting to see if FBI director James Comey apologizes _ something Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said he expected so the matter can be settled. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – This is a Wednesday, March 25, 2015 file photo of FBI director James Comey as he gestures during a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

At a time that FBI director James Comey handed the Republicans a political gift with his public repudiation of Hillary as “extremely careless” in regards to her mobile devices/personal server, The Donald is meanwhile assessing the positives of brutal dictator Saddam Hussein because he allegedly fought terrorists.

Where is your message consistency, Mr. Trump?

Can you stay on topic?

Must you always say what is on the top of your mind?

Ma’am and/or Sir, you cannot do that’!

Most Americans – including elites in both parties – believe both Bill and Hillary Clinton think a different set of rules and standards apply to them than everyone else. This dates to the 1990s.” – Washington Daily 202 columnist James Hohmann

“Mr. Trump was typically free-associative and talked too long, more than an hour. He doesn’t know when to stop because he doesn’t know when he’s made his point, or sometimes what his point was.” –Former Presidential Speech Writer Peggy Noonan

Just as most Democrats wax nostalgic about John F. Kennedy and Republicans harken back to “Shining City on a Hill” Ronald Reagan, there were also influential aides-de-camp who were always there to question, advise and mentor.

Pres. John F. Kennedy with his Aide Theodore Sorensen (R) discussing W. Virginia's economic problems with President-election. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Pres. John F. Kennedy with his Aide Theodore Sorensen (R) discussing W. Virginia’s economic problems with President-election. (Photo by Paul Schutzer//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Ted Sorensen was beside Kennedy as the U.S. faced down Nikita Khrushchev’s Russia and the Missiles of October. The young president was well served by listening (and not necessarily always agreeing) to Sorensen.

James Baker was the Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State and served as chief of staff for two Presidents, Reagan and his successor George H.W. Bush. The native-born Texan was always cool under pressure, seemingly hitting the right tone and drawing the ear of at least two presidents.

The Always DailyBrett question of the day: Who are the Ted Sorensens and Jim Bakers for Hillary and The Donald?bakerbush

Some may immediately point to Hillary’s spouse, former President Bill Clinton, but is he a paragon of political discipline? Wasn’t there an embarrassingly improper meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the broiling tarmac of Phoenix International Airport? And for some reason, Almost DailyBrett is reminded a series of presidential dalliances in the 1990s.

For The Donald, he heavily relies on his family. Yes it is true that blood is thicker than water, but are any of his clan ready to tell Emperor Trump that he doesn’t have any clothes on? More to the point: Will any of them insist that Mr. Billionaire think before he speaks or tweets?

When egos exceed respect for any advisor no matter how talented, how skilled, how schooled and how seasoned, does it really matter if the candidate stops listening before the aide-de-camps stop talking?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/07/06/daily-202-clinton-s-credibility-gap-widens-after-fbi-rebuke/577bff0c981b92a22d5b2044/

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-07-05/hillary-clinton-needs-a-dr-no

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

http://www.wsj.com/articles/comedy-wears-better-than-cynicism-1467933077

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aide-de-camp

 

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