Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Jul 26

More Loose Items from a Tightly Bound Notebook

Next up: Some random items that either reflect on previous posts or I haven’t thought of a way to blow out into a full blog post….

Jonathan Chait of The New Republic has an interesting blog post on the politics and press coverage of health care reform.    As he notes, as long as the story focuses on process (and to an equal extent, cost), the Obama administration and the Democrats will be put on the defensive. 

Reuters ran a similar report.  Buried at the end of the story is an important shift in language that the Obama administration trotted out recently (and largely lost in the Gates flap).  It is now talking about “health insurance reform” as opposed to “health care reform.”  If the administration is successful in this rhetorical shift, it could be important as it could calm the fears of people with health insurance who are now hearing that what they currently have could be pared back.  These are the folks who have been showing up in polls as increasingly opposing the administration’s effort.  Since the Senate (at least) will not act on a bill until after Labor Day, that gives the administration about six weeks for its new argument to gain traction.  The ultimate question is, with Americans traditionally tuning out politics in August and the president sinking in the polls (and viewership of his press conferences dropping), can he turn the debate around or is he too late?

The second quarter GDP report comes out this Friday.  According to Bloomberg, the consensus is that the economy shrunk 1.5% in the previous quarter.  Reuters concurs.  Not good, but certainly better than previous and apparently better than it was thought to be several weeks ago.  Look for the administration to trumpet the numbers as a sign the stimulus is working.

On the other hand, it will be interesting to see how the administration spins the revision of the budget deficit number.  The number, which Lou Dobbs continually reminds us is overdue (no surprise — given precedent from administrations), may be a harder number to spin if the deficit climbs significantly.  As Jeanne Cummings reported recently in the Politico,  the general consensus is that the administration’s initial estimates were too optimistic regarding growth moving forward.  Any significant revisions could lead to significant increases in the deficit projections.  (For example, if the administration predicts that growth in 2012 is 2%, instead of the projected 4%, that would add another $700 billion to the deficit.)  This could significantly crimp the some of the administration’s plans moving forward (along with its promises to cut the deficit).

Following up on an earlier post regarding the WNBA, ESPN.com did a series of stories last week looking at the business of women’s sports.  In addition to an overview column, there are pieces on the WNBA, the LPGA, the WTA, the NPSL, and WPS (that’s the softball and soccer leagues if you are unfamiliar with the last two).

For those who are wondering how this relates to the public relations industry, there is a simple answer — corporate America provides the sponsorship dollars that these leagues rely upon for their survival.  Lack of corporate sponsorship is what doomed the LPGA’s former commissioner and what may be helping to keep some WNBA franchises alive.  Obviously retrenchment in the economy has hurt all sports. However, it seems that, to the extent that companies are still putting their marketing dollars into sports, they think they are seeing better returns elsewhere.  It also means that for companies that target women and are beginning to see a rebound, there are a lot of opportunities out there.

If you thought California politics were already expensive, 2010 could be mind boggling.  Not only will you have an expensive governor’s race with the likes of Gavin Newsom, Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown and Steve Poizner  either able to self-finance or raise buckets of cash, but at least one recent poll shows that California’s junior senator, Barbara Boxer, might be vulnerable to the right challenge.  Like the gubernatorial candidates, Boxer is a good fundraiser, but if the Republicans’ dream candidate, Carly Fiorina, enters the raise, this could be a competitive race.  Yes, I know that businessmen of both parties have a history of crashing an burning in statewide elections, but I think 2010 could be the year you can throw out past precedent in the increasingly tarnished Golden State.

In a sure sign that the Twitter has jumped the shark, I have signed up and started twittering (tweating? whatever…).  My online handle is gregstanko.  I’m trying to tweat at least once a day with something I find interesting or noteworthy at the intersection of public relations and issues management.   I’ll also try to blow out some additional thoughts here on the blog.  Let me know what you think.

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide