Category Archives: Republican Messaging

Democratic vs. Republican Presidents Part 1: Communications Policy

Janet Jackson's FCC "Nipplegate" moment

Janet Jackson’s FCC “Nipplegate” moment

Under the U.S. Constitution, presidents have certain limited powers, but in the 21st Century, the president also controls a huge machinery of government. It’s almost impossible to come up with an exhaustive list of all the things presidents exercise authority over, but we’ve started such a list. We’ll be doing a series, with each post describing one or more categories where presidents are heavily involved. Please take a look at the series, and you will see the difference between having a Republican and a Democrat in the White House, and why the 2016 elections are therefore so crucial:

Chuck Todd and colleagues enabled Boehner

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

John Boehner at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference

After announcing his resignation from Congress, Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner told John Dickerson of CBS“Face the Nation” that we should “beware of false prophets” from the Republican Party who promise things that they know can’t happen in our current government, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. Most people think that Boehner was referring to Republican U.S. Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz, among others. However, the corporate mainstream media are giving John Boehner a pass by portraying Boehner as the adult in the room who was unable to manage an unruly Republican right wing, when in fact Boehner was part of the GOP’s anti-government anarchy. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said upon hearing the news of Boehner’s resignation, the Republican Party is “a political party at war with its own government.”

Pope Francis vs. the Republicans

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

“The Catholic Church is now more progressive on both science and social issues than the GOP.” That’s the message coming from the humorous meme site, accompanied by a photo of an astronaut on a spacewalk. Once again, the humorists have it right. The visit of Pope Francis to the United States is most noteworthy in the contrast between the Pope’s hopeful, humanistic message and the negative reaction from many in the Republican party.

Speaking before a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis said some things that appeared to go against current Republican dogma:

Bypass the corporate mainstream media

Dick Cheney, CNN's go-to right wing apologist

Dick Cheney, CNN’s go-to right wing apologist

In 2015, the traditional news media — what we call the Corporate Mainstream Media — have continued to move to the right, in some cases sharply so. These television and newspaper media outlets are no longer reliable conveyors of facts that Americans need to make decisions at the voting booth and elsewhere. We should ditch these corporate mainstream media. Instead, we need to become our own news aggregators.

Here are some of the many examples of the mainstream news media’s rightward drift:

Republicans pummeled by two hurricanes

President George W. Bush's "Brownie" moment, Sept. 2, 2005

President George W. Bush’s “Brownie” moment, Sept. 2, 2005

The anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina (landfall in Louisiana August 29, 2005) and Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy (landfall in New Jersey August 29, 2012) represent a perfect storm that continues to damage the Republican Party. Katrina showed President George W. Bush‘s detachment, and the criminally negligent incompetence behind his administration’s hands-off conservative Republican governing philosophy (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”) Sandy is said to have helped President Barack Obama win and the Democrats do well in the 2012 elections, but that’s only true if one rejects the Republicans’ “government is bad” frame and accepts the Democrats’ “good government” philosophy. Apparently, many Americans have done just that.

Trump the builder, Trump the destroyer

Time magazine's latest Donald Trump cover

Time magazine’s latest Donald Trump cover

It seems like there are two Donald Trumps. New Yorkers came to know Trump beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Trump took on massive building projects, as well as massive city and state bureaucracies, and usually succeeded. This includes building the Trump Tower; renovating the old Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central Station and turning it into the black-glassed Grand Hyatt; and rebuilding the Wollman ice skating rink in Central Park after New York City officials failed for years to accomplish the task. Trump also navigated strict New Jersey licensing requirements to build casinos in Atlantic City. Moreover, long before Donald Trump became a politician, in taking on all the challenges of these building projects, Trump loved to criticize politicians.

Iowa Fair

Trump copter

Trump helicopter

One advantage of America’s long presidential campaign is that, eventually, each candidate’s character, intelligence and fitness to be president (or lack thereof) emerges. That process is currently on display at the Iowa State Fair. Thanks to C-SPAN, we can see and hear the candidates in Iowa, in long form.

Donald Trump showed up in his TRUMP-badged helicopter. No stranger to branding, Trump spoke with his helicopter in the background, a symbol of power and status similar to a president standing in front of Air Force One. In a bright red hat with his slogan “Make America Great Again,” Trump aggressively addressed or swatted away reporters’ questions, attacking his rivals, especially John Ellis Bush, in the process. Then Trump handed out helicopter rides to local kids and their moms, posing for selfies. Trump may know more about what the American people want than anybody in this presidential race.

Donald Trump falls to Earth in GOP debate

Donald Trump, focus of first GOP debate

Donald Trump, focus of first GOP debate

Most of the chatter before last night’s Republican Party presidential primary debate in Cleveland, Ohio was about Donald Trump: What would Trump say? How would Trump do? How would the other candidates react to Trump? It turned out, though, that Donald Trump was attacked more by the Fox News debate moderators than by his competitors.

Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his characterization of some women as “fat pigs,” “dogs,” “slobs” and “disgusting animals.” Kelly even invoked the Democratic phrase “War On Women,” something Republicans try not to mention since it puts them on the defensive. Trump replied that these labels were reserved for Rosie O’Donnell, although Kelly pointed out that they go well beyond O’Donnell. Trump was also asked about his companies’ four bankruptcies, and his answer, like many of his other answers, revealed a blunt, brutal honesty that, while maybe great for a corporate CEO, comes off as unseemly for a politician. Trump said that he had taken advantage of laws in place, and that “everybody else” in his position has done the same thing.

Huckabee and Christie help Trump tear down the GOP

 Donald Trump, GOP destroyer

Donald Trump, GOP destroyer

First it was Donald Trump destroying the Republican Party brand by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists,” denigrating John McCain‘s military service and callingĀ  a female professional who had to pump breast milk for her baby “disgusting.” But as Trump has surged in GOP polls and sucked all the air out of the room, other Republican presidential candidates have had to scramble for attention. Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham pulled stunts involving chain saws, fire and baseball bats. But Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie apparently have decided the best way to compete with Trump is to out-Trump Trump in making outrageous statements.

CNN blows it again on Obama Kenya trip

Kenyan ambassador Amina Mohamed, July 24, 2015

Kenyan ambassador Amina Mohamed, July 24, 2015

Fresh off its “dildo flag” fiasco, CNN once again has lost its journalistic marbles. Once again, the subject is terrorism, and once again CNN has made a wild, unfounded claim on air, this time regarding President Barack Obama‘s trip to Kenya. And once again, CNN’s terrorism frenzy involves anchor Suzanne (pronounced SuzONNE) Malveaux.

This time, as President Obama was embarking on his historical trip to Kenya, CNN went with hysterical rather than historical, calling Kenya “a hotbed of terror.” CNN even had former Obama Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow on to state:

People have been anticipating this trip since the day that he [Obama] was first elected. So the people that want to hurt the president, you know, have been planning for the last seven years for this trip.