Tag Archives: politics

This is the Best Blog Post Ever

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Instead of responding to a particularly annoying political post on Facebook, I’d like to ask a question about today’s political rhetoric. Does everybody and everything have to be the best or the worst ever? Any time I hear that claim about any politician (or anything really), I disregard it immediately. I’m a sucker for polls about who was the best/worst president, but only because I’m curious about what people think — and I know it’s just an opinion.

But Donald Trump is good at throwing out these kinds of claims — without being challenged — and making them stick. Even after he back-pedals on a position or “clarifies” a statement, he has (intentionally) made an impression that won’t be undone.

The talking points about Trump’s opponent have worked well for him and the Republicans, if the web is any reflection. Google “Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt candidate ever,” and you’ll get 1.8 million results. But “Trump is the most corrupt candidate”? About 5,000. Bucking the trend is the New York Magazine article titled…wait for it…”The Most Corrupt Candidate Ever is Donald Trump.”

Also, according to Trump, Hillary was the “worst secretary of state ever.” I wish a reporter would ask him who the second worst was, to see if he can name another person who’s held the office. In 2011 he said, President Obama “has been a horrible president. I always said the worst president was Jimmy Carter. Guess what? Jimmy Carter goes to second place. Barack Obama has been the worst president ever.”

If you don’t believe him, you can read the book. Yes, there’s a book titled 150 Reasons Why Barack Obama in the Worst President in History. But after it was published in 2013, authors Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan discovered 50 more reasons, leading to their latest release, The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama, complete with 200 reasons. Or you can just follow the authors’ Twitter account with the username…yes…@WorstPresident. Or contact them by email at worstpresident44@gmail.com. I mean, who has time for this?

Something tells me this is going to be the longest presidential campaign ever.

“Weiner”: Crisis as Tragi-comedy

weinerHere’s the best description I’ve read for the new documentary “Weiner,” from NPR’s David Edelstein:

“…a cross between ‘The War Room,’ in which resourceful operatives steer a scandal-ridden but confident candidate to victory, and ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ in which everyone runs around screaming and dies.”

The film, which follows the mayoral campaign of Anthony Weiner, could have been a comeback tale about a disgraced congressman who turned around his reputation to serve the city he loved. Instead, it’s about a disgraced congressman who is further disgraced…this time in front of cameras that he invited into his professional and personal life.

It’s also a lesson about why crisis communications, no matter how well it’s executed, can’t make up for dishonesty. In one scene that will be uncomfortable for any communications professional to watch, Weiner tries to determine how to answer a question from reporters — not by telling his communications director Barbara Morgan the answer, but by trying to remember what he has said in previous interviews. “I think we’ve got to answer the question,” he tells her. “The problem was that a series of interviews that I did when I got in the race were after this. And people asked is the number still the same? I think I said to…six…and then cleaned it up in subsequent interviews because I knew that was a problem. The question is do we answer it or not? I think we have to answer these questions.”

It’s as much a film about Weiner’s wife, Hillary Clinton confidante Huma Abedin. She comes across as a strong and confident woman who deserves better, but in a situation that is out of her control. (If you ask me offline, I’ll tell you my Huma story, but I’ll just say that while I could somewhat enjoy watching Weiner’s downfall unfold on the screen, the movie is hard to watch knowing that it was Weiner, not her, who sought this cinematic attention.)