Category Archives: Media

The Presidency and the Bully Pulpit

Public Opinion -- April 22, 1874

Public Opinion — April 22, 1874 (Photo credit: Cornell University Library)

Bully pulpit, a term first coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, refers to a political office, specifically the White House, as a powerful platform from which to advocate a political agenda. In other words, the President of the United States is in the position to use his office to rally public support or sway public. Currently, Pres. Barack Obama has been using the bully pulpit in an attempt to educate the American people concerning public policy .

The framers of the U.S. Constitution never intended the president to have the power to influence public opinion in the way advancements in communication technology now allows. However, the framers never intended for women to vote or for for the United States to declare itself the worlds policemen. Nevertheless, here we are. Do you believe it is appropriate for the modern president to leapfrog the Congress and talk directly to the American people in order to influence public opinion on public policy?

–TERRANCE MULLINS

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The Irrelevancy of Facts

English: Barack Obama at the Fort Worth Conven...

English: Barack Obama at the Fort Worth Convention Center during his presidential campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Dave Delay)

In politics, a campaign strategy is a strategy to communicate a candidate’s platform in order to win an elected position. In a perfect world, candidates running for public office would merely explain to the electorate why they, the candidate, deserve their votes. The campaign strategy would simply be on the merits and the electorate would be well informed on the issues thanks, in part, to an objective and competent news media.

However, it is not a perfect world and the electorate is not well informed. As such, political campaigns heavily rely on the spinning of facts and the spreading of misinformation to win elections. Negative ads and spin doctors (i.e. campaign surrogates) now make up the core of the successful political campaign. Facts are now increasingly irrelevant to both the political campaign as well as the news media.

The result is a campaign agenda to depict Pres. Barrack Obama as a secret Muslim communist-socialist-fascist who not only hates America, but has secret plan to destroy her. Equally, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is portrayed as a heartless non-Christian über capitalist who not only hates workers, but has Machiavellian plans to destroy the American middle-class.

Whom do you blame for the seemingly irrelevancy of facts that has saturated political campaign strategy?

–TERRANCE MULLINS

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Condescent of a Woman

Samantha Bee confirms that women dislike it when people argue on television and suggests measures to make the debates more palatable to female voters.

The Colbert Report Mitt Romney’s Debate Rhetoric & Body Language

Mitt Romney distances himself from everything he said on the campaign trail, but his confident facial expressions are what really mattered.

Let the “Battle” Begin–The Targeting of States and Voters in 2012

BATTLEGROUND STATES 08

BATTLEGROUND STATES 08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The direction of the 2012 presidential election will become increasingly apparent in the days and weeks to come as the candidates and their supporters target important battleground states.  Battleground states are states that are considered to be contestable in the upcoming election; in other words, the state is worth visiting and investing substantial resources in.  Non-battleground states are states that candidates do not expect to win, making them less likely to receive much attention from candidate or their surrogates.  The identification of battleground and non-battleground states begins just as the election results of the previous presidential election are being tallied.  Campaign managers, political scientists, journalists, and others have been studying campaign maps for decades; especially Electoral College maps for presidential elections going back to the 1960s.

Battleground states are more likely than not to be states that have a history of voting democratic or republican.  Battleground states can also be determined by the margins of victory by various statewide elected officials (governors, etc.) in recent elections.  For example, if republican candidates have won recent elections in a state by what are considered wide margins the state is not likely to be considered a battleground state by the democratic party (they will basically write it off).  Once the battleground states are identified the process shifts toward identifying swing voters in battleground states that can make all the difference in a close election.  Hispanics, women, younger voters are likely voting blocks that will be targeted by candidates in the 2012 election.  What do you think about candidates for the Presidency targeting some states and ignoring others?  Should all fifty states receive their fair share of attention?  Is this even possible given the costs associated with national elections?

–DENNIS FALCON

Politicos are Running or Ruining the Show

Politicos are the political animals that both eat and serve up the real red meat of politics.  They are the insiders inside “The Beltway,” they are the government and party faithful that play the game of politics day-in and day-out, 365 days out of the year.  Many textbooks use the term primarily in reference to theories of representation (i.e., “trustees” are legislators who act in what they believe are the best interests of their constituents while “delegates” are those who act in accordance with their constituents’ expressed wishes).  In this usage politicos are the wheelers and dealers in and out of government who best epitomize the expression that “politics is the art of the possible.”  Details related to right and wrong, and questions related to what is in the best interest of the nation, are not central considerations to the politico.  It’s not what they do.

A politicomay not be a type of person, maybe its best described as a trait that all political actors possess to some degree or another.  Maybe it’s the part that prompts an elected official to be coy when answering—or not answering a question posed by a reporter.  Maybe it’s the purposeful pivot that a

Capital Beltway

Capital Beltway (Photo credit: JohnRiv)

Congressperson makes when debating an opponent and the need to change the subject arises to avoid an embarrassing moment.  In any event, ‘tis the season of the politico; when every statement, every speech, every step, every stop, every chance to score a point against the opponent is seized like the last piece of meat on the platter.  For the rest of us it would be smart to remember another well-known expression: never get between a dog and its bone.  What do you think about the current political climate of the nation?  Do you believe the people in charge of the action are presenting us with the amount and kind of information people need to make good choices?

–DENNIS FALCON

Get Ready for Several Weeks of Useless Analysis

Inside CNN

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to render its ruling on the constitutionality of Obama Care. However, the media coverage of the ruling and the resulting political fallout will be the same. Regardless of the ruling, both republicans and democrats will try to spin the Supreme Court’s ruling in a way that benefits their side. Meanwhile, the news media will overflow with coverage concerning the political impact of the ruling, but will ultimately fail to explain the ruling divorced from the typical horse-race coverage.  Horse race refers to the news media’s focus on which candidate is up or down in the latest public opinion polls. My prediction is that the news media, regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obama Care, will bombard its audience with poll numbers for the next several days along with a bloviated analysis of said poll numbers with a pretentious and misguided sense of accomplishment for delivering what they consider to be the news. Get ready for several weeks of useless analysis and blatant political spin.

–TERRANCE MULLINS