Tag Archive: Saturday Night Live


“We had an enormous, world-historic campaign catastrophe.” Matt Bennett, former Michael Dukakis presidential campaign volunteer

I didn’t give it another thought.” – Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

You don’t put stuff on your head if you’re president. That’s Politics 101.” – President Barack Obama

Does anybody remember Michael Dukakis wearing a combat helmet, riding around in an M1A1-Abrahms Main Battle tank in September 1988, to prove he was tough enough for the presidency?

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE*** This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as he gets a free ride in one of General Dynamics' new M1-A-1 battle tanks at its land systems division in Sterling Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** **FILE*** This Sept. 13, 1988 file photo shows Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as he gets a free ride in one of General Dynamics’ new M1-A-1 battle tanks at its land systems division in Sterling Heights, Mich. (AP Photo/Michael E. Samojeden, FILE)

He just didn’t look right in the way-too-big battle helmet for a candidate who was a little guy … literally.

Dukakis looked even worse riding around in a battle tank circle-after-circle in front of 90 laughing reporters. The tank photo op was a bad idea in which someone … anyone with authority … on the Dukakis campaign needed not only to say, “no,” but “hell no.”

It was only a matter of nanoseconds before the tank footage found its way into the tender mercies of Bush media Meister Roger Ailes and campaign director Lee Atwater. They leapt like coiled vipers and quickly came up with a devastating advertisement, questioning Dukakis’ record on national defense and using the “goofy” tank footage to drive home the point.

What is really sad is that Dukakis advance dude Bennett had put on the very same helmet, looked into the mirror and concluded he looked silly in it. He was convinced it would come across even worse on the diminutive governor.

He called the Boston headquarters to warn them to cancel the event. No one listened. The rest is political history.

When Almost DailyBrett reflects back on this avoidable public relations disaster, one needs to contemplate that Twitter was still a bird, Facebook was a scrap-book, and the name “LinkedIn” would draw blank expressions. And what was a YouTube in 1988?

Today, Web 2.0 (e.g., blogging and social media) would take the tank catastrophe and spread to all corners of the globe within five minutes.

“Which Ever Way the Wind Blows”

Facebook was just being hatched in a Harvard dorm room in 2004. Twitter was two years away from being born. And yet there were millions chatting away on the Internet.kerrywindsurf

Some were discussing John Kerry going one way on his wind-surfing board, and then going the other way, before turning around and then heading in the other direction once again. The footage was set to the Blue Danube Waltz, courtesy of President George W. Bush’s campaign.

The point, which John Kerry’s unfortunate photo-op aided and abetted, was that Kerry was a flip-flopper, particularly in this voting pattern on the Iraq War. The Nantucket windsurfing image, the resulting ad and other factors helped convince the electorate that Kerry was not ready for the White House.bushmission

This is not to suggest that Bush was totally adept at photo opportunities. The “Mission Accomplished” banner on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to declare the end of the Iraq War in 2003 was quickly and repeatedly mocked as the Iraqi insurgency inflicted years of casualties on American troops in the region.

Hillary, the Subway and Five Swipes of the Metro Card

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” – English Idiom

All of this Almost DailyBrett reminiscing brings us to the question of Hillary and the New York Subway platform. That damn electronic MetroCard (sorry Bernie the NYC Subway doesn’t use “tokens” anymore) took five agonizing swipes to finally work for Madam Secretary Clinton.hillarycard

Alas, it was only a matter of time before Saturday Night Live (SNL) would turn the subway platform snafu into a skit, also reminding everyone that Hillary has lost seven-out-of-her-last-eight contests to Bernie.

Was the temperamental subway scanner a metaphor of the state of the Clinton campaign?

Wasn’t the advance team supposed to “grease” the card scanner to make damn sure it always worked for Hillary? Isn’t that the job of the advance dudes and dudettes?

Politicians using props and photo opportunities to provide images for campaigns goes back to kissing babies and whistle-stop speeches.

And yet the rules have changed, where the little gets magnified and the catastrophic becomes digitally viral in nanoseconds.

Hillary’s ultimate electoral fate most likely will not be decided because of the humorous Hillary-on-the-subway platform goof-up (Has the former senator from New York ever ridden the subway before?). The “reset button” with now recalcitrant Russia may be more egregious. Guess Hillary knows a thing or two about symbols that go wrong.hillaryreset

Having said that, American political history is riddled with stories of photo-ops gone wrong (e.g., Nixon walking the beach in San Clemente in dress slacks and wingtips). Now with mobile devices and social media the tender-loving-care needed to stage these events is greater than ever.

And if a campaign tanks, the pain will not be felt within hours, but in seconds instead.

http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/presidential-elections/videos/tank-ride

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/11/dukakis-and-the-tank-099119

http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/09/23/bush_ad_plays_on_kerry_windsurfing/

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwQkBfBs958

http://time.com/4285452/hillary-clinton-new-york-subay-metrocard-turnstile/

http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/04/10/snl-hillary-clinton-subway-newday.cnn/video/playlists/snl-politics/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/michele-bachmann-nyc-subway_us_5707d7bce4b04bf520ff4da0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hillary-clinton-new-york-saturday-night-live_us_570a58a9e4b01422324940ef

 

 

“Policy is important, but I also think empathy and connection are hugely important. I think that people understanding where you come from, what your story is, what your background is, is as important to any leadership role, but particularly running for the president of the United States.” – Prospective Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina

“Empathy” is not the first word that comes to mind when Almost DailyBrett contemplates Carly Fiorina and her campaign for … (gasp) President of the United States.carly1

Sure you don’t want to run for queen instead?

Will Meryl Streep play your role in the biographical film?

Will you have a coffee-table book presidency akin to JFK?

Carly mismanaged Hewlett-Packard. And now she wants to run America?

She couldn’t beat Barbara Boxer in California in 2010. And now she thinks she can defeat Hillary Clinton, let alone Jeb Bush in 2016?

She rammed through HP’s acquisition of Compaq Computer over the objections of a founding family, when the PC market was plateauing (now it is declining 5-7 percent). And now she wants to offer her “vision” to America?

She didn’t grasp the “HP Way.” How can she connect with the “American Way”?

She is a living, breathing definition of a “plutocrat.” Is she going to release her income tax returns? She makes Mitt Romney seem like the common man.

You can just see the air-war gurus licking their collective chops at the collectivist Democratic National Committee with the prospect of Carly as the Republican standard-bearer in summer/fall of 2016.

Those who know Carly, particularly those working in Silicon Valley circa 1999-2005, are fully aware of her background and story.

It’s not a happy read.

Does she have any friends?

Lincoln, Teddy, Ike and Reagan Turning Over In Their Graves

“Citizens, you will elect me. I will be your leader.” – Kate McKinnon playing the role of Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night LivehillarySNL

Kate McKinnon of Saturday Night Live came very close to the truth with her satirical skit about über-ambitious Hillary Clinton and the prospective “First Dude,” William Jefferson Clinton.

The always kind-and-considerate Maureen Dowd touched upon Hillary’s penchant for overcorrecting in her New York Times op-ed Sunday.

Hillary’s coronation as the Democratic nominee may be a foregone conclusion; her election as Prez #45 is less so. An even-keeled Republican nominee with the right positive message could beat her.

Carly believes she is that even-keeled Republican.

When Carly looks into her full-length mirror in the morning, she sees a woman who can beat another woman. She believes with her XX chromosomes that she can close the gender gap. She’s right. Carly at the top of the GOP ticket would eliminate the Republican Party gender gap lead over the Democrats when it comes to males.

For some reason, Carly sees herself in the same vein as Republican icons: Honest Abe, Teddy, Ike and The Gipper. Are you serious, Carly?

Just as some would like to see the Clintons head off into the sunset, Almost DailyBrett wishes the same for Carly. Instead of running for president, how about grabbing your fishing pole, Carly.

Oh, you are not familiar with fishing … How pedestrian.

If the choice came down to: A.) Burning at the stake; B.) Drowning or C.) Voting for Carly … that would be a very difficult decision. Personally, I have a strong lean toward drowning.carly2

And if you see Carly on the campaign trail in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.

Be sure to genuflect.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/04/16/carly-fiorina-pink-nail-polish-and-sexism/?postshare=6421429211040548

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hewlett-Packard

http://news.yahoo.com/fiorina-says-shed-neutralize-clintons-gender-arguments-072055839–finance.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-granny-get-your-gun.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2481395,00.asp

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/09/can-snl-s-kate-mckinnon-damage-clinton.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fiorinas-h-p-tenure-a-disputed-legacy-1444179445

 

 

 

 

“I think we have a fun deficit in America.” – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clintonhillarynosmile

Can you imagine a fun evening downing a few PBRs with Hillary?

You’re right: Drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is akin to making love in a canoe, so scratch that idea.

Back to the point: Would you look forward to hoisting a few tall ones, even microbrews, with Hillary?

What are your alternatives? Trip to the dentist’s office? Afternoon at DMV?

Or how about joining outgoing Senate leader Harry Reid for a few Nevada microbrews (is “Nevada” and “microbrews” an oxymoron?) And why is Harry always POed?reid

Do these people ever smile? Seriously, do they ever break out a grin?

Is this a problem? Check out the latest SNL skit with Kate McKinnon playing Hillary for your first clue. A lot of truth is often spoken in jest.

Will Hillary be hiring “smile” coaches?

According to the mantra of Nordstrom and McDonald’s and possibly others in the customer relations business: “Hire the smile.”

No one really wants to be around “Negative Nancy,” “Gloomy Gus” or Harry Reid for that matter. They want happy, fun people instead … and maybe a little gravitas too.

Persona Matters

“Voters don’t remember specific issues, they remember the ‘feel’ of the candidate — his values, his passions, his competence, his persona.” — Pollster Pat Caddell prepping former Vice President Walter Mondale for his first debate against President Ronald Reagan

There is little doubt that Hillary can be as wonkish as anyone on the planet, including Harry Reid. If that skill is the only criteria, then maybe she should start ordering the drapes for the Oval Office.

She is raising tons of money and undoubtedly will summon her disciples to write even more big checks. The legal tender will not be a problem for her second campaign for president.

She is the spouse of a former POTUS. The problem is her charm deficit. Her other half can turn on the smile in a few nanoseconds and draw potential supporters into his personal gravitational pull. This is where Hillary will always be wanting.merkel1

Certainly, Hillary has gravitas. The same is true for Fed chair Janet Yellen and German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel. The latter is lovingly known by at least a majority in the Vaterland as Mutti. Hillary is more like America’s Mother in Law.

Why do über-cautious Yellen at the Fed and compromiser Merkel in Berlin succeed when it comes to likeability and Hillary seemably comes up short? Call it a shortage of persona. The author of Almost DailyBrett will never forget the words of my own mumsy: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

Kennedy and Reagan

“There is a reason why the two major parties continue to search for a new Kennedy or a new Reagan, and why so many presidential contenders offer themselves as such. It is because they believe it’s what the American people want. And there are surveys that show just how remarkably popular Kennedy and Reagan remain.” – Scott Farris, author of Kennedy & Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endurekennedysmile

Undersecretary of the Navy Paul Fay wrote the 1966 bestseller, The Pleasure of His Company, about his relationship with JFK. Reagan was known for his stories and one-liners with a huge smile on his face, an obvious bonus from his days in Hollywood.Portrait

Both men are held as the modern-day models of popular, charming and engaging presidents. Will candidate Hillary or second President Clinton ever reach that precipice or come even close? Hubert Humphrey was known as the “Happy Warrior.” Should Hillary’s handlers bring that one out of the public relations vault for their candidate?

Political junkies all know the track records of those with personality deficits and how they ultimately performed under the day-to-day spotlight of presidential campaigns. Remember President Ed Muskie? How about President Scoop Jackson? President Michael Dukakis? President Bob Dole? President Newt Gingrich? President Al Gore? President John Kerry? President Mitt Romney? They all exhibited sooner or later (usually the former) personality issues that contributed to their ultimate demise.

Even one who won, Richard Milhous Nixon, was gloomy, suspicious and paranoid. His next elected successor James Earl Carter could flash a toothy smile, but transformed himself into a mean candidate running for re-election in 1980.

Do the Democrats see a contemporary charming John F. Kennedy in Hillary? Seems like a silly question. But then against Hillary’s candidacy is a serious business.

Maybe a little bit too serious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXdNYXMQoy8

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/10/opinions/zelizer-hillary-clinton-weaknesses/index.html

http://customerservicereader.typepad.com/customer_service_reader/2005/12/nordstroms_1_cu.html

http://www.rove.com/articles/578

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_B._Fay

“Flip-flops are for fa..ots. Flip-flops are for fa..ots.” – Rutgers assistant Eric Murdock quoting fired Rutgers’ Coach Mike Rice screaming at 10-11 year-old basketball campers.

“I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends and supporters, and the media … to be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it” – former New York Representative Anthony Weiner finally acknowledging – after repeated public denials — that he tweeted his genitalia to target females across the fruited plain.

It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter (Frances Quinn Hunter), and, hopefully, one day, when she understands, she will forgive me,” – John Edwards admitting that he fathered a love child with staffer Rielle Hunter.

rice

Coach Rice’s career is over at 44. Put a fork in him; he’s done.

Congressman Weiner’s dreams of becoming New York City’s mayor were thrown into the junk heap at 46.

Future president Edwards’ Potomac Fever dreams of being the leader of the free world permanently ended at 56.

The most recent viral public relations train wreck is bully boy coach Rice. He has been duly convicted in the courtroom of public opinion under the glare of the nation’s largest media market and buried under a video avalanche for assaulting his players, throwing balls at their heads and uttering ugly slurs about their sexuality.

For Rice, who was coaching at a major university entering into the prestigious Big-10 Conference, he is now the butt of a Saturday Night Live skit and the unflattering subject of an ESPN Outside the Lines report. These are the least of his problems.

Contemplating the damaging videos of an out-of-control Rice, one must ponder whether he ever asked himself if he was going too far. Now he is facing the certainty that his career is over at 44-years young. Conceivably, he has another three or four decades to live…and yet he is done.

Who will ever hire Mike Rice? The video will always follow him. It is permanent. It is eternal. He is toast.

The thoughts that must be going through his head right now are hard to imagine. All he had to do is deport himself. His behavior made Bobby Knight seem like a choir boy…even after the legendary coach threw the chair and was terminated by Indiana University. Maybe, other coaches and mentors will learn from Rice’s boorish mistakes.

A question that comes to mind pertains to the always-present, always-on digital media. Some complain that it threatens our privacy, but at the same time it can be seen as a great equalizer. The bully was exposed though grainy video and sensitive long-distance microphones. Maybe technology may be an answer to bullying, oppression and those who through whatever means try to dominate the weak.

The ultimate answer to this kind of misconduct lies with the individual. All of these public relations debacles could have easily been avoided with the exercise of personal deportment, compassion and accountability. Video cameras, directional microphones, self-publishing outlets and marauding media are everywhere. The ever-present, instantaneous and global media are in the “on” position at all times.

john_edwards2_240

Deal with it or perish.

What are some solutions in terms of protecting individual reputations and personal brands?

Act and behave with integrity even when you think that no one is looking as someone with a digital device very well may be doing just that. There is a time and place for “tough love,” but understand there is a definitive line between constructive criticism and destructive activity.

Assume the camera is on, the microphone is poised, the drones are flying; life will never be the same again.

Some have the chance to recover from public relations disasters (e.g. Michael Phelps had his London; Tiger has his Augusta; AH-Nold has yet another tough guy movie) even though their reputations will never be the same.

Still others have no outlet for a comeback; Rice, Weiner, Edwards and Lance Armstrong are part of this exclusive club. They will literally have decades to contemplate what went wrong and know they will never have a total and complete opportunity to vindicate themselves.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9130237

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

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/edwards-scandal-timeline-john-edwards-rielle-hunter-affair/story?id=9621755#.UWB3vMriVJQ

http://msn.foxsports.com/collegebasketball/story/mike-rice-rutgers-player-abuse-scandal-spoofed-saturday-night-live-melissa-mccarthy-040613

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