Thursday, August 1, 2019

Debate #1 | Lefsetz Letter

Delivery trumps ideas.

This is why Roger Ailes was so powerful. He realized politics was show business. Fox was exciting to watch, irrelevant of the content. He didn’t necessarily put on the best talent, but the talent that would interest and intrigue the viewers most. Megyn Kelly was a superstar on Fox, she was a failure on NBC. And speaking of show business, why in the hell was this debate so long? At the end, the only people watching were reporters. Who will then frame the issues for the public, oftentimes incorrectly.

Give Bernie Sanders credit for pushing back on the questioners. That’s right, they were taking Republican talking points, putting the candidates on the defensive. It’s time for Democrats to lead.

But first they must be stars.

Talk to any big time music exec. Talent is abundant, but is the act a STAR? Don’t forget they call it show BUSINESS, which means it’s all about selling, and if people don’t buy, you’re toast.

Like my buddy John Hickenlooper. His delivery was execrable, his speech was halting. Whereas Marianne Williamson evidenced some kind of weird charisma, you can see why she became a cult hero, not that her campaign will have any legs.

The process started with a presentation by Steve Bullock. He was totally together, he delivered the best introductory speech. But as the show, and it was a show, wore on, there was something off about him. His fake smile bugged me, but Felice nailed it, he was CONDESCENDING! You’ve got to be likable first and foremost.

Buttigieg hesitated, like he didn’t have his coffee. What he had to say was good, his closing speech was one of the best, but he never delivered that energy, he didn’t seem ready for prime time.


Bernie’s a rock star. The only problem is rock is dead. What are the odds that Bruce Springsteen will have a number one pop single today? NONEXISTENT! Times have changed, even if Springsteen has not. That’s always a question, whether you change with the times, but in music if you move towards what’s popular, you undercut your credibility, your hard core fans abandon you, you end up in purgatory, waiting for the next hit, which might never come.

Bernie’s act is not new. He broke in 2016. Like Elvis Costello. Someone unknown who arrived fully-formed selling a new and different product. Sure, Bernie was around forever, so maybe he’s more like the local band that makes it big, after thousands of gigs. This is why Buttigieg failed, he hasn’t been in the game long enough. And the system worked against Bernie in 2016, the DNC wanted Hillary. Bernie was FM when the DNC wanted AM.

But now everybody’s on FM. And this is what the DNC does not understand.

If Bernie is long in the tooth, if we’ve seen his act, Elizabeth Warren is totally new, it’s the first time around for her. If she doesn’t get the nomination and tries to run in 2024, it won’t work, timing is everything, and her time is NOW!

Forget about Kamala. She attacked Biden and when you got down to the nitty gritty of busing, it was complicated and it turned out Kamala and Biden were pretty much on the same page. Kamala is like Katy Perry. She can deliver someone else’s hits, she’s got the seasoning, but deep down inside there is NOTHING!

Of course I’m exaggerating, but never forget, this nomination battle is basically a cartoon, where you put forth an exaggerated image of yourself.

As for Biden… He’s like an oldies act from the fifties. Old people might be interested in reliving the past, young people don’t even know who he is!

Times have changed. And only Bernie and Elizabeth are acknowledging it with star power.

As for everybody else… Who cared what they had to say, it was delivered so poorly. Klobuchar’s act might work in Minnesota, but it’s not ready for prime time, not with a national audience. Ditto on Delaney, who inhabits a charisma-free zone. You want nothing to do with him. He resembles nothing so much as the fat cat businessmen making deals behind closed doors…WHICH HE USED TO BE!

So after delivery, after star power, it comes down to vision..

Bernie told us what was wrong, but his perspective was not cohesive, he’d attack the wrongdoers, but would he give us hope, would we be able to believe in him?

It always comes down to hope. I mention for the umpteenth time the movie “Milk.” Milk killed his opponent in the debate for state office, but his opponent wasn’t worried, he told Milk he would lose because he offered no hope!

Elizabeth Warren offers hope.

Yup, she’s won the nomination, it’s over.

Bernie and she are flip sides of the same coin. It’s just that she’s younger and fresher and can articulate her position better. She’s got experience fighting the bad guys, and she’s gonna do it again! Watching her you have no doubt she’s on your side.

Mayor Pete had one thing right…it’s about excitement. And we haven’t had that spirit here for a very long time.

It’s like the Dems in power don’t understand that new people are being born every day, they think they know everything and will rule forever, but this is patently untrue. The young ‘uns are ready for their seat at the table.

And the truth is all sides are sick of D.C. Not only the paralysis, but the business as usual, the belief that it’s a club for career politicos in cahoots with fat cat corporations. Unless you’re fighting this, you will get no traction.

What I loved about Warren, and Bernie too, is they did not back down. Oh, it’d be so easy, when wankers like Tom Friedman, married to a zillionaire himself, are worried about Medicare for All. Do you want to solve the problem or do you want to remain in the quagmire? That’s the question both Bernie and Elizabeth are asking.

Only the fat cats working their union jobs, those who have theirs already, are worried about Medicare for All. But the truth is there are no unions for gig workers. The Republicans eviscerated unions and then Bill Clinton moved right, especially on welfare, doing what was expedient as opposed to what was right, and that’s how we ended up here.

You’ve got to believe in something. Everybody does. But not in politicians.

That’s what Trump had right. He knew it was show business, he knew the game was rigged, and he promised to upset the apple cart. Forget the white supremacy, forget his faux pas as President, ASK WHAT GOT HIM ELECTED!

Trump reinvented the game, proffered a solution, and as a result the Democrats didn’t win.

Oh, don’t tell me that Hillary got more votes, who cares, it’s about the Electoral College!

You don’t beat Trump by tearing him down, but by putting forth an alternative path, a plan, which Warren has dozens of.

And their content is secondary to the fact that she’s done the hard work, she’s ready to go for it, she’s prepared, as opposed to Tim Ryan, who looked like he took the wrong door onto the stage! He was like a deer in the headlights, why in the hell did he think he could become President?

Stars are both born and made. But the ones who are born are always bigger. And if you start with someone with the raw material and then give them a push…the sky’s the limit!

But all the tried and true Democrats can do is tear Bernie and Elizabeth down. Like the wannabes hating online, they wish they were there instead, but they weren’t willing to do the hard work and lay it all on the line.

And the biggest, most successful musical stars are always those on the bleeding edge with rough edges. Come on, you’ve got to give Billie Eilish credit for wearing baggy clothing when every pop star has a fashion line. She doesn’t want to be categorized, looked at that way, and that resonates with the rank and file, and the rank and file are everything. Don’t forget the pundits and insiders only get one vote apiece, yours is just as powerful, and their main goal is to keep their jobs, that supersedes doing them. And once you’re in the club, it’s hard to get rid of you. So now we’ve got outsiders like Sanders and Warren and the club doesn’t like it, they’re bullying them!

But all opinion writers and pundits can do is point out flaws, they’re not in the vision business.

But Bernie and Elizabeth are, and that’s what the PUBLIC wants!

It’s not so difficult if you understand the game. All those experienced governors and congresspeople on stage… They did not even realize they weren’t ready for prime time, they didn’t even realize they weren’t stars. They were like the people moving to L.A. to make it and then finding out how hard that is. You’ve got to look good, make relationships, and when you get your chance, YOU DELIVER!

And only four people did that tonight.

There’s Bullock, who should have shut up after his opening number. He’s too fake, too old school, and that’s over. Middle of the road has no longevity.

And Williamson is just too far out there. She has no constituency.

So it comes down to Bernie and Elizabeth.

And it’s Elizabeth Warren’s time. She was emphatic, she was not mealy-mouthed, she owned her positions, she bit back… Remind you of someone? TRUMP! Only Warren’s style is more endearing and she’s more experienced and right.

Don’t tell me it’s about male and female. Once you’ve GOT the star power, it’s about the record, the substance. And if you don’t deliver a hit, fuhgeddaboudit.

Springsteen got no traction on his first two albums. But then he gained converts at concerts, he got buzz, and then he delivered…BORN TO RUN!

Warren is making hit records.

Everybody else is just resting on their laurels.

Never forget, you reinvent the game to work for you!

And losers don’t want this.

And the Republicans will poke holes and the Dems will shoot each other.

But if there’s one clear leader, who gets hearts and minds?

They can’t be beat.


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