Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for February 2009

  • Bimbo
  • February 1, 2009
  • by Spaeth Communications

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Goes to who else but Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. His oft repeated line, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing,” was voiced endlessly. (He must be bucking for a book. That’s the only explanation for skipping his own impeachment trial to visit virtually every national TV outlet, including The View, where he refused Joy Behar’s request to say “I’m not a crook.” This was a surreal chapter in American politics.)

MSNBC, “Blagojevich: Corruption arrest ‘surreal,’” January 26, 2009


“… the Americans are not your enemy,” was the headline from President Obama’s first television interview to Dubai-based Al Arabiya.(Before my Democratic friends erupt at a “BIMBO” to our new President. While I recommend Foaud Ajami’s thoughtful commentary in The Wall Street Journal about the wrong message being sent to the authoritarian regimes, many other things the President is doing get high marks as successful strategies. He made an unprecedented appearance on Capitol Hill to talk to members of both parties. It’s up to Republicans to do a better job explaining why massive spending on anything that moves – or doesn’t – isn’t helpful, and to do a much better job making the issues and stories captivating. Republicans still sound like naysayers and the newfound commitment to fiscal discipline lacks some credibility given the Party’s behavior when they controlled the House, Senate and White House. “We’re not going to get 100% agreement, and we might not even get 50% agreement…But I do think that people appreciate me walking them through my thought process on this.” Indeed they do, and President Obama’s first week showed a keen ear for how to connect with people. The National Geographic video of him ordering a hamburger and chatting with one of the steward’s on Air Force One clearly shows he knows how to present himself to make people like him. Grumping and complaining that it’s not fair he’s so good and that he doesn’t really believe in reaching out is not going to help Republicans or conservatives.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Obama Tells Arabia’s Despots They’re Safe,” Jan. 28, 2009

The New York Times, “U.S. Is ‘Not Your Enemy,’ Obama Tells Islamic World,” Jan. 28, 2009

The Wall Street Journal, “As Economy Falters, Doubts on Obama Plan Mount,” Jan. 28, 2009

“The United States does not torture,” said the President in announcing his CIA pick, former Clinton White House chief of staff and former Congressman Leon Panetta. (Unfortunately, we are not one of the handful of people to have President Obama’s Blackberry email address, so he was not on our mailing list.  If he had been, he would have learned from the Bush Administration not to utter this phrase.  Having won a BIMBO of the year for using this same line, the former Administration never got it…let’s hope the current one does.  Leaving aside the debate about the actual definition of “torture,” or what the Geneva Conventions require for non-state combatants, or whether we agree with “harsh” interrogation techniques, we doubt this repetition will convince our adversaries. The BIMBO also crowded out one of the headlines President Obama’s comment, “We must adhere to our values as diligently as we protect our safety with no exceptions,” with which we concur. American values of freedom, individual liberty and the chance of opportunity are our most powerful long-term weapons against the hate philosophies of the radical Islamist terrorists.)

MSNBC, “Obama: U.S. will not torture,” Jan. 9, 2009

“There is certainly no pay-to-play involved, because I don’t have no money,” said Roland Burris, former Illinois Attorney General and Gov. Blagojevich’s eventually successful appointee to the U.S. Senate. (This “subplot” to the Governor’s troubles saw Senate Democrat leaders reverse themselves, from saying that Burris would “not be seated by the Democratic caucus,” until the race card was played. Then Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t say enough nice things, “He presented himself very well. He’s proud of his family. He’s got two Ph.D.s and two law degrees.” Now, what Senator Burris does not have, apparently, is much respect for English grammar.)

MSNBC, “Senate Secretary Turns Away Burris,” Jan. 6, 2009

The Washington Post, “Democratic Yield to Burris,” Jan. 8, 2009

CNN, “Burris denies any quid pro quo for Senate appointment,” Jan. 20, 2009  

 “I want him to fail,” ostensibly said Rush Limbaugh. (Before my Republican friends go ballistic, Limbaugh clearly put his comments in context, and the news media unfairly and gleefully portrayed it as a personal and mean comment. It was neither. But Limbaugh should have expected the out-of-context quotes. It matters because people who didn’t hear the original conversation with Sean Hannity or the discussions that ensued think that Limbaugh has a personal vendetta against our new President.), “Limbaugh Challenging Notion of New politics,” Jan. 30, 2009


“I have not done anything that a lot of people haven’t done as far as smoking pot,” said newly appointed Birmingham City Councilman Jonathan Austin about his 2003 misdemeanor charge of using marijuana. “I’ve never done cocaine, and I’ve never done crack, any of that stuff. I’m not ashamed, I’m not embarrassed.” (Councilman Austin should be ashamed and embarrassed because he’s now an elected official and, as a 29-year-old African-American, he’s a role model. As the son of a prominent pastor, he should have said, “I regret it, and I’m embarrassed not to have upheld my Dad’s teachings. Citizens of Birmingham have my promise to do better.”

The Birmingham News, “Austin Believes Public Service is His Calling,” Dec. 24, 2008

“There was no connection with Bill Clinton and the ‘green bonds’ and the contribution,” insisted Robert J. Congel, Syracuse, NY, developer, long-time Republican fund-raiser and Bush Ranger, who made a $100,000 donation to the former President’s foundation days after Senator Clinton pushed through federal legislation allowing the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance the development of his large mall. (This is what so infuriates regular people and is an Achilles’ heel of both parties-but it is worse for Republicans. There did not need to be a formal quid pro quo. It is all done with a wink and a nod. Senator Clinton’s staff insists she didn’t discuss the contribution with Mr. Congel. We believe her. She did not need to.)

The New York Times, “Donor’s Gift to Foundation Followed Help by Clinton,” Jan. 4, 2009

“It doesn’t mean there was some kind of dastardly affair,” said actor Brad Pitt, about leaving wife Jennifer Aniston to couple-up with Angelina Jolie when they were filming “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” (Just to have the celebs represented.)

People, “Brad Pitt Sets Record Straight on Jen vs. Angelina,” Jan. 7, 2009

“Paris Hilton Insists She’s Not Stupid,” was the headline in People magazine. But she didn’t actually say that; what she said was she sometimes acts dumb on television to get laughs. Hilton says her fame makes it hard to find close, trustworthy friends. "It's difficult because you never know what people's intentions are, and I think a lot of girls have become my friend for the wrong reasons and used me. I didn't realize it but now, throughout the years, I'm realizing who those kinds of people are." (Let’s hope she broadens her understanding quickly.)

People, “Paris Hilton Insists She’s Not Stupid,” Jan. 29, 2009  


“The cause of our problem was global, so I can’t say ‘sorry’ with any kind of sincerity,” said former Anglo Irish Bank CEO Sean FitzPatrick back in October, as the government ponied up $520 billion to prop-up Irish banks. On the same day he said the government needed to stop spending money on “sacred cows” like the elderly and children. Recently, auditors found that FitzPatrick had borrowed more than $100 million from the bank and hid the loans for eight years. (FitzPatrick resigned December 18th as the bank collapsed, a prime example of what scholar Mandred Kets De Vries, director of the INSEAD Global Leadership Centre calls, “Narcissism in the C-Suite.” See also John Thain below in “Wrong Thing to Do.”)

USAToday, “Irish stand united in hatred of this man: brash banker is poster boy for what went wrong,” Jan. 29, 2009


“There’s nothing on the dolls that refers to the Obama girls,” insisted Ty Inc. spokesperson Tania Lundeen, claiming the names of Sasha and Malia were coincidentally chosen because “they are beautiful names.” (Oh please. Ty owes the Obama’s an apology and request for permission or some joint decision about donating proceeds to a charity of the First Family’s choice. Ripping off the names is tacky, but lying about why the names were picked is reprehensible.)

USAToday, “People” column, Jan. 27, 2009

Tying with Mr. FitzPatrick (mentioned above) is former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive John Thain for spending $1.2 million of stockholder money to redecorate his office when he arrived, knowing the company was in deep financial trouble. Expenditures included: $1,405 for a trash can, $87,000 for a rug, $35,000 for a toilet (which, to be fair, included a cabinet), and who then demanded a $30 million bonus even though Merrill lost billions. Then, Thain was MIA when 4th quarter losses were announced, choosing to go skiing in Vail instead. At the same time, Merrill accelerated paying bonuses, apparently against the recommendation of the new owners, Bank of America, so they could be paid before the merger was completed. Explanation? That the discretionary bonus pool was 41 percent lower than in 2007.  (Whatever math whiz ran the numbers for that “discretionary” bonus pool should be fired. Whatever the numbers were in 2007 doesn’t matter given the situation in 2008. That analysis should have seriously been called into question.)

Time Magazine, “The Deeper Truth about Thain’s Ouster from BofA,” Jan. 25, 2009

MSNBC, “Thain to pay back office decorating costs: Exec’s renovation expenses became symbol of corporate greed,” Jan. 26, 2009

“These are not just regular costumes. These are the costumes that remind someone of the plantation in Gone with the Wind,” complained Alabama NAACP President Edward Vaughn about the Mobile, Ala. Azalea Trail Maids who were to march in the inaugural parade. The 50 high school seniors wear long, pastel dresses. A controversy erupted about whether slavery needed to be injected into the trip to Washington. Mobile County Commissioner Stephen Nodine also messed up by adding, “We want everyone to know that these young ladies do not need to be identified with slavery.” (Mr. Vaughn never should have opened his mouth, and Commissioner Nodine should have said, “We’re proud to have these young ladies show the world Alabama’s grace, beauty and intelligence.”)

WSFA News, “NAACP Chief apologizes for Trail Maids comments,” Jan. 14, 2009


The Pope is posting a daily, two minute, YouTube video. It’s shot from the side, with an English voiceover. Not very good quality. Doesn’t matter. It’s the Pope. (What excuse does your CEO have now?)


New York Jets legendary quarterback, Brett Favre, said it was his personal failure that was responsible for the team’s problems, and said, “I’m not going to make excuses. If I’m going to play, then I have a responsibility to play at a high level, and I just didn’t get it done.” (How refreshing! Someone taking responsibility and not making excuses, even though he had a torn right arm bicep tendon. Would he like to run Bank of America? Even better, Favre said if he retires, he’ll make the announcement quietly, without public fanfare. “I’m sure people are tired of seeing me get emotional… I think it would be better for me just to thank the Jets, and I sincerely mean that. It was well worth what I invested.” This approach is completely at odds with the “me-me-me” celebrity mentality that has developed. Thank you Mr. Favre!), “Favre to wait before deciding on ’09,” January 8, 2009


No offhand comment is safe. Prince Harry was caught in a 2006 video as a cadet at Sandhurst where a group was insulting each other. The prince was seen calling a cadet of Asian background “our little Paki friend,” and said another, “looked like a raghead.” To his credit, the prince did not state the obvious – that they were a bunch of young men razzing each other, but simply apologized. (The Asian cadet’s father chose this moment to be outraged, saying he was “very very hurt.” He missed his chance to stand up for true multiculturalism and say, “give the guy a break. They’re friends.” Final lessons – remember everyone has a video camera or cell phone with a camera these days, and your comment will be taken out of context.)

MSNBC, “British PM condemns prince’s slur,” Jan. 12, 2009


Rod Dreher, columnist for The Dallas Morning News had an excellent column, “It’s not just celebs who pledge; Me? I pledge not to be oblivious to changing currents like the power elites,” in which he articulated why I want President Obama to succeed, that is, I want to compete to influence the policies he supports. I want him to succeed because the public wants him to succeed. “If Obama fails, the corruption of the institutions of government, finance and even of culture…will call up a predictable and quite possibly furious response.”

The Dallas Morning News, “It’s not just celebs who pledge,” Feb. 1, 2009 

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