Archive | August 2012

Mitt Romney: Fawning PR Man?

 Separated at birth?

The London-based Economist pulls no political punches in its lead editorial this week with a question on many a mind: So Mitt, what do you really believe? Under the section labeled “Details, details,” the magazine lays out the political plague of Romney’s entire presidential run.

Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done.  Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected.

If Mitt Romney cannot effectively answer this question tonight, then consider him the loser in a two-man race for the American presidency.  His running mate, Paul Ryan, though appearing High-Def-wise a wee bit too young for commander in chief status, nevertheless did an excellent job in setting the table for Romney’s nomination acceptance speech on Thursday, August 30th.  Ryan and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, were quite riveting speakers; Dr. Rice, in particular was able to end her speech on a very emotional high:

A little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham, the most segregated big city in America, her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant, but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, she can be president of the United States and she becomes the secretary of state.

The Secretary of State and National Security Adviser under President George W. Bush has done a much better job of defining who she is in that one sentence of defining than Mitt Romney has in months of political campaigning.  He comes across as a man quite frustrated with having to reveal himself to the American electorate, as if only his business, Olympic or gubernatorial accomplishments could suffice.  They never do.  Americans want to know what makes a person tick.
Whatever you think of the politics of Condoleezza Rice, her personal story is an American story of triumph.
So what’s your story, Mr. Romney?  On Thursday, August 29th we will know if this man has any chance of becoming president.

Beyond the Baseline

This tennis column, “Beyond the Baseline,” gives an example of opinion-driven sports commentary.  The focus here is not on statistics at all but rather the personalities, trials, and triumphs of the players.  In this case, the writer is Courtney Nguyen and the column is described simply: “Courtney Nguyen brings you Beyond The Baseline —’s blog covering all things tennis. Tips, comments, concerns?  Email Courtney or find her on Twitter.”  In today’s opinion environment, you must utilize social media to have a conversation with your readers, or in this case, an opportunity to gather quotes and tips for new stories.

Neil Armstrong led with values, not just one step

David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle published an opinion piece titled “Values, not one step, made Neil Armstrong hero.”  This is a wonderful piece that compares and contrasts the definition of “true American hero.”  Your writing should reflect your values.  Be honest.  Write directly to your reader. What drew me in to bother reading Wiegand’s essay was the compelling title.  The cliche is “one step,” but what makes this different is the values lead.  It made me think, “Ah hah, I may learn something new about this very private man.”  I come away not only learning more about Neil Armstrong but also about David Wiegand:

Years later, I remembered that moment, and not just because of its incalculable historic importance to the whole world. In those few minutes, standing apart from the rest of my dorm mates and watching what was happening on TV, my youthful narcissism was nudged a bit on its axis. I didn’t know it then, but I’d begun to edge toward an adult’s understanding that the world was bigger than my insistent self-focus.

In all your work, share a personal account, as this one does, about where the writer Wiegand was at the time of Armstrong’s man on the moon moment in history.

Welcome to the Political High-Low Season

The official end of summer isn’t until the third week in September but the start of the hot political rhetoric begins today with the kick-off of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.  Of course, a tropical hurricane that may vote Democrat had something to say about this and so the real drama won’t begin until Tuesday, August 28th.

Weather persuasion?

My question for the start of the fall semester here at Cal State Fullerton is this: Do you plan to watch part of either political convention?  Any particular speaker you look forward to hearing?  Will it be possible for Republican nominee Mitt Romney to connect with voters to a much greater extent than he has throughout the entire nomination process?  It seems strange that Romney has to wait until this late in Election 2012 to work on his brand image, but he’s done a poor job overall of defining himself to the voter.  Whether or not you support Barack Obama, you would have to agree that the image of a sitting president is a fixed image and Romney’s image is a moving target.

With the amount of money, campaign ads and lofty promises swirling around politics these days, I cannot say that I’m either enthusiastic or optimistic about the whole process.  This I do know.  Count on the traditional and social media to set the agenda for high drama at the conventions.  Stories will be amplified and spun by the political consultants and political action committees to bring more eyeballs to the main attraction: political advertising.  Where is the “Just Us” in all of this?

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