Certainly, the American experience is filled with rags-to-riches stories. For those who weren’t brought up in poverty and didn’t learn from the experience of a poor upbringing, it’s obnoxious and offensive to pretend that they did. Case in point – Mitt Romney.
Last week, President Barack Obama made the comment that, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.” Obviously, this jab was intended at Romney, although his spokesman later said it wasn’t aimed at this target.
For Romney to go on the offensive, however, and to make far-reaching claims about his family’s distant poverty is truly absurd. Speaking to 200 people gathered Sunday from the Lincoln Day dinner in Pennsylvania, Romney said,
“My dad’s dad went broke more than once. And my dad learned lessons about the importance of family and of faith and had a great and abiding affection for this country – lessons he taught me.”
As everyone in America knows, Romney did, indeed, grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father, George Romney, was the former Michigan governor and president of American Motors. Mitt Romney attended prep school and went on to graduate from business and law schools at Harvard.
Sunday, Romney continued on this rags-to-riches path, describing how his own father was born in Mexico and how his early difficulties shaped him – and Mitt. As Romney said,
“My dad, as you might know, was born in Mexico and, ah, of American parents who’d been living there for some time. There was revolution in Mexico, around the early part of the 20th century, 1910 or so, and so his family came back to the United States and his dad went from place to place. His dad was a contractor, and as you may know contractors have financial difficulty from time to time.”
Yes, poverty and struggle can shape people and it’s typically look at in a favorable light on the campaign trail. When it’s not true, however, it just makes the candidate look ridiculous – and look like he’s grasping at straws that simply aren’t there.
It would be much more admirable to simply admit the wealth and the lack of the rags-to-riches story and move on.
by Ronn TorossianReprinted from Business InsiderA ton of noise was made this week when Bob Parsons, the CEO of GoDaddy, (www.godaddy.com), the Internet domain company, uploaded a video of himself shooting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe; posing over the dead beast in the process. In light of the recent incident and slew of negative backlash, PETA and others have instituted a boycott against the company.This isn’t the company’s first controversy though. GoDaddy’s commercials have been banned from TV on numerous occasions for being too racy. They have used Hooters type women as objects in marketing campaigns, and its one of the reasons they have captured, according to multiple sources, 32% market share.Some commentary:All press is not good press. In general, I don’t subscribe to the theory “If they read your name it’s a good thing.” If you think that’s the case, ask Toyota if the media about the recall helped them, ask Lindsay Lohan if being arrested every ten minutes has been good for her acting career, or speak to anyone who’s had negative media what so ever. Press can be very harmful, and it’s not always a good thing. That being said, it’s something that at times could be used to a companies’ benefit. However, a company needs to know where they stand on the totem pole.CEO’s are personalities and reflections of their company. Although Mr. Parsons said his hunting expedition had nothing to do with GoDaddy, he said he didn’t think the video would affect his company’s business. His video also received comments of support. The era of privacy is over. CEO’s of companies small and large are reflections of their business, and anything they do is reflected back on their business. We are all in the Public Relations business these days – everyone who uploads a video to YouTube, posts pictures to Facebook, or tweets. People are seeing what you say and it reflects on your company, and you, for better or for worse.Involvement in politics of any sort, including hunting, says something to consumers, good or bad. Simply be aware these actions will reflect on your company. It could attract many and it could also turn off many.Know it before you engage in it.Companies don’t need 51% market share, or approval to succeed. Parsons has built a ton of attention from controversy – albeit without spending what he would without it. Controversy has brought him a lot of attention and he may know things we truly don’t. If for example he’s aware many of his consumers are conservatives, who are in favor of hunting, or men who don’t mind raunchy ads and are huge purchasers of domain names. If that’s the case, then who cares what the public says. At the end of the day, he wins and it benefits him.As an example, in my business, many love us and think we are brilliant, and some don’t, and we are fine with it. If my PR agency can capture even 10% of the funds spent on Public Relations in the US, then we are thrilled and it’s all good. Many will approve, some wont, but only politicians need 51% to win.What do I think of all of this? Americans are forgetful, and forgiving, and this too shall pass. Parsons has said the elephant he killed helps local farmers by stopping them from destroying crops, and that the entire village makes use of the entire kill, feeding the village for weeks on the crops savings and the elephant meat. He will continue with this line, which will convince many, and he knew what he was doing. He enjoys living on the edge and has built a great business and great brand doing so, and will continue winning. This will be a minor deterrence that will pass, and Godaddy.com will keep laughing (and shooting) all the way to the bank.
Obama is seeking the support of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah to arm Libyan rebels in the embattled city of Benghazi, located in the eastern part of Libya. The Saudi King hates Colonel Gaddafi, especially since the eccentric Libyan leader tried to assassinate him about one year ago. But strong negative emotions are a long way from supplying anti-tank rockets and mortars to rebels, especially in light of the nascent protest movement against the Saudi regime.
King Abdullah Has Troubles of His Own
The Saudis have yet to respond to Obama’s request. At the moment they have banned all street protests after responding to such demonstrations in the province of Qatif last week with a flow of troops and security police to keep control. Nevertheless a ‘day of rage’ is being planned for Friday. Organizers of the protest have been inspired by the Shia uprising in the neighboring tiny country of Bahrain to conduct their own Shia uprising in Saudi Arabia. About 10% of the Muslim population in Saudi Arabia is Shia, and organizers of the demonstration have stated that they expect at least 20,000 protesters to fill the streets on Friday, with the intentional placement of women and children in the front rows to prevent the Saudi army from responding with gunfire or other violence.
Obama Pays Lip Service Only
Aside from the secret appeal to Saudi Arabia for arms assistance to the rebels, the Obama government has done little to offer support themselves, aside from Obama’s statement that “Gaddafi needs to step down from power and leave,” and Hillary Clinton’s remark that “one of our biggest concerns is Libya . . . becoming a giant Somalia.”Obama’s reluctance to step in has been justified with statements from Pentagon chief Robert Gates who said, “It’s a big operation in a big country. We also have to think about, frankly, the use of the U.S. military in another country in the Middle East.” James Mattis, the Commander of Centcomm has stated similar sentiments.
Obama Wont Act Without UN or Arab Approval
Among analysts in America there is a suspicion that Obama’s real motivation for staying clear of the conflict is more ideological than practical. According to the Wall Street Journal Obama is not acting to support the rebels because, the White House believes that “any U.S. action will somehow be tainted if it isn’t wrapped in U.N. or pan-Arab approval. They have internalized their own critique of the Bush Administration to such a degree that they are paralyzed to act even against a dictator as reviled and blood-stained as Gaddafi, and even though it would not require the deployment of U.S. troops.”The Wall Street Journal continues to state that “Mr. Obama won’t lead the world because he truly seems to believe that U.S. leadership is morally suspect. But if Mr. Obama thinks George W. Bush was unpopular in the Arab world, he should contemplate the standing of America—and the world reputation of Barack Obama—if Gaddafi and his sons slaughter their way back to power.”