The power of media and public information is undoubtedly powerful, especially in today’s digital age hit by the pandemic. And as this time of hyper exposure – and hypersensitivity – will probably continue for a long time, the Republican Party is now being challenged to walk on eggshells. Bill Stierle and Tom talk about the lasting impact President Donald Trump left on the GOP and how it affects the entire party’s reputation to the American people. This has been further fueled by the recent issue involving Republican Senator Ted Cruz leaving his home state of Texas in the middle of a harsh winter and the energy grid failure. This pushes the two to discuss the huge contrast between self-service and public service, particularly on what elected politicians must do for their constituents to avoid negative public perception.
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The Brilliance of Mitch McConnell and other Reflections on Trump’s Impeachment
Bill, the impeachment saga is over.
We are done with the impeachment. It’s going to be interesting to see how the criminal courts are going to take up the actions, and what’s going to happen to the different followers. The people that follow the leadership, depending on the political persuasion that a person has. Either they’re responsible for not listening to the president or they’re responsible for listening to the president. We’re going to see what the court does with that because that’s one of the things that Mitch McConnell said. These people need to be responsible. He even said that the president needs to be responsible. “The president is not out of the woods,” he says. The question is, “Out of what?” Is he going to be a convicted person? Is that what Mitch McConnell is thinking? That’s up for the criminal courts to decide. They’re going to hold him liable outside the constitution. Mitch McConnell has done a wonderful job of being a brilliant person regarding time and non-action, or not taking a stand. He’s done a wonderful job throughout his career doing that.
That’s what we should shine a light on here. Mitch McConnell was brilliant. How he planned and played this entire process from January 6, 2021 through to now. He managed to play it both ways and escaped being a party to convicting the president. He escaped having to vote to convict the president, and somehow, at the end of this, he has come out looking to the majority of America like he did the right thing, and the truth has come out. He’s been able to avoid making the hard vote.
The status quo is not conservative. That’s where there’s a belief bias that’s in place. The status quo is not necessarily conservative, but it’s played into a conservative narrative. It’s that I want things the way they are. It’s having a belief that sits in a bias and in a place of “non-action is good action” is not always the thing to do. If you’re taking an action, then you’re going to be able to step into accountability for what is in front of you. Harry Truman would never say, “We’re going to wait on World War II. We’re not going to drop the bomb.” The buck stops here is not available for the politicians to execute now because of the way the voting system and the donors and the money is flowing right now. The buck cannot stop anywhere because the money is telling us to keep things the way they are, and they’re paying for that. That’s hard.
You had Mitch McConnell and a lot of Republicans on January 6, 2021, with the vote to certify the Electoral College. There were 99 members of Congress that voted to not certify the Electoral College, and Mitch McConnell, not being one of them. He was one of the first to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election and he would become the next president. You had corporate donors coming out on January 6, 2021 saying, “All you people that did not vote for the peaceful transition of power by certifying the Electoral College are not going to receive money from us.” Mitch McConnell knew that. He was playing to the money more than to the people he represents.
In a real quick sense, let’s recap what Mitch McConnell did. After January 6, 2021, the House was quick to impeach Donald Trump for a second time. They moved swiftly. Mitch McConnell-controlled senate says a number of different things, “There’s not enough time to get a trial in before the end of Donald Trump’s term. We don’t have time to do it. It doesn’t matter anyway. He’s going to be out of the office in a couple of weeks. It’s not going to have much of a point.”
He does everything to avoid having a second impeachment trial under his watch before the inauguration, and then brilliantly after the inauguration when he’s no longer in control of the agenda, and Chuck Schumer is, he pushes this narrative of, “It’s not constitutional to have an impeachment trial of a president who’s no longer president,” which was his narrative. He gives cover an off-ramp to all these Republican senators to vote to acquit, even though Mitch McConnell on the day they voted to acquit Donald Trump, he acknowledges that Donald Trump is guilty of what he did. There is no question. That isn’t why we voted to acquit. We voted to acquit because the process is unconstitutional and it’s not the way to deal with it.The truth is like hail. There's a little particle of truth in the middle that the rest of the ice congeals around. Click To Tweet
Donald Trump can still be held accountable in the normal courts of the land as a private citizen. He was masterful in how he was able to have it both ways and somehow appear like, “We haven’t lost the opportunity for Donald Trump to be held accountable, but this wasn’t the way.” To Donald Trump’s face, Mitch McConnell could say, “I and we Republicans who voted to acquit did not vote to acquit Donald Trump,” which is what the extreme Donald Trump base wanted to make sure the Republicans did not vote to convict Donald Trump.
There are many needs that are wrapped up in what the base is voting for. The base is voting for their guy because their guy represents something. Donald Trump represents something to them. He represents, for some people, a strong leader. For another group, he represents a tax cut. From another group of people, he represents getting rid of abortion. For another group of people, he represents somebody that is a successful person. For some people, he is a rich person, and a rich person is clearly smarter than a not rich person. Some people push that bias in his direction. For some people, he is a religious figure. He was sent by God.
All of these different people make up of the voters that then believe what he says next. The truth is much like a hailstorm. It’s like there’s a little particle of truth in the middle, the little particles of sand that the rest of the ice congeals around. All of a sudden, it’s hard and you’re going like, “I’m getting pelted by this, but it’s this little small piece that I’m building my loyalty and my allegiance to.” Meanwhile, when it hits the ground, it melts because there’s not a lot there. That’s the hard part of it. The only winner winners that won were the 1% that got the tax breaks. Those are the ones that were the real winners from the Donald Trump presidency. A lot of the other folks, whatever they said and did, some of those things are being rolled back and being undone and coming back in the other direction. That’s the thing that’s disheartening because there can’t be a safe discussion about how we do a middle ground on some strong black and white issues, which is hard.
While there was a large tax cut which did impact maybe the majority of Americans, and the little guy got a little bit of a tax cut, a little bit of help for a period of time, it was out of proportion compared to what the wealthy people in the big corporations got in the tax cuts. Technically, there was this tax cut for most people, but it did not have a lasting impact on the majority of people. The lasting impact was on the wealthy and corporations.
That’s the thing that’s disheartening because when we do the needs of the few, instead of the needs of the many, there are some real problems there from time to time. The needs of the many are what people in the military service do all the time, “I’m giving up my life or my individuality to be in this military group for the good of the many.” The military has this one right, “The needs of the many. This is what the nation is standing for. This is what we’re protecting.” When it comes to taxes, it’s the other way around. It’s the needs of the few over the needs of the many. That’s the level of discipline that we need to act or move into action. Are there ways to build a tax system that fosters economic growth like the way they sell it, trickle-down and stuff like that? Can a business do something with this revenue in this wealth that they get instead of shifting it to, “How can I protect this? How can I save it? How can it not be taxed?” It’s unsettling because it’s not the needs of the many over the needs of the few. It’s not designed that way.
First, it’s about the needs of the one me. It’s the way most people view taxes. I met somebody who is a real estate investor. This woman is married to now a US citizen but grew up as a French citizen, someone from France. As his wife has started this real estate investing business and fund it, he was evaluating the whole tax liability of the business. He’s working the numbers and she’s saying, “No, we don’t have to pay that. We have this loophole on that loophole. The tax code is made for real estate businesses first. We don’t have to pay all those taxes.”
He had this attitude like, “I don’t understand. Why are you trying to pay less taxes? It’s our duty to pay our taxes to help for the greater good for the government.” The perspective and the mentality he has coming from a different country that has a longer history than the United States, and a different perspective on the needs of the many over the needs of the one. He has gotten a lesson here from his wife and from America. In America, the taxpayer is out for himself or herself, not in general to do the needs of the many. It’s interesting that the conversation I had over dinner with this woman about her husband shined a light on what America does.
The mindset that goes with that and how we’re not positioned to that. The government has taken a beating ever since the Reagan years. The worst sentence ever is, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” It’s like, “You tuck a SWAT at the social fabric. You took a SWAT at the foundation of the collective good.” All of a sudden, that becomes inspirational. That is not the strongest inspirational thing to take place, that message. Like a good actor, he sold it. He lived into it.
That’s not at all unlike what Mitch McConnell has done here. Although he’s not a trained professional actor, he was brilliant and put on somewhat an incredible performance. By contrast, I’m disappointed and disheartened at the job that the Democrats did in combating this. In particular, you have to look at Nancy Pelosi. Did you see her outrage as Mitch McConnell voted to acquit, and then the speech Mitch McConnell gave to acknowledge the president is responsible for what happened on January 6, 2021? He admitted, “I voted to acquit the guy, but he did it.” Nancy Pelosi was angry on the podium. It seems to me, that anger was not effective.
Regrettably, anger is as effective as a short-term scare, but not as a long-term strategy or a long-term message. Anger will burn. The way I talk about anger is anger is very much like a flame thrower. It comes and throws a bunch of fuel, ignites it and singes people. People get scared and want to run away from it rightfully so because you’re going to get singed by that. The passion is the laser. You could change your language to make it passionate, but also make it truthful. If I was Nancy Pelosi, it might sound like this, “I respect Mitch McConnell.” Can you imagine her starting the sentence there?
There will be a lot of chins dropped in the room.
It’s like, “Where is she going?” Mitch McConnell did have some brilliance to it. It wasn’t fully truthful, but it was brilliant. All of a sudden, she inserted doubt and skepticism where she needed to. In the next sentence, when the house manager showed up on X date to deliver the impeachment to Mitch McConnell back in January 2021. When they delivered it, he did something protective and smart for his party. He started down the process of giving them an off-ramp. They needed a place to go because the president did something that was illegal. It was a part of the insurrection that he caused and the pain that he caused, not just the people that he motivated to do the things, but the rest of the nation and the social fabric. He gave his party and the people that voted for Donald Trump an off-ramp as well as secured for his party the votes from the Donald Trump base. It was the one thing that he could do to protect his party.
Regrettably, it didn’t meet the need for integrity and truth about what the president did. We’re still horrified by the video and a few seconds here, a few seconds there, a wrong turn down the hallway here, a wrong turn down the hallway there, people and elected officials could have died. Police officers did die protecting our elected officials. What’s missing from Mitch McConnell’s message is accountability in the field of time. He chose to pass on accountability. He’s done that for a while over his tenure. He’s good at it. He stalls things, talks things out, pretends to be partisan, bipartisan but not. He’s done a good job of stalling government over his leadership. You could call that conservative, but what I value most because about conservatism is when you create a stable base for the working families of the United States to make a living wage.
I have enough safe spots to do that. That’s the stability that we would like to go for. Conservative is not about saving money for the government so that the common people have to carry the burden. Stability would look like a $1,400 check to keep our capitalist economy afloat. That’s a better idea. It would be nice if the Republicans can come up with ideas instead of stalling or not being willing with or running out the clock. I wish integrity could come back so that we could make the hard choices because isn’t that the key for responsibility? It is when you make a hard choice. Isn’t that what parents do with their kids? Parents make hard choices for their kids and their kids don’t like it. Instead, if you let the kid have their way, they throw a tantrum. Some people might say they might tweet a message.Regrettably, anger is as effective as a short-term scare, but not as a long-term strategy. Anger will burn. Click To Tweet
You as Nancy Pelosi called Mitch McConnell out as a liar, lacking integrity and as a bad parent, and then also somehow you got to dig in there to Donald Trump with his tweets. Donald Trump is the child in that sense. What’s obvious and the point we’re trying to make here is that the Democrats missed a huge opportunity. They stepped up to the plate and it was a swing and a miss.
It was a swing and they grounded out. They do this. They get up there. They got the best batter, and they got all the evidence. It looks like it’s a miss, but what happens is it’s a single that only gets to first base and they never score the run. They never hit the homerun because the language that they’re choosing to play with or utilize doesn’t allow them to hit the run. It doesn’t. The language that Mitch McConnell uses is he’s leaning his elbow on the Constitution where he needs to be setting precedent with the Constitution and say, “Just because there’s something not written there, it doesn’t mean we can’t do what’s right. Just because there’s a void there, I’m going to exploit the crack.” Just like every other person making a deal based on no rule being there, there’s no law there.
It’s like getting rid of a regulation. If I get rid of a regulation. If I’m a Republican and call it conservative to get regulation on inspecting chickens and salmonella comes through. It saved the company $100,000 but it caused three deaths. I just shrug my shoulder and go like, “The economy ahead of people.” That’s a little problematic if we are in a government position, which is designed to protect the people. Capitalism can run fine, just so it doesn’t kill anybody or hurt anybody, and take “too much” advantage of the people. You and I both know businesses that do take advantage of people, and do sell somebody a bag of sand when they’re thinking it’s fertilizer. It’s not, you got sold sand and you paid a high price for the sand. It’s not going to grow anything.
We can take the chicken analogy and go to Purdue Pharma that sold Oxycontin to all these people and overprescribed it. That’s a good example.
There’s another example. There are hundreds of these. It’s not one bad apple because that’s what they do. They sell it as minimal when there’s a mistake. That’s a bad actor. They even did it with the writers, “There were a few people that did things.” That’s not what was happening. We could debate on the size, but the size is not as important. There were thousands of people. There were hundreds of police officers trying to keep out thousands. They were there on the president’s behalf. How do we know this? It’s because they said it. They’re going to face a legal trial that they’re going to get some kind of sentence and some financial payment. I feel a great deal of certainty that Donald Trump will not show up and pay any money for their court cases or get help to get them off. He might do it for one person to say that he did it. We might as well put that in the field of time and see if that comes true. He might do it because that’ll be a great PR piece for him if he saves and pays for one person because then he can say, “See, I’ve followed my promise.”
In the aftermath of all this and the impeachment trial, you’ve still got the Democrats missing a huge opportunity with messaging, with language and how they’re talking about it. This is interesting because I saw a report where a US congressman, or maybe it was a journalist, was asked by a foreign journalist because they didn’t understand when the vote happened on Saturday and 57 senators voted to convict and 43 did not, why Donald Trump was not convicted. They didn’t get that. They had to explain to them the rule that it takes a higher majority of 67 people to convict. You have a majority of senators voted to convict former President Donald Trump of incitement of insurrection, a minority don’t.
Interestingly, this is another stat that I learned, is that of all the senators that voted to convict those 57, they represent 76 million more Americans, than the 43 senators who voted to acquit do because they’re all from much smaller states on the whole. This was a cognitive dissonance for this foreign journalist who was trying to understand and report on this, “What do you mean?” What’s happened here is the president has gotten off on a technicality. That messaging is lost. No one’s talking about that.
The technicality, they’re calling it. The official word is that he’s acquitted. When somebody doesn’t spend time in the legal space, that means he’s not guilty. Notice how the truth gets muddled because the vocabulary and the definitions aren’t fully played out in the person’s mindset, and it’s easy for the person that’s listening to use their belief about what the word means. That’s how truth gets purchased away is that it means that he’s not guilty. It means that he won. It means that the Democrats are wrong. They’re going to fill in the meaning, but they’re only looking at the top half of the word. They’re not looking at where the root of the problem was, which was when you say to a group of people, “I love Pennsylvania Avenue. We’re going to march down there and I’m going to be there with you,” you’re immediately accountable as a leader that they are going to follow you.
He did not say, “Break into the White House.” He said, “Let them be heard. Let those people inside the building be heard.” If you want to let your voices be heard, make sure that they hear you. He’s meeting a fundamental need, a young need that a child needs growing up, which is the need to be heard. He’s tapping into a youthful brain inside his followers. Developmentally, the need for being heard is somewhere between 2 and 6, where we repeat things to children, so they practice the language. Parents don’t know that that’s one of the fundamental things you do with a young person is repeat what they said to you, so you help them practice their language. You then modify or add in after you have repeated things, so they start practicing the language.
If you have a leader that’s in touch with people not getting their need for being heard met and say, “Make your voice be heard.” He’s got a bunch of 2-year-old and 6-year-old mindsets walking forward and throwing a tantrum. Donald Trump does know vocabulary because he is a marketer and he is a brander, and he does sell things. He sells himself and his property. He is practiced at making simple messages that are inspirational to get people to buy things. He’s masterful at that. He’s good. He gives them a reward. He creates anticipation and then he takes it away so that they want it more. That’s what he does. He sold them to go down there. He didn’t tell them to break the door and go inside, and go get it. He said, “I hope Mike Pence does the right thing.” All of a sudden, his followers are saying, “Mike Pence is going to do the wrong thing.” All of a sudden it’s like, “We’re going to get Mike Pence.”
He’s saying, “You’ve got to show strength and you’ve got to fight like hell. If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Whipping people up into that frenzy, what does fighting like hell look like? It looks like pretty much what happened at the Capitol.
They fought like hell. Their belief, their bias, the fallacies that they were following. I’m sure that there was a certain amount of voter fraud that took place, but not at the expense of certifications. Those people are bound to the certification in the county of things. People might say, “Bill, you’re repeating media bias. How do you know that there are things?” Those people would be taken to court if the irregularities were as big as what was needed to make the election go in the other direction. The irregularities would be extraordinary. There would be hundreds of lawyers swimming around that looking for their piece of the pie to be able to sue the federal government for not doing their job, but all of that stuff evaporated. This is what attorneys do. It’s find fault and get money for fault. There’s money that’s involved here to prove that elections are faulty, not belief. You’ve got to prove it.
The biggest false equivalencies that I’ve seen is I read a Facebook post. One of my Facebook connections said, “Am I the only person that has a problem with this commission now that Congress is establishing to investigate the insurrection on January 6, 2021, and to get to the bottom of everything that had happened that day, but nobody is getting a commission in place to investigate the voter fraud on the 2020 election?” That’s now a false equivalency that people are using to say that they’re trying to bring what happened on January 6, 2021. The insurrection we all saw and the voter fraud, which this person says led to that insurrection on January 6, 2021. Why isn’t there a commission going on to investigate that?
What they missed and facts don’t matter as we’ve often said to people when you’re trying to convince them, but the reality is that there were 60 court cases throughout the country that investigated this and reviewed the evidence or lack of evidence there was. There was nothing there. There is not as much to go after. While I agree with you, we have to acknowledge that there were some fraudulent votes that I’m sure took place in the 2020 election. There probably is in every election we have in the United States, but not to the level that would have changed the outcome in any of the states or that would have been found. If that evidence existed, it would have been presented and it would have come to light in the months after the election, but there’s not enough. It’s being proportionalized by some to be equivalent to the shocking events that happened on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol.You could change your language to make it passionate, but also make it truthful. Click To Tweet
It’s hard. I received a PDF saying we have two sides of the illegality of November 3, 2020. I’m looking at the stuff on the fair and I’m looking at the stuff on the stolen side of lessons. I’m looking at it and it’s not proportional. The one that’s on the stolen side has absolute proof, but each one of those things is not specific and/or they’re minimal. The thing that’s unsettling is that this amplification of an event of a mistake, “Nevada posts errors. Weren’t those vetted in court?” The answer is yes, they were vetted in court. “They posted errors.” I know they posted errors. They were vetted in court. They didn’t amount to the number to make the vote go in the other direction. They were vetted. They’re looking at, “Here are the line items in the field of time,” but they’re not pursuing truth all the way through to what happened with that line item. That line item was dispelled in this court by this time. They’d rather leave the line item as proof rather than, “Was this line item resolved?”
They leave the line item out there as an allegation that casts doubt and skepticism on the final result.
Changing votes on foreign servers. Was that vetted? It was. How was that resolved? This is how it was resolved. As soon as you say changing vote on foreign servers, the person can say, “That’s an example.”
That’s a problem they would think. It’s a problem if it’s true.
It’s a problem if it’s true. The question is, was it true? Was it vetted? How did it finish? How was it tested? I remember the guy from Georgia going like, “We took every single complaint and accusation. We took them all the way to the finished and resolved it. There were some things, but we followed every vote to resolution, but yet this PDF is going to show up in my inbox.” I’m going like, “I see that you’ve listed things. I see your perception and your perspective, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Now, that PDF is probably being used to solicit donations more than anything.
That’s the way it works. The PDF then says, “Check out these stations, check out OAN, check out Glenn Beck, check out Newsmax.” I’m going like, “I have.” They are presenting a perspective and a perception of truth. They’re allowed to promote that. I prefer if it was framed more as an opinion show than a news show, that’s problematic. For me, it can’t be called or present or have the effect of a news show the way it is. It’s not that. It’s unsettling because people’s perception and perspective is that this new show is the same as this new show. I know there’s sloppy language on the left and there’s sloppy language on the right. I’ll call out sloppy language. You and I experienced that. We watched a video clip of one of Donald Trump’s attorneys talking directly and then said, “This is why you’re fake news because you minimalized those things that I brought up.” She said, “What I was doing is I was trying to prove the truth rather than empathize with the upset.”
She used the word in there, fair, which is saying, “To be fair to our listeners.” That word fair set him off. She lost control of that interview. It’s a good example of a journalist not being careful and skilled with the language they use. The point she was trying to make was a fair point to make, but her approach to it was counterproductive and sent this interview off the rails eventually with Donald Trump’s lawyer taking the microphone off, throwing it on the floor in the rotunda of the Capitol and walking off and not finishing the interview in a civil way. He was truly outraged. She probably thought, “I called him out on the truth and he didn’t like it. He got mad and ended the interview and stormed off.” In reality, that video is a good example of how her skill needs to be upgraded. If she had handled that differently and given him a little empathy in that question, she would have gotten the truth to show up in a much more effective way.
I’m going to pretend I’m her.
He was angry. He was trying to make a statement that the house managers doctored evidence. That was the big statement he was making.
As soon as he used the phrase, doctored evidence, he’s the person that is making his points of discussion the evidence bigger because he’s using a phrase, “doctored evidence.” She’s listening to doctored evidence. He’s talking as if, “You’ve got to come up to meet this doctored evidence piece.” She says, “To be fair, let me have some clarity about what those things you’re talking about. Could you tell our listeners about what those things are? You said that there was a date that was changed. It wasn’t 2020. It was 2021. The date was wrong.”
The way she was talking about it and it wasn’t big, but he made it that, and he got angry because her tone or the way she was explaining it made it smaller. It was an honest mistake that the house managers are following. Here’s when it’s weird. In the eyes or the ears of the listener that is on Donald Trump’s side, they are able to blame media for the insurrection, rather than hold Donald Trump accountable for his words. “I want to hold media accountable for their words because my guys said that they’re a lying media.” The media uses language to engage people so people can watch them. We can call it lying and exaggeration. As the famous Fox spin person, he exaggerates and spins.
The lawyer was proportionalizing what he called doctored evidence to be this huge thing that there was no truth whatsoever to any of their case. When the journalist is trying to point out that there’s some evidence presented that was inaccurate. Whether it was doctored or intentional, it maybe another thing, but the way she approached it gave him an opportunity to turn this into, “The media is at fault for January 6, 2021.” That’s what he did.
As soon as he escalated, she could have turned the conversation to be productive. “Mr. Donald Trump’s lawyer, you would like everyone to hear that there was evidence that was changed and you want our listeners to hear how important that evidence was in your case to disprove the house managers? Do I have that right?” “Yes.” “Would you like to recount the things or would you like me to recount the points the way I understand them? Would you like to give the evidence that you found that’s not true?” “Yes.” She can do it. If you’re in an interview and you give the other person the choice.The truth gets muddled when the vocabulary and the definitions aren't fully played out in the person's mindset. Click To Tweet
You have permission from him to do it and he can’t get indignant.
She said, “Let me explain for my viewers.” “No, you’re saying the wrong thing.” What the reader did not hear is, “Here are the three things and there were many more things.” No, there wasn’t, because you would have brought them out in court if there were many more things. You would have used them.
You could say, “If there were many more, why didn’t you raise those in the trial?”
I hear there were more things and I guess there was a strategic reason why you didn’t use the many more things that you mentioned. Would you be willing to share the strategic reason why you didn’t use the many more things so that our listener can hear your point of view? He’s now walked the plank. You are sitting out there going like, “I don’t know.” He can go into the cloak of privacy. I’d rather not do those right now. They’ll come out in time. That’s a great sales technique of uncertainty.
We’ll see if we bring those out in the future.
That’s a sales technique. It’s not a reality. It’s a sales technique to keep the listener engaged. He could have put that piece of red meat out there and say, “It sounds like we’re going to hear more about this in the future. I felt disappointment that we didn’t hear about it when it would have made a difference for your case.” The Donald Trump voters and the Joe Biden voters would have appreciated this. It would have demonstrated that the Democrats didn’t want to go into the information. The thing that bugs people about the court system is that there are all kinds of choices regarding the truth about what gets put into evidence. Whether it’s the OJ trial or any court case, there’s evidence that does not get to be submitted. There’s information that does not go onto the record because it looks bad for one side or the other and it’s strategically withheld because it’s not into evidence.
I felt disappointment that the Democrats don’t improve their language communication skills because they’d be much more effective at accomplishing their goals if they did.
The Republicans have got to figure out a way how to restore integrity and listen to a Republican that voted to impeach said, “We’re a party of ideas.” I’m going like, “No, you’re not.”
That would be interesting. What’s come clear from the impeachment is that the Republican Party is fracturing and there’s a big divide. The Republicans that have integrity that voted either to impeach in the House or to convict in the Senate, they need some language and communication help to communicate to their constituents why they did what they did. To fight not only their political survival but to try to take the party back from this extreme Donald Trump wing. There’s a struggle going on there.
What they’ve learned from Donald Trump is not a strong habit. What they learned from Donald Trump is you do not need to put a policy up for the voter to see to get elected. You do not have to stand for anything clear on a piece of paper. Elizabeth Warren could do any plan she wants. Hillary Clinton could do any plan they want. All the plan does is give the other side an opportunity to shoot holes in it, and to make up a counter-narrative to the plan to use their plan against them. Donald Trump did not even have a plan. He just had a promise of reforming healthcare, “It’s going to be better. It’s going to be less expensive. I’m going to create great deals. I’m going to negotiate. I’m a good negotiator. We’re going to bring the money down.” None of that stuff moved. None of that stuff was on paper.
The tax bill had stuff written in the margins. They gave it to the people to vote on the next day. They gave the tax bill and, “We’re going to vote on this.” They’re not in integrity with the due process or the honesty because they don’t now need to govern. They need to promote. This is when democracy falls apart because you’ve got to keep the foundation solid about, “Here are the rules and the guidelines that are going to help the nation to move forward.” That’s what we need.
Some people are going to like the rules. Some people are not going to like the rules. Some of the rules are going to be enforced. Some of the rules are not going to be enforced. You can have as many antitrust laws on the books as you want, but if nobody has the courage to enforce them, so then you can have major tech companies or self-service or monopolies. If you’re not going to apply the rules, then you’re not fostering jobs or competition who can do it better, who’s going to work harder, what are they going to be proud of? You’re not helping. It doesn’t help. If a person doesn’t believe in one company versus another company, it’s hard. We’re in a tough spot because the insurrection is on the truth, integrity, mutual respect, cooperation, and collaboration. That’s where the insurrection is living. There’s none of that.
It’s living in the absence of that.
That’s a good clip to lead this thing, now that I think about it. That’s where we struggle. We’re not in the front of our narrative. We’re very much in a reactive responsive place. We’ll have to see. One of the things that’s interesting and you can have a lot of curiosity and anticipation about it. Now that the impeachment is over, where do the eyeballs fall next? Where are our eyes as a nation going to turn? Is it going to turn full-on, square-on to the relief bill and whether it’s going to be $1,400? Is it going to be $1,000, $1,200, or $900? They proposed $600. It’s like, “No.” That’s not enough to keep the economy floating because things have slowed down even more. The economy is cooling off and Wall Street is not the place to look for a healthy economy. That part is true. There’s more to come. Tom, thanks for this. This is a good one about how Mitch McConnell and his brilliance have now outlasted the narrative again.
I enjoyed it, Bill. Thank you so much.
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The Many Consequences of Hyper Exposure to the Republican Party
Bill, we talked a little bit last time about, where do we go from here as a nation? That’s a big question to answer, but what we can have a meaningful discussion about is some things that are clear in the events that show a struggle within the Republican party for leadership, values and public service. It almost feels like some Republicans are walking on eggshells here.
It’s the public service versus self-service mindset. The self-service mindset is that I have flexibility, I have choices and I’m going to exercise those. The public service is what’s best for the people and let me take an action step towards it. There’s always going to be certain politicians that are better at being out there in the public and supporting it, both Democrats and Republicans. There are people that are better at caring for or stepping into helping the people or demonstrating boots on the ground. There are folks that talk about boots on the ground but meet with their small groups of followers, and then they broadcast this as if they’re meeting everybody. The person resonates with that message and then follows them because they make a judgment about the other side.
If a Democrat does something kind or supportive, the judgmental mind and the belief mind will click it to, “They’re just doing that. They’re not authentic.” It’s like, “No, I think I see their feet there.” We can talk about whether or not they show up for five minutes. We can talk about if they’re showing up for an hour or if they’re doing X amount of time in work or providing the public something. You can see that some people think that it’s enough for Donald Trump to go to Puerto Rico, and throw out paper towels, meanwhile, not putting any money and support and they’re going like, “That’s enough.” He was there. He had some meetings, and he flew back because he’s the Commander-In-Chief and he has other things to do, but then there’s the person that takes an action and causes a meaningful change to take place.
On a scale of 1 to 10, media does a crappy job of this, which is they can underproportionalize things and they can overproportionalize things. We’ve talked about that in one of our shows. You can take one word out of context, hammer that, and all of a sudden, you’ve escalated the word fairness, where it wasn’t a fairness conversation. It was a clarity conversation. This is when it gets difficult. We’ve had some senators and some governors make some statements and now are going to be exposed to our current environment of hyper exposure of choices. There’s the hyper exposure. It’s tough.A true public servant is someone who rolls up their sleeves, puts on an extra jacket, and goes out to see how they can help. Click To Tweet
There’s no better example right now than Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He stepped on a landmine that he forgot he buried himself. It’s a self-inflicted wound here with him.
It’s going to affect his hopes of the presidency. The amount of exposure there is going like, “Do you want that guy who did this and that?” He might get it done in Texas again because you’ve got to have somebody that is going to say, “Enough is enough.” Whether Beto O’Rourke takes on that again or if there is somebody else that wants to run against him again, we’re still going to be seeing messages because this character has wanted to run for president and has run for president several times already. That’s the tenacity that Richard Nixon had. He keeps showing up, “We know Richard Nixon, so let’s put him in there. Although we took JFK over Richard Nixon, we’ll take Richard Nixon this time.”
Richard Nixon was the political cat that had nine lives.
The hyper exposure that’s taking place is causing folks to walk on eggshells and not saying things, or saying things that are in alignment with where the vote is. They’re not interested in the truth. They’re interested in who is the illusionary vote whose belief in me or the Republicans, I’m going to say things that are going to be safe for that. Marco Rubio is caught there. The Florida folks are caught there because the numbers are terrible in that space.
When you see a lot of the elected leaders in the Senate and in Congress, they’re leaning whichever way the base wind is blowing. They are not speaking about their core values. They’re not being guided by their core values. You mentioned Marco Rubio. There are plenty of soundbites to play of him saying one thing, and then going back on it and saying another. Lindsey Graham is another great example of that. You have a lot of that going on. What’s shocking and what peels back the curtain on elected leaders’ values and motivation is something like what happened with Ted Cruz, who is in the midst of a serious crisis in his state.
It was such a bad crisis they have.
On several levels. You have an unprecedented weather event. That’s once in 150-year type of event in Texas, at least from history. Freezing cold weather that does not happen there to then the power crisis that was spurred by that, and then the water crisis. You know all too much about water crisis, Bill. You’ve got this triple threat going on in Texas. Ted Cruz and his wife made the decision to get out and dodge, and go somewhere warm, sunny and comfy. That in and of itself was probably ill-advised. It’s not the wisest decision to make. One thing gets worse after another as he’s communicating it.
You’ve got to go on your apology tour. The apology tour is going on a media, going on Fox News and getting support from Sean Hannity and others saying the sentence, “It’s not that big of a deal. If I was him, I would do that too.” In other words, “If I was him and I was rich, I probably would fly out of Texas too.” There were many people that could afford leaving Texas, private citizens that did leave Texas and did fly to other states to get out of the cold and they left. The public servant, the person that rolls up their sleeves, puts on an extra jacket, goes out there and figures out, “Where can I be most helpful?” In the case of other legislator, congresspeople, they raise money to give money to people that can help them. They become an advocacy for the voters that are there. There’s no mistake that there are people in Texas that got affected by Ted Cruz’s experience, and the oxygen being sucked out of their situation. Our time on hyper exposure and hyper information is a little weird. I learned more about the Texas electrical grid than I ever could have several years ago. I would not know that Texas has its own grid that is separate from the entire nation.All a person needs is a talking point, and they will hammer it down. Click To Tweet
I did not know that either.
I was going like, “What?” It’s poorly regulated because they don’t want to do the regulation. They want to spend it on. The turbines that they complained about weren’t winterized. All they had to do was be winterized, but they weren’t winterized, so they weren’t able to run. That’s why they don’t run. They didn’t run because they fail. They run because somebody didn’t do maintenance on them.
Not only that, Bill, the wind turbines, which were the fast scapegoat of right-wing media and even the governor of Texas got baited by Sean Hannity. I don’t know if you saw that in an interview where he got baited into blaming the green energy sources for this problem, which in the analysis of the Texas State’s own Energy Commission that wasn’t the problem. I heard them on a radio interview and they said that the wind turbines performed twice as well as they expected they would in this type of situation. The real problem, all the other sources of electricity, gas, power, nuclear and other things had other problems because of the electricity.
The lines were frozen. The natural gas was the number one failure. There were a couple of other ones before you get to the wind turbine. All a person needs is a talking point, and then they just hammer the talking point. This is the thing to capture and realize about the hyper exposure and the hypersensitivity. During the Benghazi trials, when Hillary Clinton sat for eleven hours and was asked questions/interrogated on that thing, all they did was get one soundbite out of that, that was a little tragic.
She was tired and frustrated.
She did not have Bill Stierle’s skills to be able to stare that down and go like, “You’re feeling worried and concerned and you would like some trust right now, is that correct?” In other words, put the crap back on them, “Is this about trust or are you looking to get more clarity?” In other words, make the question that is so volatile, or the baited question that’s being posed to the person, one that deepens the situation, not to avoid the baited question. You want to step into the baited question. If I were on Ted Cruz’s team and I had to clean this mess up as a communication specialist, the first thing I would do is take the listener through my decision-making and fall on the sword of integrity.
Call yourself on it, “I was caring for my kids. My thought I could work remotely. That came into my mind and I wanted to get family connection time with my kids. I could work remotely and I can do that from another location.” Call yourself on it, “The optics does not look good, but my thoughts structure was this. Here were the seven phone calls that I would have done. Yes, I would have done it from the comfort of a hotel room where the constituents are freezing. That part is true, but I thought it would be better served that I could be more effective if I had that place, as well as get family and connection time at the same time. I could see it wasn’t a strong choice.” Call yourself on the misstep. Don’t wiggle out and say, “On further thing, I probably thought about this.” You’re not even falling on the sword.Today’s conflicts made everyone look at how elected officials see public service versus self-service. Click To Tweet
It becomes whining, noise and excuses. Even if Ted Cruz had done that, if he had Bill Stierle’s skills and he recognized, “He erred here, but here’s how he’s going to try to clean it up.” While some may argue, “You can’t clean this up or too little too late.” At least there wouldn’t be calls for him to resign as much if he had used Bill Stierle’s skills and clean it up.
It’s the unconscious mistake, which we call that in the slang as an honest mistake. It’s an unconscious or a lapse on one part of our rational mind. He is an attorney, so he has a rational and logical mindset. He rationalizes it. I don’t know what his record is on public service or social service. I can’t comment on how much he helps the State of Texas and the people in it. That’s for other people to decide upon. I don’t know what it is. I know when he gets himself into the pickles that he gets himself in, he starts playing to win at the expense of truth, ignore truth at the expense of integrity, and support others at the expense of fairness.
I have a list of those, but those are small examples. I’ll follow my own bias mindset. At the same time, in this world of hyper exposure, they’ve got to have the second message, which is what happens if the crap hits the fan? You’ve got to be ready to have your second message. That’s what the show is about, it’s about creating the second communication message that still allows human beings to make the mistakes that they do, but also be able to maintain their ability to have or restore integrity in a short amount of time to prop up and advocate for truth at the same time, and empathize with falsehoods. You’ve got to empathize with those. You can’t ignore them. You’ve got to empathize with them. That’s the way to get out of that experience.
Although Ted Cruz would be having a much better day now had he had Bill Stierle’s skills and done that. He still would have been facing an uphill battle, especially when you see how quickly Beto O’Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leapt into action to serve the public in different ways. AOC goes and raises at this point over $3 million to help the people of Texas. No matter what you do as Ted Cruz, if you didn’t do that, you’re in trouble.
Ted Cruz could have run a fundraising program to raise money for certain communities and showed up with trucks. Had trucks ready as the snow was cleared in order to get things ready. They could have liquidated generators and drop generators all over the place for all these community centers or high schools. This is where you come to get warm instead of, “We came here. The lines are around here, and we got turned away from the community center because that was full.” Not only is the infrastructure bad, but the infrastructure is bad to support the bad infrastructure. You don’t even have the backup. It’s PPE all over again. You’re not prepared for a pandemic and you’re not prepared for this. I was on a call with people in Idaho and they said, “We know how to do snow. Everything’s around snow. We know how to move snow. We had other things. We know how to get snow out of driveways. We know how to get our car out of there. We know how to run it because we know snow.” Texas doesn’t know snow. They have no idea what snow is like and stuff. The optics on AOC and Beto O’Rourke supporting people has made a big difference.
It shows their true intent. At least it appears that way. If it’s not the real problem, that is certainly a communication problem for Ted Cruz, because AOC and Beto O’Rourke are making people believe through their actions that they’re helping the people, and they’re trying to do the best to help them through the situation. They’re not just running to try to phone it in from Cancun because that’s more comfortable for them. Beto O’Rourke is from El Paso, Texas. We know that. Interestingly, I’ve learned also a lot about the Texas electric grid. The El Paso is different than the rest of Texas. It’s the one area of Texas that’s not a part of this isolated Texas Lone Star State grid. Because of that, they’re connected with New Mexico and Arizona and adjacent states. When they lost power, they lost it for a couple of hours, and it came back on because they could bring in electricity from other states. They’re much better off there in terms of the electricity issue, but this has been a real serious problem in Texas. I have friends in Texas. I know you and I both have people we know in Texas who have put videos on Facebook of empty grocery store shelves. It’s real what’s going on there.
That’s apocalyptic and unsettling because there’s nothing on the shelf. The hope is five days before that stuff comes back in, and you’ve got to hope that the snow melts. You don’t need to overstock or have a backup, but you need to figure out as a person of public service, what does my state need? If everything’s shut down, how much material do I need so that there’s not a blip for anywhere between ten days and two weeks? How much stuff do I need in storage for that? At least that. It’s not the thing hits, our pants are down, we’re freezing out here, and there’s no way to get it, and then everyone is rushing for water at a public park because they think it’s good. It’s the only place to get water because our pipes are frozen. It’s disheartening and unsettling.
This is interesting, public service versus self-service. It puts into focus what elected officials are supposed to be doing for their people that they represent.
What’s the job? Part of the job is to write laws. Part of the job is to represent the state to write the laws the way you would like to. Hopefully, it benefits your state or makes things better. It may not benefit your state, but it makes things better. Nobody in California wants to pay more taxes so that other states can get the support that they needed. Nobody in New York wants to say, “We are so glad to pay up $1.75 and we only get a dollar back, and $0.75 goes into helping the state of Mississippi or Alabama because they’ve got to make some changes and they’re doing some stuff to grow their economies. We’re going to tax our people to make it work.” It’s unsettling but that’s the value of the United States. The Texas grid is a great example of the nation of Texas treating itself as the nation of Texas. The nation of Texas voting to support the nation of Texas by low regulation, low taxes, leaning on infrastructure of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to get you through.We must always be mindful of who we are in today’s hyper exposure and teach ourselves how to be more compassionate and empathetic. Click To Tweet
You’re not in the United States and you’re not asking for help. Joe Biden came in with the disaster money in a timely way. There wasn’t the anticipation on whether or not there was going to be money to come in to help the people. There wasn’t any hesitancy as much. They talk through it. They talked through how much, what the support might be, what is the accurate contribution. It wasn’t like Puerto Rico going, “We’ll see how much we’re doing.” There wasn’t any level of support for the American citizens down there.
This is the exasperation that takes place when the service orientation of the politician and the political leader is different than their individual value sets. Some people are not doing the Republican thing anymore because it doesn’t match their values. That’s a big part of what’s happening in the Republican party. They’re walking on eggshells because we don’t want to tell the truth to the 73 million people who voted for Donald Trump. You’ve got to tell them the truth.
That is the struggle. We’re seeing the biggest example of that in Arkansas. The State Senator there, Jim Hendren, has made national news because he’s announced he’s leaving the Republican Party because it’s not maintaining the values that he’s believed in his whole life. He’s taking a stand saying, “I’m not going to follow the Republican Party who is all about loyalty to one guy, President Donald Trump.” There’s going to be a struggle because he was expected to run for governor. Who else is running for governor? Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former Press Secretary for Donald Trump who is a loyal Donald Trump supporter, and Donald Trump is already backing her. The current Governor, Asa Hutchinson who’s the uncle of Jim Hendren, has come out and said that he would not support President Donald Trump if he ran in 2024 again. You have these fissures opening up, and there is this power struggle going on in the Republican Party. It’s going to get worse for a long time before it gets better.
As Donald Trump activated the individuals that would have voted Republican anyways and armed them with tragic, violent narrative, that’s what he armed them with, “Here are the bad Americans, we are the good Americans.” When he armed them with sentences that were similar next to a comment that a person could take as racist, and another person says he didn’t mean it in a racist way, but it can be taken that way. What it does is it enlivens or emboldens that mindset. There’s a good reason why, in Germany, that the Nazi symbol is illegal. It’s a good reason. We don’t want that mindset and we’re not doing that mindset here. That mindset and that value set caused great suffering to take place to our people because that fascist ideology was traumatizing, tragic, shameful, and not healthy for us. That symbol, it’s not allowed. Will the Confederate flag get into that category for the United States? As a Floridian, I used to see it as a novelty piece because the Civil War happened so long ago that some people called it Dukes of Hazzard.
That was what was in my mind. I was going to bring that up. When I was a kid, that was one of my favorite TV shows. That flag was emblazoned on the roof of that car. In fact, the name of that car, the General Lee, is in alignment with that. That’s troubling. As a kid that’s 10, 11, 12 years old watching that show, you don’t understand that.
In my mind, “The General Lee, the Confederate flag. That person was the person that was fighting for his state and the economics of slavery, which is taking a group of people and make it work for free, not letting them go anywhere, and not have any freedom.” It is unsettling.
Interesting how all these things relate to each other, not directly. We’re not making a statement about Ted Cruz and the Confederate flag, but there are symbols and messages in service.
Service to the society, how do we want to serve the society? You and I, Tom, were not around when the foundations of slavery came about. We were not around when the Civil War took place. What we’re around is now. What does service, self-service, care for a nation, and collaboration look like? If Texas thinks of itself as a nation, which many Texans, Remember the Alamo, that’s what I have in my head as a belief structure. They have that mindset that we’re in this by ourselves. We are the Lone Star State. It’s already in there. We’re going to do our own thing here. The nation has provided space for that messaging and that identity to take place. Now they’ve got to look at themselves and go like, “We might be the Lone Star State. It was an interesting part of our history. Those other states around us, maybe we need to be more collaborative and cooperative regarding an energy grid, and we can still call ourselves the Lone Star State. Do we have to listen to their regulations?” “Yes, you’ve got to listen to the regulations.” “Do we have to upgrade our infrastructure so it matches their power grid?” “Yes, you’ve got to do that.” “That means we need to tax our people a little bit more?” “Yes, it’s a part of being in the collective in this space.”
I bet you, because it’s affected the entire state, there’s probably a majority of Texans who would be willing to have a little more regulation if that meant they get more stability in their electric grid and their water supply going forward, and don’t have problems like this come up again.
As the communication person, if I was a Democrat in Texas and running for that, I would start that message now. If you’re a Democrat and you’re reading this, it’s the messaging of how Texas can have the next level of safety and stability by working with the other states around us to support us as we support them. “Vote for me, and I am pursuing that because what happened with my opponent’s party, is that they didn’t care for their people.” You’ve got the whole thread of communication of, “I’m showing up for you, then things got better.” The hypersensitivity of things or the messaging is you’ve got to be mindful of that in the public setting. We see a pile of crap over there. We do our best not to step into it directly.
Some people say, “Why don’t you do it like Alex Jones or Rush Limbaugh, just step in the crap and then people get to rally behind you.” That’s an example of a short-term payoff, and then you get another short-term payoff. Meanwhile, you’ve got this crappy language narrative around you that you’ve got to go like, “I said that but I don’t mean it now.” You’re always arguing with your own integrity about the good reason why you’ve got the paycheck or got the followers. It’s going to be interesting to make sure that we take a look at languaging and being in touch with and being mindful that we are in a hyper place. We need to be more compassionate, more empathetic, use needs-based language to navigate through that. That’s what I teach people to do. That’s what you and I are working on to try to get this way of communicating out to the public, which is important.
It will improve a lot of people’s lives if they have those skills.
Next time Tom, because the pressure is so much on Zoom and recording, I know many people step their foot in the crap, and they’ve got to clean it up, maybe we take a look at how you message things when you’re communicating in a public way and have to take accountability. What is taking place is that people are not being held accountable over a long period of time. They’re being given a pass, and then they give a second pass, and they are given a third pass. Whereas Richard Nixon, for his part of it, was able to retire and go into being obscure and not say anything, and go away and live in that distant shame spot. This is a different time. People get to bounce back and come back and take another run. We need to take a look at how we clean things up and be back in alignment with integrity.
I look forward to continuing that discussion. Thank you so much.
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