Tag Archive: SNL


How would you like to hold a thankless job in which your boss loathes the media, the media in turn hates your boss, and you’re stuck in between?

To top it off, the White House press secretary is never good enough to satisfy all of the internal and external critics. There is also one “critic,” who is the most equal of all and demonstrates all the signs of being insatiable.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer just did Sarah Huckabee Sanders and by extension the entire nation a huge favor. He quit.

Please don’t let the door hit you too hard on the backside, Sean. You were overmatched for the job from day one. The only one who is crying is Melissa McCarthy of SNL.

As a former press secretary, albeit for a mere state (California), the author of Almost DailyBrett understands the pressure associated with being a message developer and voice for the administration, simultaneously charged with the caring, comforting and nurturing of the Capital Press Corps.

One of the major surprises in your author’s three-decade career in public relations is the inconvenient fact the majority of communications practitioners – particularly at PR firms — never come in contact with a living, breathing reporter/editor/correspondent.

These august professionals may talk a great game, but they literally run for cover when it comes time for on-the-record, stakes-are-high dialogue. Gasp … they  actually may be quoted/misquoted.

Standing Behind the White House Media Podium

Still remember sitting in the White House media center watching Ronald Reagan’s deputy press secretary Larry Speakes conduct the morning briefing with elite media — Helen Thomas (UPI), Sam Donaldson (ABC), Lesley Stahl (CBS) and Chris Wallace (NBC) — all sitting in the first row.

Serving as press secretary for the nation’s chief executive with a target on his or her back is the pinnacle of public relations. You have to be offensive without being offensive. Humor is a huge plus. Institutional knowledge is vital. Most of all you must instinctively know when to punt (e.g., “I don’t know”), buy time, and come back with a winning answer, which separates the enduring press secretaries with those who hide in the bushes.

Presidential press secretaries used to be an old boys club: Pierre Salinger, Ron Ziegler, Jody Powell, Speakes, Marlin Fitzwater, George Stephanopoulos …

Huckabee Sanders is now the third woman to hold the title of White House Press Secretary, serving as a lead on message development and delivering the daily briefings to the carnivorous media. Dee Dee Myers (Clinton, 1993-1994) was the first, Dana Perino (W. Bush, 2007-2009) was the second, and now Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Perino in her open-advice-to-Sarah-Huckabee-Sanders column implored her to embrace and enjoy the job, actually being thankful for the opportunity to serve.

As a woman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, 34, has already been viciously attacked for her appearance by Daily Beast columnist Ira Madison III. Madison tweeted that Sanders was a “butch queen first in drags at the ball.” Madison the Third later retracted the tweet and apologized, but his misogynist and homophobic digs have already left their mark.

To her credit, Huckabee Sanders has not overreacted to this insult. She knows more of the same, if not worse are in the offing. Think of it this way: she seems to be a natural for the job. After all she is the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and the contact sport of politics is not new to her.

Huckabee Sanders also understands that more heavy lifting is required for a Republican press secretary than those holding the same job for a Democratic incumbent. The media tilts heavily to the left, and appears in most cases to be incapable of being fair and objective to President Trump.

Life is not fair. Translated; the magnified challenges of this awesome responsibility under fire on an uneven playing field also provide tremendous opportunities for Sarah to distinguish herself as a good/great press secretary.

If Huckabee Sanders can turn the temperature down even just a hair, introduce a greater sense of professionalism to the White House briefings (e.g., turn the cameras back on) while at the same time, serving as an impassioned advocate for her boss and the administration, she will have done a great service to the nation.

More power to you, Sarah.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/07/26/dana-perino-advice-for-sarah-huckabee-sanders-from-one-female-press-secretary-to-another.html

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

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

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/two-of-three-female-white-house-press-secretaries-worked-for-republican-presidents/article/2629496

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-long-can-the-trump-tumult-go-on-1501106914

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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

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