Gaffes, Games and Gambles

Welcome back...
I hope you've been enjoying the summer as much as I have.
On CFRA with host Marc

I've been spending time occasionally doing interviews - as with this one (left) on CFRA with host Marc Sutcliffe discussing my last blog. Lots of fun!
Although Laura and I haven't taken much time off yet, nevertheless the rhythms of summer have taken hold and we're going with them...a little golf...swimming twice a day, catching up on my reading.

Speaking of summer books, I was pleasantly surprised by 'Calico Joe' by John Grisham and am thoroughly enjoying 'In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and the American Family in Hitler's Berlin' by Erik Larson '. Both are fabulous reads on a lazy day. When I get even too lazy to read, I'm going to my audio books next.....
Gaffes and the Games
No doubt like hundreds of millions of others, you've been glued to the Olympics. Or were you like Mitt Romney who arrived in London only to insult his hosts and underscore the fact that he had no intention of watching his wife's horse in the dressage competition?
Romney 'walks it back' at No. 10
Let's hone in for a moment on the 'insult your hosts' issue. It is true that it was the mildest of criticisms, but as the guy who headed up the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Mr. Romney had to know that a country's pride in the Olympics transcends the facts on the ground. Sure, there were mess-ups over hiring security guards and threatened immigration agent strikes...but it took a bit of a tin ear for Romney to bring it up.
A little advice for Romney here might be in order. Think, "I'm over at someone's house for dinner - and there are tabloid reporters attending. I'll be totally positive and upbeat about the entire dinner - no matter what!" You can't go too far wrong. For Mitt's sake, hopefully he learned that lesson.
Are his Olymic errors permanently damaging? No, I don't believe so. It's more of a missed opportunity. His foreign trip was a chance for Romney to show his international credibility and comfort. Yet all the coverage was on his 'gaffes' - even following him to Israel where he proceeded to dub Jerusalem the 'capital'. The rule is, "don't break into jail". Just when Mitt needed to turn the channel away from his Bain-and-tax return' issues, he turned to a channel that really threw him onto the defensive.

Romney and the media in Warsaw
UPDATE: 07/31/2012 Much hand-wringing by critics and politicos over Romney's stop in Poland. his traveling press secretary Rick Gorka told a reporter who screamed out a question at Romney as he left the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and as he was getting into his car, Gorka was heard to say "kiss my a**. This is a holy site for the people of Poland. Show some respect." He then told Politico's Jonathan Martin to "shove it." Apparently, he later called two reporters and apologized to them, referring to his comments as "inappropriate".
ANALYSIS: Yes, they were no doubt inappropriate, and they served to lead the newscasts (of course) as the Romney team flew back to Boston. This is not good, in and of itself. However, there's another side to this and that is, it broke through the wall of overly tight control of the media and it showed some passion in the Romney camp. For every one person who would say (as with Casablanca's Captain Renault) "shocked..shocked!" at such language, there's at least one more who would say, "good for you!" Whether you agree with that or not, it probably served to energize Romney's base and get the campaign off its heels for the fight to come.
Take a look at it and see what you think: Romney's press aide tells reporter to "kiss my a**"

Gambling on a Campaign Strategy
The Obama and Romney campaigns are gambling during this pre-Convention period - trying to define their opponents and grab hold of the voters. Are their gambles working?
Obama's version of the 'swift boat'
strategy. Is it working?
Obama Gambles on a 'Swift Boat' Attack Strategy
One thing that has become clear, is that the Obama campaign has decided to 'swift boat' Romney (as the George W. Bush re-election campaign did to Democrat nominee John Kerry in 2004 to great effect) before the fall campaign begins.
During that campaign, Kerry tried to ignore it, but he failed to shake the (mostly false) 'swift boat' attacks. When he finally decided to fight back, it was too late - the damage was done. The Obama campaign is pounding away in both earned and paid media on his Bain Capital record - yes, distortions and exaggerations for sure - but it seems to be working. When they get tired of that Obama's team throw in Romney's refusal to release more than one year of his tax records - getting a lot of mileage out of the 'what has he got to hide' line of attack.
Romney Takes a Gamble on his 'Tax-and-Bain' issue
Romney should realize two things about this issue. 1) The voters already know he's super rich and pays about 15% on his taxes - complete with money socked away in tax havens. So, he's already taken the hit on that. Releasing the second year's tax statements will take it off the table. 2) He needs to push back on the Bain stuff without bogging down in it.  However, pushing back doesn't mean bogging down in it. Each time he does so, he has to hit Obama on the economy and what he would do differently. He hasn't found the right strategy to deal with the 'swift boat' strategy so far - but he's running out of time.
Ultimately, Who speaks for those who are hurting, angry and afraid?
Those votes  - and those who care about them - are up for grabs. Whoever takes hold of those millions of votes in a compelling way will win the election. Right now, neither Romney nor Obama can grab it and run with it. So.....attack ads are their default positions.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark Takes a Gamble
Premiers Clark and Redford
Face Off
It's demonstrably clear that B.C. Premier Christy Clark's demands for a 'fair share' of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline are driven strongly by her third place showing in the polls going into next May's election. Alberta Premier Alison Redford has emerged as a strong and confident leader on the national stage. She's taken a strong stand - dismissing the whole idea as a non-starter and telling her to talk to Enbridge if B.C. wants a bigger share of royalties. Premier Redford is gambling that Alberta voters will support her toughness regardless of the outcome of the B.C. election. She'll be proven right on that. However, there is little doubt that Premier Clark will gain some traction with the disaffected Liberals who have fled to the new Conservative party under leader John Cummins. So it's not much of a gamble after all - it's just shrewd politics.
Quebec Gambles on a Summer Election
Premier Charest's Election Gamble
Premier Jean Charest will pull the plug on his government in a day or two - gambling on a summer election. He has emerged much more strongly from the ongoing student strike, with the majority of the Quebec public gradually siding with his government.

This has thrown the Parti Quebecois and their leader Pauline Marois onto the defensive.

Will Pauline Marois' Gaffe Hurt?
Madame Marois's gaffe was to join the strikers and the Charest team quickly jumped on a video showing her banging together some casserole lids while marching with the students. That Liberal ad campaign seems to have paid off in the short term, but can the Liberals keep the momentum going?

This move by Charest is a classic 'calculated gamble' in which the upcoming September resumption of the Inquiry into corruption in the construction industry will hurt his government. So it's go now or get driven down in the Fall. It's all or nothing at this point for Charest. But he figures he has very little to lose.

Until next time....I hope all your gambles pay off! I'll see you back in September. Stay safe, relaxed and cool!

No comments:

Post a Comment