May 2, 2016

THE ABCs OF CAMPAIGNING

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BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2016
THE ABCs OF CAMPAIGNING
BY BOB FRANKEN
---
If you want real betrayal and towering egos, forget the presidential campaign; look no further than the gripping intrigue swirling around Michael Strahan’s leaving his perch on the ABC “Live!” program that he’s co-hosted with Kelly Ripa for four years. He’ll move over full time to the network’s slipping morning show “Good Morning America.”
All of this was engineered by duplicitous upper management, pardon the redundancy, behind the back of Ms. Ripa. As Bart Simpson would say, she had a cow when she heard the news, which was about the time it was publicly announced. So she retaliated by simply not showing up for a few days while she had her conniption fit and the tabloids feasted.
Comes now the question about who replaces Strahan. It’s time for the executives to think really big. If they do, and things happen as they just might, there is one man who is a proven showman without compare. Yes, I’m talking about Donald Trump. Is that a brilliant idea or what? Actually, it was suggested by a friend of mine. I have weird friends.
Still, think of the possibilities. He and Kelly could share their experiences if he, too, got back-stabbed -- in his case, by the Republican machine operators. After a while, we’d grow tired of hearing his righteous indignation, just as his bombastic routine is finally getting a little tedious now. But he’d need a new venue, need his daily TV fix, so he’d be available. Of course, Kelly would have to put up with his misogyny and other crude utterances, but hey, ratings are ratings.
Anyway, he can probably adapt. According to both Trump and his new handlers, he can be more appropriate when the time comes. His toxic spew is only an act, designed to attract his hordes of supporters who are angry and longing for the good old days when they could hate without guilt.

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April 18, 2016

HOT TIMES IN GOTHAM

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016
HOT TIMES IN GOTHAM
BY BOB FRANKEN
---
It’s tough being a pollster in New York: “Excuse me, sir, will you tell me your preference for president? Or should I just go (expletive) myself?” Yes, that is a somewhat cleaned-up version of an old joke -- one of my favorites, by the way. But like so many, its humor comes from truth: New Yorkers are not known for their genteel civility.
Cut to the Democratic debate in Brooklyn. Bernie Sanders has abandoned his phony politeness, and Hillary Clinton has had it with Sanders standing in the way of her march to the party nomination. She had spent all that effort to not look like she felt entitled to it, and suddenly there was Bernie to demonstrate time after time that her nonpretender pretense was, in fact, for real. She’s not entitled; she’s had to work at it.
Meanwhile, Sanders is not someone who suffers fools very well, which he defines as anyone who dares question his policies. To quote Hillary from the debate: “If Sen. Sanders doesn’t agree with how you are approaching something, then you are a member of the ‘establishment.’” She has a point there. The truth also is she has tight connections to the money people he demonizes, and when she’s reminded of that, we’re treated to the famous Hillary glare.
The evil eye was on full display during their confrontation, with both showing that they know how to hold a conversation employing NYC etiquette, which is to say none whatsoever. It got raucous enough at one point that CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer admonished, “If you’re both screaming at each other, the viewers won’t be able to hear either of you.” Wolf, you’re a friend and I admire you as a consummate professional, but I must respectfully disagree: In Brooklyn, where the altercation was held, if you’re not screaming, no one pays attention to you.
The candidates didn’t disappoint. Not that they broke any new ground: They simply squabbled face to face over each other’s judgment, over her coziness with the rich and powerful, over his anti-gun-control votes, over Israel and over fracking (no expletive necessary). When they weren’t bobbing and weaving, dissembling and distracting, they were heaping scorn on one another. It was perfect for a city whose slogan should be: “If it ain’t scorny, then it’s corny.”

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April 11, 2016

NAKED CITY POLITICS

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016
NAKED CITY POLITICS
BY BOB FRANKEN
---
Don’t worry about clumsy metaphors and awkward and predictable musical references. You won’t see them here as I start spreading the news that the presidential campaign has ended its pre-Broadway run and assumed a New York state of mind. No siree, no clichés here, as the candidates try to take their bites out of the Big Apple.
They’ve finished milking the votes out of Wisconsin. Donald Trump’s brutishness was done in by “Wisconsin nice,” but now he’ll be taking on Ted Cruz and John Kasich back on his home turf. We all know there’s no such thing as “New York nice.” Bernie Sanders also thrived in the Great White Way of Wisconsin, no surprise considering his audiences usually have the demographics of a folk music concert. But NYC is a tiny bit more diverse, not counting Manhattan’s Upper East Side. In addition, there’s a whole other part of the state outside the boroughs, which ever so faintly resembles America.
For three of the four candidates, this is a battle for hometown creds. As we’ve all heard, Trump, Hillary Clinton and Sanders have deep roots. If they can’t make it here, they can’t make it anywhere. Cruz, who’s from Texas, and way down in the polls in third place, will need some real chutzpah to be in contention here. He definitely has it, even though he and his evangelical followers probably don’t know what the word means.

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March 31, 2016

FRIGHT OR FIGHT

FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
CUSTOMER SERVICE: (800) 708-7311 EXT. 236
BOB FRANKEN
FOR RELEASE TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2016
FRIGHT OR FIGHT
BY BOB FRANKEN
---
To illustrate the differences between the Republican and Democratic primaries, all we have to do is note the latest bizarre developments that drew the most attention and Twitter conversation. For the D’s it was the Bernie Sanders bird, which dominated the, uh, tweets. Meanwhile, the R’s continued with their ongoing Trump/Cruz bird flip. It managed to get even tackier, dragging in their wives and charges of marital infidelity for bad measure.
Sanders was addressing one of his “yuuuge” crowds in Portland, Oregon, when along came a finch to filch the show. Actually, Sanders was perfectly willing to be upstaged as the little feathered tyke flitted around and finally landed at the podium. That set the huge audience into flights of applause, which is understandable. After all, most of those attending were so young that they remember seeing Disney animated movies like it was yesterday. Actually, it probably was yesterday. The films always included the cutest whistling creatures chirping along with some sappy song. That was cartoon fantasy. Sanders’ skeptics argue his promises to accomplish social reform or wrest power from the country’s entrenched interests are real-life fantasy. Still, the rally provided some comic relief, which was harmless, particularly since nothing was left behind, if you know what I mean.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were dumping plenty of you-know-what-I-mean on each other, managing to splatter their wives in the process. If that wasn’t enough droppings, the National Enquirer, that paragon of journalism, added to the pile. Let’s review: Donald Trump said Ted Cruz hit the fan first with a digital ad showing his wife, Melania Trump, posing barely covered for GQ way back when and questioning whether she is first-lady material. Cruz said he had nothing to do with that. Still, Trump responded with an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, which allowed Hubby to forcefully state his righteous indignation for cameras. Then the Enquirer got into the act with an article accusing Cruz of having various affairs while married. Trump insisted he had nothing to do with that. Here is the question: Whom do you believe? Most probably would respond “None of the Above,” except those who consider all this simply a disgusting waste of time.

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PLAYING BAD HANDS

THE THREE STOOGES

THE CUSS FUSS

BERNIE SANDERS' TRUTHFUL LIE

SCALIA AND THAT PESKY CONSTITUTION

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GET OVER IT!

A LOUSY CHOICE

STATE OF DISUNION

THE NEW YEAR PERVERSE VERSE

HAPPY NEW YEAR ON MSNBC, OR MAYBE NOT SO HAPPY

THE ANNUAL YULE FOOLS

THURSDAY MORN ON MSNBC

CROOKS, LIARS, DEMAGOGUES AND WIMPS

INAUGURATION NIGHTMARE

NO THANKS ON MSNBC

THANKSGIVING DARKNESS ON MSNBC

OUR CHEAPENED INSTINCTS

DAWN CONTORTIONS ON MSNBC

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