Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Ok, I don’t know where to go with that"

"Ok, I don’t know where to go with that."

Assuming you've seen the Sprint "Framily" commercials you recognize that line, spoken by the father (alright, he is a hamster living in a plastic ball) in response to his rather dim witted son Chuck's comment at the dinner table with "Grandpa." Here is a link to the commercial in case you somehow missed it ---> Dinner with Grandpa

Dad's frustrated punch line in the commercial, "Ok, I don’t know where to go with that," mirrors my frustration with the inexplicable behavior of our virtually absent Commander in Chief, who appears to be nearly totally uninterested in world events in Gaza, the Ukraine or Libya, the border crisis here in the United States or even his own plummeting poll numbers.  He seems to be blissfully ignoring them all.

Surely President Obama is not as dim witted as Chuck in the above mentioned commercial.  So what is he doing?  It's a great mystery to nearly everyone.

Frustration among Democrats is starting to boil over as President Obama faces criticism from many members of his own party in Congress who simply don't understand why he is so unengaged, detached or oblivious to events swirling around him.

He demonizes Republicans at every chance (mostly at fundraisers), but never attempts to actually engage them. He claims to have a "pen and a telephone" but the telephone is never used.  He never calls John Boehner or Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan in an attempt to broker a deal, reach a compromise and reduce tension.  He quite literally has no friends or allies in Congress or anywhere on the world stage.

The entire nation, indeed the entire world, simply "doesn't know where to go with that."  No one alive today has ever seen the President of the United States simply abdicate his role in world affairs.

Yesterday, spokesmen from the White House suddenly gave credence to the wildly speculative talk of possible Impeachment.  I simply must say, "Ok, I don’t know where to go with that."  It's almost as if they wish Republicans would engage in that behavior as it might actually raise the President's approval rating much as it did for President Clinton. Perhaps they believe talk of impeachment would help turn out Democrats in the fall elections.

However, curiously, two polls about his possible impeachment were released yesterday.  It's laughable to read CNN's downplaying the fact that their own poll indicated an astonishing 35% of Americans favor impeachment.  That number is huge and more than a little scary.

The media downplayed a Fox News Poll, also released yesterday, that showed a nearly identical 36% favor impeachment.

I don't believe that impeachment is even a remote possibility today. House Speaker John Boehner says it's "off the table."

But.... If Barack Obama continues his absentee role as President and his approval rating continue to fall.... and more Democrats continue to criticize him... well, "Ok, I don’t know where to go with that."


Perhaps because I spent a good part of my career in Advertising I really appreciate the genius of the new Sprint "Framily" commercials. They have become a cultural phenomena.  Virtually everyone I meet, both friends and random acquaintances seem to know virtually every line from every commercial in the series.  It is a client's dream and I'm sure Sprint loves that this series of commercials has gone viral.

The voice of Dad, also known as Tom Frobinson (the hamster), is voiced by Andrew Dice Clay.  The part of Mom, or "Tacos" Mollie Frobinson in the commercials is played by brilliant Judy Greer  The son "You can also text" Chuck is played by Kyle Mooney. And the part of "It's pronounced Gor-don" is played  fantastically by Justin Michael.

The series of commercials, referred to in the industry as "The Frobinsons" was created by Figliulo & Partners and is their first campaign for Sprint.  The campaign was created in partnership with DigitasLBi and MediaVest and designed to promote a rather unique cellular telephone plan now called the Sprint Framily Plan.  Under Sprint's concept you get to decide exactly who you consider to be members of your "Framily." It can be actual family, friends, acquaintances, roommates or even hamsters.  The more members of your "Framily" the lower the bill for each member.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job,"

"Brownieyou're doing a heck of a job," is probably the most famous quote by any President in our lifetime.  President Bush's praise of FEMA Director Michael Brown during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 illustrated to ALL the American public exactly how out of touch the President was concerning the unfolding disaster in New Orleans.  The public was watching the disaster unfold, live, on television.  President Bush, briefed badly by incompetent advisers simply had no idea what was happening.

Bush rallied and by all impartial accounts did a masterful job in directing the efforts in the aftermath of Katrina, making over a dozen grueling trips and personally overseeing every aspect of the recovery*, but he is always remembered for that one quote.

Because we are now so used to President Obama lying about absolutely everthing, his stating that he's “not interested in photo ops" in defending his decision to not visit the border even one time will never receive the legendary status of the Bush "Brownie" quote.  Never-the-less it does illustrate exactly how horribly out of touch he is concerning the current border immigration crisis.

Fortunately ABC NEWS is covering the situation in depth.  Their report Here's What Obama Would See If He Visited the Border is frightening.  Be certain to read and watch the entire story at the link above. Below is a tiny portion of the report.

Children, wrapped only in Red Cross blankets, sleep on cement floors. Hundreds of young children apprehended at the border are crowded into sanitary but impersonal detention cells, their faces pressed listlessly against the glass.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told ABC News that the president risks looking “detached,” calling the optics “horrible.”
“If you go down to the border, he has to see the kids that I’ve seen, young girls, young boys, you know, that have come through very difficult situations. It is a humanitarian crisis, and he can either do two things,” Cuellar said. “One, as a leader, he can be defiant and say I’m going to roll up my sleeves and see the humanitarian crisis. Or he can look detached, appear detached and say I’m doing everything long distance.”
Today it is certainly Barack Obama who is out of touch.  And, unlike President Bush during Katrina, Obama isn't doing a damned thing to alleviate the situation,  Instead he demonizes Republicans.  He makes speeches calling Republican's evil.  He doesn't even try to win over popular public support. He seems more interested in making enemies than allies. He has yet to appeal to the American Public, who would, most assuredly, rally to the cause.

Today it is Glenn Beck of all people who is doing the right thing for all the right reasons.  It is Beck who is illuminating the crisis and it is Beck who is appealing directly to the American People for support, tolerance and understanding.  

The President ought to ask Glenn Beck for a ride and join him on the border.  The President ought to appeal to the public for donation, support and a willingness to take in refugees in their local communities.  The President ought to pretend, for just a few hours to be a leader.  Frankly, Obama needs a photo-op.


* See and read how President Bush handled the aftermath of the Katrina Crisis in Jonathan Tilove's New Orleans Times-Picayune article written in October 2009

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Nation Cries out for a Leader

For five and one half years we've had, as President, a man who loves the trappings of the office, but dislikes and avoids any of the real responsibilities of the job.  Barack Obama is a gifted orator, perhaps the greatest to even hold the office of President. He is a visionary and a man who, at least at one time, had a real feel for the pulse of the people.

He has vision, but lacks virtually any ability.  He is not a leader and he is not, most certainly, a politician.  He cannot negotiate and is completely unwilling to compromise.  He rails daily against Republicans for not bending to his will, but never works with them to achieve a mutual advantage.  Mutual being the operative word.

Slowly, but surely, the press and the public have turned against him. Today most people (a surprisingly large majority) wish they had elected Mitt Romney president. Add me to that column, because today we really need a President. And we don't have one.

Because he has no ability to manage the office, Barack Obama has checked out. Republican's claim Obama has chosen to become an "Imperial President," acting on his own as if he were a king.  Even that is not true, he simply has embarked on a two and a half year retirement tour doing the only thing he knows how to do, give speeches to dwindling and increasingly hostile crowds.

Have we ever had a President have complete breakdown in office?  Rumor has it that Woodrow Wilson did.  Wilson's wife managed much of the last years of his Presidency.

Today the border and immigration problem has reached crisis proportions.  The administration is furtively hiding tens of thousands of illegal immigrants all over the country, many of them children.  Even Congressmen and Governors are being kept on the dark, not allowed to visit immigrants or encampments or even allowed to know the locations where illegal immigrants are held. Rumors are rampant.

Rich Lowrey (yes, I know he is a partisan Republican) has written a brilliant essay in The New York Post, The President's Man Caused Disaster. Below are some key points, rearranged and abbreviated by me. Be certain you follow the link above and read his original and complete essay.

The first rule in a crisis for any executive is put on his windbreaker and boots and get out on the ground. President George W. Bush didn’t do it soon enough after Hurricane Katrina and, politically, could never make up for it.
Obama’s bizarre resistance to visiting the border on his fundraising swing out West fueled talk of the influx as Obama’s “Katrina moment.”
The president didn’t have any depressing visits to frightened ranchers, overwhelmed border agents or desperate migrants on his itinerary.
Obama’s policies are responsible for the influx of immigrants from the border. It is, in the argot of his administration, a “man-caused disaster.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of immigrants younger than 18 who were deported or turned away from ports of entry declined from 8,143 in 2008 to 1,669 last year. There were 95 minors deported from the entire interior of the country last year.
At the same time, the number of unaccompanied alien children arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras exploded from less than 4,000 several years ago to 40,000 since last October.
The White House brushes off criticism that Obama is avoiding the border as mere “optics,” in contrast to its highly substantive focus.
But it’s still not taking the crisis seriously. In a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett downgraded the erstwhile “humanitarian crisis” on the border (the president’s words) to an “urgent humanitarian situation.”
When pressed on the shift in verbiage, ever-judicious White House press secretary Josh Earnest explained that it is both a crisis and a situation. Yes, it’s that bad.
The real question is can President Obama "Man Up" and accept the responsibilities of President?  We really need a leader.  Actually we really need several leaders.

In 1974 it was a trio of Republicans in Congress who grew to accept the challenge and face down another "Imperial President," Richard Nixon.  It would have been impossible for a Democrat, a member of the opposition, to carry the hard facts to President Nixon.  If the crisis in leadership in 1974 was to be solved, it had to be done by members of the President's own party.

It was Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, House Minority Leader John J. Rhodes and Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who had both the integrity and courage to face President Nixon with the news that he must resign for the good of the country.

It is quite interesting that just a few days ago Barack Obama named Richard Nixon as one of the Republicans he most admires [LINK: Obama's speech in Austin Texas]

Let's hope President Obama does not have to resign. Let's hope he can become the President our country so desperately needs.