Wow! What a year! I spent much of the last ten months on the campaign trail. Here are some random thoughts on the latest developments:
The “What Was He Thinking Award” goes to President-elect Barack Obama. The joke about Nancy Reagan and “séances” bombed at his first post-election press conference. He called Mrs. Reagan to apologize, as well he should have. Besides, it was Hillary Clinton who had the “mock” séances. Nancy Reagan was the one who consulted an astrologer about her husband’s schedule. Sen. Obama needs to get his facts straight first, before making insensitive jokes.
The “Media Bias” Award goes to a local radio commentator who made excuses for Obama by suggesting it was a case of “making some comments when he thought the microphones were off.” Baloney! It was right during the news conference when he was “belly up” to the microphones. Our job is to report the news, not to make excuses and cover up for our favorite candidates.
The “I Fought the Law and the Law Won” Award goes to former California Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones. “Robo Calls,” those annoying pre-recorded candidate calls are illegal in California. So, when my phone rang the other day and I heard, “Hi! This is former Secretary of State Bill Jones, urging you to vote Republican on Election Day,” I nearly fell over. Jones ought to know better, since the Secretary of State’s office is the one that runs California elections, including ensuring that campaigns abide by all election laws. Politicians most often lose their jobs in this country when they sidestep the rule of law. “Do as I say, not as I do,” is not a formula for leadership.
I keep seeing emails, Facebook posts and other missives blaming Republicans, religious groups and the like for the loss on Proposition 8, the Gay Marriage Ban in California. The reality is that a significant number of Barack Obama supporters, both Democrats and Independents, voted "Yes" on Prop 8. The numbers bear this out. Obama beat McCain by 24 percentage points; but, at last glance, Prop 8 was winning by just 5 percentage points. If you blame only the McCain voters, there weren’t nearly enough to pass Prop 8. Democrats and the “No on Prop 8” advocates need to do a lot of soul searching on this, instead of blaming the other side. It is quite plausible that 1.6 million Obama supporters voted "Yes" on Prop 8.
Speaking of Prop 8, I wonder how many people skipped voting in California on Tuesday, when it became clear that Obama would win in a landslide. The East Coast voting projections can suppress West Coast voting. By 6 p.m. Pacific Time, Obama supporters had little incentive to wait in line to vote. A study I saw said 70 percent of Obama supporters were against Prop 8. Were those who stayed home the margin of defeat? I would really like to see a national uniform polling time, not so much for this issue, but to mitigate the effect of media projections from other time zones.
My media consulting firm scored its first political victory. Believe it or not, I had never helped manage a campaign before, mostly because - as a working journalist - that would have been unethical. But these days I am a political analyst and consultant. I helped with the media planning and strategy for Stewart Gary, a candidate for the Livermore School Board in California. Gary, who is a retired Fire Chief, was a great candidate to promote. He took first place, defeating two incumbents. www.stugaryforlivermoreschools.com.
Sunday morning I will be on “live” with Brian Copeland on KGO-Radio 810 AM in San Francisco. You can listen nationwide at www.kgoradio.com. You can even phone in your questions at 1-800-808-0810, no matter where you live.
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