Now, more than ever, Brand America should be built around respectful communication based on information and facts, instead of the name-calling and vicious labeling that dominates the political sphere nowadays. Nowhere is this respectful communication to be found in Ann Coulter’s Twitter rants in response to Donald Trump’s Memorial Day weekend tweet calling for Alabama voters to support Tommy Tuberville instead of Jeff Sessions. She might be on point, but her vicious language certainly does not help her message. In this episode, Bill Stierle and Tom dissect Ann’s name-calling and explain why this kind of communication does more harm than good to the Republican brand and the American brand, for that matter. There is a need to restore Brand America, and a lot of that should come from having civil conversations and respectful communication.
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The Truth and Brand America – Part 1
Bill, there are some very interesting things going on that are very current in the political discourse. It brings to mind the American brand and then the factions of the Republican brand and the Democratic brand within that. I thought it might be a good thing to have a discussion around it.
Tom, what it’s going to take to build the American brand around respectful communication towards each other, challenging each other based on information and facts instead of the name-calling or the judgments and almost salesmanship that is dominating the political space. Once you get into a place where you’re selling and not selling something, then respect and other values that you have can go under the bus a little bit. You run it over and over again and again, it’s like people are not going to believe that you’re saying the truth. People are not going to extend trust to you and yes, you’ve made the sale but you have lost the loyalty of other people and they won’t come back to you. There’s a lot of problems that when a brand chooses to go down this path for its behalf.
The Republicans are facing it. The Democrats have trouble reclaiming what they’re up to. There’s a lot to talk about. In the news, different people react to try to say, “I’ve had enough of this.” It has been a challenge for what is the Republican brand going to stand for. What is the Democratic brand going to stand for and will they ever come together to rebuild American respect again? Because it’s going to take a little bit of work somewhere between 10 to 12 years to bring it back. It could start right away but you have to start doing things to demonstrate that you’re standing in the right place in the face of opposition. That’s a big challenge and we could see it in the news media and stuff.
There are lots of things going on globally with Coronavirus, where you are talking about the American brand that’s been damaged in terms of credibility and being in alignment with the truth of a global pandemic. There was already brand damage to the American brand going on throughout the Donald Trump presidency in terms of disrespect for other leaders and shithole countries and all sorts of stuff. There’s a very interesting example that’s been thrust into the consciousness of the media at least and people are starting to see it. The Memorial Day weekend is a great example that we can talk about and approach it from a couple of different ways of is this effective and is this going to help the brand, further damage the brand, or is it not effective communication?
Examples of people stating their opinion, I’m guessing that they’re forcefully saying, “I’ve got to at least fight for something.” That truth or even the fact of that doesn’t have a penetration piece to it. It doesn’t stick. It becomes another person that a person can call a name. It’s tough when scorched earth mindset shows up to say, “I’m not standing for this.” This person stood for something and I thought they were going to do something and they didn’t do it.
The irony is you have the labeler in chief in the office who labels and diagnosis people routinely. That same attack against him doesn’t land as well. Let’s bring a little context into this for our audience. Over Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant against Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions is Former Attorney General who’s running for the Republican Senate seat from Alabama. He said, “Years ago when Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Robert Mueller Scam began. Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville, the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda.” That set off a right-wing conservative pundit Ann Coulter.Once you use the strategy of name-calling, you flail; and when the media catches on that flail, it gets to be repeated. Click To Tweet
It’s important to understand that Ann Coulter has never been won to shy away from being controversial. In fact, it’s her brand. She uses controversy to get attention to try to make her point. What’s interesting here is Ann Coulter goes on a Twitter rant of her own in response to Donald Trump’s about Jeff Sessions presenting a lot of facts that are relevant to the Republican brand and in some ways the American brand. She’s making some points which I’ll try to summarize here briefly. She uses a lot of tragic language in labeling, diagnosing, and going scorched earth on Donald Trump, which undercuts her message.
As you’re explaining this, the easiest way to cut through it language-wise is what did the person says or does? When the person says or does something, what are they trying to get at? Ann Coulter would be quicker and more effective if she would say, “The need for trust is not met with what Donald Trump is saying because even though he’s accusing Jeff Sessions of not being loyal to him, he is also not delivering on the truth that people voted for. They voted for the wall.” They voted for all the different things that they’ve voted for. There’s the whole list of MAGA things that he would go. They voted for the swamp and the wall and he did not deliver. Who’s the one out of integrity, Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump?
I would say much more Donald Trump than Jeff Sessions for sure.
Notice how I was able to get an agreement out of you. All I did was refocus our message. If she’s placing her language in the narrative of comparison, see Donald Trump’s trying to compare Jeff Sessions to the person that he wants to endorse. Ann Coulter has to do to land the punch because, on Twitter, all she did was flail. Once you use the strategy of name-calling, you flail. What winds up happening with somebody that flails in the media marketing is the flailing gets to be repeated. Even though crooked Hillary Clinton is a flailing punch, if the media grinds it over, it becomes a smooth stone very quickly. It becomes impactful because it’s sticking in my brain but does it mean it’s true? It doesn’t mean it’s true.
It stuck in, everybody’s brain but the President kept repeating it over and over as candidate Donald Trump. No one did anything else that would land better to help separate Hillary Clinton from this label. It’s interesting because this labeling and diagnosis behavior of Donald Trump is the brand or the marketer that he is. It’s so fundamental to who he is as a person that he sticks with it and nobody else knows how to defend themselves against it effectively or knowing yet has demonstrated that.
They don’t because it gives him some new target. Ann Coulter will be called a Never Trumper. The people want to be on the side of Donald Trump says, “She’s a Never Trumper.” It burns another notch in the Republican brand gets damaged. Republicans or a group of whiny named colors. Is that where they’re going to go? Yes. That’s where they’re going and silent enablers. Notice that name-calling that I did also is not effective. I’ll call it my cell phone, name-calling it, it’s great for poetry. It’s interesting for rap music. It’s something that is good and a brand message but is it brand America?
Is this what we’re going to do going forward? Are we going to do a respecting brand? Are we going to do a supportive brand? We used to be world leaders on stuff like pandemics. We used to put our muscles to work. This is why we got the muscle of the federal government to do what it does. Keep Ebola on another country’s soil. Do not let it get it here by helping out the other country. Don’t go, “Why are we spending money over there. Let’s not help them,” because we don’t want their disease to come to us. That’s brand America.
We help them so that their crap doesn’t come over here. We’re letting them be a three third world country, but their disease has got to stay on their soil, not get to us. They could be a second world country. This is China and India kind of thing but there is the first world now. They’re coming into it with their infrastructure and stuff. They’re playing the game. They’re figuring out, “How can we get a balanced economy and how can we work together but do it under an authoritarian regime.” If they’re getting there, then they’re getting there. Can they stand for those values? There’s some that they don’t, freedom of expression, they don’t do that because they see what the damage of freedom of expression does without the need for respect being at the front of the list. It’s got to be up in the front.
You’re talking about the American brand. What should be something all Americans can agree on is trying to help the countries that can’t help themselves to keep that over there, exhibiting some global leadership and collaboration to achieve that goal. That’s the American brand that’s been damaged so much. Now you got the Republican brand that is Republican and I would say big C conservative brands that Ann Coulter is upset. The president is trampled out. Let me bring a few highlights of this Twitter rant because it’s a good example of trying to present facts, but then tragic language being used than under-cuts.
Ann Coulter starts in this response again to Donald Trump who is going scorched earth and labeling and diagnosing his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he’s not being loyal to Donald Trump. She says, “Three years ago, a complete moron of a president called NBC’s Lester Holt, ‘I was going to fire James Comey. When I decided to do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘This Russia thing with Donald Trump and Russia is a made-up story.’” Ann Coulter writes in capital letters, “BAM! SPECIAL PROSECUTOR.”
What she’s saying is that it wasn’t Jeff Sessions recusing himself that caused the Russia hoax as he would put it out of the investigation. The investigation was already swirling around and being looked at by the FBI and stuff, but it was Donald Trump’s own words that got him into hot water and got the Robert Mueller probe to get going. She’s right factually but again, throwing in the complete moron does not help her message there. She is thinking that Donald Trump is going to with his own actions of trying to torpedo Jeff Sessions and support this challenger Tommy Tuberville that the Republicans are likely to lose the majority control in the Senate with that type of behavior.
Let’s replace the word moron with the word accountability. If Ann Coulter wants to get her message to land, the word accountability needs to move to the front of the list instead of the word moron. It’s like, “What does accountability look like? Accountability is not blaming the person who couldn’t support you. Accountability is not opening your mouth, breaking, starting, and giving the other side something that they’re compelled to by law enact. You gave them the opening. It’s not Jeff Sessions’ fault that he couldn’t keep the dam from breaking. You put a hole in the dam. You did that.”We used to be world leaders on stuff like pandemics. Now, we are its worst-off victims. Click To Tweet
Accountability looks like, “You’re the person that’s responsible, Mr. President and by the way, if you want to talk about accountability, your words don’t count either. You were never attending to build the wall. You never had the will to do it. You never had the political might to get it done. You never could build loyalty in order to get parts of the wall built that might’ve been helpful for the nation. Instead, you promised something you could never deliver just to get the vote. You did but you also didn’t deliver. You don’t have anything to promise or anything to show for that promise.” Nothing. Accountability Mr. President looks like not picking on Jeff Sessions. Accountability looks like doing what you say you’re doing.
That messaging would be much more effective. I don’t know if a person like Ann Coulter doesn’t care because it seems compassionate or because it’s not controversial enough and she always wants to be controversial because it gets her attention. The labels are going to be obvious here but like I was saying, she’s talking about the Alabama Senate Race. She says, “The most disloyal actual retard that has ever set foot in the Oval Office is trying to lose and take the Senate with him, another Roy Moore fiasco so he can blame someone else for his own mess.” There’s some truth in that he may assist in or enable the Democrats to retake the Senate if he isn’t supporting the best Republican candidates. What Ann Coulter is concerned about the Ross Perot effect happening in Alabama. Let’s put it in some terms like the Roy Moore effect. Donald Trump was supporting a guy who was not a candidate with the most integrity in the world on a few levels and ended up getting a Democrat elected to the Senate in Alabama in 2018.
Bill, to go on and about one of your points. You talked about the wall there a minute ago and Ann Coulter is calling Donald Trump out in this Twitter rant saying, “Donald Trump didn’t build the wall and never had any intention of doing so. The one person in Donald Trump’s administration who did anything about immigration was Jeff Sessions.” Here comes the tragic language, “This lout attacks him.” She’s again labeling him as a lout taking what she was saying there, which was a very truthful statement about Donald Trump never built the wall. Jeff Sessions was supportive of the wall and tougher immigration Donald Trump threw him out for disloyalty.
Here’s the real sobering one which you and I have talked about in the past on this show is that she says, “COVID gave Donald Trump a chance to be a decent, compassionate human being (or pretending to be) but he couldn’t even do that.” That one statement doesn’t seem to have any labels or diagnosis. It’s one tweet packed in the round within a dozen tweets. That’s full of tragic language which is not helping her message. This is something you and I have said he’s been served up some sloped softballs like a journalist saying, “Mr. President, what would you say to Americans that are worried right now?” Instead of using that to appear like a real leader in presidential, even if you don’t have that compassion or empathy, it was served to him on a silver platter to appear the parent. The father of America, trying to reassure everyone that we’re going to get through this whatever instead, he attacks a journalist and says, “He’s a terrible reporter.”
The skill to be able to see what is being provided and how can we as human beings get that level of connection that we need and to be able to make it work? Donald Trump is not changing. It’s going to be the same all the way through the next election cycle. The same stuff that we saw at the Republican National Convention years ago. It’s still the same thing we’re going to see. Only the problem is going to be who’s going to get up there and speak on his behalf? Who is he going to have? The last time he had Scott Baio, Michael Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani up there. Who’s going to get up and speak on his behalf? Who’s going to speak at that convention?
He will get a lot of people to speak, but its people that quite clearly put loyalty to Donald Trump above party and #MAGA and all, ironically over the American brand.
It’s strange that Donald Trump is selling his brand of high price condos in the best locations, and then he’s completely selling this other brand down here at the same time. This group of people who want to be in this group of, “I’m supporting the rich guy, but they are not rich people.” It’s very difficult to see an American brand to be so split like this. It’s like the heartless capitalist opens up early so what if grandma dies? It’s like, “What good is grandma anyways?” It’s a little bit of a head shaker and a person that has lost an uncle to COVID. There are people around me that are affected by this.
It’s awareness about what the cost and the loss is. The thing to make an impression around this is a little closer to what the times did has put all the names of the people on the front of the paper and put not the names, but a little part of their life story. What they contributed to this nation and going like, “Who did not protect this?” The front of the paper is like the image of a tombstone and it’s a head-shaker because when you start down the process of reading those little snippets of what these people, what their lives were, how they contributed, what the loss was of a 51-year-old, 61-year-old, or 85-year-old passing that did X, Y, and Z. Don’t they get the honor respect of a full life? Even if the last few years of their life isn’t the greatest? Don’t they get that? Instead, letting something like this or even allowing it to continue was done on your watch. That’s an accountability factor.
Here’s what’s accountability looks like is this group of people passed under your watch. You could try to hang it on so-and-so. You can try to do it on this. You can try to amplify the things that you did do that were minimal, but this happened on your watch. If you aren’t “man” enough to say, “This happened on my watch. We made some mistakes early, but now we’re doing things to protect every life from here on out.” You haven’t earned your job again. We’re going to fire you from the job. Even as I’m speaking this way, Tom, this is what respectful language looks like. This is what language that has perspective in and it’s disheartening but it’s the way he’s doing this. He doesn’t fall on the mistake sword ever. Don’t ever show them that they’re your flawed.
It’d be interesting to identify Donald Trump’s Cardinal Rules. One of them is, “You’re completely loyal to me. If you ever express any disloyalty, you’re done. You’re dead to me. I’m going to turn on you.” He has to have 100% complete loyalty. That’s Cardinal Rule number one. Cardinal Rule number two is he will never admit to a mistake or express regret over anything.
It’s so difficult to watch that take place. The conservative brand of let’s not spent a lot of money. Let’s not spend things that are wasteful except for the military and corporations that we need to bail out. We don’t want to spend a lot of money on everything else. We don’t want to spend the money on social services or helping the poor because they’re not working hard enough. Whatever those brain has all been boiled down to, are you loyal to this person or you’re not loyal to this person? They’re struggling because how do you reclaim a GOP, Grand Old Party, of respect and conservatism where your party has been hijacked by a loyalty brand which is more like a mafia brand label diagnosis.
I called myself on the same word. What you call yourself on what you’re doing and how it’s not helpful. Notice how it becomes helpful. You got to call yourself on what you’re doing. If you want to call somebody a name, own that that’s what you’re doing as well as walk it back and tell everybody it’s not helpful. It does make the big difference. You got to walk it back right then and there as you’re doing it. All President Donald Trump would need to do is walk things back as they’re happening and they would never get any oxygen. This thing about Clorox inside the system, it is so effective outside the body but if there was a way to do it, but there isn’t a way to do it and it’s an idea of something that’s we can wash our hands, but we can’t do it inside the body. Isn’t that interesting? Some ways to get something around this virus that’ll work. He walked it back but said the same thing.Accountability is doing what you say you're doing. Click To Tweet
Everybody who makes all these memes about injecting Clorox, Donald Trump would have taken all that oxygen right out of it before anybody else had a chance to attack him for it.
People want to fight for the underdog. They want to vote for the underdog. They want to go like, “I want something to change.” This episode, Tom, is Truth and Brand America Part One. We do a part two on this because the Republican brand needs restoration. The Democratic brand needs clarity. There’s enough room underneath this tent for all of us is something that’s not selling well because of this one group that is pushing in this one marginalized way. It’s been different and growing in America. The tea party came in and then washed right back out as quickly as they came in. They got there and they said, “This is complex.”
My belief around making it simple regarding the tea party is right back out because running a government is complex. Donald Trump said it very clearly, “Healthcare, who would have ever known it was so complex?” Because it is. There are more to come on this, Tom. I appreciate it and thanks again for being here and being the person to keep your finger on the pulse. Let’s keep trying to change the communication patterns so that we can get back to America that can have civil conversations move into a place of restoration. Figure out what brand we want to stand for going forward and let’s move in that direction so we can get the restoration of America up and go in the way it needs to.
That sounds great, Bill. Thank you, Bill. I look forward to the Truth and Brand America part two.
We’ll have a little fun with that. Thanks, Tom.