Fair and Balanced

salon.com writer Simon Maloy recently submitted some eloquent prose about Fox’s bias.  I couldn’t stop laughing reading about how Trump went in for the “Deluxe Hannitization Package” to explain away his outbursts against Judge Curiel for not giving him a free pass on the Trump University investigation.

It doesn’t seem to matter which show you watch, the format is the same.  The moderator hack invites two guests on for a debate.  It rages on for about 5 minutes 2 on 1.

Fair and Balanced.  They even have it trademarked.



Leave a comment

Managing Uncertainty

The vast majority of company training I’ve taken over my 36 year career has been a pretty big waste of time.  However, every once in a while you run across a teacher you connect with and the take-aways really stick.

One such class was a an all day management class required by Tektronix by Dr. Ralph Katz.  It’s been so many years ago, I don’t recall what the name of the class, but he basically took us through the main points of his book The Human Side of Managing Technical Innovation.

Dr. Katz’s main points were all centered around managing uncertainty where;

uncertainty == bad

This point resonated with me personally, especially as it related to my years in the High Tech Industry prior to management.  High Tech is cyclical.  Today’s Google is tomorrow’s AOL.  You are never ‘set’ because change is happening so fast.  Combine this general trend with being in aerospace and printers while trying to provide stability for a family of 5, and  what you get is a fairly stressful situation because you’re always looking over your shoulder for the next round of cuts – wondering if you should’ve signed up for that 30 year mortgage or not.   Sleepless nights and overtime are a way of life.

I was a new manager at the time I took this class.  I was eager to try to be a good one in the sense of understanding the human side of the job and getting the most out of people because they were motivated as a team, not because of fear tactics.

When people are worried about their jobs on a daily basis and uncertainty is a way of life, some powers that be seem to think this is a good thing as far as squeezing more productivity out of people.  So what if they are scared, we got more done and met our goals.  What I’ve experienced is the opposite.

For 12 years at Xerox from 2000-20012, we were under constant pressure of cuts.  This is not the fault of management.  It had more to do with industry trends and decline of the printed page, but it was the hand we were dealt.  Senior management did make some horrendous mistakes along the way, but in general, it was just being in the wrong industry at the wrong time.

Be that as it may, Xerox is a big company.  They are spread over multiple continents and management chose a ‘distributed’ model for software development, which brings its own set of challenges.  In my role I had to collaborate with teams in Rochester, NY as well as Welwyn Garden City, UK, as well as 2 sites in India.  Apart of the time-zone challenges, the biggest challenges was, as Dr. Katz so adeptly pointed out in his book, managing uncertainty across these sites.

What management failed to recognize was that ‘team’ collaboration across sites in different organization was a recipe for territorial battles.  And we had them in spades.  Because of the back-drop of uncertainty in the workplace, peoples’ actions aligned first with protecting their site, and second towards team.  Oftentimes this was hidden in very subtle ways, but nevertheless, it explained a lot of behaviors I saw.

Here’s where Dr. Katz’s message could have been employed for much better results, but it was not.  Management failed to recognize the very existence of the territorial battles because they were worried about them themselves.  I often wondered what different results would have been possible had a Sr. Manager sent one email , genuine in nature, that set peoples’ minds at ease on the uncertainty question, and motivated everyone to work as a true team without the worry of territorial loss.

I do not think this was asking management to promise people that their jobs were certain.  Everyone knew they were not.  But a simple e-mail to let everyone know that hey, we need you to get these 3 things done as soon as possible, and nobody is going anywhere for the next 6 months for sure.  Let’s work hard together and get it done.  It’s not a message of relaxation, or promising things not possible.

Instead the rumor mill was always in full force, often at times when there was nothing to worry about.  This is not when people able to be their most productive selves.

I remember one time in particular when a rumor mill was hot for 3 months about an upcoming layoff.  The rumor was true, but at the end of the day they only laid off 10 people from our site of 1500 people.  That’s less than 1%.  There didn’t need to be that much fear and loathing over a < 1% cut.  I’m actually of the belief that most companies should go through and trim out the bottom 5% of performers as a matter of course, just to get rid of the dead weight.  Addition by subtraction and it’s good for business and morale.  But because they chose to be poor communicators and run a major clandestine operation of much-ado-about-nothing, a bunch of people ran scared who didn’t need to.

Another of Dr. Katz’s messages had to do with ‘what goes around comes around’.  For the better part of the last 2 decades, a poor economy has given corporations the upper hand when it comes to employee retention.  It’s not like we had a ton of options to move around for higher salaries, so attrition has remained relatively low.  That’s how it is right now, but it’s not always that way.

I remember in the 1990’s having an extremely difficult time getting the right people hired. They simply had too many offers on the table.  In my 36 years at this, I’ve only was one time in the late 1990’s where the management team had to huddle up with HR and have a serious discussion about retention.  People were leaving for startups and the impact was large.  Schedules were being missed. But it can happen and the tides may be shifting.  I’m starting to see more movement now than in previous years and funny enough, it’s not always about money.  A big factor is work environment and indirectly, level of certainty.

I exited management about 3 1/2 years ago and I do not miss it.  My favorite aspect of it for the 15 years I was in it was college recruiting, and there’s so little hiring that even that is not much of an attraction to get back in.  But I can’t help but remember Dr. Katz’s message as I see managers attempt to rule by intimidation and employ fear tactics.

At the end of the day, high tech workers don’t like to be treated like employees of U.S. Steele.  Often times when we do, what management gets is clock-punchers who aren’t motivated to care about their project beyond work hours.







Leave a comment

Doubling down on bigotry

I have this friend Mike, who aligns himself with conservatives.  Good guy, just has different ideas than I do about what will work in politics.  A while back I made a sarcastic post on Facebook – something to do with the GOP and he replied “Don’t be a hater!”

You see that a lot of comments like this on web from both sides.  “Haters suck.”  Well, he’s right, they do.

I got him back today when he posted a comment about how entertaining it will be to watch Hillary get prosecuted.  Touché.  I only mention this because this post isn’t intended to be about hating on Republicans.  Nah, haters suck.  I agree.

This is more of a general observation about logic that escapes me.

I must admit one of my favorite television viewing experiences was right after the 2012 election when the pundits who predicted a GOP landslide were caught with their pants down on live TV.  As a result, some aren’t even welcome to opine on Fox anymore.  Dick Morris for example, has moved on to history documentaries and is nowhere to be seen.  Karl Rove’s “…but, but, but, it’s not over yet in Ohio” while Megyn Kelly held the microphone in his face was well, just too much entertainment to ask for.  I believe the word for this is schadenfreude.  Not one of my better traits, but at least I’m honest about it.

After a week or so came the GOP post-mortem.  I remember it clearly.  The failure to attract a higher percentage of the Latino vote was key to Romney’s loss.  Obama won the Latino vote 71% to 27% and worse for the GOP, this is a growing demographic they have to deal with in future elections.

We heard a lot of talk about “making a wider tent” and having policies that will attract Latinos to the Republican party as the strategy that will be addressed for 2016.

Well, that didn’t last long.

Enter the increasing influence of talk radio on the electorate.  Hosts like Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are inside the Tea Partiers’ heads.  The post-mortem strategy lasted about 5 minutes before the rally cries for deporting 14 million illegals back to Mexico!  That should play well with Latinos.

Now the top 2 delegate winners in Iowa are non-establishment candidates who signed on to this philosophy.  The establishment is cringing because Rove and Priebus both know that this is a disaster waiting to happen and there’s nothing they can do about it.  The religious right and tea partiers have hijacked the Republican party.

Perhaps the best part is, it doesn’t stop there.  Donald Trump throws insults at women and Muslims as if he can win the general election with the white-male vote.  How does someone who is so poor at math become a billionaire?  Curious minds want to know.

As far as I can tell, the adjusted strategy, instead of luring the Latino vote, the GOP is now focused on placing tighter restrictions on voter registration and gerrymandering.  We’ll see how this turns out.

I became an Independent right after we entered the first Gulf War and I witnessed the US and Iraqi governments rounding up Baath party members for a visit to the slammer ( or worse ).  After that I decided, who needs a party?   I don’t want my name on that card.  What if the guy ( or gal ) does something really stupid?  Like drop an atomic bomb on a foreign county?  Guilty by association?  Maybe.

I say this because I, like a lot of people have grown weary from the political dynasties of Clinton and Bush.  Apart from their legal troubles which I opined on here, I like Hillary as a candidate.  She’s a very smart woman.  And I think she’d fight for the middle class far more than anyone on the GOP side would.  But she’s too cozy with the super pac donors and I think that taints any candidate.  That’s why I’m rooting for Bernie Sanders in this election.  The biggest selling point for me is the average donation of $27, and not taking money from super pacs.

Bernie is seen as about as far left as you can get, but just because I support his candidacy doesn’t mean that I endorse massive government spending.  On the contrary.  I’d like to see all departments reviewed annually for places to tighten up.  There’s a ton of wasteful spending, there’s no doubt about that.  There’s plenty of blame to go around for this on both sides of the aisle.  Democrats for allowing too many handouts unchecked, and Republicans for not closing loop-holes that ensure the rich get richer while the rest of us battle for the crumbs.

I’m not hating on Republicans here, just pointing out the irony of the post-mortem analysis from 2012 and wondering where it went.





Leave a comment

Donald Trump

There really isn’t much point spending a lot of energy debating whether Donald Trump is qualified or deserving of the GOP nomination.  Of course he won’t be the nominee.  Any sane person can see this.

What I know about the media tells me that they love to build people up and then watch them come crashing down.  Let’s face it, the media has never seen a candidate with an ego this big.  Never.  It’s a once in a lifetime event.

So far this primary has been about giving Trump ample opportunity to put his enormous ego on display so that when he gets beaten in the primaries, the networks will win the ratings game again by being able to air Trump pounding sand at his loss.  Looking forward to an entertaining show.


Leave a comment

The Slow Boat to Authentic Self for a Product of the 70’s

For someone who wasn’t there, it’s hard to describe what it meant to grow up in the 1970’s.  There was definitely a feeling of being a part of an anti-establishment, anti Vietnam war era movement.  I think half the time we didn’t really know what we were against but if it felt like it was coming from the establishment, we were against it.  If Laugh-In or the Smothers Brothers made fun of it, then it must be bad.  Watergate and bringing down the Nixon machine was a huge victory for the little guy.

There was an incredibly common theme to the music of the day, which had a strong message of a younger generation taking over.  Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers, Aerosmith, Elton John, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Fleetwood Mac, The Bee Gees, Billy Joel, and Steely Dan were all sending strong anti-establishment messages with their lyrics and incredible song writing.  With only a few stations to listen to, these bands had the monopoly on the message and it was powerful.

The kids I knew aspired to get out of the house at 18 and be independent no matter what. The hip ‘thing to do’ after turning 18 was to get in a van, travel the country for a year or so and work odd jobs along the way.  Let’s get this independence thing started with a bang.   Very few of my peers were able to actually do this, but at the time it was talked about as a legitimate plan.

One of the worst fates it seemed, was to be stuck living at home with your parents under their oppression.  Since about age 12, I had already decided there was no way I was ever going to let that happen to me. Ever. I had resolved to grow up fast and get out. It was understood that this probably meant living poor for a time. So be it. Not a deterrent in the slightest. I’ll eat peanut butter and jelly every day if I have to.

One of my older sisters got engaged at age 16 and was on the fast track to independence. I looked up to her in this regard and while it wasn’t a competition to see who could get married the youngest, I was definitely envious of her approach to getting out of the house early with the ability to make her own decisions.

I was a somewhat rebellious teen. Not horrible, but definitely not on board with my parents’ ideals which included ( for a time ) private school, mandatory church attendance ( and I mean mandatory ), and somewhat higher expectations around behavior and appearance, some of which could be traced back to the teachings of Catholicism.

Looking back, the expectations weren’t really that high. I did okay in school, I guess.  I’m a lifetime 3.2 student at all levels.  Trying for an A was usually more effort than I was willing to put out but sometimes I’d surprise myself and go for it.

I’m actually very thankful for certain aspects of my upbringing.  For one thing, being a part of the private school culture instilled a stronger sense of conscience than I might have had.  There’s a little bit of a work ethic message that came with it that has served me well in my adult years, though I didn’t value it much at the time.

With regard to rebellion, the two biggest rules that ranked on me the most were the control over my haircut and ( a crew-cut for about the first 10 years ), and the mandatory church attendance. As a parent, I get where they were coming from now, but at the time I was livid — and both were non-negotiable.

I make it sound like my parents were demanding task-masters.  They were not.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  They actually had a strong vision of what they considered the family framework and that included a lot of fun and laughter.  Dad was a hilarious entertainer and my golfing buddy.  Mom was always there for me when I needed it most.  Once I got to know them better as an adult, I came to find out they were actually quite liberal-minded when it came to social justice issues.

Punishment was pretty rare and I can’t think of a single time I got some when I didn’t fully deserve it.  It’s just that the vision had to fit inside this particular framework and that was a challenge for me.  As it turned out, a really big challenge.

Tied in with this was the culture of the 60’s and 70’s where long hair was a big deal. And I mean BIG DEAL. Walking to school with a crew-cut immediately excluded you from any kind of cool kid group. You weren’t hip. Your parents obviously had control over you and you came from one of those ‘strict’ families. Bummer for you. Yes, bummer indeed. And you’re reminded of it every single day.

So sophomore year of high school I meet this really nice girl from more of a blue-collar family. Her dad was a mechanic. They camped a lot, liked to hunt, fish, and all of that. I genuinely liked those things too but I think in the back of my mind dating her and joining this family culture was another piece of the rebellion pie. We got along well, but at the same time it was a statement to the rest of the family that I am my own man. Back off. I’m going in this direction and it’s not what you may have had in mind for me, but too bad. And indeed there was nothing they could do about it. I liked that aspect of it. It wasn’t all about rebellion, I genuinely loved her and enjoyed being with her family.  But with the benefit of hindsight, part of it was.

We got married during Spring break of my freshman year of college.  I was 19, a student and part-time janitor. She was 18 and worked full-time to support my education. It wasn’t a snap decision.  We didn’t ‘have to’ get married. We chose to. We were a pretty unusual case, even for 1979. We had been dating for 4 years.

The early years of the marriage were a little challenging financially, but I don’t recall feeling like we didn’t have enough.  We started a family right away and moved to the Everett Washington area. I remember being pretty happy. It was an exciting time. New job at Boeing. Out on my own. Life was good.

Somewhere along the way though, I started to realize I had gone down this particular path for the wrong reasons. It was clear we were two very different people who were raised in two very different family situations. When you have kids ( we had 3 ), you automatically have something in common and often times that alone can be enough to keep a marriage together. In our case, it was — for 27 years. But about 12 years into the marriage I realized I am not being honest with myself here. I am not able to be my authentic self – and neither was she.  That’s very frustrating for both people.

What does it mean to ‘be your authentic self’?  I like the definition which states “Living a life that is in tune with who you were created to be.”  Contrast that with fictional self:  “When you live a life in which you are not faithful to your authentic self, you find yourself feeling incomplete, as if there is a hole in your soul.”

Part of this is simply feeling like you fit in.  In Oregon we have this vast culture divide between people who live East of the Cascade Mountain range, and people who live in the valley.  West of the mountains we defined by liberal politics, especially in Multnomah County.  East of the Mountains, where her family was from, it’s far more conservative.

I remember visiting family east of the mountains and struggling to fit in at times.  I’ve spent the vast majority of my career in various roles of the software industry — from Software Engineer to Manager to Software Engineer again.  By trade I can’t help but be an Irish software geek.

So try being out with the guys in Central Oregon and Bob over there is talking about how he just replaced the tranny in his truck  but it still has a little slippage.  And the compression wasn’t quite right so he had to take the head off and adjust the pistons.

What have you been up to, Bill?  “Well, I fixed a really tricky timing problem between hardware and software on a Flight Controls box between the air speed signal and the new ASIC.  And it took 3 days in the debugger to figure it out.”  [ Stares ].  “Cool.”

Top that off with the fact that as a mechanic, I am a klutz.  The stories are legendary.  I packed the wheel bearings in my truck one time and the front wheel came off going over Mt. Hood.  And I had my wife and 3 month old daughter in the truck.  No one was hurt, thankfully.  Her Dad came to the rescue and bailed us out big-time.

Another challenge for me was that as I had decided to just “be” my authentic self and let the chips fall where they may, I got more vocal about politics.  I have never, nor will I ever, understand how conservatives buy into trickle-down economic theory.  I couldn’t keep my mouth shut at the irony of voting against one’s self interests and this led to quite a bit of additional friction.  It starts off as friendly banter, but if you’re not careful ( and I was not ), it can escalate.  At the end of the day it simply exposes family differences that are nearly impossible to reconcile while keeping some semblance of your authentic self.

If there’s any fault to be assigned here, it clearly goes to me because I’m the one who changed. She stayed true to who she is. I am the one who bait and switched and I’m sure that was very hard for her. It’s my fault if fault needs to be assigned. In my defense, I was a naive teenager.

As hard as divorce is, this one has a happy ending because we both met and married a partner who is far more accepting of our authentic selves. I couldn’t be happier for her and her new husband and I’m sure she feels the same way about Donna and I.

What a great thing it is, to be able to get up every morning and be your authentic self.

To be able to think out loud unfiltered and still be accepted and understood.  To be hanging with your peeps who get you.  To be able to pursue what floats your boat without fear of judgment.  To not have to feel like you’re walking on egg-shells around family.

And for every benefit I just listed for myself, the exact same thing is true for her.  It’s freedom.  It’s the difference between waking up everyday wondering why you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole vs. being excited about what lies ahead.

Joining the dating pool in 2007, after being out of it for 30 years was an interesting experience.  I get a kick out of the profiles on match.com where people put forth the impression that they offer a thrill a minute.  We’ll be rock climbing, jet skiing, para-sailing and running marathons when we aren’t traveling to Istanbul.  I knew better than that.

My main requirement was that this time around: I get to be my authentic self.  As it turns out, on the very first date with Donna we had sort of an a-ha moment where we both declared we are not going to settle.  For me, that was #1.  Neither one of us needed to be married.  We were doing fine single, thank-you very much.  I knew this was a very good starting point.  And it was.  But that’s a blog post for another day.

Authentic Self.  Yep.  I’m in favor of being who you are and not trying to be someone you’re not.

Leave a comment


One of our jobs as parents is to expose our kids to a wide variety of experiences so that hopefully they find something that floats their boat and can run with it later on in life.  My parents did a good job in this area.  Maybe too good.  With the notion of having a well-rounded child, I was exposed to football, basketball, baseball, golf, music, cross-country, ping-pong, woodworking, writing, computing, ham radio, and of course, being a Ducks fan.

I enjoyed them all immensely — which can be a problem.

What happens when you enjoy too many things?  You can find yourself in the situation where you desperately want to become expert level at something and then realize you’re not and probably never will be.

I’m mediocre at best at a lot of things.  Simply not enough hours in the day. I find that even truer in my 6th decade as I try to keep up with technology.  The list of languages and technologies I need to keep up with is long.  I would love to an expert at all of the scripting languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, and Perl6 now that it’s been released, but I basically have to work 2 jobs to get there.  My day job affords very little time to study and play without interruptions.  Oh, and I need to learn Java, Javascript, Groovy, HTML5, Ansible, Docker, and Gradle.  Some of these I need in my tool-bag as of last week.  I left off Objective C, Scala, and becoming more seasoned at vimscript because I just don’t see how there’s any way I’ll ever get to these things, much as I’d like to.

One of the a-ha moments came as I looked over my bookshelf and realized I have about 40 books where I haven’t read past the first chapter.  It’s nice to have the reference, but sadly, just owning the book doesn’t mean you know the subject.  Similar story with music that I’ve purchased.  Tons of books where I’ve had good intentions of expanding my playing in either guitar or piano,  but it’s all been a mirage that there’s free time available to do these things.

Looking back, there have been a few times when I’ve really — I mean really focused in on a goal and done myself proud.  I can think of a few things I’ve built that turned out pretty good.  The summer of 1990 I had a singular goal in mind — run the Portland Marathon and I stuck to it and finished in 3:44.  Not bad for a guy who has never been mentioned in the same sentence with the word fast.  It took some pretty good focus to get some songs written and produced.

I think the thing is, if you have my personality type, then you have to really want it or else you’re easily distracted from your goals.   I recall a humorous bit of satire from my childhood – ( I used to be regular reader of M.A.D. magazine ) where they were having fun with the evolution of New Years resolutions.

  • 1973: I’m going to read 10 good books this year
  • 1974: I’m going to read 5 good books this year
  • 1975: I’m going to finish ‘Airport’

Which brings me to thinking about a bucket list.  Great concept this bucket list.  Write down some things you’d like to do before the one’s expiration date comes into play.

Do I have time to write and record an album, invent a music practice app for the iPhone, become a runner again, save enough money for retirement, write a book and travel all the places I want to go?  Seems unlikely.

But hopefully I’ll develop some mojo to attack a few of these items in earnest so that my legacy won’t be that I sat around and watched a bunch of Duck games.

The current thinking is to just go with whatever moves me in the moment and don’t over think it.  Just go with it.  But do SOMETHING!  Okay, I’m over-thinking it now…

Leave a comment

Uncovering the Pillars of the Fox Strategy

This may surprise some people, but I actually DVR the O’Reilly Factor and watch as much as I can stomach.  I am fascinated to see the overall strategy of Roger Ailes play out in the segments of Fox’s #1 ‘News’ program.   It’s no secret that Fox has a conservative agenda that serves as an arm of the Republican party, but you have to watch a considerable number of shows to figure out the exact strategy; to fully understand what the Sr. Execs must be talking about behind closed doors.

The most obvious piece of the strategy is to smear Hillary and marginalize Sanders. Hence the steady diet of Benghazi and private e-mail server segments as well as making sure they mischaracterize democratic socialism by associating it with failed socialist governments in history.  They intentionally make this false association, knowing 90% of their viewers are either extremely gullable or too lazy to look it up.  I’d say about 50% of the show is devoted to smearing the Democratic party.  If it’s election season, they target specific candidates.  It’s clear they especially hate Hillary.  When the general election comes around, expect massive amounts of air time to be devoted to Hillary and ‘trust’. 

The second pillar of the strategy is to employ fear tactics.  We see a fair number of segments making the case that all the chaos in the world is President Obama’s fault and that this is Jimmy Carter all over again.  When Democrats hold the White House, we are weak on defense.  We require a strong leader or else more chaos will ensue.  Recall from the 1980 election, fear mongering played a big part in Reagan’s victory.  The Iranians were bossing us around making us look bad with those hostages and that just wasn’t acceptable to old Ronnie-boy.  So a key piece of his platform was a stronger defense.  No SDI program was too far fetched or too expensive for these guys and on the credit card it went. Never mind the facts or how we got here, a bunch of scary stuff has happened on Obama’s watch, so it must be his fault.  Reagan would have never let this happen.

Recently O’Reilly allocated a few segments to analyze the Democratic debates held in Las Vegas.  His chief complaint has been about the lack of questions about ISIS by Anderson Cooper.  In order for the Republicans to have a shot at the White House in 2016, Ailes and Fox understand that Americans must fear that ISIS is only minutes from our doorstep.  They must paint Clinton and/or Sanders as pacifists, unwilling to send troops to confront this threat directly.   This plus the idea that Democrats are muslim sympathizers, plotting to take away your guns represents the basic tenants of the fear package they have worked up. To their credit it works pretty well in certain parts of the country.

In order to be somewhat objective here, I will say that the private e-mail scandal rises to an unprecedented level of stupidity for a Secretary of State.  Anyone who has ever applied for a security clearance or worked in a secure area can tell you that Federal agencies have zero sense of humor about the slightest violation of classified information and the threat of jail time is always hanging over your head.  It’s a rather uneasy feeling actually because of the consequences that could play out over an honest mistake,  And that’s just for your average Joe Blow worker with a ‘secret’ clearance.  Serious investigations are routine for any worker who accidentally leaves a thumb drive in the wrong place.   They don’t just treat it like an oops.  This isn’t grade school, it’s about National Security.

So now we have the former Secretary of State thinking that a private e-mail server is an acceptable idea in the first place?   Really?  I’m going to multi-task a little using a server installed by the boys down at Geek Squad? 

These leaders are supposed to be setting the standard and leading by example with classified information.  It can’t work to have Sr. Execs thumbing their noses at the rules and expecting average Joe to risk going to jail if they make an honest mistake.  I’m afraid this was a pretty big boner on Hillary’s part and that she may well pay a big price for it if the investigation shows she was playing fast and loose with the highest classified information in the country.  Not okay in this writer’s opinion.   Sorry Hillary but that could cost you the nomination.  Dumb.

With that said, one of the reasons Fox has to go into attack mode is that the Republicans don’t have an issues candidate that has anything new to offer.  Nobody is selling anything except the same old retread ideas from Reagan’s trickle down theory that brought on at least 1/2 of the 19 trillion in debt they like to complain about.  So there’s no ‘there’ there to talk about.  Vote for me because I will cut your taxes and am tougher on defense.  I will kick ass on any country that messes with the idea of American exceptionalism.

I’ve often argued that if the Republicans could offer up a moderate with a pulse, they would have all three branches of government.  The party has veered so far right however, this seems unlikely.  The inmates have taken over the asylum and are dominating the airwaves.  Trump, Carson and Fiorina lead the polls.  More moderate choices like Kasich can barely muster 10 minutes of debate time to get his message across while they let Trump offend women and minorities with the limited time available.  Yet Kasich is exactly the type of candidate who might appeal to more moderate, undecided Democrats and certainly Independents.  If he were to win the nomination, it would be a real race against Hillary or Bernie.  But you can put money on the fact that the Tea Party will likely snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again by being obtuse.

As far as I can tell, the strategy is time sliced this way:

  • 50% Pick on Hillary.  These usually include a selected conservative babe of the week.  They rotate through a few of them but whoever it is is usually debating Kirstin Powers.  Kirstin represents the left about as effectively as Allan Combs did on Hannity and Combs.
  • 30% Fear mongering if a Democrat is elected, ISIS will take over your city tomorrow! ( usually Charles Krauthammer weighs in on these matters, but it also is Karl Rove ).
  • 10% Poor attempts at humor Dennis Miller is the most unfunny comedian on the planet.  Gutfeld and McGirk and slightly better but that’s not saying much.
  • 10% O’Reilly patting himself on the back, bragging about his books, his show rating, and offering us a Tip of the Day

There you have it.  I’ve reverse engineered the formula for the time-slicing of The O’Reilly factor.

I’ll leave you with a bit of humor from this evening’s show.  Ed Henry, the White House correspondent for Fox, tried to use the logic that Democrats are offering a weak field versus the Republicans because “we have all these choices.”

That’s the same logic that might conclude that the buffet line at The Golden Corral is better than dinner at The Heathman Hotel.

Leave a comment