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30th October
2014
written by Sean Noble

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Yes, my headline is poking fun at the stupid trend on the Internet of “blah blah blah, what happened next was (insert over-the-top adjective here).”

However, this video of young girls using the f word is not interesting, not amazing, not educational, not informative, and certainly not thought provoking. It is shameless marketing to sell t-shirts.

Caitlin Dewey from the Washington Post writes:

 Most people would agree the gender wage-gap is bad. But is it more or less bad than profit-motivated adults instructing little girls to curse for a viral video?

That is, in a nutshell, the false equivalence at the heart of a new and wildly controversial video by the T-shirt brand FCKH8, which since Tuesday has racked up more than 100,000 views on YouTube alone. The video consists of girls, ages six to 13, dropping frequent F-bombs in a discussion of pay inequality, stereotypical gender roles and sexual violence — a concept far more dangerous to the six-year-old mind, some might argue, than any casual curse words could be.

Presumably, if you do find the girls’ language offensive, you’re not a very good feminist…

FCKH8 is, after all, a for-profit company, owned entirely by Synergy Media — a corporate branding studio that specializes in (whaddya know!) marketing. Each T-shirt FCKH8 sells retails for between $15 and $37, five dollars of which the company promises to donate to charity. After FCKH8’s last campaign — in which the company had children from Ferguson, Mo. read statistics on racism to “white people” — that cut went to the Mike Brown Memorial Fund and the NAACP. Critics, of whom there are many, were not impressed.

Another view is even more succinct. This one from Darlena Cunha:

So when a 7-year-old says, “I’m not some pretty [f-word] helpless princess in distress” in a mocking tone, my heart screams, “Oh, yes, honey, you are. Oh my God, you are. Not because you’re a girl, but because you are a child.”

Children can be helpless; sometimes they do need help, and it is of utmost importance that they know it. Because growing up in a world where people will take advantage of them in any way possible, they will need an arsenal of people they can trust to help them. We constantly tell our children to talk to a trusted adult if something questionable happens to them, be it bullying, abuse or any kind of sexual advance. By having them internalize the message that they are strong and unstoppable, we may inadvertently be pushing them along the path of blaming themselves should they somehow be unable to stop a rapist, mugger, or even the patriarchy in general.

Not to mention FCKH8 is setting up a false dichotomy by pretending that people would or should be equally offended at little girls dropping the f-bomb as they are the inequity women face on a daily basis. If there ever was a case of apples and oranges, this is it. Just because both feminism and little girls swearing about feminism contain both girls and feminism does not make them comparable on any deep level.

 

The best analysis comes from The Belle Jar:

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: this video is not some kind of PSA, it’s an advertisement. FCKH8 is a for-profit t-shirt company – emphasis on the profit – that has put together an exploitative and manipulative two minute and thirty five second commercial for t-shirts. And while FCKH8 asserts that all of this is “for a good cause” (they’ve promised to donate $5 from each t-shirt sale to as-yet-undisclosed organizations) the only cause that’s being promoted by this video is their bank account.

There is nothing feminist about using little girls as props in order to sell t-shirts – in fact, I would argue that this is the opposite of feminism. There is nothing feminist about exploiting a bunch of little girls by having them swear and talk about rape statistics just so that FCKH8 can make a quick buck. There is nothing feminist about creating an association between potty-mouthed little kids and social justice – and that’s not a slight against potty-mouths, because I fucking love swearing, but rather a statement on the fact that this video plays into a lot of the negative stereotypes that people already have about feminism.

I’m not against people making a profit. My problem is that FCKH8 is pretending that they are creating a useful dialogue about societal issues – when really all they are doing is selling t-shirts.

 

28th October
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans are going to have a good night next Tuesday, a very good night.  And it will be, in large part, because President Obama is so unpopular.  In the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, Obama’s fav/unfav among likely voters is at a dismal 36%-61%.

For the U.S. Senate, Republicans will win in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota.  Republicans will also win in North Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa and Colorado.

Mitch McConnell will win in Kentucky.

So without knowing what happens in either Louisiana or Georgia (both likely to go to run-offs), Republicans are a lock to retake the U.S. Senate.

In the U.S. House, Republicans will have a net gain of at least 10 seats – giving them the strongest majority since the 1940’s.  Those will include wins by Andy Tobin in AZ-01 and Martha McSally in AZ-02.

In Arizona it will be a top-to-bottom sweep of statewide races. Doug Ducey will beat Fred DuVal by close to double digits, Michele Reagan will defeat Terry Goddard, Mark Brnovich will defeat Felicia Rotellini, Jeff DeWit is essentially already the next Treasurer, Diane Douglas will win as Superintendent of Public Instruction and Doug Little and Tom Forese will be the next Corporation Commissioners.

You doubt it’s a bad year for Democrats?  Watch network news – and you will see no stories about how bad an election it will be for Democrats.  Compare that to 2006, when Republicans were headed for a terrible night, and it was all over the networks for weeks on end.  The silence is deafening.

 

 

27th August
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Ducey won a commanding victory in Tuesday’s Arizona Republican primary election.  It was the most crowded Republican primary for Governor in state history, and yet Ducey won by an astounding 15 points. He exceeded everyone’s expectations, including mine.

Now Ducey faces Fred DuVal in November.  Polling shows this race as basically tied with a large number of undecided voters.  This is not surprising, but the contours of the race haven’t really been set, so we’ll see movement in the numbers within a week or so.

The biggest upset of the night was Mark Brnovich defeating Tom Horne in the Attorney General race.  Mark was outspent by a large margin, but Horne’s negatives were an anchor around his neck.  Mark was a tireless campaigner with amazing energy that provided primary voters with a strong viable alternative to Horne.

The other big upset was Diane Douglas defeating Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. It was an old-fashioned, school principal office spanking.

In the Secretary of State race, Michele Reagan won by a strong margin and will dispatch her Democrat opponent, Terry Goddard, in November giving yet another losing effort.

Jeff DeWit, the singing phenom, won big and will become the next Treasurer of Arizona because the Democrats didn’t even bother to field a candidate.

Finally, Doug Little and Tom Forese proved that running as a team has benefits – both receiving almost the exact same number of votes for Corporation Commission and will face two radical leftists for the general.

Let’s look more closely at the primary race for Governor. My firm, DC London, did independent expenditure work in the race, and one of the more satisfying outcomes was how good the polling was.  We relied on two different pollsters, David Flaherty at Magellen Strategies and Brock McCleary at Harper Polling.  Below is a chart of the two latest polls by each of them respectively and the election result.

   Candidate

Aug. 19-20  (Harper) 

Aug. 25  (Magellan)

Election Result

Ducey

32

33.3

37.3

Smith

19

23.4

22.3

Jones

16

17.2

16.7

Bennett

14

9.4

10.5

Thomas

7

6.3

8.3

Riggs

2

3.3

4.5

Undecided

10

7.2

NA

The most interesting thing in looking at the polls and the results of Tuesday is that Ducey captured the majority of the late undecided voters.  Those late deciders have by described by the late political wizard Steve Shadegg as “Indifferents.”  The Indifferents are people who don’t really pay attention to politics and may or may not vote.  They usually make up their mind in the last three days or so of an election.  In this day and age with early voting, some of them are the folks who get their early ballot, set it on the counter and then realize weeks later on Election Day they need to fill it out and drop it off at the polling location.

They are important voters because in close elections, they determine the outcome.  Ducey didn’t need them to break heavily in his favor, but it turns out they did, which created a spike in his numbers.

In a six-way race, it is unusual for one candidate to get the majority of the undecided.  In Ducey’s case, he added four percent to his margin, leaving only three percent of the vote to go to other candidates.  Interestingly, the beneficiaries of those remaining voters were Thomas and Riggs, although it did them no good.

Now the Democrats will begin to spin that they are in a strong position to win these statewide races.  Obviously, I beg to differ.

Ducey has won statewide in a general and has become a very strong candidate.  DuVal has run for office once before, and it didn’t work out well. He finished 4th in a Congressional primary in which he garnered a whopping 8,600 votes. Not much of a base of support to jump into the big leagues.  He will actually suffer from not having had a primary opponent.  He and his campaign will likely make a couple missteps that they wouldn’t otherwise make as a result of not being in a day-to-day battle.

Felicia Rotellini couldn’t beat Tom Horne when he was weakened by some scandal four years ago.  She will have a difficult time matching Brnovich’s energy and passion.

Michele Reagan is a bright star in state politics and voters will go with her youthful enthusiasm over perennial candidate Terry Goddard.

When it’s all said and done, Arizona will remain a strong Republican state for the next four years.

 

 

21st August
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

My firm, DC London, commissioned a Arizona primary election poll of likely voters in the Republican primary next Tuesday.

 

Here are the top lines (crosstabs here):

 

Governor

Ducey – 32%

Smith – 19%

Jones – 16%

Bennett – 14%

Thomas – 7%

Riggs – 2%

Undecided – 10%

 

At this point, Ducey is all but assured a victory. The only question is how will the rest of the field shape up.  My prediction is that Jones has a little surge at the end and captures the second place spot, while Smith continues to slide and ends up in 3rd.  The greatest mystery of this election, for me, is what happened to Ken Bennett?  He started the race with the most name ID and at 15% of the vote (which at the time was way ahead of everyone else) but he has not moved the needle even a little.

 

Attorney General

Brnovich – 40%

Horne – 37%

Undecided – 24%

 

Given that Horne has essentially 100% name ID, the majority of the 24% of undecided are likely to go to Brnovich – so I suspect Brnovich will win by more than six points.

 

Secretary of State

Reagan – 32%

Pierce  – 30%

Cardon – 15%

Undecided – 23%

 

This race will likely be the one that goes later into the evening before we know the winner.  Reagan’s small lead is within the margin of error, so it’s a toss up.

 

Treasurer

DeWit – 23%

Pullen – 21%

Hallman – 19%

Undecided – 37%

 

This statewide race has the largest number of undecided voters, so it really could go about any way at this point.  DeWit is getting a bit of attention with this video that has the makings of going viral.

 

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Douglas – 39%

Huppenthal – 34%

Undecided – 28%

 

It appears that the anti-Common Core message is resonating for little-known Diane Douglas and I think she will upset Huppenthal.

 

Corporation Commission

(Combined total for first choice and second choice)

Little – 43%

Forese – 35%

Mason – 34%

Parker – 31%

 

While the second position appears to be a toss up between Forese and Mason, it’s clear that Little will win and Parker will lose.  The decision by the pro-solar folks to try to demonize Little as a “lap dog” and somehow supportive of Obama, seems to have backfired.  And the hits on Parker by the Free Enterprise Club appear to be working.  So the two candidates who have largely been ignored, find themselves basically tied.  Will make for an interesting night.

 

 

15th August
2014
written by Sean Noble

My firm, DC London, commissioned a poll for the Arizona Governor’s primary race.  Here is the memo with links to the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To:       Interested Parties

From:  Sean Noble

RE:      Update on State of the Governor’s Race in Arizona – Aug 15, 2014

DC London commissioned a GOP Primary voter statewide poll conducted by Harper Polling. (Top lines and cross tabs)

The findings show that Doug Ducey is in an excellent position to win the Governor’s race by a strong margin.

Here are the current numbers:

Ducey             32%

Smith              21%

Bennett          14%

Jones               12%

Thomas          7%

Riggs               3%

Undecided     10%

 

Below is a comparison of the ballot test in the last four Harper polls:

 

                                       June 27          July 21      July 29       Aug 15

Ducey                         33%                23%         26%                32%

Jones                           15%                21%         15%                12%

Smith                          14%                13%          15%                21%

Bennett                      12%                12%           12%                14%

Thomas                      3%                  7%             11%                7%

Riggs                           2%                  1%              5%                  3%

Undecided                 22%                22%          16%                10%

Ducey enjoys strong support from all corners of Arizona. He leads Smith in Phoenix media market 29-23, in Tucson market 44-12 and Yuma market 25-16.

Doug Ducey will not only win the primary, he is the best choice for Republicans to win the general in November.  His strong lead in the polling and his strong favorable image rating will ensure that Arizona remains in Republican control to stand up to the failure of Washington, D.C. and the Obama administration.

In the Attorney General race, Mark Brnovich has a solid lead over Tom Horne:

Brnovich         41%

Horne             35%

Undecided     24%

A Brnovich primary win will send the Democrats back to the drawing board on trying to figure out how to take on someone who would be the most qualified person ever on day one to walk into the AG’s office.  Felecia Rotellini and her liberal allies have miscalculated their opportunity and will face a formidable candidate in Mark Brnovich.

 

 

14th August
2014
written by Sean Noble

Arizona has had a lively Republican primary this year.  Here are my endorsements for statewide office:

Governor – Doug Ducey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Ducey is the most exciting candidate for Governor we in Arizona have had in a long, long time.  This is an easy call.  Why? He is a successful business leader, a strong conservative, a man of faith, and, most of all, a genuinely great human being.  And, his opponents just don’t stack up.

 

*Disclaimer – I am the Chairman of Conservative Leadership for Arizona, an Independent Expenditure Committee formed to support Doug Ducey for Governor. Of course, I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t completely support Doug, but figured I’d give the disclaimer anyway.

 

Secretary of State – Justin Pierce

Pierce is a very capable leader who is an up-and-comer in Republican politics.  He deserves your vote.

Wil Cardon does not rise to the level of a serious candidate.

 

Attorney General – Mark Brnovich

I have often commented that Mark Brnovich will be the most qualified individual to ever walk into the AG’s office on the first day.  He is a constitutional scholar, a former prosecutor, former head of a state department, and a tireless advocate for freedom.  He will be a breath of fresh air so sorely needed in the AG’s office.

Tom Horne has abused his office and, if by some miracle he wins the primary, will lose badly to Democrat candidate Felicia Rotellini in the General Election.

*Disclaimer – Mark Bronivch is a client of my firm, DC London. For what it’s worth, I was supportive of Mark running for AG long before he became a client. 

 

State Treasurer – Jeff DeWit

Current State Treasurer Doug Ducey has done a great job running the treasurer’s office, but if you listened to Hugh Hallman or Randy Pullen, you’d think it was a mess.  Jeff DeWit is the only candidate who acknowledges that things are working well in the treasurer’s office and will carry that legacy forward.  He has the right kind of background for managing the state’s investments and will serve well.  He is another strong rising star for the Republican Party.

 

Corporation Commission – Doug Little and Tom Forese 

The corporation commission race this year is a team effort.  Doug Little and Tom Forese are running as a team and Lucy Mason and Vernon Parker are running as a team.

The Mason/Parker team feels like the resurrection of the Democrat team from 2012 of Busching, Newman and Kennedy that dubbed themselves “Arizona’s Solar Team.”  Mason and Parker are unabashedly supportive of taxpayers subsidizing the solar industry and have been supported by the solar industry.  Billionaire crony king, Elon Musk, is the majority shareholder of a company called SolarCity – a rooftop solar system leasing company that is completely dependent on government subsidies to stay afloat.

Given my strong opposition to subsidies and special treatment by government, I think it would be bad for Arizona to elected Mason and Parker.

 

17th June
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service informed the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means that they had “lost” nearly three years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the disgraced IRS official at the center of the scandal involving the IRS targeting of conservative and tea party groups, because her computer crashed.  Naturally, many were skeptical of the claim given its questionable convenience.

Many also arrived at the logical conclusion that if the IRS had actually “lost” Lerner’s emails, then surely they would be able to recover them from the emails of other officials at the IRS that she was communicating with. Yet, today the IRS announced that it has also “lost” the emails of six other high-level officials at the center of the investigation into the suppression of conservative groups by the agency.

The Obama administration promised to be the most transparent administration in history, little did we know this would mean they could make things disappear entirely. Given the convenient details of the misplaced emails this is clearly not a computer problem, as the IRS claims. This is a fundamental failure of leadership at the highest levels and a betrayal of the nation’s trust. ‘It’s a glitch’ may as well be the 21st Century version of ‘I am not a crook.’

As Charles Krauthammer said, “Nixon was a piker to the Obama Administration when it comes to concealment, hiding, or pretending that they can’t find stuff.”

Think about it.  Why didn’t Nixon use the excuse that the recording system crashed? Maybe he wasn’t as corrupt as our current administration.

The overly convenient and lousy excuses coming from the Obama administration are generally reserved for guilty adolescents and banana republics. It’s clear that the administration has moved from obstructing the activity of conservative and tea party groups to stonewalling Congress by whatever means necessary.

The rampant cover-up by the IRS of its targeting of conservatives is beyond outrage. If this were a Republican administration, Democrats would have already drawn up articles of impeachment.  You doubt that? Democrats introduced six different impeachment resolutions during President George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. Republicans have introduced exactly zero impeachment resolutions against Obama.

I think it is past time for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the IRS from top to bottom. It’s clear that a deceitful administration will not police itself.

11th June
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a seismic event on Tuesday night in the 7th District of Virginia as sitting U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in a landslide to a virtually unknown tea party candidate. It’s quite rare for a Member of leadership to lose an election. The most recent examples are when John Thune beat Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle for the Senate in 2004 and when Speaker Tom Foley lost to George Nethercutt in 1994. Before that, you have to reach all the way back to 1952, when the sitting United States Senate Majority Leader lost to a young, upstart businessman named Barry Goldwater.

Sometimes politics is just crazy interesting.  Cantor losing is crazy interesting.

How did it happen?

The immediate conventional wisdom being pushed by the D.C. chattering class is that Cantor’s willingness to support comprehensive immigration reform was THE reason.  Conventional wisdom is pushing the narrative that the tea party is racist and will not tolerate anything but the strictest enforcement bills coming out of Washington.

Immigration may have played a role, but it was far from the only – or even biggest – reason for Cantor’s loss.

Fundamentally, the reason Cantor lost is because he came to embody all that base Republican voters despise: ladder-climbing insider, close ties to K Street and Wall Street, too focused on Washington, and generally being out-of-touch with his district.

Cantor’s schedule on Election Day is the perfect microcosm of what went wrong.  Most candidates I have worked for – including candidates for Governor, Senate, House, down to state legislature – spend Election Day getting out the vote. That means going to headquarters and joining volunteers making calls to voters, stopping at a few polling locations and shaking hands, etc.

Cantor started the day doing a fundraiser in D.C. Then stayed in D.C. until votes concluded around 3 p.m. Then, drove down to his district, presumably in time for the “victory” party.  There was no personal touch of voters in the district. No urgency of making sure he did everything he could to ensure victory.

Secondarily, he lost because he thought he could bury his opponent with TV and did nothing to build grassroots support. In fact, he worked against much of the grassroots in the district by trying to replace various precinct and party leaders with loyalists.

His ads tended to be over the top or too cute by half – and over-using the “liberal college professor” claim.  Even his positive ads were over-produced – the best ads politicians can do for themselves most of the time is look right into the camera and talk to voters like adults.

The biggest shock of the night was how shocked he and his team were by the outcome.  You only get stunned in politics when you don’t have your finger on the pulse of what is going on around you.

I’m sure there will be mountains of analysis done on top of what has been written so far, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals: if you lose touch with your constituency and get caught up in the insider game in Washington, it can catch up with you.

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