Communication Counts

I recall the Mayor Richard J. Daley days, when signs about any Chicago project that was brag-able were placed before the eyes of the public. He never missed an opportunity for PR.

Somewhat more recently than that was the advent of payment of toll road tolls by the electronic gizmos that allow drivers to zip through toll plazas at highway speeds (“open road tolling”). Gone were the days of waiting in long lines to throw coins into the nickel grabber baskets. Huge signs above these gizmos touted that benefit as having been brought to us in Illinois by our foul-mouthed felon of a governor, Rod Blegojevich. His name greeted drivers every 7 miles or so. Blegojevich let us know that we owed it all to him. He got fine PR from that.

Have you seen any signs by today’s infrastructure projects? Any Biden bragging rights billboards at either end of the I-75 bridge over the Ohio River? Anything? Have you heard a constant drumbeat from Democrats touting all the Biden accomplishments that benefit ordinary Americans? Was there some touting of his good stuff before he announced his candidacy for 2024, as though PR is only important during campaign times?

If you want to know why both Republicans and Democrats obsessively focus on Biden’s age it’s because that’s all there has been to focus on. Word of his accomplishments seems to be that which must never be uttered.

From a practical perspective, it doesn’t matter if Biden can hop onstage like Obama did or whether he’s as charismatic as the orange carnival barker. Ultimately, what matters is what he does for our country and for individuals. But in truth, people don’t know how they’ve benefited from his leadership because they haven’t been told.

Regular readers of these posts know that I’ve long criticized Democrats and the DNC for their poor communication (see this). Republicans put snappy, visceral, repeatable messages that engage and often enrage and their voters show up on election day. Democrats put out policy statements that can cure insomnia. That just isn’t a winning strategy for them.

But that can be fixed and we can help: we can communicate.

Here’s a link to a list of some of the good things Biden has accomplished. When you hear criticism of him, especially the abuse he gets for having the audacity to continue to live, let people know about how they have and will benefit. Pass the word so that carping about his age isn’t all that people hear. And tell your elected officials to do the same in every pubic communication.

From Prof. Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters From an American” of July 11:

In contrast to Trump’s approach to U.S. foreign policy, Bo Erickson of CBS News noted today that Biden’s extensive foreign policy experience and personal appeal have enhanced U.S. credibility and moral authority, which is especially welcome after the previous administration undermined international alliances.

That’s about our national security, so communicate that.

Tommy We Hardly Know Ye – But We’re Catching On

The former head football coach of Auburn University, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), is so incensed about our military enabling travel for women’s reproductive health issues that he is filibustering all new appointments for leaders of our military services. That has dire consequences for our nation, the most urgent of which concerns our Marines.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has left his post, as his tour of duty there is over. Tuberville’s filibuster is preventing the Senate from confirming a new leader for the Marines, so for the first time in over 100 years the Corps is leaderless.

Tuberville doesn’t confide his deepest self with me, but I’m guessing that he is claiming his religious convictions against abortion are driving his behavior. Honestly, I don’t care about his convictions, except as they affect our nation with potentially devastating consequences, and that is what Tuberville is doing.

He is putting our nation at risk, not just by hobbling the Marines, but by blocking appointments to 269 of our highest military positions of leadership. That imperils our national security, all so that Tuberville can thump his bible at the nation and suck up to haters and dividers – now for more than 7 months. And there’s more.

Tuberville refuses to denounce White nationalists, calling them “true Americans.” He refuses to acknowledge that White nationalism is expressly racist. He’s had multiple opportunities, but he steadfastly stands by the haters. Gotta wonder what it must have been like to have been a Black football player at Auburn and have to call him coach. Worse, we now have to call him Senator.

This post is about communication, so what is Tuberville communicating to you and to all of us?

Watch Steve Schmidt’s take on Tuberville.

American Memory

I watched the January 6 insurrection – the attempt to take down our government and take over our country – with the the same horror as nearly all Americans. I remember yelling at the TV, “Where the hell is the National Guard?” It wasn’t until much later that the answer came. The Guard wasn’t charging over the hill to the Capitol Building because Trump and his administration had prevented them from coming to the rescue. Do you remember that?

The reason I ask is because we Americans of short attention span allow our focus to be diverted by the outrage du jour. It’s so easy to no longer feel the imperative of that dire moment of needing to stop the extremists. That leads us to drop our guard and that leaves us and our democracy vulnerable.

Dozens of faithless senators and representatives who moved to block the peaceful transfer of power on January 6, 2021 are still in Congress, so keep your focus steady. Those of the extremist minority are still working to take over our country and take away your rights, your freedom and your democracy.

That’s my communication, because stopping the bad guys and preserving and strengthening our democracy will take ALL OF US.

Today is a good day to be the light.


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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2 Responses to Communication Counts
  1. David L Lindgren Reply

    Amazing insights, Jack. And will others who read your column wake up and send your responses.
    “Stopping the bad guys” can consume our reactive energies. “Supporting the good guys” as you did here for Biden will take more cumulative energy to get behind his efforts to get re-elected. Please everyone forward Jack’s Disambulation contributions.

  2. Jim Altschuler Reply

    Despite Biden’s speech writers’ inability to help him communicate well and convey the benefits, there is one person in the administration who demonstrates regularly the ability to do that well: Vice-President Kamala Harris. She has been beating the drum for Biden and the administration weekly on Facebook, often multiple times weekly, touting their accomplishments and the benefits thereof. Maybe his writers can get tutoring from Ms. Harris’.