“Texts from Hillary” vs “Songs from ?uestlove”

Perhaps you’ve heard of this meme, “Texts from Hillary.” Yesterday, news spread like crazy that not only did Hillary Clinton know about the site and like it, she contributed to it. Just Google that; stories like this one from today’s Morning Edition on NPR, are everywhere.

This was a brilliant piece of image development work by Clinton’s staff. Brilliant. This shows how much good will and buzz can be had from having some fun with what otherwise could be seen as embarrassing or unwanted uses of your image. Clinton saw the humor in this and rather than hiding from it she decided to not only embrace it, but participate in it.

I was immediately reminded of how Michele Bachmann dealt with the situation she found herself in back in November when she was still in the race and made an appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” As usual with guests on a late-night show, Fallon’s band, The Roots, led by a dude named ?uestlove, played music as Bachmann walked out on stage. The song they played for her was Fishbone’s “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.” You can read the details in this Hollywood Reporter story.

This ambush gave Bachmann and her campaign a glorious opportunity to develop her image and to humanize her a little bit

Instead, Bachmann dealt with it by going on news-type shows and whining about how she was “a serious candidate for President of the United States” and how she was insulted and America should be insulted that she was treated the way she was. She came off looking like a completely humorless cyborg. It was ridiculous, and it’s probably not a huge surprise that her campaign didn’t last much longer after that incident.

For what it’s worth, had I been working with Bachmann, I would have told her to deal with that situation by going back on Fallon as soon as possible (she was a presidential candidate; the producers would’ve bumped somebody to get her back on the next night after the story broke). I would have told her her walk out on stage, tell ?uestlove from Fallon’s band that she appreciated the gesture and she had a song for him, too, and then have the show’s producers play Denis Leary’s “You’re an Asshole.”

She’d have never in a million years done that. But can you imagine how much different that story would’ve been if she had?

Did that situation kill her campaign? No; she was trailing badly in the polls by that point, and she probably wasn’t going to recover. At the time that show aired, she was polling around 15 percent. But, by completely mishandling her response to what happened, she missed an enormous opportunity to grab that by the throat and do something that would have developed far more buzz for her — and for her campaign. Who knows what might have happened.

Finally, I do want to clarify one thing — Bachmann being angry about the way she was treated was *not* wrong. Regardless of what you think of her or her politics, for her to agree to go on Fallon’s show and then be ambushed by ?uestlove was wrong. It was a childish prank by the band, and it probably did long-term damage to the show’s ability to attract other guests similar to Bachmann in the future without a lot of headaches for the producers. But I think her anger could’ve been put to work for her (and for her campaign) in a far more productive fashion than to go on political talk shows and complain that ?uestlove was mean to her.

She missed an opportunity to do what Hillary Clinton has done with “Texts from Hillary.” She missed an opportunity to spin a situation and take control of the message.


“We have chosen hope over fear.”

Remember that? Fast forward to Feb. 4…

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”
— President Obama, Feb. 4.

WASHINGTON — Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

read on

Obamania is fight!

Just in case anybody was afraid Obamania hadn’t gone far enough yet, in step the Japanese to ensure that the limits of silliness have yet to be reached.

Obama – swordsman and gunfighter. Seriously, this comes with a lightsaber.

Is it sad that I’d probably want one of these if I saw it? Of course not.

Obamania is for fight.

Timing the posting of Executive Orders…

whitehouse.gov, on Jan. 21

President Obama issued several executive orders earlier today laying out new ethics guidelines for the members of his administration (you can read CNN.com’s pathetic coverage of the announcement – all two sentences of it; MSNBC has slightly better story). I heard the President announcing the orders on Minnesota Public Radio as I was driving home for lunch at around 12:30 p.m.; three and a half hours later, the text of the executive orders has yet to be posted to the appropriate section of whitehouse.gov.

I’m curious to see what the lag time will be between announcement and posts to the White House site. As immediate as the transition was from whitehouse.gov v.Bush to v.Obama on Tuesday, and as on top of the Web as Obama’s team has been since the start of the campaign, I expected the delay to be shorter. I’ll be watching tonight to see what time those documents hit the White House site.

EDIT 7:14 p.m. Central – they’re posted.
Presidential Records
Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel