It's been a crazy week of highs and lows in the worlds of politics and media, with a few lessons to keep in mind for all of us.
|Laura and Barry "standing on guard for thee"|
Four years ago, Laura and I had a blast doing the VIP welcome at the Inaugural Balls. Check out this earlier post. For this second inauguration, alas, Laura and I turned down an invitation to volunteer at the White House Ball on Tuesday night due to business commitments, but our son Brendan was a volunteer at the Official Ball on Monday night at the Washington Convention Center. It was a great opportunity for him to learn how a large enterprise comes together, involving all the complexities of holding an event with 35,000 people celebrating.
Lesson # 2 Better to make it real, rather than a 'perfect' imitation
A lot of social media coverage focused on Beyoncé's lip-synching of the National Anthem. Given the frigid air, I can't say that I could particularly blame her. Nevertheless, in the Twitter-verse world of today, the result was a distraction from the coverage of the ceremony.To be honest, if the President had lip-synched the speech, I don't think the crowd would have noticed, at the time.
Lesson # 3 If you can't be a symbol of unity, then fire up your base
|A more passionate 2nd Inaugural Speech|
Lesson # 4 Bipartisanship is a lot more useful than pure partisanship
|Speaker Gingrich and his wife Calista|
Between the two events, we had some great chats with Ambassador Gary Doer (NDP); former Senator and now Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Christopher Dodd (DEM); Speaker Newt Gingrich (GOP); North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp (DEM); former Canadian Ambassadors Frank McKenna (Liberal), Michael Wilson (Conservative); former Minister Jim Prentice (Conservative); former U.S Ambassadors to Canada (Gordon Giffin (DEM) and David Wilkins (GOP). It was a thrill to meet broadcasters Robert McNeil and Jim Lehrer, whose essential decency and professionalism still stand out today.
Lesson # 5 If you're going to apologize, do it earlier and really mean it
Lesson # 6 Momentum is more important than gender or sexual orientation in politics.
What will it mean for her election chances within the next year or so? She will have an extremely difficult balancing act to perform. Whenever a new leader replaces an incumbent leader, they almost always fail to pull it off. (Think John Turner after Pierre Trudeau; Kim Campbell after Brian Mulroney; Ernie Eves after Mike Harris; Paul Martin after Jean Chretien and on and on.) The key for her will be to re-brand the Party while maintaining its supporters. My instinct is that she has the potential to take votes from the NDP's Leader, Andrea Horvath, but not as many from the Tories under Tim Hudak. Pupatello had the voter universe on the centre-right side of the spectrum; however, she wasn't able to build momentum in the final days of the campaign.
Until next time.....