Thursday, September 29, 2011


By Michael R. Shannon

During my misspent youth, I was a Democrat. Consequently, when I started my political consulting firm I wanted to be true to my mistaken convictions, so I only worked for Democrat clients.
[Note: Now that I’m a Republican who has seen the error of my ways, I often find myself trying to rationalize my membership in the party of debt, dependency and degeneracy by telling people I was a “conservative Democrat.” This is not all that uncommon among those of us who have seen the light and puts me in some pretty august company.
Recently I was watching a rerun of ‘Booknotes’ with Gertrude Himmelfarb — now a respected historian and neo–conservative, but in her youth a Trotskyite, which — for those of you suffering from recent history instruction in public schools — is a variety of Communist. When asked how she made the ideological journey from Trotsky to Reagan, it warmed my heart when explained that she was always a pretty conservative Trotskyite.]
In 1990 I found myself working as media consultant for Tom McRae who was Bill Clinton’s last gubernatorial primary opponent in Arkansas.
At that time Clinton was eight to ten years into his affair with Gennifer Flowers, had played jack–in–the–box with Paula Jones, reportedly used the state troopers to ferry women and was generally known as someone you wouldn’t leave unsupervised with your college–age daughter.
Yet our TV spots featured none of this lurid material for the simple reason that, regardless of the truth, the rumors were old news to voters and reporters. Clinton had been re–elected previously when Flowers was just starting to bloom. The fact that she had now taken root, along with a complete inventory of other women, was simply not a factor as he sought his fifth term.
Instead, our spots were built around “It’s time for a change” and highlighted the fact Clinton was just going through the motions while preparing to run for president. Our woefully underfunded campaign held Clinton to a meager 54 percent.
Two years later Clinton was in for a rude surprise during the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Rumors he thought dead and buried arose in the form of tapes secretly recorded by Flowers and played for the news media.
Why was his old squeeze from the Ozarks suddenly relevant? Simple, Clinton changed the scope of his campaigning, from statewide candidate in Arkansas to nationwide candidate and new voters were unaware of his randy streak. These voters were encountering information that he thought was safely behind him and Clinton was caught unprepared. Overcoming the shock required a comprehensive campaign of lies to a gullible news media that just barely saved his campaign.
The same phenomenon is being repeated today — minus the lies and the lingerie.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is encountering past issues he previously overcame. If Perry had been content to stay in Texas and run for governor, US Senator or Congress the forced HPV vaccinations for schoolgirls and in–state college tuition for children of illegal aliens would have been non–issues.
This is because winning an election, similar to baptism, washes one clean of all past political sins. Where Christian baptism differs from elections is Christ doesn’t care about geography. You’re just as clean in Austin as you are in Arlington. But in politics absolution doesn’t travel across the border.
In Florida and elsewhere conservative Republicans are appalled at Perry’s executive decision to require schoolgirls to be vaccinated for a disease that comes through sexual activity and his signature on a law that grants in–state college tuition to the children of illegal aliens.
Perry appears to be appalled that voters have found out.
His debate answers are awkward and off–message for Republicans. He says his decision with regard to HPV vaccinations was wrong and he would not do it again. So far so good, but then he rationalizes by saying it would save lives. So would requiring every citizen of Texas to wear a ballistic vest when leaving the house, but it would not be a conservative policy.
His most recent answer to the tuition controversy only served to drive his poll numbers down. Telling opponents of granting special privileges to children of illegals that they “don’t…have a heart” is simply stupid. Democrats are the land of “follow your feelings,” Republicans prefer to follow the rule of law.
If Perry’s answers don’t improve his campaign will be the second bubble to burst, following that of Rep. Michelle Bachmann. But either way, he serves as an instructive lesson for politicians who are looking to expand their political horizons in the future.

Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at

Sunday, March 6, 2011


By Michael R. Shannon

Last week a man who personally performed or supervised 75,000 abortions — including two on his own girlfriends — died. He helped found NARAL, the most largest abortion lobby in the US. And before a “progressive” Supreme Court legalized infanticide, he used loopholes and subterfuge to perform abortions that were marginally legal.
Yet he departed this world redeemed because — like John Newton in the 19th Century — Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson repudiated his participation in the greatest moral evil of his age.
Newton was a former slave ship captain who ferried human cargo. On a typical voyage 15 percent of the slaves died and the rest were essentially dead to the moral sensibilities of their fellow man. Newton found Christ in the depths of his depravity and later wrote, “Amazing Grace.”
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”
Nathanson was blind and wretched, too before he confronted the evil known as “choice” in sophisticated circles, but in his words is “the satanic world of abortion.”
Once he realized the depth of his error, Nathanson produced a testimony in the form of film depicting the abortion of a 12–week–old unborn called “The Silent Scream.” Viewable at:—video1.htm
Nathanson’s public confession and rejection of the abortion industry was an unexpected asset for the Choose Life movement. President Reagan screened the film and urged members of Congress to do the same.
Strangely enough the Associated Press obituary refers to this titanic reversal as a “change of heart,” making it sound like one day Nathanson decided to stop wearing argyle socks and stick with solids instead.
In fact, Nathanson’s very public repudiation of his life’s work was an indictment of everything he had been, done and advocated previously. The atheist abortionist transformed into a Catholic advocate for the unborn.
What’s equivalent to this “change of heart?” Hitler becomes a rabbi? David Duke organizes an Obama fundraiser? Rosie O’Donnell marries a man? It’s difficult to imagine a comparison that does the change justice.
Still, it’s unfortunate Dr. Nathanson didn’t live to see the Virginia General Assembly break a 20–year deadlock and finally pass a bill that regulates abortion “clinics.”
Prior to the passage of this bill, Choose Death advocates were perfectly happy with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as long as it applied to abortion mills. We have their sincere assurances that first–trimester abortions are among the “safest procedures.” (But we have to take their word for it, because Virginia abortionists have fought every reporting requirement tooth and nail.)
And if you are one of those indecisive women who require a second or third–trimester abortion, “Planned Termination” refers you to an equally “safe” out–of–state abortionist like Philadelphia’s Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
Unfortunately for Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, VA, the Gosnell clinic was where she died at the hands of the highly recommended Dr. Gosnell who now faces murder charges for her death and killing seven babies born alive.
I’m sure VA abortion providers will be updating their Gosnell review on
Abortion cheerleader Jessica Honke was quoted as saying passage of the bill was “a devastating day for women of Virginia” because some, most, all (it depends on the hysteric who’s asked) of the Virginia abortionaries will be forced to close because they will be “regulated as hospitals” and can’t afford the cost to upgrade the facilities.
A surprising sentiment. I thought big–government “progressives” supported an all–encompassing commercial regulatory regime specifically designed to run under–capitalized, fly–by–night operators out of business. I guess in Virginia that only applies to yoga instructors.
As Susan Hays of AAA Women for Choice in Manassas observed, “Dental offices and even barbershops have more regulations than these clinics.”
The truth is the regulations will be produced by theVirginia Board of Health, which is currently dominated by appointees of Tim “personally opposed, but still willing to lend political support to abortion” Kaine. And it’s not one size fits all, hospital categories include inpatient, psychiatric, rehabilitation and outpatient surgical. Each category has its own set of rules.
No doubt those worthies on the board will favor the weakest regulatory system possible. I predict the final requirements will fall somewhere between a nail solon and a chiropractor’s office. But it’s a start.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations, advertising and political consultant with experience around the globe. He is also a popular speaker and can be reached at michael–