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Posts Tagged ‘candidate’

In Latest Poll Runners-Up Pose Little Threat to Netanyahu

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

There is much suspense in the political arena in anticipation of a decision by Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni as to whether they will run in the upcoming elections. However, according to a poll publicized by Maariv, it seems that the two former Kadima party leaders pose no threat to Benjamin Netanyahu’s political future. Nevertheless, another poll, published in Haaretz, shows that a full 28% of the public feel that Livni is the candidate best suited to serve as prime minister.

The Kadima party is applying a lot of pressure to Ehud Olmert to return and head the party. They also hope that Livni will return, in order to chip away at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strong position. It appears, however, that the public is largely unimpressed by their wishes.

A poll conducted by TNS Telephone Surveys and published in Maariv shows that a party headed by either of the two (Olmert or Livni) would get only 10 mandates, as opposed to 29 mandates that would go to the Likud party led by Netanyahu. The poll even predicted that in its present condition, with Shaul Mofaz at the helm, the Kadima party would net only a measly 3 Knesset seats—down from 28 in the previous elections.

Still, Tzipi Livni remains the best candidate to run against Netanyahu for prime minister – even better than Olmert. A poll conducted by the Dialogue Institute and published in Haaetz shows that the public thinks that Netanyahu is the best candidate for prime minister and that he has the support of between 57 and 62 percent of the voters. Livni is in second place. According to the poll, 28% showed support for Livni, while 24% felt that Olmert would be the best candidate. The poll showed Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich with 17%, Shaul Mofaz with 16%, and Ehud Barak with 15%.

According to the poll in Maariv, support is growing for Yair Lapid’s new political party. The poll shows the party with 17 mandates in the upcoming elections and this is even before the party has published its full candidate slate.

In the event of Olmert’s return to the political arena and to the Kadima party leadership, Lapid’s stand will be weakened. In this scenario, the poll predicts that Yesh Atid (Lapid’s party) will receive only 13 mandates in the upcoming elections.

According to the same poll, if a party headed by an Olmert and Livni combination runs in the next elections, the mandate distribution will be: Likud – 29 seats, Labor Party – 16, Lapid – 13, Yisrael Beiteinu (Liberman) – 12, Shas – 9, Olmert-Livni Party – 10, Kadima – 3, Mertetz – 3, Ichud Leumi – 2, Bahyit Hayehudi – 5, United Torah Judaism – 5, Independence (Ehud Barak) – 2, Chadash – 4, Balad – 3, United Arab List – 4.

Branding Sold America on Obama like a Can of Soda

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

What’s the difference between a president and a can of Pepsi? When it comes to winning elections, the answer is very little. The 2008 election was not about issues, it was about image. Not just the image of the candidate, but the image of his brand.

In marketing terms, a brand is not just a label, it’s the way that the customer is meant to perceive the product and interact with it. Take the can of Pepsi. It doesn’t matter what’s actually in the can, you don’t have access to the full list of ingredients anyway. And if you did, it would take extensive research to even make sense of them. It’s not even about how the actual soda tastes. That matters, but not very much. All that really matters is how the customer perceives the brand. It’s not about the content. It’s only about how people view the brand.

From a marketing standpoint, it’s not what the product is, but how people perceive it in relation to themselves. This is an entirely image based approach, but a common one now. The ultimate question is – Is this a brand I want to be associated with? Do I want to be seen drinking this can of Pepsi? Is this a brand that makes me feel good about myself? Does it enhance my self-image?

The branding of American politics worked the same way. Obama was not sold as a set of positions and a track record, but as a brand. A brand that people were encouraged to feel enthusiastic about or at least comfortable with, using the same techniques that were used to sell soft drinks. Cheerful posters, meaninglessly simple slogans, celebrities, theme songs, merchandise, social media, viral videos, fonts, color schemes, logos and everything else that goes into pushing a billion dollar product from the shelves to the kitchen.

That transition took Hillary Clinton by surprise and hurt her most of all. Hillary had been working the party and the traditional campaign circuit, only to be sidelined by a media centered frenzy that centered around brands, not people. By the old political rules she should have won, but the new rules were in and they weren’t political anymore.

Few voters could really nail down the policy differences between Obama and McCain, a mistake that was in part McCain’s own fault and played into the image-over-substance approach of the Obama campaign. And those who couldn’t, mostly voted for the candidate they felt most comfortable being associated with. The election came down to a cultural split with the cultural weapons of mass distraction in the hands of an omnipresent media and social media empire.

There was no longer any point in discussing programs or issues. They had become details, like the fine print at the end of a television commercial that no one can read, and no one is meant to read. It’s there to fulfill an obligation, not to inform or play any meaningful role in the decision making process. All that mattered was the brand.

The approach was to make voters want to be part of the Obama “brand” and not want to be associated with the McCain/Palin brand. The Obama brand was positioned as cool and youthful, in the same way that soft drinks are. And the public was told over and over again that McCain was old and crazy, that Palin was stupid and crazy, and that both of them were uncool. Probably the most constant message repeated through the election and today, is that the Republican is for “old people”. In marketing terms this is worse than being called a Nazi. The constant pursuit of youth means that brands which appeal to old people are ruthlessly eliminated or limited to the export market. (That’s why you’ll find many classic American brands in South America or Asia where they have strong consumer loyalty, but in the United States they were replaced with more “youthful” brands associated with a new generation.)

2008 was certainly not the first time that liberals had worked to position themselves as the face of a new generation, and the Republicans as the voice of the past. The strategy dated back to Kennedy vs Nixon and saw use again with Clinton in 1992 and 1996, when Silent Generationers, George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole contended with the country’s first Baby Boomer President. And then in 2008, the boomer Hillary Clinton was pushed aside for a Generation X candidate. The progressive left enjoys being thought of as revolutionary and youthful, even if their ideas and funding come from eighty-year olds like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and George Soros. A youthful demographic is less likely to have the background and the life experience to know that their policies won’t work, and to be fueled by the same inchoate mix of outrage and blind optimism. And a willingness to act without understanding the consequences.

How Romney Can Win this Election

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/how-romney-can-win-this-election.html

Let’s skip over the issues for a moment and get back to the basics. Elections are transactions in which we buy the services of a candidate for four years. Like any other business deal, closing comes down to salesmanship.

There are two basic elements when buying a product or service.

1. Practical. “I need this product.”

2. Emotional. “This product makes me feel good.”

Smart shoppers will make a practical decision, but not everyone is a smart shopper. And even smart shoppers employ emotional elements. Many people will buy a product because of their associations with this brand, even if the brand only exists as a logo stamped on products by workers in Shanghai. Most people want to feel good about the product that they’re buying, they want to feel comfortable with their purchase.

This is where the media plays its most insidious role, providing reassurance to Obama buyers that they are doing the right thing and damping their unease, while doing just the opposite for Romney buyers. The media can’t compel someone to vote one way or another, but it can encourage bad decisions and discourage good decisions by providing false levels of confidence through their reporting.

Romney has the same problem as a company with a good product, but bad media coverage. The way to counter that is on two fronts, by providing practical consumers with the specifications to help them make informed decisions, and providing emotional consumers with the reassurance that they can count on him.

Practical buyers have built-in confidence about their buying decisions because they carefully research a product and match it to their needs. Emotional buyers, however, lack confidence and shop as a means of boosting their own confidence. Products have to project confidence for them to buy them. They don’t buy products that lack a confident image, because they don’t make decisions that make them feel more insecure than they already are.

In an insecure time, people buy the most confident brand. A brand that exudes confidence and which is recommended by others. Obama projected a false confidence, that some mistook for charisma, and used a media consensus to bring in these voters in the last election. Most of those voters are still worried and nervous, but they haven’t made the change because they don’t feel enough confidence in the alternative.

Attack ads can partly sway them by diminishing their confidence level in the existing product, but they have less effect than positive ads that make them feel good about the other product. An attack ad is just as likely to make them sit out the election as it is to make them vote the right way.

The secrets of the 3 two-term Republican presidents of the 20th Century is that they projected that confident sense that they knew what they were doing. Bush and Reagan both had it. Eisenhower had it to a lesser degree. Teddy Roosevelt had it in spades and nearly won a second term as a third-party candidate. Two-term Democrats like FDR and Clinton had the same skill. Regardless of their abilities and the consequences of their actions, they projected a confidence that swayed voters.

No matter how badly Obama performs, a sizable number of emotional voters are not going to drop him because he still makes them feel better about the future. Those voters may well be the difference between victory and defeat.

To win, Obama has to project confidence while his media apparatus sows doubt. The combination is lethal and toxic. It may not be as effective as it was four years ago, but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be effective enough.

Romney won by running a mechanical campaign that was heavy on attack ads. He ended up crossing the finish line on the sole positive of being the “most electable candidate”. But voters in a general election are not going to elect him because he is electable, that’s an internal strategic calculation. If they elect him, it will be because he makes them feel more confident about the future. And that’s a tall order.

To win, Romney is not just going to have to attack Obama, he is going to have to make emotional voters feel good about going with him. It is possible to do both at the same time. Reagan did it well. Scott Brown just ran a commercial that does it pretty well too.

Mitt Coming to Israel, Banking on Obama’s Cool Ties with Netanyahu

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will leave on Wednesday for a week-long trip to the Olympics in London, Poland, and Israel.

Romney’s visit to Israel will be an opportunity to appeal to both Jewish voters and pro-Israel evangelical voters. He will also take advantage of his good relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose relationship with President Obama is on the rocky side.

Romney aides say the trip is a “listen and learn” tour, meaning the candidate is not planning to make any policy pronouncements. Readers may recall that candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 trip abroad was a huge success, especially when he spoke to a very large audience in Berlin, declaring, “The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand.”

According to Reuters, in London Romney will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Romney is planning to do some fund raising from Americans living in Britain.

In Warsaw and Gdansk, Romney will hold talks with Polish officials and former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.

Romney has criticized Obama’s handling of Iran in no uncertain terms, and vowed not to allow it to develop a nuclear weapon. Romney made few friends in Tehran by declaring that “ultimately, regime change is what’s going to be necessary.”

“The focus of the trip really is about learning, listening … and it’s about continuing to project Governor Romney’s strong view that America needs to stand by its allies, particularly allies that are under siege, like Israel,” said Romney foreign policy adviser Dan Senor.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Jerusalem in May and heard complaints from the Israeli leadership about the current state of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, a source familiar with her meetings told Reuters.

Then there’s the fact that President Obama has skipped Israel on his trips to the region.

“It’s not a trivial issue that Obama has not been to Israel during his presidency,” Republican foreign policy expert Michael Goldfarb told Reuters. “Of course he went as a candidate, but he ran as a pro-Israeli figure and in office has not lived up to his promises.”

Romney to Visit Israel Before November

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Mitt Romney will visit Israel during the presidential campaign.

A campaign official on Monday confirmed a New York Times report that the all-but-certain Republican presidential candidate will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other top officials later this summer.

The Times quoted Ron Dermer, a top adviser to Netanyahu, as saying that Romney is a “strong friend of Israel and we’ll be happy to meet with him.”

Romney has said that his first foreign visit as president would be to Israel. Barack Obama visited Israel as a candidate in 2008, but has not visited as president.

The former Massachusetts governor has faulted Obama for not making more clear to Iran that it could face military consequences if it does not stand down from its suspected nuclear program and for calling on Israel to negotiate based on the 1967 lines.

Obama’s support among Jewish voters remains in the low 60s, about 15 percentage points ahead of the general population, but below the sky-high approval ratings at the outset of his presidency. Pollsters attribute the drop mostly to the economy, which dogs Obama among the general population as well.

Obama’s  campaign has been emphasizing the closeness of the U.S.-Israel military relationship, noting that in October, Israel and the United States will stage the largest-ever joint anti-missile exercise.

Marine Le Pen to Sue Jewish-French Philosopher for Libel

Monday, June 11th, 2012

A lawyer for Marine Le Pen said the leader of the French far right will sue French-Jewish philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy for libel.

Wallerand de Saint-Just said he would submit a libel suit on behalf of Le Pen, president of the National Front party, to the Paris Magistrate’s Court next week.

In an article originally published on the website La Regle du Jeu, Levy suggested that Le Pen may bear some responsibility for attacks against Jews because of her alleged penchant for habitually mocking Jewish-sounding names in meetings.

Referring to a recent attack at Villeurbanne in which three young Jewish men wearing yarmulkes were attacked by at least 10 assailants, Levy asked, “Is it really a coincidence that this aggression follows a campaign in which one candidate, Ms. Le Pen, has systematically lampooned Jewish-sounding names in meetings?”

De Saint-Just told JTA that “There is no basis to the claim that Ms. Le Pen jeeringly uses names of Jewish people in meetings and speeches or any other forums. Mr. Levy is simply inventing it.” He added, “Suggesting Ms. Le Pen bears responsibility for the attacks in Villeurbanne is particularly ignoble.”

The article by Levy, which promises to offer “the key to understanding the new anti-Semitism,” was disseminated by CRIF, the umbrella organization of France’s Jewish communities.

Retired Egyptian General Denies Rumors of Israeli Intervention following Egyptian Vote

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Retired general turned security analyst and Junta spokesman Sameh Seif Al-Yazal told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that rumors about an Israeli military intervention in Egypt are “misguided,” because it was “not in Israel’s interest to fight Egypt at the present time, as the situation remained tense with its other neighbors.”

According to the WJS, General Al-Yazal has taken on the role of an informal spokesman for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which rarely speaks directly to the media.

Al-Yazal also told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that he supports Egypt’s reneging on its natural gas deal with Israel last April, said the pipelines should not be bombed “because a lot of the gas is being sent to Jordan and Lebanon as well.”

Over the weeks leading up to today’s and tomorrow’s first round of presidential elections, General Al-Yazal said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is ready to surrender the helm to the winner, but with some non-negotiable conditions, including a requirement that the constitution protect the military budget from public scrutiny, and that future civilian presidents be obligated to get the consent of the military before waging war.

Al-Yazal ridiculed speculation that Egypt would “descend into chaos” if deposed President Hosni Mubaraq’s former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq wins, suggesting the military and the police would ensure voting is carried out safely.

El-Yazal pointed out that the SCAF did not endorse a specific candidate, including Shafiq, and if it wished to back a certain candidate, “it would have presented one of its own and made him wear a civilian suit.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/retired-egyptian-general-denies-rumors-of-israeli-intervention-following-egyptian-vote/2012/05/23/

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