Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for October 2013


  • Bimbo
  • October 1, 2013
  • by Spaeth Communications

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What a jam-packed month! We’ve got everything from contradictory statements made by the president to an eyebrow raising one made by the pope. And it doesn’t stop there. We have these additional BIMBOs: German Green Party co-leader Jurgen Trittin, NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, radio personality Dave Ramsey’s two former writers, IRS attorney for Lois Lerner, a University of Maryland director, Sen. John McCain, a supporter of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and an array of BIMBOS on Syrian chemical weapons. Secretary of State John Kerry also contributed an example of the “Wrong Thing to Say” worthy of a “Lifetime BIMBO” award.  We also hear from Newark Mayor Cory Booker who said something vague while his opponent, Republican Steve Lonegan took the opportunity to be annoyingly snide. Pollster Tom Jenson offers a good explanation but spoiled it with the wrong comment. Aleksandar Vudic, Serbia’s deputy prime minister, found the worst way to defend hiring Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and a British Airways passenger took complaining about bad service to a whole new level by utilizing Twitter ads. Finally, the lawyer comment of the month goes to Tom Newton Jr. who represents homeowners associations grabbing homes and selling them at foreclosure.

THE WINNER

 “I have never been a right-winger,” said Pope Francis in an interview that is now referred to as “The Interview that Shook the Catholic World.” (The Associated Press (AP) published a story on the interview based off a speech the pope made to Catholic gynecologists. The story made it seem as if the pope is softening traditional Catholic opposition to homosexuality and abortion. Although the analysis of the interview is lengthy, it is definitely worth reading. The AP reported what is probably a more nuanced and correct view of the pope’s intentions, namely someone who “believes the paradigms of the culture war are not helpful. His eschewing of the label ‘right-winger’ is an indication that he wants to transcend the political labeling that has harmed the pro-life cause and the larger project of evangelization.” Note the most sensational word “right-winger” and the BIMBO comment made it into the headline.)

National Review Online, “I Have Never Been a Right-Winger,” Sept. 22, 2013

 “We’re not all crazy rednecks,” said Sen. John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, in an ill-advised and obviously ill-prepared interview with Politico. Ms. McCain was ostensibly trying to “make clear that the party is home to many voices.” (She certainly could have accomplished this without labeling a sizeable portion of the GOP as crazy rednecks. In just a few paragraphs, she hurled a number of insults, adding that she had “Chris Christie fatigue.” What she should have said was that today’s Republican Party includes some very conservative—even doctrinaire—individuals and libertarians, like Sen. Rand Paul. She could have reached out to the remaining Reagan Democrats who dislike the specter of socialized medicine. Like we always say, you’re not prepared for an interview just because you know the subject matter, and you are also not prepared for one when you don’t know the subject matter. Once again, the sensational denial makes the headline.)

Washington Times, “Megan McCain: ‘We’re not all crazy rednecks,’” Sept. 9, 2013

“I’m not an idiot,” Anthony Weiner told Geraldo Rivera following his loss in the primary for New York City mayor. (This is another series of comments that are stunning in their lack of self-awareness. Weiner insists he tried to “run on the issues,” but was, alas, derailed by the inconsequential news last spring that he was continuing to exchange sexually explicit text messages with a young woman. Not once did he recognize that the issues were both the messages and the fact that he lied – repeatedly claiming that he had changed. Oh, and just to drive that point home, he later told Rivera, “Look, I won’t lie to you, a lot of people took runs at my wife that I think are entirely unfair.” The latter half of that sentence may be true. The first is a lie!)

Politico, “Anthony Weiner: ‘I’m not an idiot,’”  Sept. 20, 2013

“There are no legal and no tolerable forms of sex with children,” said German Green Party co-leader, Jurgen Trittin. The denial went one step further with the discovery that Mr. Trittin was the author of the party’s 1981 platform urging that sex between adults and children be legalized. (To be entirely fair, the 1980’s platform required that no threats or violence be involved. Trying to distance himself from this nauseating position, he called the platform a “mistake.” It certainly was. German voters punished Trittin, who refused to withdraw his candidacy. The party dropped from 25 percent in 2011 to 8.6 percent in the key state of Bavaria. Our prediction? The issue will make a comeback.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Painful Past Plagues German Greens,” Sept.19, 2013

“We’re not in jail, we’re not dead,” said racecar driver Clint Bowyer. The comment was made after a controversy about whether he purposely spun his car out during the Federated Auto Parts 400 in order to manipulate the results of the race, thus ultimately altering who could race in the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup. (The intricacies of who got what place and whether the team gave orders for another driver to take a pit stop probably won’t be sorted out, but it did cost Michael Waltrip Racing Holdings LLC a record $300,000 fine. Bowyer’s comment was clearly the wrong choice of words.  He added “hopefully, with any luck at all, there will be a liquor store open when we get out of here today.” Now, that’s a great image for NASCAR. All these remarks came during what the media described as stumbling through uncomfortable interviews. Again, get help! We can’t stress enough how important it is to practice your remarks and think about your audience. He should have said, “Racing is a split second, exciting sport. That’s why fans love it, and we love our fans. The only thing I can predict for certain is more exciting action in the future.”)

USA Today, “Bowyer insists spin not deliberate,” Sept. 10, 2013

“This was not an integrity or moral issue… This was not about money…. This was not about another opportunity,” wrote Jon and Jenny Acuff in their resignation from Dave Ramsey’s radio show. (The only problem with this missive, which was posted on Facebook, was they never explained why they were resigning. Money, integrity and other opportunities appear to cover the proverbial waterfront.)

 Facebook.com, Sept. 20, 2013

“There was no political agenda,” claimed attorney William Taylor III, who represents former IRS executive Lois Lerner. (Anyone who reads the emails released during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing would reach a different conclusion. Ms. Lerner’s emails contained things like “Tea Party matter very dangerous,” basically mandated that several layers of authorities and officials review Tea Party applications to find reasons other than political activity for denying applications. Mr. Taylor should have stuck to the truth which was she simply believed she was doing her job.)

The Wall Street Journal,  “Citizens’ Ruling Spurred Fears at IRS of Tea Party Challenge,” Sept. 13, 2013

“I didn't regard it as a political statement,” said William Dorland, a University of Maryland Honors College director, after sending an email to students ostensibly about an upcoming speech by Julian Bond. The email said the “Trayvon Martin shooting [is] evidence it is legal to hunt down and kill American children in Florida.” (What a disgusting example of dishonesty. Of course it was a political statement and an insult to Mr. Bond. We can’t think of what he should have said except something like “Come and hear someone with a broad and varied background in public service and advocacy.”)

Fox News, “‘Over the top’ school official: Martin case proves hunting kids ‘legal,’” Sept.26, 2013

“I am not anti-Russian,” wrote Sen. John McCain in an OpEd in Pravda. (His statement was in response to a piece President Vladimir Putin recently wrote in The New York Times criticizing the United States. Sen. McCain eloquently argued that he is an advocate for the Russian people who don’t have the freedom to criticize their own leaders and that Putin has made Russia “a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.” We agree completely.)

Pravda, “Russians deserve better than Putin,” Sept. 9, 2013      

“I did not tell an anti-Semitic joke,” protested John Whitbeck, one of the biggest supporters of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for governor. (Whitbeck was rallying a crowd before the candidate spoke and made a comment that the “head of the Jewish faith” had given the pope “the bill for the Last Supper.” Of course, reaction was swift and critical. Democrats tried to pin the remark on the candidate. We think it was a dumb, insulting remark but we also think Ronald Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council had it right when he said that Cuccinelli responded quickly and appropriately. The Washington Post headline had it right.)

Washington Post, “Virginia GOP candidate Cuccinelli condems anti-Semitic joke told by supporter,” Sept. 18, 2013

BIMBOs from the controversy over the Syrian use of chemical weapons 

“I did not draw a red line [on Syria,]” said President Obama, kicking off an array of BIMBOs and “Wrong Things to Say” messages that went viral. Secretary of State John Kerry contributed a number as well, starting with, “We are not going to war, we will not have people at risk that way.” He also added, “This is not a game” while the president contributed, “This is not the Cold War. This is not a contest between the United States and Russia” and “This can’t be a stalling tactic” and “We are not just going to take Russia and Assad’s word for it.” He also proclaimed, “This is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan.” (The whole communication debacle began with the astonishing claim from the president that he didn’t draw a red line. Numerous publications immediately replayed the press conference from last year where he and the White House staff are shown reiterating the red line in a series of follow-up press briefings. Since his comment has been aired extensively, we will only observe that this is a very powerful example of how words can set an agenda. Having drawn a red line, inaction by the Obama Administration became the issue. While the president’s comments were regrettable and left the United States looking impotent, the worst line was actually Kerry’s when he stated our attack on Syria would be “unbelievably small.” That phrase was repeated over and over and was the center of global ridicule. Even the president spoke up and rejected the characterization with another BIMBO saying, “The U.S. Army does not do pin pricks.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had it right when she said, somewhat off the cuff, “These issues are not really partisan.”)   

CBS News, “Obama on Syria strike: ‘This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan,” Sept. 3, 2013

Weekly Standard, “Obama: ‘I didn’t Set a Red Line’ on Syria,” Sept. 4, 2013

The Wall Street Journal, “America, Syria and the World,” Sept. 13, 2013

THE WRONG THING TO SAY

 “As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don’t know if you saw the stories last year. They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure,” said Republican mayoral candidate Steve Lonegan who is opposing Newark Mayor Cory Booker. (This barely veiled insult implying Mayor Booker is gay was triggered by Booker’s comment that “I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay,” which he then appears to fend off without specifically confirming or denying the rumor. Although that wouldn’t be our choice of how to deal with the rumors, Lonegan’s snide comment was out-of-place and will only hurt him by portraying Republicans as homophobic.)

Salon, “Cory Booker’s gay rumor declaration: is he Democrats’ James Franco?” Aug. 28, 2013

 “If I’d thought we’d pulled a fast one on the world, I certainly wouldn’t have released the poll after the election,” said pollster Tom Jenson reacting to the controversy about their polling in the Colorado Senate recall election. (The poll revealed that 33 percent of Democrats supported the recall, a result which was unexpected and caused the firm to keep the poll private. Jenson’s defense was that this was one of many polls they do for their own consumption as opposed to a client’s. We accept his defense but his comment was the wrong thing to say. He should have stopped after saying “As a private polling company, the vast majority of the polling we do is not released to the public.” He should have explained that they are constantly testing data and collection methods in order to serve their clients better.)

Public Policy Polling, “More on Colorado,” Sept.  11, 2013

“Picasso treated women and children very badly while some other people, like Hitler, loved women,” explained Aleksandar Vudic, Serbia’s deputy prime minister, defending the country’s decision to hire Dominque Strauss-Kahn as an economic advisor. (Strauss-Kahn was, of course, forced to resign as managing director of the International Monetary Fund after accusations of rape. Yes, we are believers in second chances, and Strauss-Kahn helping a country with a 24 percent unemployment rate is great and all, but it’s a terrible defense. Vudic should have said, “We need help and we believe in taking advantage of talent” and stopped there.)

ABC News, “Strauss-Kahn Makes a Comeback-in Serbia,” Sept. 14, 2013

“So don’t think the association or Tom Newton are some sort of abusive, predatory folks that are taking advantage of people in economically disadvantaged situations,” said attorney Tom Newton Jr. about representing hundreds of homeowners associations who were evicting or repossessing homes from owners who were behind on their association dues – sometimes by as little as $100.  The homes were then bought out of foreclosure for a fraction of their worth, sometimes just a dollar more than what was originally owed, then rented out, thus creating a significant revenue stream for the HOAs. (Disgusting. Of course they’re abusive, money hungry predators who are taking advantage of people, some of whom weren’t behind on their bills and were not being notified of them properly.)

San Antonio Express News, “Homeowners’ loss is firm’s gain,” Sept. 22, 2013

TWITTER

This month’s Twitter example is a cautionary tale for companies about how social media empowers consumers. When British Airways lost Hasan Syed’s luggage and refused to respond or help, he not only complained on Twitter, he bought Twitter ads saying “I refuse to stop running Twitter ads until @BritishAirways finds the lost luggage.”  The airline was slow to respond and then tweeted the unapologetic “We can’t DM you as you aren’t following us. If you’d like assistance we will need your baggage reference.” (While that may be true, an initial apology was in order).

Ad Age, “Will Disgruntled Customers Buy Twitter Ads to Air Grievances Now?” Sept. 3, 2013  



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